A trip down the memory super-highway…

Top 10 stories of 2007 from Inman News (see the article for details):

  1. Subprime market implodes; housing downturn worsens.
  2. Blogging runs deeper in real estate’s blood.
  3. Foxtons closes shop.
  4. Foreclosure problem worsens; Bush announces rescue plan.
  5. Redfin and “60 Minutes” of fame.
  6. Trulia and Zillow get booted from Prudential Real Estate convention.
  7. Realogy goes private.
  8. Well-known real estate writer dies.
  9. NAR’s Gateway project announced.
  10. FHA goes modern.

All good and interesting news stories. But what would a blog post be without some after-the-fact quarterbacking. Here are my thoughts:

The subprime mess definity earned the list, while I think blogging is in there purely as linkbait. 🙂  Foxtrons never crossed my radar so I can’t say much about them, but I would have included the foreclosure mess in with the subprime mess (despite the fact that two smaller messes would be easier to clean than one huge mess). Redfin PR got proper kudos while Prudential made a PR blunder. Realogy business structure must be interesting to others and I simply didn’t know the author. I don’t have high hopes for Gateway (although I wouldn’t say the same thing for NAR’s investment fund). FHA… yawn…

And while am at it… here are two stories that would have made my list:

The launch of so many (already) forgotten sites. How about all the sites that launched with great fanfare only to fall off of everyone’s radar. Terabitz comes to mind.  Social networks like Zolve (which went from charging almost $1000/year to $0/year in its first few weeks) and Propertyqube also seem to have dropped off the map. And there were many (way too many to name them all!) “local” sites that were hyped by the RE.net at one point or another: MyHouseKey (kinda dead), SuperListingSite (completely dead), Localism, StreetAdvisor, and YourStreet.

Lack of fiscal restraint in the online real estate space. Money flowed into online real estate space: Terabitz with $10M in V/C money…  Zillow with another $30MTrulia got another $10M…  Redfin with $12M more

6 responses

  1. What is it about the sites you think caused them to fall off the radar?

  2. Jessie: I think it has a lot to do with the conversation that Jeff spurred. Why some sites have fallen off the radar is roughly the same as why I think the vast majority of tools fail… “I’m convinced the reason the vast majority of online tools fail in the real estate space is that companies think they can appeal directly to agents and still find success online. Those tools that attract LOTS of consumers (think: Zillow, Trulia, even Realtor.com) have a much easier time getting adopted by real estate professionals. Online sites that primarily appeal to real estate professionals are almost inevitably missing the magic ingredient of consumers.”

    Your thoughts that the next generation site will figure out how to get even more comprehensive listings is definitely one track that could be an improvement for consumers…

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    If I may, not to hijack the post… Hyperlocal sites were doomed to fail (I said so at the time) because the key to their business and audience is hyperfragmented. The odds of two visitors to one of those sites finding (or contributing) content about a shared topic in a shared location are almost nil due to the sites’ hyper granularity.

    Say there are 100,000 cities, counties, neighborhoods, ZlP codes or whatever geographical subdivision in the US, and an unrealistically high 10% conversion from casual visitor to contributor. The lower bound for having some content everywhere is 1 million visitors.

    High-density and tech-savvy metros will be disproportionately filled out, with 99,000 no-man’s-land locations. As your audience expands outside of those early-adopter metros, new visitors come to a site that has nothing to offer to them, and requires them to enter content with the implicit guarantee no-one will read it.

    Aggregating content up to larger locations (e.g. combine all ZlP codes’ content into a city) solves the density problem but defeats the site’s hyperlocal purpose.

    This isn’t an easy problem, but the initial solutions were demonstrably doomed to fail from the get-go.

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