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Free IDX Combined With Social CRM and Real Estate Lead Capture Redefined- softRealty.com

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logosoftrealtyThe IDX search race heats up!

Finally we’re seeing some movement in the real estate IDX space as softRealty.com launches free ad based IDX search combined with Social CRM and Lead Capture at a tiered price level starting at free!  Ad based idx designed to draw in and capture consumers attention, and providing the ability to communicate with the home shopper even before they’ve registered- consumers like the arms length, but what you’ll like is the opportunity to get in front of them.

We know what you’re thinking, ad based? We wondered about that as well, but having piloted the search function from the search perspective, I found the ads to actually add value as opposed to competing with the agent.  Further, if the consumer is really searching seriously, chances are, they’ll be busy adding and saving homes searched.  According to softRealty.com Founder, David Carroll, they intend to offer a non-ad based model very shortly.

Lead Capture Redefined

The intent behind the social CRM is providing you the ability to actually communicate with your consumer the same way you would face-to-face while they’re in the buying mood, online.  We all know the ability to convert often requires a personal connection to the homebuyer, and softRealty.com understands this.  We expect many of the upgrades and tools to center around this ability in 2009  and 2010.

Over all impression

I think it’s worth looking at, it’s free and I was actually surprised at how modern the IDX is, I expected clunky and old fashioned, but what consumers get is a completely real estate 2.0 experience.  It’s got all the basics like brochure printing, a beautiful image gallery, virtual tour viewer, details, and more.  What it lacked were partnerships with 3rd parties such as Onboard, or Walkability,  and others, but I’m not sure they’re missed in this early version.

Tough question

I asked David to tell me what softRealty.com  really was, an IDX search, Lead Capture, or CRM, and his quick answer was essentially why are they separate? The system is designed to be all of the above, and I think they’re on their way to doing just that, softRealty.com is creating a system that is lead capturing redefined, and at a price that rocks.

Here are my screenshots from my consumer side experience

This is the result of my search by zip code, note the ask us button to the left.

softrealtysearch

Here’s the result screen, your typical landing results page, nice layout with the agent details handy with a messaging button.  Buyers are able to rate the property, and save it or ask you a question.

landingresult

Simple and clean registration form

registerhomesearch

Like I said, have a look, create an account and decide for yourself, and let us know what you think!  Are you a softRealty.com customer? We’d love to hear from you!

softRealty.com Real Estate IDX | Follow on Twitter

Agent Genius has no affiliation with softRealty.com

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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34 Comments

34 Comments

  1. Chris Shouse

    July 4, 2009 at 12:00 am

    This sounds very interesting, I will have to check. Not everyone can do the Las Vegas MLS but what I work with and pay for through my board sucks.

  2. Benjamin Ficker

    July 4, 2009 at 12:11 am

    Anymore detail on how the CRM portion works? That is by far what is lacking in IDX software. What good are the leads if you have to struggle to follow up with them? I use Diverse Solutions now by their follow up system is lame.

  3. Benn Rosales

    July 4, 2009 at 12:34 am

    Benjamin, I need more time to really work over the crm, search is easy, but if I don’t have a client base, there isn’t much I can test myself, which is why I was asking for any current customers to weigh in.

  4. Fred

    July 4, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Sounds OK but it’s only available in 2 MLS’s… Georgia and Mid Florida.

  5. Matt Thomson

    July 4, 2009 at 10:23 am

    I’m with Fred…not available in my area.

  6. Benn Rosales

    July 4, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Yeah, like I said, it’s new, but this is from the FAQ

    Our service is currently available to members of the GAMLS and FMLS in Georgia. Mid Florida Regional MLS is our newest MLS, with many additional MLSs to follow in the very near future. We are adding new MLSs every month. Please let us know if you want us in your area and what MLS you use. We will move to new markets based on the requests we have coming out of that market.

  7. David Carroll

    July 4, 2009 at 11:25 am

    Benn, thank you for the great write up. Being relatively new to the RE.NET scene, we are just getting started with many amazing new features and raising the bar with improving the home search experience for both agents and home buyers alike. We have learned so much from our strong base of grassroots followers. We look forward to learning more about how to continue helping agents and improving our product.

    There are over 900 MLSs in the country. Each MLS has different challenges and fees for initial setup. However, we have a great process, a custom automation platform, and a brilliant team for bringing these MLSs online. We currently cover areas in GA, FL, CA, and AL and are processing new ones every week. If we are not in your current MLS, please register a free account and contact me directly at david.carroll@softRealty.com. We are working with agents across the country to bring on as many MLSs as possible this year.

    Chris, contact me directly regarding the Las Vegas MLS. Sounds like a good excuse for my first visit out there ;).

    Fred, we’d love to be in Connecticut in the next month or so. After meeting Amy Chorew at REBARCAMP Philadelphia this past May, Connecticut has made it to our MLS expansion list.

    Matt, we’ve been looking for a NWMLS contact. They use Rapattoni and we’ve integrated with them in other areas. Can we talk on Monday?

  8. Matt Wilkins

    July 4, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Myself and several other RE.net rockstars had an extensive conversation with David at RETechSouth regarding this system. I see it as a great way to make a vital component to any RE professionals web prescense both more obtainable and more useful.

    To everyone who is talking about their coverage being limited yes they are working to expand their MLS coverage. I can say from from personal expereicne being a broker providing IDX feeds for other home search system it takes time to figure out the rules and regs for each MLS system in the US.

  9. dewde

    July 4, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    I love seeing how broader social media concepts can be harnessed and tweaked to be industry-specific. I’ve heard today’s youth be referred to as “Generation F”. These kids are heavily into social media and social networking and like it or not, they represent the buyers and sellers of real estate tomorrow.

    The big question is… who is going to be building the types of tools they will demand in order to do life?

    Soft Realty is clearly on the right track.

    peace|dewde

  10. Diane Guercio

    July 4, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    I think the consumer experience is most important- lead capture and conversion is really becoming a consumer-driven event. Keep the consumers profiting from their experience- and getting more than they could elsewhere, and any other issues that present will be able to be solved. From a consumer point of view, this looks good- clunky won’t work.

    Nice interface with the consumer- you are there, but it doesn’t seem to be too intrusive, which absolutely doesn’t work. I have no issue with the ads- consumers are used to seeing them and ignoring them or not.

    Nice to see the integration of all 3 components. Just need to get the MLSs onboard to see theory shift to practice.

  11. Frank LL0SA- FranklyMLS.com

    July 4, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    When somebody finally nails a good CRM it will be a hit.

    I’ve been offering ad-free FREE branded IDX and branded email alerts for competing brokers for a few months now. Once they get over the “aren’t you my competitor” concept and gravitate to the co-opetition model, they can see how savvy agents can all work together for a better user experience and more business for all.

    Frank LL0SA
    Owner FranklyMLS.com
    Broker FranklyRealty.com

  12. Tim McDonald

    July 4, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    Signed up and like what I’ve read and seen so far. The CRM integration seems to be key to this working. And I’d imagine if you want to be able to have more than 100 contacts, we’ll be paying, but it seems pretty reasonable if it does what it has the potential to do. Looking forward for MRED in the Chicagoland area to be included.
    Benn, as always, thanks for the great suggestions!

  13. Lane Bailey

    July 4, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    I’m a fan of softRealty and David. they are good guys and working hard to keep their IDX fresh and better than the competition. And it isn’t easy.

    I know that for me, leveraging the platform is limited by me, not by the platform.

  14. Fred Romano

    July 5, 2009 at 8:17 am

    Free is great but when choosing an IDX service, agents and brokers should consider other factors. One big one is how they will integrate the service into their website. Using a frame is not always the best option.

    I have used https://idxbroker.com/ in the past and find their service, for $39 a month, the best out there. They use CSS to “wrap” their service, so your website is perfectly displayed. I use WordPress and found it very easy to work with.

    The tools, control options, and lead management on the back side are equally impressive. Well worth the money. I mostly deal with sellers now, so I stopped using it, but if my business ever shifted back to buyers, I would definately signup with them again.

    Their customer service is fantastic, and they also have a large coverage area, most likely they will have your MLS available.

  15. Matt Fagioli

    July 5, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Consumer home search – and particularly “social search” is going to be the game to win for Realtors in the next few years.

    softRealty.com has really got it figured out. I’ve been using their stuff since the very beginning (over a year now) and I’m a big fan. In recent months, I’ve been working closely with David and his team and I can tell you that there’s not a sharper group of engineers anywhere. If you wanna track the leading edge of customer search, you want to be using softRealty.com IDX/CRM.

  16. David Carroll

    July 6, 2009 at 1:23 am

    Fred, it’s common for people to mistakenly association our “Free IDX” with the adage, “You get you what you paid for.” I wrote a blog entry regarding this at: https://blog.softrealty.com/index.php/2009/07/free-idx-getting-more-than-what-you-paid-for/. Like Google, YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter, Zillow, Trulia, etc, consumers get so much more than they paid for and these services continue to raise the bar with innovation.

    Today, we are LIVE with a great set of core functionality and are just getting started. You can expect new features from us every few weeks, if not weekly, throughout the rest of this year. Even now, our features surpass most of our competition. What we do have now, we do well.

    Regarding your comment on frames… we’re working on a variety of layouts to accommodate various framed solutions. More importantly, customizing the search interface is one such area we will continue to improve. Our initial property search design was built with custom CSS styling in mind. Pulling this together will be the next step later this year. We’re also working on the launch of our new website template solution / CMS that will blow your mind. Before you consider any other IDX vendor and pay a couple hundred in setup costs on top of your high monthly fees, check us out first. You’ll be surprised what you actually get for free, and even more so what you get for just a little bit more.

  17. David Carroll

    July 6, 2009 at 2:30 am

    Interestingly enough, I just discovered this “oh-so-relevant” article from Benn back in April 2008: https://agentgenius.com/g-rants-insanity-more/real-estate/whats-a-lead/. If you want to really understand the problem softRealty.com addresses with Lead Capture Redefined, read this article and the comments that follow. I posted a comment that presents our solution to this very real problem of expanding your clientele online, (a.k.a. online lead capture). In case you don’t get down to my comment, check out our video on the subject at: https://www.softrealty.com/Video/LeadCaptureRedefined/.

  18. Fred Romano

    July 6, 2009 at 9:39 am

    I would defiantly check out the service is you had it available in Connecticut!

  19. John C

    July 6, 2009 at 11:55 am

    I have been talking with David and the guys at SoftRealty for over a year as they have been developing the software and expanding to MLSs. They will have mine up very soon, working over 2 different MLSs and I am very excited about it. My main MLS is a relatively tiny one – yet they have stuck with me, calling me instead of the other way around (refreshing) and have been excellent in walking me through the process to sign up and get going. After working with their demo versions and figuring out what they will offer, to me it’s a no brainer. I can’t wait to be fully up and operational. I am planning a big promo campaign, solely focused on (what I think will be) my huge competitive advantage in SoftRealty.

  20. Paula Henry

    July 6, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    I would love to test it here in Indy – or just about any IDX with a great CRM. They all seem to lack in the CRM department, in one way or another.

  21. Justin Zimmerman

    July 7, 2009 at 8:34 am

    I’d like to see more screen shots or even a live video demo of what a consumer would see and interact with. I think it would boost your ability to show both agents, brokers, consumers, and MLS’s the value of the service by doing a few short demo videos on each key feature. Maybe even compare them with your competition or the stock IDX stuff agents get (and show them how much business they are missing by not going “soft”). Good stuff man, looking forward to seeing more.

  22. Tim McDonald

    July 9, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Paula, I sent David an email over the 4th, received a call from him on Tuesday, and they are days away from being live in Chicago. Talk about mind blowing service! They’re easy to talk with, understand the process and so far are making this about as easy and enjoyable as it can get.
    Matt, glad to hear someone I know who has a track record with them. Confirms my feelings.
    I’ll share more once we get it going on my site.

  23. donne1

    July 18, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    SIMPLY PUT….SOFTREALTY ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!

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Social Media

*New* TikTok Insights launch: Content creators finally get audience analytics

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The popular short-form app, TikTok, finally launches the anticipated Insights feature, where content creators can view target audience data.

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Two girls filming on TikTok.

Marketers searching for the zeitgeist which means TikTok scrollers pause to watch their content and then click through to buy a product have a new tool to help make that happen.

  • TikTok Insights offers marketers bite-size bits of user demographic information that will help build content that leads to sales.
  • With TikTok Insights you can learn more about your audience’s behavior, their interests, and their general sentiment toward brands.
  • TikTok Insights is free to use. Marketers can find TikTok user demographics by using filters to determine what they’re looking for.

The demographic info can be age-focused, focused on specific types of marketing, or even as specific as holiday or event marketing.

This is a step in the direction marketers have been asking for as they create content for the TikTok platform; however, creators looking for detailed analytics like they get from meta need to wait. Insights doesn’t offer that for now.

Like TikTok says in its own analytic information,

“While analytics are helpful in understanding the performance of your videos, you don’t need to create future videos based primarily around them. It’s best to consider the bigger picture, lean lightly on analytics, and use them as a source for insight rather than strategy.”

Marketers trying to key into reaching TikTok’s billion users worldwide are left, right now, searching for the magic that leads to consumers making the jump from the platform to using their purchasing power.

For marketers that means keeping things creative and collaborative, two key factors in TikTok’s success. And that success is huge. Users spend an average of 52 minutes on the platform when they log in and a staggering 90% of users say they log on every day.

TikTok Insights will help marketers find ways to connect, but the content TikTok is looking for is authentic.

And while entrepreneurs can bid for advertising like other social media platforms, they need to remember when planning that spend, that most TikTok marketing success stories are more accidental than planned. Have fun with that knowledge. Instead of pressure to create the perfect plan, TikTok Insights allows marketers to keep it creative and to find a way to tie it into what they enjoy about the platform.

Like all other social media marketing, focus on creating content that stops the consumer from their continual scroll. Make it a challenge and keep it real.

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Grindr got busted for selling users’ data locations to advertisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) User data has been a hot topic in the tech world. It’s often shared haphazardly or not protected, and the app Grindr, follows suit.

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Grindr on phone in man's hands

If you’re like me, you probably get spam calls a lot. Information is no longer private in this day and age; companies will buy and sell whatever information they can get their hands on for a quick buck. Which is annoying, but not necessarily outright dangerous, right?

Wrong.

Grindr has admitted to selling their user’s data, however, they are specifically selling the location of their users without regard for liability concerns. Grindr, a gay hook-up app, is an app where a marginalized community is revealing their location to find a person to connect to. Sure, Grindr claims they have been doing this less and less since 2020, but the issue still remains: they have been selling the location of people who are in a marginalized community – a community that has faced a huge amount of oppression in the past and is still facing it to this day.

Who in their right mind thought this was okay? Grindr initially did so to create “real-time ad exchanges” for their users, to find places super close to their location. Which makes sense, sort of. The root of the issue is that the LGBTQAI+ community is a community at risk. How does Grindr know if all of their users are out? Do they know exactly who they’re selling this information to? How do they know that those who bought the information are going to use it properly?

They don’t have any way of knowing this and they put all of their users at risk by selling their location data. And the data is still commercially available! Historical data could still be obtained and the information was able to be purchased in 2017. Even if somebody stopped using Grindr in, say, 2019, the fact they used Grindr is still out there. And yeah, the data that’s been released has anonymized, Grindr claims, but it’s really easy to reverse that and pin a specific person to a specific location and time.

This is such a huge violation of privacy and it puts people in real, actual danger. It would be so easy for bigots to get that information and use it for something other than ads. It would be so easy for people to out others who aren’t ready to come out. It’s ridiculous and, yeah, Grindr claims they’re doing it less, but the knowledge of what they have done is still out there. There’s still that question of “what if they do it again” and, with how the world is right now, it’s really messed up and problematic.

If somebody is attacked because of the data that Grindr sold, is Grindr complicit in that hate crime, legally or otherwise?

So, moral of the story?

Yeah, selling data can get you a quick buck, but don’t do it.

You have no idea who you’re putting at risk by selling that data and, if people find out you’ve done it, chances are your customers (and employees) will lose trust in you and could potentially leave you to find something else. Don’t risk it!

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BeReal: Youngsters are flocking in droves to this Instagram competitor app

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As Instagram loses steam due to its standards of “perfection posting,” users are drawn to a similar app with a different approach, BeReal.

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social media - bereal app

BeReal is one of several “Real” apps exploding in growth with young users who crave real connections with people they know in real life.

According to data.ai, BeReal ranks 4th by downloads in the US, the UK, and France for Q1 2022 to date, behind only Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

BeReal flies in the face of what social media has become. Instead of curated looks that focus on the beautiful parts of life, BeReal users showcase what they’re doing at the moment and share those real photos with their friends. Their real friends.

It’s real. And real is different for a generation of social media users who have been raised on influencers and filters.

As the app says when you go to its page:

Be Real.

Your Friends

for Real.

Every day at a different time, BeReal users are notified simultaneously to capture and share a Photo in 2 Minutes.

A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.

BeReal app

The app has seen monthly users increase by more than 315% according to Apptopia, which tracks and analyzes app performance.

“Push notifications are sent around the world simultaneously at different times each day,” the company said in a statement. “It’s a secret on how the time is chosen every day, it’s not random.”

The app allows no edits and no filters. They want users to show a “slice of their lives.”

Today’s social media users have seen their lives online inundated with ultra-curated social media. The pandemic led to more time spent online than ever. Social media became a way to escape. Reality was ugly. Social media was funny, pretty, and exciting.

And fake.

Enter BeReal where users are asked to share two moments of real life on a surprise schedule. New apps are fun often because they’re new. However, the huge growth in the use of BeReal by college-aged users points to something more than the new factor.

For the past several years, experts have warned that social media was dangerous to our mental health. The dopamine hits of likes and shares are based on photos and videos filled with second and third takes, lens changes, lighting improvements, and filters. Constant comparisons are the norm. And even though we know the world we present on our social pages isn’t exactly an honest portrayal of life, we can’t help but experience FOMO when we see our friends and followers and those we follow having the times of their lives, buying their new it thing, trying the new perfect product, playing in their Pinterest-worthy decorated spaces we wish we could have.

None of what we see is actually real on our apps. We delete our media that isn’t what we want to portray and try again from a different angle and shoot second and third and forth takes that make us look just a little better.

We spend hours flipping through videos on our For You walls and Instagram stories picked by algorithms that know us better than we know ourselves.

BeReal is the opposite of that. It’s simple, fast, and real. It’s community and fun, but it’s a moment instead of turning into the time-sink of our usual social media that, while fun, is also meant to ultimately sell stuff, including all our data.

It will be interesting to watch BeReal and see if it continues down its promised path and whether the growth continues. People are looking for something. Maybe reality is that answer.

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