Several changes at Facebook
In preparation for their upcoming F8 Developer Converence, Facebook has announced a series of changes, beginning with new privacy settings, altering the wording of fan pages from “become a fan” to “like this” and adding Community Pages.
The changes are hailed by some but condemned by others as Facebook commands more and more web traffic, now at 41% of all social media traffic, putting a bullseye on their back.
Liking a fan page
First, when users open any Facebook fan page, they will no longer see a “become a fan” button, rather a “like this” button which has also been altered on Facebook fan page widgets (as you can see in the sidebar for the AgentGenius fan page).
People like Adam Brown in Kentucky said, “Hey @Facebook, your new “Like” feature instead of “Become a Fan” feature for pages is awful. It removes functionality and is confusing.”
Facbook’s Barry Schnitt told TheNext Web, “As we have said previously, we are moving from ‘Become a Fan’ to ‘Like’ to make the language on the site more consistent but we have no announcements or changes planned to our ad offering or ad policies.”
Facebook announces Community Pages
Today, Facebook revealed they are launching 6.5 million Community Pages, stating that they have “always been about helping people make connections.”
Now, interests and activities completed by users in their profiles will allow Facebook to recommend community pages that match what users have indicated they are interested in. Facebook has indicated the recommendations should be in effect next time you log in to Facebook.
Privacy settings change
In light of the new Community Pages, Facebook has created a new privacy section called “Friends, Tags, and Connections” which focuses on the data on Facebook that is not within a user’s control. Now, users can make their data more difficult to find but still can not remove the data altogether.
According to Facebook, “Friends, Tags and Connections covers information and content that’s shared between you and others on Facebook. This includes relationships (shared between you and the person you’re in the relationship with), interests, and photos you’re tagged in. These settings let you control who sees this information on your actual profile. However, it may still be visible in other places unless you remove it from your profile itself.”
Speculators link this new privacy section to Facebook allegedly announcing a new ad platform based on Facebook user data, including users’ browser history.
Barry Schnitt said, “Just to clarify, the Financial Times incorrectly suggested that Facebook is launching a behavioral ad targeting at f8, our upcoming developer conference. Their story has been corrected.”
Just like Twitter…
In yet another move to be structured in a way that captures social networkers’ attention, TechCrunch reports that Facebook will be adopting a mouseover that allows users to hover over a name of a person or page and see extended information about them, like friends in common. This feature was also recently added by Twitter.
Implications of the Facebook changes
All of these changes combined indicate Facebook’s grab for user information during their meteoric rise in web traffic. Facebook’s continued confidence (despite privacy advocates’ objections) is unshakable and whichever ad platform model and other changes they announce at the F8 Developer Conference could impact the shape of social networks as each struggles to keep ahead of the other.
CC Licensed photo courtesy of vogelium via Flickr.com.
Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home
When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?
Looking at the bigger picture
(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).
That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).
They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.
“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”
Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?
With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.
The average home age is higher than ever
(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.
With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.
Prices of new homes on the rise
Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.
Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?
The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.
Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes
(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.
Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.
So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.
1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues
It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.
Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.
2. Two major media brands emerge
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