FrontDoor.com, HGTV’s foray into the real estate search space, now lets you sign in to the site (sort of) with your Facebook account.
It’s a great idea in theory — I’m all for lowering the friction points that exist to interact with any site. Sign-up processes, while necessary, are often clumsy and time consuming as a user. Letting me use one of existing online profiles through Facebook Connect, Google Friend Connect or even OpenID makes that step a breeze. One click and I’m in.
Use of universal logins are in their infancy for sure. OpenID is gaining ground but you may as well use Navajo on your site as far as mainstream consumers are concerned. So kudos to FrontDoor for taking a step in the right direction. Their product is clearly aimed at the middle-of-the-bell-curve consumer rather than the bleeding-edge search nerds, so having it connect to Facebook is definitely a smart move.
But unfortunately, in its current state, it doesn’t go far enough. Or anywhere for that matter. As far as I can tell, logging in to FrontDoor with my Facebook account (while it was a snap) didn’t really seem to allow me to do much.
In fact, beyond pulling in my avatar at the top of the page, I couldn’t figure out what it did at all.
Personally, I’d love for it to integrate more deeply with the MyFrontDoor account and allow me to share and save properties or save my searches. Right now it seems I still have to sign up for a separate account and even then the two aren’t even linked.
Now it could be this is a limitation of the API. But it would be great if you could integrate your profiles on other social networks into search tools like FrontDoor — if you could post found properties to my profile or to groups of friends inside my existing social graph, for example. How about allowing me to promote my own house for sale (if it were) to my wall. How cool would that be?
I like where FrontDoor is going with this. Hopefully we’ll see more to come soon. …CONTINUED
The nice folks at Scripps sent me an e-mail fleshing out more detail about FrontDoor’s Facebook Connect integration. I’ve excerpted a few sections below since they give some greater context to the feature:
"As you surmised, the Facebook Connect rollout is a work in progress. Truth be told, we’re about 50% finished with the actual rollout and we expect to have everything buttoned up by June 1.
"However, there are a few nuances to what is live now that I’d like to point out:
"As you note, a person’s MyFrontDoor and Facebook accounts are not fully integrated yet. This is the final stage of our build that will go live very early June. When that happens, you will be able to authenticate and gain access to certain features more quickly than going through a FrontDoor-only registration process. For example, we’ll be able to pre-populate certain registration fields without a user having to fill those in. That said, there are limitations in their API that will force us to continue to require a select few pieces of information, such as e-mail addresses and ZIP codes. E-mail addys are particularly necessary because Facebook doesn’t pass that info along to us and we need that as a backup unique identifier to maintain their account in the event (God forbid) that Facebook should go POOF or somehow alter how Connect works. In any case, however, it will be faster and friendlier with Facebook Connect than without it."
Very cool. Exactly how I would want it to work.
"Right now our Facebook Connect features allow you to do some subtle, yet key, things:
"On every listing on our site there is a Facebook share function. With Connect, that share function becomes much richer than standard FB share functionality (non-FB Connect) that other sites use. For example, with FB connect on FrontDoor, when you click "share" we can pre-populate the share text and personalize it with your name and extend an invitation for your friends to interact with it. The standard non-FB Connect share function simply pulls in meta tags from the site. We think the FB Connect approach makes for a more personal, social experience because it shows a user being actively engaged and we can actively ask for your friends’ feedback.
"On the editorial side, you have even more options with the FrontDoor-FB Connect combo. From every article on our site, you can not only share an article (again with personalization), you can also directly update your Facebook status from the right rail of the page. Again, just two more ways to personalize the experience and invite your friends to join in. I invite you to give it a try. We’re pretty sure that all these opportunities create a better environment for sharing without getting in the way of the search/reading experience."
All in all it shows that the FD folks are really thinking this through. I still come back to the fact that they are integrating a widely popular social networking tool into their site — to streamline the interaction with the site rather than relying on cumbersome profiles or proprietary user accounts that aren’t portable.
I would love for this approach to be more widely adopted by brokers’ Web sites particularly and/or some of the more progressive Web site vendors. Making your sites easier to interact with. What a concept. Your consumers will thank you for it.
Future of Real Estate Marketing is a part of Inman News.
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