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Real estate digs deeper to harvest online leads

Part 1: Search engines rev up for local realty results

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Editor's note: With more consumers starting their home search on the Internet, online lead generation and management has morphed into a sophisticated business as agents, brokers and real estate companies scramble to adopt the new channel. This three-part series examines the changing nature of online lead generation as local Internet search becomes more relevant, more brokers get involved in lead systems, and more technologies emerge. (See Part 2: Brokers emerge in online lead scene and Part 3: Lead management technology grows up.) Enough talk about the Internet as a tool for global information exchange – that is so 1990s. These days it's all about going local – consumers who are searching online for local goods and services and the businesses who want to be the first to greet them. Search engines are driving to connect these consumers and businesses while remaining relevant as information on-ramps. And the success is measurable by the billions. Links that are paid for...