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Move, AOL call it quits: what’s next for AOL Real Estate?

(Business News) AOL real estate has long partnered with Move, Inc. (realtor.com) to power their real estate search, but with their agreement ending in two days, who will be buying their leads next?

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Move and AOL mutually agree to discontinue relationship

As of December 18th, 2013 at 8am PST, Move, Inc. (operator of realtor.com) and AOL will end their relationship, as they forged an exclusive agreement in 2011, with Move providing all real estate listings for sale across the AOL Real Estate site.

Sources tell us the decision is mutual and Move reports that “In 2014, Move will be focused on connecting more directly with consumers through realtor.com and empowering real estate professionals with the opportunity to engage more directly with consumers.” We have also learned that there has been a decrease in leads from AOL to Move, and since they charge for traffic, we suspect that Move was the cord cutter in this scenario.

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Move also notes that they do not envision any business impact to their customers, as they have developed more traffic sources of late, including campaigns with the National Association of Realtors (radio and television), more content on realtor.com, site updates that have helped increase site traffic, and a heavy investment in reaching consumers directly.

Sources close to the situation tell us that realtor.com is not stressed, as visitors from AOL Real Estate only account for a “minimal” percentage of their overall traffic, and because recent research shows that actual buyers and sellers are more likely to use realtor.com than their competitors and that they produce more actionable leads than competitors. In other words, they’re not sweating it.

So what about AOL Real Estate?

We’ve noticed that AOL Real Estate editorial content has dwindled and they no longer create the wealth of original content they once produced, rather syndicating from Credit.com, The Associated Press, Zillow.com and others.

The site appears to still syndicate rental listings from ForRent.com, but they’re not exclusive – many of the listings are from HotPads.com which was acquired by Zillow last year.

Which brings us to what’s next for AOL Real Estate – did you notice one name pop up twice in the aforementioned notes? Zillow. We have confirmed with our sources that Zillow will, in fact, be the successor to Move, but either way, we suspect all parties involved are going to be completely fine with the new arrangements.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Nick Bastian

    December 16, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    do people even use AOL for ANYTHING any more?
    The name should basically stand for dial up…

    • Lani Rosales

      December 17, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      @nickbastian:disqus Well in fairness, when they *forged* the relationship, Move was pretty excited, but in *MY* opinion, it seems like AOL’s Real Estate site has been pretty neglected – they don’t create any relevant content or even original content anymore, and I don’t actually like how search results appear.

      I think it’s great that a big dawg like Zillow will be taking the reins, because it would REALLY suck if it was a small potato brand which would kill AOL’s Real Estate site, but this is really about who’s willing to pay for the leads, which I understand have diminished over the past year.

      • Nick Bastian

        December 18, 2013 at 8:32 am

        Would it really hurt anything for AOL real estate to go away? Is there a shortage of sites trying to sell advertising to the real estate industry while masked as a way for people to search for a home?

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Business News

This web platform for cannabis is blowing up online distribution

(BUSINESS NEWS) Dutchie, a website platform for cannabis companies, just octupled in value. Here’s what that means for the online growth of cannabis distribution.

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A small jar of cannabis on a desk with notebooks, sold online in a nicely made jar.

The cannabis industry has, for the most part, blossomed in the past few years, managing to hit only a few major snags along the way. One of those snags is the issue of payment processing, an issue compounded by predominantly cash-only transactions. Dutchie, a Bend, Oregon company, has helped mitigate that issue—and it just raised a ton of money.

Technically, Dutchie is a jack-of-all-trades service that creates and hosts websites for dispensaries, tracks product, processes orders, keeps stock of revenue, and so much more. While it was valued at around $200 million as recently as summer of 2020, a round of series C funding currently puts the company at around $1.7 billion—approximately 8 times its worth a mere 8 months ago.

There are a few reasons behind Dutchie’s newfound momentum. For starters, the pandemic made cannabis products a lot more accessible—and desirable—in states in which the sale of cannabis is legal. The ensuing surge of customers and demand certainly didn’t hurt the platform, especially given that Dutchie is largely responsible for keeping things on track during some of the more chaotic months for dispensaries.

Several states in which the sale of cannabis was illegal also voted to legalize recreational use, giving Dutchie even more stomping ground than they had prior to the lockdown.

Dutchie also recently took on 2 separate companies and their associated employees, effectively doubling their current staff. The companies are Greenbits—a resource planning group—and Leaflogix, which is a point-of-sale platform. With these two additions to their compendium, Dutchie can operate as even more of an all-in-one suite, which absolutely contributes to its value as a company.

Ross Lipson, who is Dutchie’s co-founder and current CEO, is fairly dismissive of investment opportunities for the public at the moment, saying he instead prefers to stay “focused with what’s on our plate” for the time being. However, he also appears open to the possibility of going public via an acquisition company.

“We look at how this decision brings value to the dispensary and the customer,” says Lipson. “If it brings value, we’d embark on that decision.”

For now, Dutchie remains the ipso facto king of cannabis distribution and sales—and they don’t show any plans to slow down any time soon.

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Ford adopts flexible working from home schedule for over 30k employees

(BUSINESS NEWS) Ford Motor Co. is allowing employees to continue working from home even after the pandemic winds down. Is this the beginning of a trend for auto companies?

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Woman in car working on engineering now allowed a flexible schedule for working from home.

The pandemic has greatly transformed our lives. For the most part, learning is being conducted online. At one point, interacting with others was pretty much non-existent. Working in the office shifted significantly to working remotely, and it seems like working from home might not go away anytime soon.

As things slowly get back to a new “normal”, will things change again? Well, one thing is sure. Working from home will be a permanent thing for some people as more companies opt to continue letting people work remotely.

And, the most recent company on the list to do this is Ford Motor Co. Even after the pandemic winds down, Ford will allow more than 30,000 employees already working from home to continue doing so.

Last week, the automaker giant announced its “flexible hybrid model” schedule to its staff. The new schedule is set to start in the summer, and employees can choose to work remotely and come into the office for tasks that require face-to-face collaborations, such as meetings and group projects.

How much time an employee spends in the office will depend on their responsibilities, and flexible remote hours will need to be approved by an employee’s manager.

“The nature of work drives whether or not you can adopt this model. There are certain jobs that are place-dependent — you need to be in the physical space to do the job,” David Dubensky, chairman and chief executive of Ford Land, told the Washington Post. “Having the flexibility to choose how you work is pretty powerful. … It’s up to the employee to have dialogue and discussion with their people leader to determine what works best.”

Ford’s decision to implement a remote-office work model has to do in part with an employee survey conducted in June 2020. Results from the survey showed that 95% of employees wanted a hybrid schedule. Some employees even reported feeling more productive when working from home.

Ford is the first auto company to allow employees to work from home indefinitely, but it might not be the only one. According to the Post, Toyota and General Motors are looking at flexible options of their own.

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Unify your remote team with these important conversations

(BUSINESS NEWS) More than a happy hour, consider having these poignant conversations to bring your remote team together like never before.

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Cultivating a team dynamic is difficult enough without everyone’s Zoom feed freezing halfway through “happy” hour. You may not be able to bond over margaritas these days, but there are a few conversations you can have to make your team feel more supported—and more comfortable with communicating.

According to Forbes, the first conversation to have pertains to individual productivity. Ask your employees, quite simply, what their productivity indicators are. Since you can’t rely on popping into the office to see who is working on a project and who is beating their Snake score, knowing how your employees quantify productivity is the next-best thing. This may lead to a conversation about what you want to see in return, which is always helpful for your employees to know.

Another thing to discuss with your employees regards communication. Determining which avenues of communication are appropriate, which ones should be reserved for emergencies, and which ones are completely off the table is key. For example, you might find that most employees are comfortable texting each other while you prefer Slack or email updates. Setting that boundary ahead of time and making it “office” policy will help prevent strain down the road.

Finally, checking in with your employees about their expectations is also important. If you can discuss the sticky issue of who deals with what, whose job responsibilities overlap, and what each person is predominantly responsible for, you’ll negate a lot of stress later. Knowing exactly which of your employees specialize in specific areas is good for you, and it’s good for the team as a whole.

With these 3 discussions out of the way, you can turn your focus to more nebulous concepts, the first of which pertains to hiring. Loop your employees in and ask them how they would hire new talent during this time; what aspects would they look for, and how would they discern between candidates without being able to meet in-person? It may seem like a trivial conversation, but having it will serve to unify further your team—so it’s worth your time.

The last crucial conversation, per Forbes, is simple: Ask your employees what they would prioritize if they became CEOs tomorrow. There’s a lot of latitude for goofy responses here, but you’ll hear some really valuable—and potentially gut-wrenching—feedback you wouldn’t usually receive. It never hurts to know what your staff prioritize as idealists.

Unifying your staff can be difficult, but if you start with these conversations, you’ll be well on your way to a strong team during these trying times.

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