Be Jane acquired by… Builder Homesite [4realz Exclusive]

be janeA few days ago, Be Jane announced they were bought, but hadn’t said by whom, which led a few to speculate who the buyer might be.   I’m happy to say that 4realz.net has the scoop that the new buyer is Builder Homesite.

Here’s the story.

A little while ago I was introduced to Chief Jane and we had some great conversations about what online real estate companies would be a good fit for acquiring Be Jane.   We talked through all the big online search sites (and I even introduced her to a few people I knew), but I got the feeling that the “right” home for Be Jane wasn’t with any of my contacts.

Fast forward a few months…

bhi_2007_logoBuilder Homesite is on a rampage. Last week,  they announced that they are running Move’s New Home channels:

“Through this new strategic partnership [with Move, Inc], Builders Digital Experience (BDX) will operate the Move.com New Homes Channel and NewHomeSource.com, the country’s two most visited new homes websites”

And then this week, I’m told that they bought Be Jane.

The idea behind buying Be Jane has to be that Builder Homesite is looking to quickly build out a portal geared toward woman… and why not.  Be Jane has a library of DIY articles and videos as well as a large female community interested in the topic.

In terms of Builder Homesite, I know almost nothing about the company except what I’ve read over the past week or so and what little I can gleam from their website.  Nonetheless, their flurry of recent activity tells me they’ll likely be a great partner with Move, where the discussion of acquisitions, partnerships, lawsuits, etc. was so common it felt like background noise after a while.

With these additional resources (Move’s New Home connections and Be Jane’s content/community), Builder Homesite is a really interesting player to watch in the home building space and potentially a great home for the Be Jane team.

There’s still something special about Print

Last week, I had a great conversation with Eric Billingsley, a journalist with the San Fernando Valley Business Journal, that resulted in an interview on how local business can use social media to market themselves online.

I first saw the article was published this morning when it showed up in my google news feed. I’m always interested in seeing when my name pops up in the news and it’s especially interesting when the title of the article is: “Mr. Social” [subscription required].

I read the first 2 paragraphs (all that was available for free on the site), wrote a quick update on my Facebook Page, and then went back to work for the morning…

Dustin Luther: Mr. SocialHowever, around lunch-time, curiosity (ego?) got the better of me, and I headed down to the local newsstand to see what the article looked like in print… and sure enough, there’s a lot in the print version that never made it to the digital version including more of the interview and an interesting “snapshot” section.

With newspapers cutting back staff left-and-right, prominent journalists talking about the death of print, people debating what’s really eating away at the newspaper’s lunch, and great conversations around the role of social media in media, I thought I would take one blog post to simply say I still enjoy the hard-copy every once in a while.

And my interest goes beyond just the additional information and the “snapshot” section (both of which would be easy enough to digitize). It has more to do with the assumed credibility that goes with something being in print.

On a completely different topic, every interesting interview I’ve ever had with a journalist has come because a friend recommended the journalist talk with me… and this interview was no different. This time, Baron Miller (@baroncmiller) went out of his way to connect me with Eric, and I just wanted to send him a huge thanks for thinking of me! Baron and @KurtyD have done such an incredible job putting together the monthly MOTM meetings, that I always try my best to plan my schedule around their meetings.

And finally, in the interview, I mentioned that I use both a twitter account and a Facebook page to market my business online… You can connect with me on either of those networks here:

Move Brings in a New CEO

From the press release: Move Names Steve Berkowitz as Chief Executive Officer:

Move “today announced that Steven H. Berkowitz, a 25-year veteran of the media content, advertising and Internet industries, has been named as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Berkowitz has served on Move’s Board of Directors since June 2008. He succeeds W. Michael Long, who is retiring from the Company and the Board.”

That’s really interesting on a number of levels, not the least of which is that Lorna Borenstein, the current President, did not get the job of CEO.

NAR is upon us once again!

As I write this on a Wednesday night, I can’t help think what a long week it’s been!   And yet, the week (and the fun) is just beginning.

Tomorrow morning I leave for NAR…. and it’s not until I hit Orlando that things really heat up.

First major stop:

Friday @ 12:30 I’m moderating a panel featuring  Teresa Boardman, Jim Duncan, Ines Hegedus-Garcia, Ginger Wilcox titled Driving REAL business with blogs.

I’m really excited about this panel! There’s a great group of people assembled with very different styles of blogging and I’m really looking forward to peppering them with questions.  The one warning I’ve given to the panelists is that I expect this to be an extremely fast moving panel and I’ve prepared a ton of questions that will let us get through a ton of information out of this crew!   I’ve prepared the panelists that we’re going to move fast and I expect to get through a lot   If you’re going to NAR, this is one of two can’t miss events!  😉

By the way, you might remember way, way back in the beginning of February when I first reached out via twitter to start assembling the panel.   It may be almost a year later, but that only makes it all the better to watch this panel come so close to fruition!

2nd Major Stop:

Sunday @ 11am, I’ve teamed up with Jeff Turner and Rudy Bachraty, to put together an “event” on Using Social Media to Engage Clients.

I don’t want to set expectation too high, but this is not going to be just another presentation…   This is going to be an event. We’re going to have a lot of fun and have plans to involve people from all over the country!

By the way, this presentation started with a simple blog post from CRT that I picked up and was so lucky to have Jeff and Rudy join me in taking on this adventure.  This presentation is going to be fun!

There’s more!

Jeff has tons of details on connecting with others within the social media space @ NAR.  Here’s some highlights:

Some great posts about NAR events:

And on the off chance you want to meet up with me in orlando, the best way to reach out is to connect with me on twitter!   Can’t wait for the fun to begin!

If I were NAR’s Social Media Manager, I’d…

… listen to the needs of NAR executives and execute on their ideas.

It’s pretty clear from the job description, that that’s all they are looking for.  Anything more sounds fun, but probably isn’t realistic for NAR at the moment… and there’s nothing wrong with this.  It sounds like Hilary is swamped with work, so the right person could make a difference.

Most importantly, Rob is right that title’s matter, especially at an organization like NAR… and a “manager” position is meant to implement a strategy, not develop one.

I had a manager who worked for me at Move with a similar title and if I thought it would help, I’d happily recommend Todd for this position.  However, if I was in Todd’s shoes, I’d only give it passing interest until they added some real decision making authority and bumped up the title considerably.

When a tree falls in the forest…

Been way too swamped with a consulting project lately and haven’t had a chance to blog much (or send out my weekly emails). 🙁

However, that doesn’t mean interesting things haven’t been happening.   Here’s just a sliver of the things that have crossed my path recently:

By the way, this blog post is very similar to the emails I (normally) send out on a weekly basis.    If you want to get a weekly update on what’s going on in online real estate, simple subscribe using the widget on the 4realz.net sidepanel!

Simon Baker Leaving REA Group

My guess is that to more than a few of us, Simon is the face of REA Group, so it’s quite a shock to hear that he is leaving.

However, I must say that it occured to me that he might be leaving when I noticed he started collecting “recommendations” on LinkedIn recently…  He went from just a handful of recommendations to 45 in just a few days!   Quite an inspiration.

4realz Roundtable: Effect of FDIC/Treasury Actions on Home Buyers and Real Estate Industry

[NOTE: we had a wonderful show and you can listen to the entire episode at the bottom of this post!]

This week were going to cover the obviously hot topic of the effect of the actions taken by the government in bailing out and/or helping secure IndyMac, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae will affect the real estate industry.

This week’s guest is Lawrence Yun and as the chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS, Lawrence is sure to bring an incredibly interesting perspective.  He’s constantly traveling around the country talking with people about their local markets… and whenever he’s stopped by real estate technology circles, like trips to Portland and Virginia, he’s impressed the locals tremendously.

As always, you can get information on how to (1) listen to the call live, (2) take part in the live chat and potentially take part in the conversation by following the (relatively simple) information on the 4realz Roundtable TalkShoe page.  My guess is that this will be one of the more popular shows yet, so I’ll likely only be taking live callers based on folks who ask interesting questions in the chat room!

Also, in order to better accommodate Lawrence’s schedule, I’m moving the call to one hour later than usual.   The show will be on Thursday, July 17, at 5pm PST (8PM EST).     I definitely hope you can join us for a conversation on this timely topic!

UPDATE #1:

What an great show.   Thanks so much to everyone who took part!

Jonathan Miller, Jillayne Schlicke and Rhonda Porter really helped provide an excellent base for a roundtable discussion with Lawrence.   In our one hour conversation we covered so much ground… and I only wish I had the bandwidth to transcribe the whole thing (or even take better notes during the conversation!).

Nonetheless, we covered looked at how the real estate market would be affected by issues such as banks bailouts, freddie/fannie mac troubles, isues with jumbo loans, REOs, consumer confidence, government actions, sustainable housing, inflation, and much more!   If you’re interested in getting an in-depth look at the real estate market and where things are headed, then you can listen to the entire show right here:

[podcast]http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-20339/TS-128183.mp3[/podcast]

UPDATE #2:

There are great conversations going on about this topic on both Rain City Guide and ActiveRain. Also thanks to Jim Duncan, Ardell DellaLoggia, Jonathan Miller, Rhonda Porter and Tom Royce for helping to spread the word!

“If you are over the FDIC limit at Wachovia or Washington Mutual…

… (or for that matter anywhere), do something about it immediately if not sooner.”

(h/t UrbanDigs)

UPDATE:

Do you have questions about how the actions by the FDIC will affect you as a home owner?  Join us in a conversation with the Chief Economist for the National Assocation of REALTORS on the next 4realz Roundtable.