Visit Philly.com’s real estate section and a friendly Realtor named Bill Johnson appears on the screen, inviting viewers to click on him to learn more about homes for sale.
But the Realtor’s image isn’t your average pop-up advertisement; it’s an interactive streaming media video. Click on Bill’s image and you’ll be directed to his Web site at Exitprorealty.com, where another streaming image climbs up from the bottom right of the screen to guide visitors through the Web site.
On Exit Pro Realty’s site, viewers can minimize their Web browsers, sit back and allow the talking guy on the screen to guide them through the process.
The ads are difficult to miss or ignore and some people will probably click on them out of sheer curiosity. On a newspaper site, the ad works much like a pop-up, but can’t be blocked like one. However, a piece of technology eventually could be created to block such streaming media ads.
Dino Capone, who works with ScreenDreamer Media, said the concept behind the streaming media ads is to pull people from the newspaper or other third-party Web site into the agent or broker Web site. Cherry Hill, N.J.-based ScreenDreamer is one of the companies behind the new advertising medium.
“Newspapers are spending millions of dollars a year trying to get people to their sites,” Capone said. “Why can’t we trade on what they’re doing?” He believes agents and companies can glean a lot of site traffic by advertising on newspaper Web sites or established regional brand sites such as Philly.com.
Capone describes the streaming media ad as a sort of cocktail of the best of print media, cable media and TV commercials mixed together.
ScreenDreamer takes the advertising a step further, offering back-end technology to real estate agents and brokers to help them convert their site visitors into sales. Some of the lead conversion applications include loan pre-qualification tools, automated appointment scheduling and e-mail updates containing property listings matching prospective buyers’ interests.
In addition, agents and brokers can track what properties consumers have clicked on and what searches they’ve saved.
The streaming media and lead conversion technologies are just one facet of ScreenDreamer. The company recently partnered with SalesForce.com, an online heavyweight in the CRM–customer relationship management–software business.
ScreenDreamer is building a vertical application on the SalesForce.com platform to connect real estate agents with finance, title insurance and other service providers. “We are driving toward that seamless digital transaction where we actually start everything with the excitement of the consumer,” Billy Martin, VP of marketing at ScreenDreamer, said.
The platform on SalesForce.com is something like an online transaction management system where service providers and Realtors can meet and monitor real estate transactions anytime. It will enable the agents or mortgage brokers, for example, to look across the transaction to view data such as what type of property the consumer is interested in and whether they need a loan prequalification. The technology can connect agents to other service providers, or help them connect with preferred partners they’ve already established.
ScreenDreamer started in the real estate space in late 1999 by providing access to home listings. The company began as an IDX (Internet data exchange) and broker reciprocity service provider, and now also creates the consumer Web interface and offers marketing for real estate firms.
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