Craig Donato had a brainstorm while building a cabin in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

"As I was searching for things, I realized how hard it was to use classifieds. I couldn’t see all the listings in one place — or ask for something," he recalls.

So he co-founded online classifieds site Oodle.com and serves as the company’s CEO.

Craig Donato had a brainstorm while building a cabin in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

"As I was searching for things, I realized how hard it was to use classifieds. I couldn’t see all the listings in one place — or ask for something," he recalls.

So he co-founded online classifieds site Oodle.com and serves as the company’s CEO.

A former CEO for business-to-business integration service Grand Central and former senior vice president of Excite@Home, Donato will speak during the Bloggers Connect workshop at the upcoming Real Estate Connect conference in San Francisco, which runs from Aug. 5-7, 2009.

He responded to a set of questions posed by Inman News:

What do you see happening in the real estate market in 2009?

2009 is the year of the "social Web." More than 100,000 Realtors have profiles on Facebook alone.

This year, agents will really start to see some traction on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, as well as build brand presence through these new mediums.

In addition to getting their listings on this "social Web," real estate professionals will be fine-tuning how they converse with their customers — and reach out to their prospects.

What advice do you have to help real estate agents and brokers get through this market?

Get your listings in social Web environments (Facebook, MySpace and Twitter); get people talking about your listings, leveraging the inherent social nature of these networks; and then get involved in the conversation.

What sparked the idea to start your company?

I was building my cabin in the Sierra foothills and as I was searching for things, I realized how hard it was to use classifieds. I couldn’t see all the listings in one place — or ask for something. I decided to start Oodle to make classifieds easy to use. …CONTINUED

What’s been your biggest challenge in running the business?

For real estate, the biggest challenge is getting unfettered access to real estate listings and data. Consumers want to be able to see all the listings in one place.

Can you share any future plans, goals?

As Oodle continues to invest in Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, we will be fine-tuning the art of how to maximize the number of people talking about real estate listings.

What would your second career choice be and why?

A software programmer because I’m a geek at heart.

What do you most enjoy about working with the real estate industry?

As a local advertising category, the real estate industry is extremely progressive. It’s fun working with such forward-thinking people.

Tell us something we don’t already know about you …

Most weekends I’m at my cabin, using my big tools.

Hear Craig Donato speak during the Bloggers Connect workshop at the Inman News Real Estate Connect conference in San Francisco, which runs from Aug. 5-7, 2009.

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