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List of Really Cool IDX Map Solutions

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I’m spending a great deal of time investigating solutions for the Independent Agents, and this week I’m focusing in on IDX Map Solutions.  I’m not doing a review of each, I’ll leave that to the consumer.  My goal is to assist you in locating the top tier of IDX offerings. 

I will admit that I looked at nearly 20 solutions and there are some really awful ones that take no account of the principals of Web2.0, and in fact, some are not even Web1.0 and still cost the same as a modern solution.

What I require to even make my list are the following:

  • Visual first and last impression
  • Ease of search
  • Load times
  • Results pages
  • Navigation
  • Consumer tools
  • The level and quality of the information provided via results

So here is the short list:

Cevado.com


Diverse Solutions – dsSearchAgent


LinkuRealty


RealtySoft.com


I’ve reviewed and used dsSearchAgent and still believe that it is the most unique and modern idx solution around. I’m still searching for its rival!

I did this quick list because coverage for many Idx Map Solutions are at times limited by geography, so if you know of a provider that does something special with IDX Mapping for Agents, let us know!

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. Richard Iarossi

    June 23, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Thanks for the great post, I have been a user of RealtySoft IDX and I am very happy with it, you can check out my IDX here: they include it free of charge as part of my website package which is $24.95 with no setup fees. Feel free to check out my website using the above URL.

  2. Richard Iarossi

    June 23, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Thanks for the great post, I have been a user of RealtySoft IDX and I am very happy with it, you can check out my IDX here: https://www.searchingmaryland.com/MD%20Properties they include it free of charge as part of my website package which is $24.95 with no setup fees. Feel free to check out my website using the above URL.

  3. Tyler, The Wealth Creation Guy

    June 23, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    I’m going to ask a potentially stupid question. Is it possible for a mortgage lender to put an IDX feed on their website? My market is SUPER slow to adopt high tech solutions and I think I could be the all inclusive resource for clients.

    Is it possible? Is it legal? What would it cost me?

    I’m really just looking for advice. I’ve been a long time listener – I just figured I’d light a fire and make this a really interesting conversation 😉

    Thanks in advance everyone! You rock. I wish we had more agents like you in Iowa.

  4. Jay Thompson

    June 23, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    Tyler –

    You’d need to be a member of the local MLS. Ours takes “affiliate” members — appraisers, title companies, etc. I don’t know if any affiliates are lenders. And I suspect affiliates probably aren’t allowed to host an IDX solution.

    One work-around would of course to get your real estate sales license, pony up all the associate fees and wha-la!

    Costs? MLS fees vary. Mine are about $180/year. And of course to get access to the MLS (at least here) one has no choice than to join the “voluntary” local, state and national Realtor associations. That’ll set you back another $350 or so annually. And of course the IDX solution itself. Expect to pay between $500 – $1,200 per year for their monthly fees. And some have set up fees, contract and the like. Some don’t.

  5. Benn Rosales

    June 23, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Tyler, ask your agents if they want to feature their listings on your site for free 😉

  6. Jay Thompson

    June 23, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Oh, and plus the cost of a website or blog to put the IDX solution on….

  7. Karen Goodman

    June 23, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    This post is perfect timing for me. I was just starting to research this topic myself last night. I definitely need a new IDX solution. I’m using the free one that my MLS offers, and my broker also uses – Immobel. It’s pretty bad and I’ve found that my listings aren’t always up to date.

    I’ve heard a lot about Wolfnet (https://www.wolfnet.com/maptracks/). Did you consider this one for your list? If so and it didn’t make the cut, I’m curious to why not.

    I’ll be following all the comments to see who everyone likes.

  8. Jim Gatos

    June 23, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    I called Diverse Solutions and got a strange answer. If I were to sign up with them, I would have to pay an extra $100 a month for Diverse to access my MLS’s system. Something known as a “Sql” fee.. I guess the normal charge for an IDX provider is $500 monthly. I suppose Diverse isn’t interested in expanding in Massachusetts..
    Too bad…
    I can’t justify paying $150 monthly.. That’s a little too much..

    PS.. My broker would have to pay it and I would pay him.. (The $100 monthly)

  9. Benn Rosales

    June 23, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    Karen, no it didn’t make the cut for several reasons, it has a very slow load on many of the random sites I tested, and it is clunky once it does load. The spinning wheel and color choices in and around the map make it very busy to the eye and does not create a comfortable searching environment.

    These are my opinions, but there are better options available.

  10. Paula Henry

    June 23, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    Benn –

    I have been looking at new IDX solutions, as well and am happy to see a good review of Diverse Solutions. They are my first choice! I’m not fond of their sliding search bar – but you can’t beat the information they provide, as well as the presentation of the property and details.

  11. Karen Goodman

    June 23, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    Benn,

    Thanks for the input on Wolfnet. It’s the only one I’ve seen mentioned in the Point 2 forums, and was just getting ready to start my own research. I’ll take a look at all the ones you suggested. I’m actually thinking about holding a poll on my site to try to get some input from non-realtors. I know that home buyers will have a different perspective than mine, and there perspective is really all that matters. But, I needed a list of a few sites to point them to, and you just solved that problem.

    Thanks again. I’ll be pointing them to this post when I do set up my survey.

  12. Benn Rosales

    June 23, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    Paula, if your user doesn’t like the sliders, they can simply switch to classic… 🙂

    Karen, knock yourself out, slow load times will surely turn off buyers, and fail to impress your sellers. Definately let us know what your actual consumers have to say, I know what ours thought and would love to compare!

  13. Jay Thompson

    June 23, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    I’m a huge Diverse Solutions fan. In addition to a killer map search, they have “modules” that you can embed directly in a post, and they provide RSS feeds for listings — there are tons of possibilities for both.

    User (non-agent) feedback has been very good.

    If anyone is interested in seeing a few sample posts of an embedable search, send me an email (don’t want to post too many links and get caught in the spam filter). jay@ThompsonSrealty.com

    Here’s an example of the DS RSS feed on my blog. Not particularly pretty, but good search engnie food!

  14. Jay Thompson

    June 23, 2008 at 9:16 pm

  15. Paula Henry

    June 23, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Jay – Thanks for the link – I didn’t see this feature before. Like you said, great Google food! Where’s the link to the RSS feed on your site?

  16. Scott

    June 24, 2008 at 12:03 am

    Perfect timing – This was added to my “to do” list recently and i will check out the sites mentioned, provide feedback, and stay tuned to this thread for updates. I also checked out Wolfnet and was not impressed.

  17. Melina Tomson

    June 24, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    This is perfect timing. I’m a sole broker and just my MLS one for now which is minimally adequate. It was on my list for this summer to search a new solution and you just saved me a TON of time. Thanks!

  18. Troy Austin

    July 5, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    I am having no luck finding an IDX solution that allows for a search by price per square foot. Please point me in the right direction.

    Thanks

  19. Karen Goodman

    July 6, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    Benn,

    I finally had some time to go through all of your recommendations. Two of them aren’t available for my MLS, so I didn’t even look at them. I did spend some time on the Diverse Solutions site and am really impressed. I’m hoping that they do serve St. Louis, because I really would like this on my site. Hopefully I’ll hear back tomorrow.

    If they do, no need for me to survey my readers. I’m sure this will be a winner. Thanks for all your advice!

  20. Karen Goodman

    July 7, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    Benn,

    I’m back again. Diverse Solutions doesn’t serve St. Louis, and the cost was ridiculous to set it up. They want $2700 in one time fees to cover their costs to move into my market, plus the regular annual fees. No IDX is worth that much money.

    I’ve got an email to see if Cevado serves my MLS, but your other two suggestions don’t cover my market. Any other contenders that came close to making your list?

  21. Benn Rosales

    July 7, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    Try Cevado, and then I have a few in my pocket, none of which are exactly a top on my list, but better than others. Let me know…

  22. Karen Goodman

    July 10, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    Benn,

    I haven’t heard back from Cevado and I emailed them a couple of days ago. I’m nterested in the other IDX options that have integrated map searches on your list. So far the only one I have found that works with MARIS in St. Louis is wolfnet’s mapfinder. I like it but do agree that it loads slowly at times. I would appreciate it if you could email me and give me your other suggestions.

    Thanks!

  23. Tamara Inzunza

    July 21, 2008 at 7:45 am

    I am a WolfNet subscriber and I agree that the map is slow to load. I’ve been using them for about a year now, but am starting to look into other providers. It’s all about the buyer, and they want to see the listings…quickly!

  24. Rachael Burger

    July 25, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    I’ve been using Diverse Solutions on our soon-to-be-relaunched website and have found it to be excellent overall, except for the fact that it does not let you search on parking (e.g. number of parking spaces). This is essential for our urban market. Has anyone had this problem, or does anyone have a suggestion for a work-around? I haven’t gotten very far w/ them on this, and it looks like they’re close to releasing some new functionality that sounds like it will not include the parking issue . . . Thanks in advance for any help.

    –Rachael

  25. David Hubbard

    August 20, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    Thanks for all the research, article and comments. We decided on a combination of DiverseSolutions & RealBird for our real estate search site. DiverseSolutions is a bit slow but very nice. I use it myself.

    Thanks Again,

    David

  26. Gordon Baker

    September 17, 2008 at 8:26 am

    Timely read. I’ve been using Killer IDX and was contacted by Z57 yesterday for an appointment to review their IDX. Your comments give good input on other options.

  27. Jim Gatos

    September 19, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    I realize this is an older post, but I wrote a post on my blog, that I think is extremely relevant to this post and I thought i’d bring it here. There are two IDX’s I am inquiring about. The first is Blueroof, and the second is RLS2000. I use RLS2000 due to it’s extensive searching capabilities, I have tried others and no one comes close to them. Here is my post;

    https://www.massrealestateguy.com/2008/09/local-agents-lo.html

    I’d really appreciate what your thoughts are.
    Thanks
    Jim

  28. Greenville SC Real Estate

    March 7, 2009 at 8:31 am

    I know this is an old thread, but it’s been really helpful. I have been looking into Diverse Solutions, and so far, I would have to it’s the leader in my search for a new IDX provider. I sent them an e-mail for more info, but now I’m really curious about what their pricing will look like. I’ll report back with my findings.

  29. Brad

    October 1, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    I used killer IDX. I love the diversity but found out that the owner’s wife was competing with me online as a Real Estate Agent..I dropped and I am looking for another.

  30. Alex

    June 6, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    I am current using Diverse solutions IDX, their prices are- you can safely say double of what the other competing IDX providers. Had used it for 2 years but lately thinking about moving to another more reliable && less expensive provider – well more of the problem with their IDX Reliability.

    When I 1st started, their IDX MLS search Data return was not accurate .Some of my clients complained that many of the homes showing up on other website are not showing & I have to complaint to them several time to fix it . Their sever are also problem , there were several time I was putting my idx sites on pay per click advertising & their IDX server just went down without announcing, leaving my Pay per click ads keep running without capturing any clients.

    This is not the one time – but happen several time & they only acknowledge when you caught it. I caught it because my pay per click ads were clicking and IDX was not capturing clients in usual expected amount & I went ahead and check to find their server was down.

    Upon complaint about their unreliable server I got e-mail saying no server can be 100% up . Well that understandable that no machine can be up 100% however what is not understandable is why is there no e-mail alert broadcast to ALL clients about server being down as courtesy, just 1 e-mail why so hard. . Or how about offering to credit back some of the fees for faulty data base IDX show to my clients ( which question my site’s data trust worthiness & forced my clients to other agent’s competing sites)

    – Also Their Java register or login pop up form can not be easily integrated with the other site CSS forms to stream line the registration with min sites if you plan to use that way & worse is, though IDX has many bells and whistle plug ins – their front end GUI really do not understand user experience . Or most likely is the back end tech guy designing the front end graphical user interface page .

    I have my clients ask too many time where is the login icon or where is the place they can get property update – (why can’t they do simple fix & make these important button & features obvious) or also if you are on result page, with multiple property showings in several pages they have little arrow sign to move up & down but you have no idea which page you are on .

    Their property search button is also buggy, client must hit the search icon (which is located – all the way down) again why it is so hard to make it easy to identify. Thus upon form completion the form client must hit this search button , if they intuitively hit “enter” simply to start searching their idx do not understand .These type of annoying graphical user interface & not acceptable for IDX that cost double the competing guys. But the most annoying thing to me is : their integrity & server problem.

    Oh!! also they limit the search client database up to 1000 only. If you plan to drive in large number of home search clients online this is gonna be problem .too

    In this information age your client do not tolerate such failures, if they can not access your idx site for whatever reason or if they feel the idx data display is buggy or not trust worthy or incomplete due to programming error etc they will hit next to go to competing agent idx access. Period.

    At this point it’s my honest opinion that if Diverse solution do not get this bread and butter of IDX i.e data integrity & reliable server problem & hose simple user interface issues fixed, those bells and whistle do not matter & not worth paying money as your idx site will be shy away by your clients & you are wondering why your clients are using other people’s site for home search .

    Well this is just my personal experience.

  31. Curtis Reddehase

    March 2, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Our office has mastered over 15 idx solutions and are currently using about 6 or 7 different ones.. As of right now I would have to say the most reliable one I know is Ihomefinder. You can get it through linkurealty.com or 888-99-linku. I will not say anything bad about anyone else, but I will say some of the observations made in the remarks above are right on with respect to lack of reliability with some solutions mentioned.

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Social Media

Reels: Why Instagram can’t compete with TikTok… yet?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The future for Instagram Reels is uncertain, since even Instagram has acknowledge that TikTok is far ahead of them, but what does it mean for their future?

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Phone camera on stand in foreground with two women filming for TikTok or Instagram reels in the background

If you’re a TikTok user, chances are you’ve scoffed at Instagram’s attempt to compete with the hype. Yes, I’m referring to the Reels feature.

In an attempt to step in and absorb all the TikTok user run-off in August, when Trump announced the TikTok ban, Instagram launched Reels. Short, catchy and sharable clips, Reels are almost exactly like TikTok videos – but are they catching on?

In an interview with The Verge’s “Decoder” podcast, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri says that he isn’t yet happy with Reels, stating that TikTok is still “way ahead”. While Reels is growing in terms of shared content and consumed content, it’s not nearly where Instagram hoped it would be by this point. Perhaps this is because TikTok is still alive and well. Or perhaps there’s something else to it.

It’s interesting to note that some of the most popular Reels on Instagram are simply reposted TikToks. This poses the question: Is Instagram’s Reels simply a channel where the ‘cream of the crop’ TikTok videos can get posted in a second location and exposed to a new audience, or is it actually a platform for creators?

Mosseri also hints at some sort of consolidation across Instagram’s video features (i.e., IGTV, in-post videos, Reels). Without being entirely sure what that will look like, I’m already skeptical – is this all just another example of Facebook (via Instagram) trying to hold a monopoly on the social media sphere?

My opinion? As long as TikTok is still in operation, it will reign supreme. While the two apps have a ton of overlap, they are simply different cultural spaces. TikTok is a trend-heavy, meta-humor creative space that relies on engagement between users through effect, duets, and other TikTok-exclusive features.

Adversely, Reels is a space for Instagramming millennials and Gen Xers who might be choosing to opt out of TikTok (which has sort of become the cultural epicenter for the younger Gen Zers). The feature might also be used by Insta influencers and creators of all ages who toggle between the two apps (i.e., reposting your viral TikTok on Instagram to gain more traction).

Whatever the reason is for engaging in Reels, I’m fully certain the feature will never amount to the success of TikTok – but I guess we’ll have to wait to see what Instagram has in store for us next.

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Social Media

How this influencer gained 26k followers during the pandemic

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Becoming an influencer on social media can seem appealing, but it’s not easy. Check out this influencer’s journey and her rise during the pandemic.

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Influencer planning her social media posts.

Meet Carey McDermott – a 28-year-old Boston native – more widely known by her Instagram handle @subjectively_hot. Within a few months, since March, McDermott has accrued a whopping 26k following, and has successfully built her brand around activism, cheeky observations of day-to-day bullshit, and her evident hotness.

“It mostly started as a quarantine project.” Said McDermott, who was furloughed from her job at the start of shelter-in-place. “I had a lot of free time and I wanted to do an Instagram for a while so I thought, ‘I might as well take some pictures of myself.’”

To get started McDermott, used a lot of hashtags relevant to her particular niche to get noticed, and would follow other influencers that used similar hashtags.

“I definitely built a little online community of women, and we all still talk to each other a lot.”

Like many popular influencers, McDermott engages with her audience as much as possible. She is sure to like or reply to positive comments on her pictures, which makes followers feel special and seen, and subsequently more likely to follow and continue following her account. She also relies heavily on some of Instagram’s more interactive features.

When asked why she thinks she has been able to build and retain such a large base in just a few months, McDermott explained: “I think people like my [Instagram] Stories because I do a lot of polls and ask fun questions for people to answer, and then I repost them”.

But it’s not just fun and games for @subjectively_hot – Carey wants to use her account to make some substantial bread.

“I’ve gotten a bunch of products gifted to me in exchange for unpaid ads and I’m hoping to expand that so I can get paid ads and sponsorships. But free products are nice!”

Additionally, McDermott was recently signed with the talent agency the btwn – a monumental achievement which she attributes to her influencer status.

“Having a large Instagram following gave me the confidence to reach out to a modeling brand. After they looked at my Instagram, they signed me without asking for any other pictures.”

To aspiring influencers, McDermott offers this advice:

“Find your niche. Find your brand. Find what makes you unique and be yourself – don’t act like what you think an influencer should act like. People respond to you being authentic and sharing your real life. And definitely find other people in similar niches as you and build connections with them.”

But McDermott also warns against diving too unilaterally into your niche, and stresses the importance of a unique, multi-dimensional online persona.

“[@subjectively_hot] is inherently a plus size account. But a lot of plus size Instagrams are just about being plus size, and are only like, “I’m confident and here’s my body”. I don’t want to post only about body positively all day, I want it to be about me and being hot.”

And you definitely can’t paint this girl in broad strokes. I personally find her online personality hilarious, self-aware, and brutally anti-patriarchal (she explicitly caters to all walks of life minus the straight cis men who, to her dismay, frequent her DMs with unsolicited advice, comments, and pictures). Her meme and TikTok curations are typically some of the silliest, most honest content I see that day and, as her handle suggests, her pictures never fail in their hotness value.

For McDermott, right now is about enjoying her newfound COVID-era celebrityhood. Her next steps for @subjectively_hot include getting paid ads and sponsorships, and figuring out the most effective way to monetize her brand. The recent spike in COVID-19 cases threaten her chances of returning to the place of her former employment in the hospitality industry.

With so many influencers on Instagram and other platforms, some might find it hard to cash in on their internet fame. But with a loyal fanbase addicted to her golden, inspiring personality, I think Carey will do just fine.

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TikTok: A hotbed of cultural appropriation, and why it matters

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Gen Z’s favorite app TikTok is the modern epicenter for cultural appropriation – why you as a business owner should care.

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TikTok creator with a phone recording on a stand, but dances can be a sign of cultural appropriation.

Quarantine has been the catalyst for a sleuth of new cultural phenomena – Tiger King, Zoom, and baking addictions, to name a few. Perhaps most notably, TikTok has seen user numbers skyrocket since lockdown. And I don’t think those numbers are going down any time soon.

TikTok is a very special place. More so than any other social media apps I’ve engaged with, TikTok feels like a true community where total strangers can use the app’s duet or audio features to interact in creative, collaborative ways.

However, being able to use another user’s original audio or replicate their dance has highlighted the prevalence of cultural appropriation on TikTok: the app, as wholesome as it may be at times, has also become a hot bed for “virtual blackface”.

The most notable example of appropriation has to do with the Renegade dance and Charli D’Amelio – who is young, White, and arguably the most famous TikTok influencer (she is second only to Addison Rae, who is also White). The dance, originally created by 14-year-old Black user Jalaiah Harmon, essentially paved the way for D’Amelio’s fame and financial success (her net worth is estimated to be $8 million).

Only after Twitter backlash did D’Amelio credit Harmon as the original creator of the dance to which she owes her wealth – up until that point, the assumption was the dance was hers.

There is indeed a myriad of exploitative and appropriative examples of TikTok videos. Some of the most cringe-worthy include White users pantomiming black audio, in many cases affecting AAVE (African American Vernacular English). Styles of dance and music that were pioneered by Black artists have now been colonized by White users – and many TikTokers are not made aware of their cultural origins.

And what’s worse: TikTok’s algorithms favor White users, meaning White-washed iterations of videos tend to get more views, more engagement and, subsequently, more financial gains for the creator.

As you can imagine, TikTok’s Black community is up in arms. But don’t take it from me (a non-Black individual) – log onto the app and listen to what Black users have to say about cultural appropriation for yourself.

Still, the app is one of the fastest growing. Companies are finding creative ways to weave their paid ads and more subliminal marketing strategies into the fabric of the ‘For You’ page. In many ways, TikTok is the next frontier in social media marketing.

With a few relevant locational hashtags and some innovative approaches to advertising, your business could get some serious FREE attention on TikTok. In fact, it’s the future.

As aware and socially conscious small business owners, we need to make sure that while we are using the app to get ours, that the Black creators and artists who made the app what it is today are also getting theirs. Anything short of direct accountability for the platform and for caustic White users would be offensive.

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