Interesting idea: Adding your latest blog posts to your email signature

My gut says that people have learned to ignore email signatures almost completely, but maybe that is because they are almost always boring.

Matt Dunlap built a tool that adds your latest blog posts to your signature… However it only works in Thunderbird (no outlooks or web-based email client support!).

Myself, I’ve gone completely web-based for my email (I’m using Google Apps), so I went searching for a similar tool for Google Apps mail (essentially a hosted version of gmail!)… and it doesn’t exist (at least not in the form that I want), but I did learn a few interesting things:

  1. BlogSigs will do something similar for gmail, but it puts an ad the signature, although I didn’t test it out and it is not clear from their website (via LifeHacker).
  2. FeedBurner offers similar functionality through their Headline Animator product that works for many email applications, but again, it doesn’t work with Google Apps.
  3. And finally, the folks at Open Source Opportunities get me *almost* there by offering a firefox plugin that worked for me on gmail, but not my Google Apps account.
  4. It seems worth noting that I could use Matt’s solution if I ran my gmail through Thunderbird, but I’m not particularly interesting about running another app on my desktop just for this functionality…

Even if I can’t implement this solution at the moment, it seems like an interesting idea worth sharing.

The best place to start is the beginning

In a recent email, someone asked me the following four questions about starting group blogs around different real estate themes:

  1. Do you think it’s a good idea to charge authors a fee, even a nominal fee, to post articles on a blog?
  2. What are your thoughts about selling ads (e.g. banners), including Google ads, around a blog?
  3. I’m considering having blogs for several subject areas, do you thing it’s better to have only one blog, or multiple blogs on the site with a blog for each subject area?
  4. How do you keep spam from filling up your blog(s) with junk?

Here are my thoughts:

  1. You’ll get no traction if you think you can charge people a fee to post on your blog.  If you really want people to post make sure they are the ones getting paid.   Either pay them directly, or do what Greg and I do which is give them links, post their phone number, etc. to make sure that they get leads from the site.  Good content is hard to come by so do everything you can to get the best content possible.
  2. Google ads are a waste for real estate websites IMHO because the most relevant ads are almost always for local competition.  If you want good writers, then you’ll need to make sure they are getting the leads.
  3. I highly recommend one blog at a time.   With each successful blog, you’ll get “permission” to start a new one.   The more niche you can start your blog the more likely you’ll find early success.   In other words, I wouldn’t start one blog with lots of themes or multiple blogs on different themes.   I’d start with one blog on one theme.  If you can get substantial traffic, then move on to starting new blogs!
  4. Akismet.

Hope that helps!

Someone emailed me to ask if they could…

…subscribe to 4realz by email. After a few minutes of research, it looks like the best way to do this is with Feedburner. Conveniently, I set up a Feedburner account for 4realz over a year ago, so I just needed to get the code for the correct link: Subscribe to 4realz by Email.

If blog posts by email are your thing, 4realz is happy to help. 🙂

Sometimes it is the simple things that…

… feel like pennies from heaven.  My take (or maybe hope) is that the next round of innovation in the real estate tech space will actually provide fewer options.   There’s so much clutter that a simple daily email of listings by zip code that includes all listing types (MLS listings, FSBOs, foreclosures, etc) sorted by “good deals” actually sounds refreshing.