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Redfin website beats the real estate world to the punch

Here at AG, we pour over a great deal of data every day regarding brokerages and the real estate sector overall and we feel lucky that we get to see the real estate world from a bird’s eye perspective and have been forecasting trends effectively for several years now. We recently spotted a real estate company taking part in a trend that until now, no one else has.

Growing discount brokerage Redfin has announced that their mapping feature will now offer clusters of listings that when zoomed in on offer other clusters so that search results are based on proximity. This change may seem minor or like simple eye candy, but we see so much more in their announcement- they’re adhering to modern web standards by using HTML5 with CSS transitions and offering up cross browser compatibility.

Redfin’s update will likely go overlooked in the industry and in two years when the self proclaimed tech savvy brokers get around to following suit, they’ll call themselves pioneers. We have been watching the advancement of web standards as the fight between programming languages heats up (and trust us, Flash vs. HTML5 is a whopper of a fight) and we have wondered when a firm would step up and adhere to standards that are forward facing rather than simply use 2005 technologies and call themselves innovative.

Redfin drew a line in the sand this month. It’s a small line and you probably can’t quite see it yet, it’s that faint, but it’s there. We’re hoping that any indie brokerages on the fringe that have started implementing these web standards will step up to bat, because we haven’t heard of any yet. Redfin has separated themselves from the pack and whether you like their model or not, they’re investing in future technologies without worry about the “tech savvy” agents that are still stuck on how to sign up for “the Twitter” while unaware that they are falling behind the tech curve.

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Ken Montville

    November 2, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Well, I’m not techno geek but does anyone find it ironic that this “clustering” has a red line around it. I’m not sure Redfin is at the forefront of redlining. If memory serves, it’s a pretty old concept. But, then, I’m sure I’m missing the point.

    • Lani Rosales

      November 2, 2010 at 2:52 pm

      Ken, please read the article (again?); it’s not about clustering or the colors of the lines, it’s about web standards and programming languages…

      • Bob Wilson

        November 2, 2010 at 3:11 pm

        Web standards isnt the key here, but it goes hand in hand with new development. The key is increased conversion due to better user experience. Anyone doing this stuff today is going to be using those standards.

      • Ken Montville

        November 3, 2010 at 5:43 pm

        I got that it was about web standards. Like I said, I was sure I was missing the point. Is techno steering more ethical/legal than me telling someone in my car, “You said you like this nice {fill in the criteria} neighborhood. You wouldn’t like that other neighborhood. Let’s not go there.”

        Yeah, this is a wonderful, technical advancement and I know it’s not about the color of the lines. It never was even when banks drew the lines on maps.

        The post isn’t that long. I’m just raising the point that sometimes techies can get so absorbed in their techno stuff that they lose touch with humanity.

        • Ken Montville

          November 3, 2010 at 5:45 pm

          Well, I guess from reading the rest of the comments that it’s ok to steer people into certain clusters to the exclusions of others. I guess it’s consumer choice, right.

  2. Bob Wilson

    November 2, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Redfin isnt the only one working on this, but the first to market.

    As Glenn says, it fixes the biggest issue with map searches.

    What is important here isnt the web standards, but the fact that Glenn understood what his data was telling him and how that relates to increased conversion, which is the real bottom line.

    • Bob Wilson

      November 2, 2010 at 3:09 pm

      Actually, I believe DS has been clustering as well, so my first to market comment may not be correct.

      • Lani Rosales

        November 2, 2010 at 4:12 pm

        Hey Bob, with your unique background, do you agree that their forward thinking is ahead of the real estate tech curve?

        • Bob Wilson

          November 2, 2010 at 7:41 pm

          I dont believe its forward thinking with regard to programming as much as smart business. Few successful companies build tomorrow’s apps with yesterday’s programming.

          What I believe is that Redfin understood their data and picked up on the fact that map based search sucks big time for the consumer, and therefor it sucks for Redfin. While many vendors love to push techno bling for the sake of being able to add the “New & Improved” label, redfin understands that in order to be profitable, you have to convert traffic to leads, and leads to closed sales. Most map based search products are more of a parlor game than tool that adds to the broker or agent’s bottomline, as Redfin alluded to in their post.

          I am impressed with the product, and I have said that about very few map search programs. This is good for them and it raises the bar for others.

          They didnt do this just to have the coolest map search. They did it to make more money. That makes them forward thinkers in this biz.

        • Matt Goulart

          November 3, 2010 at 10:53 am

          Yes, this means Redfin is a head of the real estate tech curve in HTML5. Not entirely sure why the arguement of clusters has started… the article is about web standards. Briefly mentioning the bigger picture of Flash vs HTML5.

          On another note, Microsoft recently entered the web standard to support HTML5 instead of their own silverlight platform.

  3. Jeff

    November 2, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I am pretty sure Diverse Solutions has been clustering for awhile.

    • Lani Rosales

      November 2, 2010 at 4:11 pm

      Diverse Solutions is great! That is awesome!!!

      • Cynthia

        November 2, 2010 at 5:18 pm

        Sawbuck has been clustering for years too.

  4. Sheila Rasak

    November 2, 2010 at 3:31 pm


  5. Bruce Lemieux

    November 2, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    DS has clustering, but Redfin’s implementation is so much more elegant and useful. Redfin’s use of clustering on their iPhone app is even better than their web implementation.

    I don’t know anything about Redfin’s technology, but home buyers in the metro D.C. area love the app. At open houses, I ask buyers “how did you find us”. Redfin is easily the #1 answer.

  6. Daniel Bates

    November 2, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    I saw this being done on google maps a while ago. It improves load time remarkably and should be helpful to some real estate browsers.

  7. Roland Estrada

    November 2, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    Maybe I’m not getting it. The map search feature on my search site loads faster and offer the same if not more information than does Redfin. This is not a plug but check it out and judge for yourseslf. My site also renders faster. HTML5 is better suited for for more graphically intensive uses. Check out Apple’s Demo site

    The real Luddites are the real estate vendors such as MarketLinx and SharperAgent. There are others of course. Their big problem is cross-browser compatibility. That could have been achieved years ago but they have no foresight. I’ve complained about the browser issue for years.

    Not to mention cross-platform issues. Zipforms just this year, became Mac compatible. Vendors have been behind for a long, long time. By the time they catch up there something else passing them by.


    November 3, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    HTML5 standards are definitely the way to go. I just upgraded my sites to be W3C HTML5 valid CSS and markup.

  9. BawldGuy

    November 3, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    I’ve thought for quite some time now, that web standards needed a bottom up revamping. 🙂

    What Bob said.

  10. BawldGuy

    November 3, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    As I said before — What Bob said.

  11. White Bear Lake Homes

    November 4, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    I follow Redfin’s blog, and I know how much they were pushing to make this release. I have nothing but respect for Redfin, and they have my support in their expedition to advance the real estate technology landscape.

  12. Rob McCance

    November 5, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Nice dig Lani….you don’t miss much, do ya?

    Here’s a funny one, our MLS provider here in the ATL, FMLS, just paid major bucks for, and is transitioning to a “all new” interface based 100% on….FLASH.

    I sat in on the training class and had to just keep my mouth shut the entire time.

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