The Craig behind craigslist, bulls and bears, Merlin’s "magic," six industry-changing ideas, the "MLS Mess," and the leader of a new nationwide real estate franchise, among many others, will take to the stage later this month during the annual Real Estate Connect event in San Francisco.

The real estate event, scheduled July 23-25 at the historic Palace Hotel in downtown San Francisco, also will feature several pre-conference events, including blogging-focused "Bloggers Connect," an exploration of brokers using Web 2.0 technologies at the "Internet Marketing" workshop, and a look at strategies to working with distressed properties in a "Foreclosures" workshop.

In its 12th year, the Connect event brings together technologists, real estate professionals and industry leaders.

Craig Newmark, founder and a frequent speaker and guest at Connect events, will participate in a session titled "The Election, Customer Service and the State of the Media" on Wednesday, July 23.

Real estate market experts and analysts will square off on the state of the housing market in a "Bull vs. Bear" discussion that day same day.

A panel of tech entrepreneurs will discuss their innovations and ideas during a "6 New Ideas That Will Change Real Estate" panel on Thursday, July 24. The panel will feature representatives from tech companies ranging from Hoodeo to Mixpo.

Later that day, writer, blogger, and online personality Merlin Mann will discuss the proliferation of new technologies, and strategies for cutting through digital noise and preventing information overload.

And Sherry Chris, the president and CEO for soon-to-launch franchise company Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate , will discuss what it takes to build a franchise brand. GMAC formerly held franchise rights to the Better Homes and Gardens real estate brand, which will relaunch later this month under Realogy Corp.

"The MLS Mess" panel on Thursday will address the controversial topic: "Will the national MLS ever be born," with panelists from tech companies, MLSs, Google and the National Association of Realtors weighing in.

Industry luminaries Alex Perriello, CEO for the Realogy Franchise Group; Joel Singer of the California Association of Realtors; Jonathan Miller of Manhattan appraisal and consulting company Miller Samuel Inc.; and Patrick F. Stone, chairman of The Stone Group. a real estate management company, are scheduled to talk on Friday, July 25.

The winners of the annual Inman Innovator Awards will be announced on that day, too: these awards recognize companies that use technology and innovation to enhance the real estate transaction and experience for consumers (see list of finalists here).


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