MyDealBook.com, a social networking site aimed at helping real estate professionals land clients and collaborate on deals, launched today with more than 330,000 members — the entire user base of PropertyShark.com.
Former PropertyShark.com Chief Executive Officer Ryan Slack — who now holds that post with MyDealBook.com — calls the new site "LinkedIn on steroids."
That’s because users can find each other not only by checking out other members’ resumes and connections, but by browsing their online "DealBook" — transactions they’ve handled in the past or are looking to close now.
"We plan to link people to people, and deals to deals," Slack said.
Got a deal? Find a buyer, financing or service providers such as attorneys and appraisers on MyDealBook.com, checking out their backgrounds and reputations before making contact.
Looking for a deal? Browse active deals in your area where your services might be needed.
The site also promises to allow members to share files and deal information in a "secure collaboration environment."
Slack said in the world of real estate, the deals a person has transacted are likely to say more about them than who they work for.
"You could work at one of the top brokerages, and not do any sales, or work for a no-name Realtor, and do millions in sales," Slack said. "The name of the employer is a lot less relevant than the transactions."
MyDealBook also allows users to build online groups and teams to manage projects, professional associations, investment clubs and professional organizations.
The ability to create groups puts companies and people who want to offer their services as part of a small organization on an equal footing with individuals, Slack said. Other social networking sites place such an emphasis on the individual, it’s hard for companies to represent themselves, he said.
The site will also help organize cross-industry networking events in different cities, "an extension of the events we do at PropertyShark" Slack said — bringing people from dozens of professions together "for two hours on a Tuesday night when nothing else is going on."
Founded in 2003, PropertyShark.com claims to be the "premier" property information site in New York City. In Slack’s four years as chief executive officer of the company, its database grew to more than 30 million properties in 15 markets.
Slack left PropertyShark.com to run MDB LLC, which acquired MyDealBook.com in March. MDB LLC is a marketing partner of PropertyShark.com.
Porting over PropertyShark.com’s large user base as automatic members of MyDealBook.com could help give the site a running start.
In today’s slower real estate markets, "the need for self-marketing at the individual and group level is paramount," Slack said. "Three or four years ago, what people lacked was time. Today the velocity of the market, the number of transactions, has decreased. We see this as a tool to underpin the velocity of the market."
Members can market themselves by profession and location. A ranking system based on a "secret formula" including the completeness of a member’s profile, the number of contacts they have, and the number of deals they have completed will help users sift through, say, hundreds of appraisers in San Francisco, Slack said. Although not part of the site at launch, there are plans to develop a reputation ranking system.
MyDealBook.com draws on the experiences of co-founders Mark Schacknies and Nima Negahban. The site grew out of Schacknies’ work with Dealogic, an investment banking deal collaboration platform, and FolioFN, a fractional share brokerage trading platform.
Negahban’s experience includes work as lead Web architect for DigitalSports, director of Web Media for The Real Deal Magazine, and chief architect for Equipoise Imaging.
MyDealBook.com is designed to be stealthy, to "get out of the way of the content, which is all user generated," Slack said. "It’ a sophisticated back-end structure tied to a minimalist front end. It allows people to discover each other, and do what they need to get done."
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