New digital media has arrived, and some of the biggest names spoke during Inman News’ Real Estate Connect NYC about how the evolution on the Internet is being using in real estate.
Tony Lee, editor in chief and general manager of The Wall Street Journal Online Network and RealEstateJournal.com, explained the concept behind the Web sites.
“We target the market by demographic segments,” he said. “We’re a niche site looking at only the high demographic audience. From a residential standpoint, our demographic is an audience that is earning upwards of $200,000 a year.”
Many of the sites visitors are looking for their second or third piece of real estate. Lee also said the audience is international, so the site had to be designed with that in mind.
“And being the Wall Street Journal, we had to have a high quality editorial content. What we provide on the site is one to two full-length feature articles everyday about real estate,” Lee said.
WSJ.com is one of the largest subscription sites on the Internet, but the real estate site is free and links to WSJ.com.
“We give the reader two choices,” said Lee. “They can come into our default site, which is our own database of properties or they can search the Realtor.com database.”
The company has had a relationship with Realtor.com since 1997, according to Lee. Realtor.com, the listings Web site of the National Association of Realtors, has some 1.5 to 2 million listings.
“We don’t have anywhere near that,” Lee said. “You can search our site by price, locations, bedrooms, etc. You get a thumbnail of the property. But when you click to look at the property, there is a process called ‘wrapping.’ The listing is pulled from the broker’s site live within our template and is done instantaneously when a search is conducted, so the property is being shown exactly the way the broker wants it to be shown.”
“We found that the brokers like to have their faces on the site,” he added.
The site lets the broker know how many people looked at the listing. Brokers have passwords so they can add additional information to the description to be included.
“And we’ve added a blog devoted to investors discussing the residential real estate market,” Lee said. “It’s a great place to monitor the market.”
For Paul Smith, COO of GlobeXplorer, it’s the graphic element to Web listings that is important.
“The original goal was to do what MapQuest did for maps. We provide political boundaries and transportation and the like,” he said.
The company aggregates physical property and geographic data, and two years ago was acquired by Stewart Title. The company provides aerial data, street maps, building layouts and ties it to the demographic the customer is trying to reach.
“Everything in New York comes back to real estate,” said Lockhart Steele, Curbed’s publisher. “So Curbed ends up being about real estate. A blog is just a frequently updated Web site. The most recent info appears at the top of the page.”
Curbed updates information 10-12 times a day.
“People used to make fun of bloggers, but that isn’t the case anymore,” Steele said. “A blog can be serious or not, and it links to other sites with a little blurb before the link. Every post is assigned to a different neighborhood in the city. We covered everything from serious to a firm coming out with a line of perfumes named for New York neighborhoods.”
Jamie Glenn, director of product management for Yahoo! Real Estate & Classifieds believes the penetration of broadband is a very important change to digital media, surpassing dial-up.
“With broadband,” he explained, “comes the ability to digest large amounts of information at higher speeds. Thus, the content we can deliver can be more compelling to the user; both at work and now at home. Broadband users spend four hours a week more online than dial up users and 65 percent of online users preview what they will buy before actually making a purchase. Streaming video and audio are now popular as are photo-sharing. And broadband households are 27 percent more affluent than dial-up users are. Also, such companies as Home Depot now are encouraging home improvement with videos.”
Location. Location. Location. Sam Sebastian, general manager of HomeScape/Classified Ventures delivers real estate services to a network of 130 newspapers. “HomeScape.com provides a central location for home buyers and sellers to connect with real estate service providers and to access listings throughout our national network of local newspapers. Homescape provides private-label real estate Web technology and data management solutions. The HomeScape ASP platform supports both new construction and resale real estate listing content, as well as advertising products customized by local online newspaper Web sites.”
HomeScape is one of three divisions of Classified Ventures LLC. Classified Ventures (“CV”) is a strategic joint venture among six large media partners whose objectives are to collectively capitalize on the revenue growth in the real estate and automotive online advertising categories. Our strategic partners are Belo Corp., Gannett Co. Inc., Knight Ridder, The McClatchy Company, Tribune Company and The Washington Post.
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