P2A Listings in Google Base

March 27, 2006

Here is what our listings in Google Base look like



March 27, 2006

There seems to be a lot of confusion in the real estate industry surrounding Google Base.  Having personally spent time at Google and with Google people I thought I would share some observations and conjecture about what base is all about.   


Google is really starting to make some changes that are going to make base the place to be.  Depending what datacenter you hit you may or may not get a new type of listing at the top of your Google search results. So a search like “
Seattle real estate” may or may not give you these new results.  What are these “new” results?  Well they are listings from Google Base.   This new exposure is going to quickly make Base important. Consumers will expect and demand that their agents get their listings into Base. 


I know that a lot of agents are concerned that Google Base is positioning itself to disintermediate them by finally being the “Lion coming over the hill”.  Let me tell you what I think is going on in the minds of the guys at Google.  Firstly, Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information –not control it.  Google base is simply collecting more “parameters” about a “listing” (not necessary real estate could be anything) that will allow a search to more easily find that which he is looking for. If someone doesn’t have a web presence they will allow the user to host the listing at Google.  Google then drives the searcher to the website with the complete info. Secondly, I don’t believe that Google has any desire to maintain and host listings.  This is to say they do not intend to become a National MLS.  They simply want their users to be able to find what they are looking for. 


That said, Google is not going to differentiate listings based on who as uploaded them.  FSBO listings will be right up their along side Realtor listings.  Adwords will be sold, maybe to your peers and competitors; you might be able to pay for premium listing payment and revenue will be generated. I don’t believe that Google is interested in generating leads with the data and selling them back to realtors. 


One of the biggest issues facing brokers and agents today is the control of their data.  In my opinion Google Base is not a threat to this control.  Base is simply a better index of data.  Savvy Realtors will take advantage of Base and other vertical search engines to ensure that when consumers search for listings their customers listing are found and that the consumer traffic is driven back to the Realtors site. 


Another big concern is data accuracy and timeliness.  Realtors worry, and rightly so, about how all this information will be updated and maintained for accuracy.  What about price changes, solds, etc?  How can a Realtor synchronize all this data?  Well that is were we come in.  When you add a listing to Point2 we send the data to many places including base.  We also ensure that the consumer traffic ends up back at the Realtors site.  Any changes in price, status or anything else flows back out to all the listings – usually within less then 2 hours (depending on the partner). 


Best of all we ensure that the decisions about where the listing data flows are left completely to the broker/agent. 

Syndication Update

March 16, 2006

Just thought I would give a little update on our data syndication project.  We are currently pumping listings out to www.Point2homes.com , www.Oodle.com , www.Trulia.com , realestate.yahoo.com and base.google.com .  Google is kinda broken.  It seems that we are the first to send them an XML feed (everyone else is just using flat file).  They don’t want us to change but we are getting tired of being the guinea pigs!  Anyway, I am sure they will fix it soon and then our solution will rock!  They might, and I am not saying they will :), have a new real estate spec coming soon.  I would *guess* that it will be awesome!

In any case all these listings go out with our members branding and contact info.  In February we generated almost 50,000 leads – all for free to our members.  Do the math, if we were selling them at $35.00 a pop like Move.com is going to that would be  $1.75 MILLION DOLLARS worth.  But as we have said before, these aren’t for sale, they belong to our members.  
Incidentally, we are going to blow away this number in March as we are now generating up to 5000 leads per day on our network.

Thought I would leave you with an interesting Oodle URL.  I think it is supposed to be a secret but I have friend on the Inside  🙂  This will let you see all our listings by city.  Just replace Detroit in the link below with whatever


Oodle calls your city:

I think I might need a holiday.  I had a dream the other night that my nine year old daughter was entering homes for sale in our system.  I was getting frustrated with her because she wasn’t putting in enough detail, so I built her a wizard tool that would just ask her questions that she could answer and it would make a fantastic looking listing.  Anyone agree that I need a holiday?

“Remarkable Commericals” – Too Funny

March 14, 2006

I don’t subscribe to many blogs but Seth Godin’s is one that I do.  The Idea Virus and Purple Cow are a couple of my favorite reads.  For those of you that haven’t seen the video where Seth addresses Google you can find it here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6909078385965257294 It is a classic and well worth the watch. 
For those that have seen it I have a video of my own, in the spirit of Seth’s definition of remarkable, I.E. simply that which is worth making a remark about.  Here are some “Remarkable” commercials:  http://www.brendanking.ca/Util/GetDocument.ashx?docId=903151
I hope you enjoy them!  Let me know what you think!

Inman News

March 10, 2006

Apparently people read Inman news.  I can now add Ben Clark from Zillow, Lloyd Graves from House Values (Soar), and Scott Levitt from Oakley to the list of people that have made fun of my picture.  Don’t worry guys – I will find a way to get even.  And Ben, no I didn’t buy Brad’s drinks.  If I had he wouldn’t have used that picture.  LOL

Bad Picture

March 8, 2006

Unless you are an Inman subscriber you can’t get to the Inman article any more.  I can’t say that doesn’t please me as the picture of me was ridiculous.  You can still read the article (sans picture) here: http://agent.point2.com/Articles/InmanArticleMar06.asp
Oh, and thanks to those guys (Clark and Andrew from Realestate.com, Sami from Trulia and assorted others) for the ribbing over the picture.  I promise to find a way to get even J

Inman News : Re Syndication

March 7, 2006

Looks like we had a post on Iman News today:  Man I need to get a new picture for them!

See it here: http://www.inman.com/inmannews.aspx?ID=50313



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