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HomingCloud real estate social network doesn’t want your kind

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Real estate social network

Are you a Realtor? Have you spent years fine tuning your skills in the real estate profession? Are you an expert in your neighborhood or a specific type of real estate? Do you have access to more housing data than any consumer possibly could? Then you are not welcome at HomingCloud, the social network for real estate.

HomingCloud claims to be like a dating site for home sellers and buyers (or renters) where no smarmy broker is necessary (smarmy is our word, not theirs, although the video above clearly implies agents are smarmy). Buyers post what they’re looking for and magic website robots match them up with sellers selling similar products. It’s what we imagine a website would look like if Craigslist.com and Match.com made a little baby website.

Realtors have been property matchmakers since the beginning of time, and we have wondered why more don’t market themselves as such. To be honest, HomingCloud is using some pretty cool technology that we think would be a fun attraction for a site like Realtor.com or Trulia rather than a separate product.

The company was founded in 2009 according to CrunchBase and it is unclear if they have funding (although we believe they do not given the low levels of web traffic).

The takeaway:

As a real estate professional, you should know about companies that aim to disrupt the space and imply you’re smarmy, but you should also be aware of the technologies they use in the event you come across a consumer using the technology, you choose to implement similar technologies in your own practice, or a mega real estate search company acquires the technology.

The anti-agent propaganda goes over well in odd areas like NYC (odd because it’s not MLS based) or in super techie areas that are filled with consumers that are programmers that believe they can do everything without professional help because they have the interwebs. But the small percentage of consumers with this mentality is shrinking, just ask Redfin who originally sought to cater to this sentiment.

We think HomingCloud could increase their traffic and do better if they cut out the anti-agent sales pitch as the majority of transactions are done with a Realtor, but as it stands, it seems like a lot of work as a buyer/seller/renter to go through what equates to a dating process- how long does it take to find “the one?” Just ask anyone who is currently dating, seeking “the one”… it’s not a fun scene. Take out the broker-hater theory and you’ve got a pretty dang cool site.

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Gina Kay Landis

    April 19, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    I have often wondered why people intend to search through literally thousands of homes that don't match their needs, when an agent could (and often does) help them fine-tune what they're looking for so they can get their new home as quickly as possible, without losing the personal touch and with a definite eye toward the CLIENT's not the Agent's needs!! That was a run-on sentence, but you get my drift!!

  2. Brad | Home Loan Artist

    April 19, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Interesting how their tag line is happier – not broker. Who are the buyers/sellers going to sue when something goes wrong? Who's going to give them legal council? Do people have time to do all the searching/previewing of homes in a society that is pressed for time?

    Can they trust the seller will disclose everything? Who's writing the contract?

    • Doug Lindstrom

      April 20, 2011 at 9:28 am

      Did you see that Match.com in the news? They are being sued for aligning a meetup. The woman was allegedly sexually assaulted. I see this real estate meetup site being party to numerous lawsuits. If they want to avoid the broker who has been fingerprinted and identified by the state, they better have plenty of money to defend themselves in court.

  3. Marvin

    April 19, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Well nice but the same was said about for sale by owner people and we still here.

  4. jay Great Falls

    April 19, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    The people I see making the dumbest $$$ real estate decisions are often the most technological and intelligent people who think they know more than they know. They fall for the rebate scam not knowing that a top 1% agent could have saved them usually 1-2% more than the cheesy rebate they were promised by a desperate rebate agent/brokerage.

    There is a market for this pompous consumer who thinks they know more than they know. Often they are engineers or lawyers or financial planners.

  5. Cheryl Johnson

    April 19, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Phase 1. They cut out the "anti-agent sales pitch"…
    Phase 2. They realize there is money to be made if they charge agents to join/advertise/post "featured properties" or whatever…

    • Benn Rosales

      April 20, 2011 at 1:32 am

      Cheryl, it does seem like a really bad rerun doesn't it. 😉 I do like the video though and the tenacity to try (again) on their part.

  6. Tina Fine

    April 20, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    First and foremost, I don't think all agents/brokers are bad/ smarmy– but I do think things need changing in this market. homingCloud is not going to replace full service brokerage, but in the "matching" of owners and seekers I believe it can be an asset. And I do think that agents and brokers can use homingCloud to their advantage. They are welcome on the site, they just need check the "agent" box. If the brokerage industry is not careful, they will lose the entire market to very large search/internet sites. Right now, listings are fueling and pumping up the Trulia/Zillow brand. Brokerages are shooting themselves in the foot. I suggest that brokers and agents utilize homingCloud– let your clients post, find buyers on their own if they can, and if they do, give them a cut of the commission you would to a co-brokered deal.

  7. MH for Movoto

    April 21, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    I took a little tour around their website, and it looks like things are still pretty small, pretty low-key. It feels like it would be a lot better for rentals than homebuying, but who knows.

    • Tina Fine

      April 22, 2011 at 6:19 am

      Yes, still pretty small but hoping to grow. Ya gotta start somewhere! I don't take MLS listings since homingCloud is a Social Network — home owners and seekers upload all content themselves!

  8. Mark Nejmeh

    April 22, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Dear Real estate agents,

    You created a new business. Congrats to homingcloud.com , and I don't even see homimgcloud.com trying to convince the seller to list cheaper for a faster sale. WOW.

  9. Thomas Morgan, CCIM

    May 15, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    like the slogan "happier, not broker" but with they have ousted one of the largest trade associations in the world…. maybe that's why they only have 71 visits a month to their site per compete.com

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Social Media

Instagram now lets you create and share fundraisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) If you’ve been wanting to start a fundraiser for something you care about, Instagram’s new feature lets you do just that. Go check it out!

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Instagram Fundraiser

Instagram announced last week that it has launched a test for a Personal Fundraiser tool on its platform. The feature will allow users to start their own fundraiser if it complies with guidelines or choose an existing cause to support. The launch began in some US, UK, and Ireland markets and is available on Android and iOS.

In its announcement, the company confirmed that since January, more than $100 million has been raised for COVID-19 across Facebook and Instagram (also owned by Facebook), citing that donations on Instagram have doubled in the US in the past 30 days. The announcement said, “from people raising money to buy medical equipment for Black Lives Matter protesters, rebuilding Black-owned small businesses affected by COVID-19 and funding educational resources related to racial justice, people are eager to mobilize around causes they care about.”

Personal Fundraisers are short-term and meant to serve time-sensitive causes, with the initial duration lasting 30 days with the option to extend for an additional 30 days. Users must be 18 to create a fundraiser and have a designated bank account in which funds can be deposited. Donations will be processed through Facebook Pay, which also powers Instagram’s new shopping features. The platform covers fees for non-profits, but not for Personal Fundraisers. Donors can choose to keep their information hidden from the public, but organizers will be able to see user names and donation amounts.

To start a Personal Fundraiser, users with access to the feature can tap “Edit Profile”, “Add Fundraiser”, followed by “Raise Money”. They can then choose a photo, select the fundraiser category, and write out a story to encourage donations. When approved, users will be able to raise funds.

Instagram says it will expand the number of users who have access to this feature in the months ahead, as well as give users access to share fundraisers both in their Feed and within Stories. Fundraising features already offered by the company include Donation Stickers for Stories and a Live Donations feature for live streams.

This feature is similar to the fundraising feature already available on Facebook, Instagram’s parent company.

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Should you be Facebook friends with your boss?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Are there times when it makes sense to connect with your boss and team on Facebook? Or is LinkedIn enough?

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facebook friends

Just as we learn, grow, and change in life, so does our use of social media platforms and technology in general. It makes sense though – when hot new programs come out and “everybody’s doing it” (thinking of you MySpace and Plaxo), it’s easy to create a user profile to see what you think of the platform.

You may be a heavy user at first (looking at you Facebook) and then back off, only to use it for certain functions (Groups and Events for example). In the interim, you may have joined Instagram because for some reason it seemed simpler and light-hearted. And don’t let the new, shiny things coming out pass you by without at least seeing if you like them, or if they help entertain you and connect you to loved ones (looking at you Snapchat and TikTok).

Amongst some doubt of new or potential users in the mid-2000s after Facebook opened up to those outside of universities, we have to admit that Facebook has had a longevity that some of the other platforms have not. It allows you to keep your personal network in one place as well as your photos, significant dates, your career changes, events, and even see what your cousins are up to. It almost feels like once you’re invested, it’s hard to get out.

The thing is, there is definitely a grey area on who you accept as a “friend”. It really is up to each person’s comfort level on who they want to be connected to, and how much sharing they do on the platform. This article isn’t going to address Facebook privacy concerns and data sharing, but we do encourage you to look in to those if that is something that is important to you. It’s a similar idea with LinkedIn – some people are happy to connect with anyone and everyone, while others prefer to keep their connections to those they personally know and/or have worked with.

This story is addressing a question as it relates to an article in Inc. about whether or not is it’s ok for managers and employees to be “Facebook friends”, and some other tricky professional situations. We have to look at few things first, including the evolution of our use.

Since Facebook was made available to everyone, we have gone from a simple profile picture, relationship status (oof), and random updates about our breakfast/dentist appointments, to joining interest groups, sharing news articles, promoting brands and memes at a mind-boggling rate. Many people have considered deleting their Facebook profiles due to a high level of negativity, privacy concerns over their data and pictures, and how ultimately, scrolling your newsfeed can be a total time suck.

Many stay on because they are in groups (like super amazing, supportive, and popular ones such as Austin Digital Jobs) that they enjoy, and it’s a way to stay connected with others. This has felt true especially during COVID-19 where many people have lost their social outlets, networking opportunities, and have not been able to get together in person. Social media has also been a useful platform for small business owners and entrepreneurs to run a business page at minimal costs (free unless they run advertising), and reach out to customers. Facebook (owner of Instagram) also seems to have been making strides this year to better support small business owners.

So, should you be Facebook friends with your boss?

That is up to you (we are not here to tell you how to run your life) and while many have said, “Nope” in a super unofficial survey of 30 respondents, there were a couple of interesting perspectives:

“Since I’m my boss, twist on my answer… I don’t yes any professional that asks to be FB friends. That’s what my page is for. I even have a canned response that says this because I get so many asks. My personal FB is for actual friends of mine. I didn’t want to yes my MIL either. I have her on the restricted list.”

“I guess it depends. I’m friends with my boss and most of my coworkers. Creative shop within a corporation … about 45 strong. We are tight.”

“If you love your job and you love your boss then I think it is ok. I work 2 part-time jobs and both of my bosses are amazing! I am friends and Facebook friends with both of them.”

“I’m fine. I don’t post much on Facebook anymore. My bosses are all fairly chill. ”

“I have been Facebook friends with previous bosses while they were my boss. I am not with my current boss, but I’d be fine with it if we were. I don’t post anything too crazy, and I tend to over share in the office already. I like to be an open book. Tiktok would be different though… ”

For some who are part of a start-up or smaller team where collaboration and getting to know one another  are supported (thinking teams of 10 or less, hey AG Staff Writers), this may be more of the ‘norm’ and acceptable. However, the majority of people do not want to be “Facebook friends” with their boss to draw a line between work and personal sharing. Many people also mentioned that it varied if they chose to be Facebook friends with their colleagues, although they seem to be more open to colleagues vs. direct supervisors.

This seems to reflect back on how you use Facebook and if sharing your weekend or family photos is not something you want everyone to see. On the flip side, if you’re not sharing much, maybe you’d be OK with being connected there. A more professional way of connecting with your supervisor and others at work is through LinkedIn, and is in fact, highly encouraged.

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Could TikTok soon be banned in the U.S for privacy breaching?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) TikTok, a video content social media giant, has been deemed a potential national security risk by the U.S Federal government.

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TikTok is banned

U.S lawmakers are calling for a full investigation into TikTok, the fifteen second video app with almost 180 million downloads, after expressing concerns of a privacy breach by the Chinese government.

TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, purchased the platform originally known as musical.ly in November 2017. Since then the social media app worth an estimated $150 billion has almost 180 million downloads in the U.S, and 800 million downloads worldwide.

According to Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the U.S has reason to believe the Beijing-based company, ByteDance, may have been coerced into handing over data to China’s communist leaders. The app’s Founder, Zhang Yiming, and TikTok’s spokesperson responded to the accusations with the following statement: “TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”

We don’t know if we believe you TikTok.

TikTok received over 500 legal demands, including emergency requests, in the first six months of 2020. TikTok has also previously confirmed that the app stores user data on “U.S-based servers” withdrawn from phone downloads. Information includes IP addresses, messages, location information, and according to Pompeo, “sensitive information”, exposed by data breaching that disregards American rights to privacy and potentially violates national security guidelines.

Company employees may live in the U.S, but with its head of operations stationed in Beijing, pressure from the Chinese Government to provide user information is a very serious concern for Americans using the app. 41 percent of its users are part of Generation Z, a highly influential, social media-friendly age group, ranging between 16 and 24.

A sense of invincibility within this age range encourages users to use the app without caution of personal information that may be provided or derived off your phone after installation. In the past two years, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have also been criticized for not abiding to lawful privacy standards.

ByteDance has halted the use of its corporate office in Beijing and is looking to establish headquarters within the U.S or under new management.

The U.S. government is seriously considering banning the use of TikTok.

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