Let’s Go Back Two Years
Just over two years ago, the real estate world was rocked by several startups on the west coast. Fueled by an overheated and deteriorating market, disruptive business models began to take shape and focus aim at the traditional mainstream real estate industry. It was difficult for any of these disruptive ventures to attack individuals, or even big brokerage houses, so instead, they targeted the faceless Realtor brand.
Many bubble blogs began to pop up all around the country in response to the instability in the housing market and rally voice against traditional real estate practitioners (including NAR’s Chief Economists David Lereah, and subsequently Lawrence Yun) echoing that the markets were sound, and the world was fine, when reality was proving to be otherwise.
Big Media Never Misses a Crisis
In response to the revolt against established real estate, blogs began to take shape all around the country in self-defense of the bubble bloggers- traditional and non-traditional practitioners responded in kind in a back and forth volley of rhetoric aimed to discredit, all while the aforementioned disruptive brands added a top heavy pressure in the name of “consumer advocacy “against tradition.
Redfin Hijacks The Housing Bubble
On May 13, 2007 CBS NEWS aired “Chipping Away At Realtors’ Six Percent” and reporter Lesley Stahl featured Seattle venture Redfin on 60 Minutes. Suddenly, offline agents not paying attention to the online war between traditional and non-traditional real estate were thrust into the middle by questioning (sometimes outraged) consumers. Online blogs lit up with angry consumers and with Realtors defending themselves and their brands. The National Association of Realtors caught off guard simply responded with talking points and very little guidance, still reeling from the fall of David Lereah. Local and State boards were inept to respond as their means of communication were still traditional in nature- help would be far away, or none at all. Disruption was winning, as the online fight was one sided- few agents blogged, or even knew what a blog was, but for the next year, blogs and national media would be the battle ground while those offline (therefore uninformed) would be the most impacted.
Most notable of the companies set on traditional brand destruction as a paradigm in real estate were Craigslist, Redfin, Zillow, and now defunct Iggy’s House also known as Buyside Realty.
They Love to Hate Us
Today, as thousands of agents have entered the online marketplace, the economy has tanked, bubble bloggers and some agent bloggers vindicated, the voice of disruption has become but a murmur. The big media companies have become your buddies, the NAR has put David Lereah behind it, and Redfin looks a lot like a traditional brokerage.
Those of us that were online during that time will never forget how this quiet and docile place we call the real estate space came to be, and how you as a real estate professional can now enter it without jeers and attacks. A few of the more prolific real estate bloggers of that time are still around, as well as many of the antagonist, but many have moved on as the thrill is gone.
Manufacturing a Revolution
What changed in the Real Estate Revolution? Not really that much. Perception being reality wasn’t truly reality once the dust settled.
From the 60 Minutes Interview:
Kelly Engel (then Redfin agent); “I had done quite a few deals where I spent maybe five hours total working on the deal. I never saw the house. My client found it online and, you know, I would make $12,000 for four hours of work. And I thought this cannot keep going on like this. Someone, I felt like I was going to get caught! You know, someone’s going to see that this is happening and I think a lot of them hold that truth inside of them right now. They’ve got the clients that are finding houses on their own. They make $20,000 and did 10 hours of work,” she says.
It’s easy to spot the manufacturing of a revolution by venture companies even in quotes like the one above where a subtle shift of a person’s point of view shifts blame from a single person to an entire industry. At the time, it would be hard to see any good outcome from such a vicious attack, but believe it or not, some good outcome is occurring.
Consumers Win Despite Tech Upset
The fire ignited by Redfin and others sparked a real, unintended, unforeseen revolution- one inside of the real estate profession where expectations are growing on the infrastructure not only locally, but nationally to modernize. Agents are competing more and more online with national chains and with each other, smaller more nimble brokerages are being born every day, and consumers have some real online choice.
While the expansion of blogging into micro-blogging has scattered the crowds once hell bent on destroying you as a business, it is now providing even more opportunity for you as a business to define your own brand paradigm and reach new audiences once leery of you as a professional… as it should be. In this economy consumers are looking for answers, and agents today (because they’re adopting new online skill sets) are helping provide those answers.
I believe what set out to disrupt and disintermediate you from the transaction failed. Agents did not die like the dinosaurs, and we’re still not a ‘point and click’ home buying society, nor did we go the way of the independent book store. In fact, it’s only made those that make up the profession stronger, and helped to dispel the myth of the “sacrosanct six percent commission.” It has separated those that can from those that won’t in more ways than one and continues to do so (maybe there is hope for independent travel agencies and independent book stores, after all). Is it perfect? Hell no, but it looks nothing like 2007.
Their revolution is dead, ours is just beginning.
*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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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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