The Inman News editorial team is keeping an eye on 10 people we expect to shake up the real estate industry next year. Here are our candidates for people to watch in 2006:

1. Justin McCarthy, 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.

The Inman News editorial team is keeping an eye on 10 people we expect to shake up the real estate industry next year. Here are our candidates for people to watch in 2006:

1. Justin McCarthy, 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.”

2. Dottie Herman, CEO, Prudential Douglas Elliman. Starting as a financial planner and part-time sales broker, Dorothy “Dottie” Herman today owns and directs a real estate empire that generates more than $10 billion in yearly sales volume. With more than 60 offices stretching from Manhattan to Montauk, Prudential Douglas Elliman is recognized as one of the fastest-growing full-service residential real estate companies in the United States.

3. Craig W. Conrath, counsel, U.S. Justice Department. Conrath will serve as lead counsel for the DOJ in its civil antitrust lawsuit against the National Association of Realtors. The suit, filed in September and amended in October, claims the trade group restrains competition through its policies for online property listings display. NAR filed a motion to dismiss the case in early December and the DOJ has 60 days to respond.

4. Jack R. Bierig, Sidley Austin Brown & Wood LLP. As lead counsel for NAR in the case against the Justice Department, Bierig will defend the real estate trade group’s policies, which antitrust officials claim restrain trade. NAR’s inside counsel has said the association is prepared to defend its actions in court, if necessary.

5. Real estate bloggers: Alexis Palmer, operator, Curbed.com; “Anonymous,” Brownstoner.com; Jake Dobkins, publisher, Gothamist.com. In a fast-changing industry, these bloggers show a new way of thinking about real estate in the media. They’ve opened the gates from the old days of industry insiders writing a column for the Sunday newspaper real estate section to a person-on-the-street’s view of homes and living.

6. Pam Liebman, president and CEO, The Corcoran Group. Liebman oversees the day-to-day operations of one of New York City’s top residential real estate empires. The company boasts more than $8 billion in sales annually and includes more than 2,100 employees.

7. Ben Bernanke, incoming Federal Reserve Board Chairman. Bernanke will have tough shoes to fill when Alan Greenspan officially leaves the Fed Chief post in January. Most everyone expects he’ll do just fine, while continuing the Fed’s same stance on monetary policy and keeping the system transparent. With the real estate industry watching interest rates closely, Bernanke is definitely one to watch in 2006.

8. Matthew Haines, Ryan Slack, PropertyShark. The company tends a powerhouse real estate information Web site that now has about 100,000 registered users and boasts one of the most expansive collections of free online real estate data for the New York City area. Slack said a real estate professional once told him that research at PropertyShark.com netted him hundreds of thousands of dollars on a single real estate deal. With people’s increasingly insatiable appetite for real estate information, this company’s user base is sure to grow in 2006.

9. Dale Stinton, CEO, National Association of Realtors. A changing real estate market, a major civil lawsuit with the U.S. Justice Department and tax reform proposals that threaten to slash the mortgage-interest tax deduction are just a few of the big issues on Stinton’s plate going into 2006. Stinton’s first year overseeing the powerful trade group likely will not be a quiet one.

10. Richard Barton, CEO, Zillow. This Seattle company hasn’t even opened for business yet and everyone in the real estate industry already knows who they are. Barton, his partner Lloyd Frink and their team single-handedly changed the travel industry with the creation of Expedia in the late ’90s, and everyone is watching to see how their online real estate venture shapes up.

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