Inman News has compiled a list of the 100 most influential people in real estate, reflecting the industry’s best and brightest, as well as outside figures whose actions influence the home buying and selling business. The following 23 names were chosen for the technology and online real estate category.
Ian Morris led the successful initial public offering of HouseValues in late 2004. The online real estate marketing and lead generation company continues to grow with new product offerings and expanded agent and broker clients, and is aggressively eyeing the online share of real estate advertising dollars. The high-energy Harvard grad first made his mark on the real estate world about nine years ago when he started working for Microsoft’s online real estate business.
For a full profile of Morris, click here.
When Mike Long agreed to take on the chief executive role at Homestore, the company was engulfed in controversy. The company was dealing with restructuring a new management team, tangled up in shareholder lawsuits and picking up the pieces after an accounting scandal that rocked the real estate industry. Under Long’s watch, Homestore has settled a major shareholder lawsuit, restructured its pricing model and consistently improved earnings results.
CEO, president, Realtor.com
When Allan Dalton speaks, Realtors listen. Revered as a real estate marketing expert, Dalton became chief executive of Realtor.com in 2002 after a five-year stint with NRT. In his speeches to real estate agents across the country, Dalton emphasizes a Realtor’s focus on marketing homes, rather than on selling homes. Most recently, Dalton developed the Real Estate Marketing EXPO, a high-impact marketing program he’s taking on the road to cities nationwide to teach the secrets and systems of top-producing agents.
Founder, customer service representative, craigslist.org
Brokers throughout the country may not have known who Craig Newmark was five years ago, but most do today. As founder of craigslist.org, a network of local online community and classifieds Web sites, Newmark has made an imprint in the real estate industry whether he knows it or not. Craigslist has empowered many consumers to search for apartments without paying broker fees and to brave the for-sale-by-owner world.
For a full profile of Newmark, click here.
Richard Sommer took the reins of HomeGain in 2004 and has been working to expand its reach ever since. An industry veteran, Sommer previously worked at IndyMac Bank but couldn’t turn down the chance to help grow a company. HomeGain recently was acquired by Classified Ventures, and Sommer plans to focus on growing the company’s network of agents and brokers, providing high quality leads and helping agents convert those leads to closed sales through increased use of technology.
For a full profile of Sommer, click here.
President and CEO, Classified Ventures
Dan Jauernig heads up Classified Ventures, a joint online classified advertising venture owned by six of the nation’s leading media companies. The company recently acquired HomeGain in a move that will propel the company into the online real estate space.
CEO of Real Estate, IAC Financial Services and Real Estate
InterActiveCorp’s online real estate juggernaut has come together under a one-stop shop known as RealEstate.com, and Tom Reddin is positioned in the driver’s seat as the company’s CEO of Real Estate. Some pieces of the portal include LendingTree, ServiceMagic, iNest and Domania. Reddin said the company is focused on aggressively growing revenue opportunities.
CEO, IAC Financial Services and Real Estate
Founder and CEO, LendingTree
Doug Lebda turned industry heads when LendingTree started airing commercials offering online mortgage loan-comparison services. The aggressive “When banks compete, you win” slogan is now synonymous with the company. The North Carolina entrepreneur turned industry heads again when Barry Diller’s InterActiveCorp in 2003 bought LendingTree in a deal valued at more than $600 million. Everyone is watching to see how much market share LendingTree will gain.
Chairman, CEO, InterActiveCorp
Barry Diller sent chills down the spine of the real estate industry when his company purchased LendingTree in 2003, marking the beginning of a real estate buying binge for the corporation. IAC now owns RealEstate.com, as well as ServiceMagic, iNest, Domania and others. The media mogul’s entrepreneurial track record and capital that backs his ideas make him a highly influential figure in the real estate industry.
At 41, Stuart Siegel is a sharp business leader and technology pioneer. Prior to becoming CEO of eNeighborhoods, Siegel served as president, CEO and principal of Getko Group, which became the largest compiler of home sale data in the United States and Canada. He co-founded eNeighborhoods with the vision of providing real estate professionals with neighborhood information that would be important to them. Microsoft and InfoWeek named eNeighborhoods the fastest growing real estate software in the U.S., and the company continues to gain recognition among agents.
For a full profile of Siegel, click here.
CEO, Amazon’s A9
In November 2003, Udi Manber became CEO of A9.com, developing innovative search technologies like the A9 Toolbar and A9.com Yellow Pages. A9, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, has about 26 million images of business storefronts and entire downtown blocks in 15 total U.S. cities for consumers to search through. The search engine, which launched in September 2004, promises to make searching the Internet more effective for consumers.
CEO, Most Home Corp.
Most Home Corp. has emerged as a leader in the online lead business for real estate. The company continues to innovate through technology, providing leads to agents’ mobile devices, as well as the process of weeding out the online lookie loos through a consolidated call center. As CEO of the company, Ken Galpin is in a position to influence more changes in online lead generation and management processes.
Chief operating officer, ForSaleByOwner.com
At ForSaleByOwner.com, Colby Sambrotto is responsible for implementing all new lines of business such as Yourloanhelper.com, Forclosuretimes.com, automobile listings and all Web site enhancements. He has helped build the Web site into more than just a place for homeowners to advertise their homes. The company last year won a landmark lawsuit against the California Department of Real Estate in which the court ruled that Web sites do not need to obtain a real estate license to advertise homes for sale.
President, Weichert Lead Network
Weichert took the lead in lead generation and conversion processes a few years back with the launch of the Weichert Lead Network. Michael Montsko oversees the program, which includes a multimillion-dollar Internet marketing campaign to drive traffic to the site, a 40-employee call center that receives the information and calls the consumer within minutes to qualify them, and an underlying computer program that decides which agents to call. The $10 million-plus technology initiative resulted in more than 5,000 closed transactions through the lead network in less than two years, according to estimates in late 2004.
NAR vice president, director, Center for Realtor Technology
As director of the National Association of Realtors’ Center for Realtor Technology, Mark Lesswing has made a lot of progress in keeping Realtors abreast of current technology issues. The Center has published informative reports on various security issues facing brokers, MLSs and agents, and has developed a tool that converts Web-based leads into cell phone calls, to name a few accomplishments.
Chief technical officer, California Association of Realtors
Sharfman also serves as the CEO of the California Association of Realtors’ Real Estate Business Technologies subsidiary, charged with delivering the group’s new transaction management system. Sharfman will play a key role in getting the system off the ground and widely adopted, which could serve to change the way much of the industry conducts business.
Senior vice president, product development, Homestore
Marty Frame is the one to watch for any new technology developments at Homestore. The company recently announced it would be taking the anticipated pay-per-performance system for Realtor.com in a different direction than previously announced, but gave no details about what the new direction will entail. New technology systems that may or may not be a part of those plans would fall under Frame’s direction.
President, co-founder Internet Crusade
Over the past 14 years, Saul Klein has traveled more than 1 million miles delivering a message on technology and its role in the future of the real estate industry. Klein is creator, author and instructor for NAR’s e-Pro certification program, which aims to help agents thrive in the competitive world of online real estate. Klein also helped build some of the most recognized online communities in real estate, including the RealTalk e-mail discussion group.
Founding partner of LeadRouter, recently acquired by Cendant
Randy Hollister, a Realtor and broker who has been active in the industry since 1978, is a founding partner of LeadRouter, the company behind the online lead generation platform of the same name, which was recently acquired by Cendant. He also co-created the LeadRouter, LeadPhone and Do Not Call Sentry real estate applications. Before starting LeadRouter in 2002, Hollister served as Realtor.com’s national customer training manager. He started and led its national speaker program for five years. He also has served as the executive director of the Scottsdale Association of Realtors in Arizona.
Head of local sales, Google
Google refers more traffic to real estate Web sites than all other search engines combined, not a surprising fact given the search site’s increasing ubiquity. As head of local sales for Google, McCarthy’s decisions impact real estate advertisers. McCarthy said in late July that the search-engine giant is seeing much more traditional full-service brokerages engaged in online marketing compared to last year. When Google first started offering pay-per-click advertising, “we didn’t see big brokerage brands,” McCarthy said. “We’re seeing that now though.”
Director of electric commerce, Stewart Information Services Corp.
Darren Ross is no stranger to the paperless real estate transaction. As director of electronic commerce for Stewart Information Services Corp., Ross researches and implements paperless real estate transactions, electronic mortgage transactions and e-closings. Ross has more than 18 years of Information Systems and IT management experience and co-authored many real estate industry data standards. He is currently working on industry standards for electronic mortgage transactions and XHTML SMART documents as well as various business and technology standards for county and municipal courts and recorders/clerks offices.
Brian Boero is leading VREO, a real estate marketing and software company that recently merged with Criterion Corp. Criterion’s flagship RedTablet PC mixed with VREO’s Web marketing service for Realtors promises to revolutionize the way agents conduct business.
CEO, WolfNet Technologies
MacIntosh founded and heads WolfNet, which provides lead generation and management technology to real estate brokerages. WolfNet’s systems are helping a lot of traditional brokerage companies embrace and make the most of their Web presence.
For a full profile of MacIntosh, click here.
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