Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business

March 11, 2008
We are heavy users of Google Docs and other free services. but the fact is we don’t use them because they are free – we use them because they are the best choice for us.  I have always believed that “Free”, in the right context, makes sense. Chris Anderson, author of the Long Tail and editor of Wired thinks so too.  Check out his latest cover story on Wired.” Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business
You may not agree with all his statements but ultimately the ideas he espouses are dead on.  There are some particularly insightful statements such as “Technology is giving companies greater flexibility in how broadly they can define their markets, allowing them more freedom to give away products or services to one set of customers while selling to another set.”   
Any provider of an online service should take note.  I know we will. 

Easy to use Free Website / Blogging Platform

January 31, 2008
So I was looking for an easy to use self manged website tool and I found  I am impressed with this super easy to use free product with no strings attached!   You can drag and drop videos, use custom forms etc.  If you are looking for a free place to host forms etc. with out advertisements Weebly may be for you!   
Oh and it was named #4  in Time Magazines “50 best Websites in 2007”

Is Spamming Worth it?

December 11, 2006

On November 30th or, or thereabouts our member base was spammed by a competing website company.  The email had this subject line: Does Point2 Agent Provide What You Thought You Paid For?  We had made a mistake in our “online office” and temporarily exposed email addresses through one our systems.  A script was likely written, email address were collected, and spam was sent.  We closed the “hole” in our system and  email address can no longer be harvested.     I assumed that the company sending the Spam, ihouse, was likely unaware of the transgression at the top level.  I called the CEO, Paul Sheng, as a business courtesy to let him know what was happening.   I got a call back from Ken Wu in business development.  Ken was a nice enough guy, but seemed to suggest that if the marketing department was doing this as a planned thing there would be nothing he could do about it.  He promised to get back to me but I have yet to hear anything.    So back to the question, is spamming someone else’s customers worth it?  Drum roll please … The answer – Hardly if one is to go by what our members had to say about ihouse.   

Here is the email with this subject line:

Does Point2 Agent Provide What You Thought You Paid For?

    Ihouse Spam

This is a copy of the emial I sent Ken Wu, at ihouse.  I still haven’t heard back from him yet.

Hi Ken, it was nice talking to you today.  As promised here is a copy of the email.  It appears that many in our customer base were emailed this message.  As a professional courtesy I thought I would let you know that someone in your organization is tarnishing your reputation.  We have a very loyal customer base and I hate to see them speaking out and bringing disrepute to the ihouse name.  I have taken the liberty of attaching one of the many discussions on our message board about this practice.

Best Regards,

Brendan King

Chief Operating Officer

Point2 Realty Solutions

Toll Free: 866.977.1777

Office:    306.955.1855

Cell:       306.717.3808 

Something Syndication to Think About

December 8, 2006

So at Point2 we syndicate data for real estate professionals.  If you’re a Point2 Agent you already know that you can enter your listing and have it show up on your website.  You also know that your listing will, via Handshake™ share on all your Handshake™ partners’ websites.  You know too, now, that your listing can syndicate to our syndication network of 14 partners including:
Googlebase, New York Times, Trulia, Point2homes, Propsmart, Edgeio, LiveDeal, Yahoo Classifieds, Real Estate Advisor, US Condo Exchange and more. Now you can also buy Spotlight ads on Point2homes and New York Times and automatically create a Google Adwords for your listing.

You also know that you completely control where your listings go and how they are displayed. You know that your brand and contact info are always displayed with your listings.  

You know exactly how much traffic: detailed views, clicks and prospects that your listing is generating and from what source.  You are able to make accurate ROI calculations.  You know that your seller can log in and see the results, and you know they will love you for it. 

Today, Zillow announce that agents can enter for sale listings into Zillow.  So what I want to know is this:  If you were an agent or broker adding listings to our system would you opt them in or out of Zillow?

Tempatle vs Custom or Software vs Website?

September 20, 2006

I read a lot about “Custom Sites” and how much better they are then a “template” site.  Usually the reasons for them being better relate to:·         SEO (Search Engine Optimization)  benefits·         Look and feel – all template sites look the same Rather then discuss the merits of these points, which are questionable at best, I think it apropos to explore what the definition of a “template” site is?  Are our sites template sites simply by the virtue of the fact that we give our agents a starting point? This argument I think would be silly. In fact, our system looks more like a development environment such as, say, front page then it does a simple fill in the blanks type template site. 

In any case check out these sites designed using our system, do they all look the same? 

They look quite different but I must admit that sometimes a custom site can be truly unique.  If this were all there were to the debate it could still be a good discussion.  The fact is that the outward facing sites above are like the cover a book.  It is what is inside and behind the scenes that counts. Rather then telling you myself let me use the words of a designer that uses our product to build websites for realtors.  Here are here words as posted on a Real Talk forum with respect to a site ( ) she developed with our software: 

Ø       Suzanne!  Wow!  That is some amazing work!  Terrific job, both sites
> look awesome!  Kudos to you, you’re a terrific designer.  I’d love to
> know more about how you do it – how does it work?  Does Point2 allow
> you to upload or give you some kind of parameter that you ‘plug’ into
> your design?
I answered Cheryl off-list yesterday and just realized that I didn’t
answer some of her questions about how Point2 customization works.

Basically, some of the templates available only to Professional
subscribers allow modification of certain “custom content” areas of
each page and of certain areas of the templates themselves. The HTML
for content areas can be directly modified. For some areas of the
pages, images can be uploaded from my desktop. For other areas, I can
point to images on my server in my html image tags, then P2a’s server
“grabs” my images and ports them to P2a’s server. There is no FTP
function in the conventional sense.

Point2 also does some amazing rocket-science stuff by creating button
and other images “on the fly” to match color schemes; I’ve never asked
how they do it but my educated guess is that they use Flash Generator
on their servers.

With a lot of study, exploration, and millions of emails back and forth
between me and Jennifer Anderson, P2a’s wonderful support person, I
figured out a lot of ways to work both in and around the system to
create customized pages.

This process gave me enormous appreciation for Point2’s engineering. As
anyone who has looked at my Web site knows, I feel strongly against
most template systems after having done design work for Realtsolutions,
Intelitouch and I’m glad that Jennifer encouraged and
supported my efforts to learn the P2 system; it is quite an engineering

I am really excited that there’s a way for agents, brokers and builders
to have highly customized sites with Point2’s powerful back office
system at a tiny fraction of the cost of fully custom site development.
I personally know of
Silicon Valley brokerages that have spent
literally $ millions developing their own brokerage sites because of
the high cost of database backend development., So I  think Point2 is
quite a bargain. If you currently use a Point2 free site and have been
frustrated by it, you have no way to appreciate what can be done with a
Professional site, so I encourage you to try their two-week free trial.
(And I don’t have anything to gain by your using Point2 or upgrading
your account.)


Suzanne Hathcock Stephens
Point2 Design Partner 

%d bloggers like this: