Ed Freyfogle is co-founder of Nestoria, a real estate search company that advertises properties in the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Italy.
He will speak during a session on Web analytics at the upcoming Real Estate Connect conference in New York City, which runs from Jan. 7-9, 2009, at the New York Marriott Marquis Times Square hotel. Freyfogle will also attend a "Meet the Leaders" networking session during the conference.
Freyfogle responded to a set of questions posed by Inman News:
What do you see happening in the real estate market in 2009?
The markets are so different, country by country. I think the past year has shown us it’s impossible to predict what the future holds. One thing is clear in all markets: those who embrace technological change sooner typically do better.
What advice do you have to help real estate agents and brokers get through this market?
Measure, measure and measure. Know your cost per lead across of all your marketing. Don’t guess or trust intuition — measure.
What sparked the idea to start your company?
I worked for many years at Yahoo and was looking for a chance to apply my knowledge of search. In Europe there is no equivalent of the multiple listing service, so there was a need for a simple search functionality and we saw that we could offer this service in partnership with the existing industry players.
What’s been your biggest challenge in running the business?
I think the challenge is the same for any startup: trying to do a lot with very few resources (time, money, people). Luckily we’ve been able to hire a few superstars to help us.
What new features are in the pipeline? Can you share any future plans, goals?
We just expanded to Germany and Italy a few months ago so we still have quite a bit of work to do there, which we’re currently focused on. In the U.K. over the last year we were able to partner with several big media groups (including Channel4 and Telegraph) so we’ll look to expand those relationships and do similar deals where they make sense in other markets. Eventually we’ll expand to other countries, but we’re in no hurry.
What lesson did you learn in the last year?
Perseverance pays off.
What would your second career choice be and why?
I must admit I love the Internet and the fact that it enables a small group of people to create a service used by millions with very minimal cost. It’s hard for me to imagine other industries with that growth potential. I also really enjoy the international aspect of what we do. It’s more interesting (and often more challenging) to work in multiple countries.
What is the biggest problem in the real estate market today, and how would you fix it?
Bad incentives. Many players in the value chain believe they win by keeping information secret. I don’t think that’s a sustainable long-term position. With regards to fixing it, the silver lining to the downturn is that a lot of folks will drop out of the game.
What do you most enjoy about working in the real estate industry?
We work more in the advertising industry than the real estate industry. It’s an exciting time. New technologies are disrupting long-established business models, which means there’s plenty of opportunity for those wiling to try new things.
Tell us something we don’t already know about you …
Ha! On the Internet everyone knows who you are.
Introduce yourself to Ed Freyfogle during a "Meet the Leaders" networking session at the Real Estate Conference in New York City, which runs from Jan. 7-9, 2009. He will also attend a panel presentation, "Down and Dirty Analytics," at the conference. Freyfogle will be joined on this panel by Marty Frame, general manager of real estate information site CyberHomes.com; and Anita Gandhi, director of client intelligence for metrics company Hitwise.
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