Bloggers discuss Facebook-to-Facebook communication
SAN FRANCISCO — A series of real estate blogging sessions at the Real Estate Connect conference closed with a question-and-answer discussion that highlighted tech tools ranging from Facebook to WordPress. Kris Berg, broker associate for Prudential California Realty, joked that she has "signed up for everything, I just can’t remember my passwords. I’m up to 10 friends on Facebook today and I got three in the last session." Facebook is a social networking site. Panelists also discussed PhotoDropper, ScribeFire and Twitterfeed, among other tech tools.

Jeff Turner, president of Real Estate Shows, said technology has its limits. "Tech will only take you so far. Tech is a tool. In someone’s hands who understands how to use it is great. Tech for tech’s sake is not useful. I’m not convinced — as much as I love it — that talking about tech will take you to the next level." And Joseph Ferrara, publisher of the Sellsius real estate blog, said it’s important to focus on turning blog site visitors into clients. And Jay Thompson, broker for Thompson Realty, said that while the overall public perception is that blogs are a personal diary, they can actually be a powerful business and professional tool.

Lender Processing Services buys McDash Analytics
Recently spun off from Fidelity National Information Services, Lender Processing Services Inc. this week announced the acquisition of McDash Analytics, which provides access to a large loan-level database of mortgage assets for the purpose of benchmarking and analysis. LPS now offers access to data on more than 39 million active first and second mortgage loans, including portfolios serviced by nine of the top 10 mortgage servicers in the nation.

The data represents approximately two-thirds of the mortgage market and spans the entire credit spectrum of agency, non-agency and portfolio products. Access to LPS’ complete loan-level data aims to give mortgage industry professionals a greater level of analytic flexibility, while minimizing the need to interpolate benchmarking results. "Providing analytic transparency on mortgage asset behavior is a critical factor to restoring confidence in the mortgage market," said Ted Jadlos, chief executive officer of McDash Analytics, in a prepared statement.

RE/MAX adds mapping, virtual imaging features
RE/MAX International, Inc. on Thursday announced the launch of Google Street View and Microsoft Virtual Earth features on its Web site, www.remax.com, in an attempt to enhance the user’s view of properties, streets and neighborhoods.

"We know consumers are relying on the Internet, more than ever, to search and view property listings," said Kristi Graning, senior vice president of IT and eBusiness at RE/MAX International, in a prepared statement. "These advanced technologies give our users a better perspective of the properties and even neighborhoods in which they’re searching, which is key to finding the perfect home."

RE/MAX International is also in the process of a Web site redesign. The new site, expected to launch later this year, will have a new look and feel and other new consumer-friendly features.

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