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Homespin debuts as home search for right brained people – first look

Homespin launches in Austin with national ambitions, specifically targeting right brained people in the market for a home as it learns buyers’ preferences, giving each user a unique experience and offers Realtors a powerful suite of information on their clients.





Homespin home search debuts in stagnant industry

Homespin home search has launched in early beta as the visual beacon in a stat-driven industry that they say has ignored the rise of the visual web, and abandoned right brained people. Using the tile-style visual elements that coders began experimenting with years ago and made popular by Pinterest, Homespin visitors are greeted visually with images of all homes within their basic search, and while there is a sophisticated map function, the focus is on narrowing down homes by their visual appeal.

The company calls the experience intuitive, emotive, engaging, and personalized, as with every saved image or hidden image, the engine learns a user’s preference and begins changing their search results accordingly. Oh you keep saving images of vintage bathrooms? That’s what you’ll start seeing as the lead image when you search, instead of the standard driveway shot. You’re hiding (aka rejecting) pictures of galley kitchens? They’ll sink to the bottom of the photo display of any listing. Homespin adds, “consumers are seeing homes in the best light possible, as optimized just for them.” We would add that it not only celebrates the strides the industry has made in photography, but pressures agents to do even better as they visually optimize their marketing of a home.

High-caliber founders frustrated with holes in the market

Co-founders Jude Galligan and Chris Chilek had first hand knowledge of the holes in the market. Galligan is well known in his hometown not only as the Broker of REATX, but his popular “Downtown Austin Blog,” as well as for his involvement at the Downtown Austin Alliance. Chilek is the founder of the groundbreaking Pick-A-Prof ratings site, MyEdu, Advanced Student Marketing, and is most widely recognized for his development chops.

Between the two, a great deal of frustration was witnessed on the part of consumers and real estate professionals alike, particularly independent agents and brokers who were being outspent by bigger brands and consumers that are more focused on the feeling of buying than the nuts and bolts of data points.

Beta user Will Staney said of Homespin, “I loved it! My wife loves it! We are currently shopping for a home right now. I think once they tackle a mobile version, maybe even an app, and add a few capabilities, it will kick Trulia and Zillow’s ass.”

The map was the last big innovation

“The last major innovation in real estate search was the map,” Galligan tells AGBeat. And he’s right. Listing syndication and data accuracy has been a hot button issue and some of the back end technology has evolved, but consumers haven’t seen much change since the introduction of mobile search or the map.

So what exactly is innovative about visual search? Homespin emphasizes that they’re more than a visual search, they’re a trust and data machine. When a buyer logs on with their Facebook credentials, they can select one (yes, one and only one) Realtor that they can connect with, sending their ever changing preferences to, adding the ability to Facebook chat with their agent, demonstrating trust, and if the job goes well, a potential endorsement. But this isn’t your grampy’s ratings site – there’s no score, no five stars, no gaming, just individuals saying “yes, this is my Realtor, and I trust them.”

And guess what? If you’re a consumer and you select your Realtor, not only can they see your activity so they can provide you with more and better information, you’re automatically recommending your awesome agent, as they surface as possible connections to your friends when they log in to Homespin. The idea that agents don’t have to beg consumers for stupid votes is much more organic, and mimics the way the real world works. “More trust, less spam,” the company says.

The power of Homespin for agents

The real power of Homespin is in real estate professionals’ not being forced to spend high dollar for anonymous leads, which some have opined is akin to getting spam leads. Instead, the system cares more about real, existing relationships, adding legitimacy to the endorsement system.

The Realtor Toolbox visually organizes not only an agent’s potential social reach based on the Facebook connections of their own profile and their clients’ but reveals “buyer boards” displaying clients’ activities on the site. The cost during beta is $17 per month for agents to claim the connections an agent has already worked so hard for, and Homespin says they’ll grandfather in the earliest adopters at this rate.

Eight months of testing, testing, testing

Homespin has been quietly building and tweaking their product for eight months and assert that while many real estate search sites are out to be all things to all people, they are acutely aware that they (and all competitors) are just one tool of many that buyers will use during their search.

Galligan said, “we are not arrogant enough to think we are the only tool a buyer will use, we are one of a suite of tools they should use before making a purchase.”

Visual search makes Homespin the strongest contender for the nearly 40 percent of buyers who start shopping over 120 days in advance, as early shoppers are not ready to commit (thus they enjoy looking around and tapping into the emotion of buying), and the race in the industry is to be one of the three sites consumers rely on, as 78 percent of shoppers use at least that many sites in their quest to find the perfect home.

The model, the goals, the future

Their model is that of a virtual office website, so all data is pulled directly from the MLS through broker partners rather than some syndication options which Homespin points out are on a delay. The company says this setup gives them listings 24 hours before they appear on sites like Zillow.

Their goal is to give agents something social, a tool to pair consumers with their real estate professionals and lenders. They have gone live in Austin and will spread across Texas and say their goal is to provide nationwide coverage in the near future. Their technology is patent-pending, so while competitors may look to give their sites some sex appeal, don’t expect duplicates or clones that offer the full boat.

Homespin is young and they have a ways to go regarding scaling and improving their offering by going mobile and the like, but the introduction of Homespin could be just what the industry needs to shake things up.

To view images in larger format, right click and select “Open image in new tab.”
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Homespin landing page

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Homespin search by kitchen

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Homespin search by bathrooms

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Homespin search by living room

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Homespin social connection

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Homespin’s real estate professionals’ dashboard

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Homespin property listing page

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Homespin local market activity page


Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius and sister news outlet, The Real Daily, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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  1. Grant Hammond

    April 3, 2013 at 10:47 am

    The property details pages still miss the mark by not prominently identifying the listing agent’s information. This anonymous listing details page is still disingenuous in my opinion as the intellectual property holder is still hidden in small type at the bottom of the page. The first service to truly embrace the Realtor community is the only service that will last more than a decade as mass Realtor adoption will not occur until they are truly embraced.

    • Jude Galligan

      April 3, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      Grant, Jude here with Homespin. Thanks for the comment. As as a listing agent in the trenches myself, I agree we (and other services) can do better at making listing office and/or agent much more prominent. Long ago, pre-launch, we recognized and placed the listing office below every single photo in the search page. That’s not something you’ll see on many other home search sites. How we surface that info is getting better, and as we get actionable feedback we can continue to rollout improvements, specifically on the property details pages.

      • Grant Hammond

        April 3, 2013 at 5:59 pm

        It is not just the listing office, but it is the direct contact information for the designated broker who brought this listing to market. Unless you plan on using this page to sell leads, advertising or other nonsense to other Realtors, I cannot see why this information would be withheld. Of course, I am assuming you will roll this product out in more than just your market.

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Tech News

Jenzy helps perfectly measure your kids’ feet

(TECH NEWS) Jenzy is a mobile app currently in beta that helps you perfectly measure your kids feet and buy shoes without having to leave your home.




Parents rejoice, there’s now a mobile app that sizes your child’s feet to determine their correct shoe size. No more carpet charts that every kid has put their dirty little socked foot on, or those weird metal sizing instruments.

With Jenzy, you just take a picture of your child’s foot, and the app calculates the measurements. It then generates personalized size and style recommendations, which you can order directly from the app.

Jenzy partners with podiatrist recommended brands designed for active kids, including pediped, Robeez, and Morgan & Milo. However, you don’t have to purchase their suggestions to receive the sizing info.

Incorrectly sized shoes are a literal pain for everyone, but this especially affects children, who don’t have purchasing power.

Additionally, shoes that don’t fit can have long-term effects on children’s growth and development, and lead to foot problems in the future. Properly fitted shoes are necessary for healthy foot development.

Wearing incorrectly sized shoes is just part of the problem. If shoes aren’t suited for every day use, children’s feet and overall growth can also suffer.

Flip flops, ballet pumps, and shoes with raised heels are not recommended by podiatrists for frequent use, as they can cause discomfort, or even musculoskeletal issues.

According to Dr. Stewart Morrison, a University of Brighton podiatrist, “children’s feet are still growing and are more susceptible to damage than adult feet, so it’s really vital to ensure they are wearing shoes which fit them well – in width as well as length – and that are suitable for age, as well as the task they are wearing them for.”

As online shopping has taken over, fewer parents are getting their children’s feet sized by in-store experts. Of course, there’s also a cost-barrier, as many stores that offer shoe-sizing are often more expensive.

Jenzy hopes to bridge that gap, providing parents both proper shoe sizes and affordable products designed to last.

Right now the app is set to launch in December, but if you don’t want to wait, apply to take part in the beta test on Jenzy’s site.

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Tech News

Time is money and Clockify helps you make the most

(TECH NEWS) Tracking your time worked as a freelancer can easily be lost in the shuffle. A new tool has been designed to make this important aspect easier.




After years of searching for a method that works for me in terms of organization and productivity, the answer seemed to be simple: a calendar I can write on and Post-It notes. This method is a little old school, but seems to get the job done for my organizational needs.

However, there are some things that slip through the cracks with this method, but it’s more user error than it is the actual practice. One thing I struggle with is keeping track of my freelance hours this way.

I have a tendency to guesstimate how much time I worked throughout the day and know that I wind up underdocumenting my hours. I would hate to know how much money I’ve missed out on keeping (sometimes inaccurate) handwritten notes.

But, like many other small scale issues, there is a simple solution. And that is found in the form of time trackers.

One of the newest members to join the online time tracker team is Clockify, who operates under the idea of “your time, your rules.” It is a free time tracking tool designed for agencies and freelancers.

Clockify allows users to manage as many team members, projects, and workspaces that you need in an effort to help your business run smoothly. This allows for a complete overview of team productivity.

The tool offers a way to enter time manually as well as clock time automatically. This way you can keep tabs on what you’re working on and assign and label time logs to the appropriate clients.

With this time tracking, you are able to generate weekly, monthly, and annual reports at any given time. These reports can be saved, exported, and shared with clients to give them more information about your work process.

The real-time tracking helps to improve business efficiency and gives more insight into what each team member is spending their time on. Having this information available can give visual representation of how to improve in the future.

Clockify currently exists in desktop format with iOS and Android apps coming soon.

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Tech News

Russia vetoed cryptocurrency and came back with CryptoRuble

(TECH NEWS) Russia put a hard pass on other cryptocurrencies in their country so that they could hop in the crypto-game with their own CryptoRuble.



cryptoruble russia

Just days after The American Genius reported that the Russian Central Bank would attempt to block access to cryptocurrency trading cites, the Coin Telegraph has reported that the Russian government will issue its very own cryptocurrency, the CryptoRuble.

The report cited local Russian papers, who quoted the minister of communications, Nikolay Nikiforov.

Earlier this week, head of the Central Bank, Sergei Shvetsov, said that he would work with the Prosecutor General’s Office to ban Russian citizens from accessing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, calling such currencies a “negative phenomena for our markets” and a “pyramid scheme.”

Now it appears that the Kremlin will create its own cryptocurrency – one it can keep an eye on — which, some might argue, defeats the entire purpose of cryptocurrency.

However, like other cryptocurrencies the CryptoRuble will be based on blockchain and will presumably help prevent online fraud.

CryptoRubles will be exchangeable with regular Rubles, although the systems of exchange have not yet been set up. Experts think that Russia is hoping to stimulate e-commerce without the need for foreign money markets, which will allow them to have more independence from the United States.

According to Nikiforov, the Russian government is setting up its own cryptocurrency under the assumption that if they don’t, other European governments will.

Said NIkiforov, “I confidently declare that we run CryptoRuble for one simple reason: if we do not, then after two months our neighbors in the EurAsEC will.”

Traders using CryptoRubles will be asked to provide documentation of retail transactions and services rendered – or pay a 13 percent tax for undocumented transactions, leaving a wide loophole for money laundering.

Critics say that Russia is trying to facilitate, while also profiting from money laundering; that the Kremlin is stealing the market from other cryptocurrencies; and that the CryptoRuble fundamentally defies the spirit of decentralization that inspired other cryptocurrencies.

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