ActiveRain, WordPress most popular RE blog platforms
A survey of 128 real estate bloggers found the median age of their blogs was less than a year, and that WordPress and ActiveRain Real Estate Network were the most popular platforms.

The survey, by the newly formed Center for Real Estate and Social Technologies, found that ActiveRain and the WordPress users wrote more posts and received more comments from readers than those used other platforms, including Blogger.

The median start date for blogs authored by those surveyed was Aug. 1, 2007, according to a partial summary of results posted on the blog of the Virginia Association of Realtors.

During the month of May, bloggers who posted to the ActiveRain Network — where users earn points for writing and commenting on each other’s posts — wrote a median of 12 posts, compared with 10 posts among WordPress users, eight posts for TypePad bloggers, and four posts for those using Blogger.

ActiveRain bloggers reported a median total of 30 comments from readers during May, compared with eight among WordPress users and one for users of Blogger. The average number of comments per posts during May was 3.42, although older blogs received more and newer blogs fewer comments. Blogs started in 2005 attracted an average of 7.3 comments per post during May, compared with 1.3 comments per post for blogs begun this year.

Among all bloggers, nearly three out of four offered full-text RSS ("really simple syndication") feeds that allow readers to follow their posts using an RSS reader without actually visiting their site. Only 41 percent offered full text e-mail feeds. Nearly all of those surveyed allowed comments to their blogs, with only 2.3 percent saying comments were prohibited.

Homsho: A better way to buy or sell?
Homsho, a California-based real estate brokerage company that offers flat-fee listing services to sellers and 50 percent commission rebates to buyer clients, launched Tuesday with a unique business model: The company offers a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee "insuring that each of their clients is pleased with every aspect of their service," according to the company announcement. Homsho charges a flat fee of $2,995 for sellers who work with the company.

According to Homsho, listing at a flat fee "saves home sellers thousands of dollars when compared to the traditional listing price of between 2.5 percent and 3 percent of the home’s total value still used by most Realtors."

A home buyer purchasing a property for $600,000 will usually walk away from the closing with anywhere from $7,500 to $9,000 in their pocket, according to a company statement.

Zillow gets surge of listings in 2008
Zillow.com on Tuesday announced it now has nearly 3 million for-sale listings posted on its site, due in large part to rapid growth in the Zillow Listing Feeds Program in which brokerages can market their listings on Zillow, for free, via a bulk feed. The company said the program has brought a sixfold increase in the number of listings since the beginning of 2008.

Partners recently joining include major national brands such as Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, Century 21, Coldwell Banker, ERA, Sotheby’s International Realty and Prudential. Additionally, the Zillow Listings Feeds program includes independent brokerages, such as RE/MAX Indiana, First Team Real Estate, Michael Saunders and Intero Real Estate.

Buyers can now sort their searches by categories — including homes with upcoming open houses, new construction, foreclosures, homes for sale by owner (FSBO) and Make Me Move homes. Buyers can also narrow their searches by type of listing, such as land for sale, single or multifamily homes, manufactured homes or condos and co-ops.

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