You can find me over at RSS Pieces today. Mary McKnight is here in my place.


First, I want to say that I am honored and humbled to post on the very first real estate technology site to make my RSS feed reader. What not even Joel may know is that Future of Real Estate Marketing was the very first blog to ever link to RSS Pieces and mention our services. So, when it came to finding a topic for this site, I was extremely selective. Since this site is about the Future of all things real estate marketing and technology related, this is my post about what’s next for real estate and web marketing.

Homeless Technologies

Wandering the web, I see a lot of homeless technologies. What are homeless technologies? These are the wild, wacky and “wowâ€? technologies that just don’t have a use yet. These are not the beta projects that 4 kids in a basement are coding away at or the silent well-funded threats that are already lurking out there on the web. Instead, they are the high-level information aggregation models covered in college theses and the concepts pontificated on by the geekiest of the geeks at the geekiest of conferences. So, here’s my list of some homeless technologies that are just begging to find residence in the real estate industry within the next year or so.

SIOC (Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities)

The technical mumbo jumbo:

According to Wikipedia Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities (SIOC) is a Semantic Web technology. SIOC provides methods for connecting discussions on blogs, forums and mailing lists to each other.

Plain Jane explains:

Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities or SIOC is a framework aimed at connecting online community sites and internet-based discussions by linking concepts. Currently, online communities (forums, bulletin boards, blogs, mailing lists etc.) are islands – they contain valuable information but are not connected to one another to form a network of rich data. SIOC allows us to interlink these sites, and enables the extraction of richer information from various discussion services.

Uses for the semantic web in real estate:

  1. Internet subscriptions: Once SIOC is enabled, users will be able to subscribe via RSS or ATOM not to individual sites but the Internet as a whole based on their related interests. Realtors will be able to aggregate all related data on MLS, emerging technologies and market data from a single source. Gone will be the days of hunting the web for the latest greatest development. The semantic web will do that for you. Similarly, homeowners and buyers will be able to subscribe to aggregated listing feeds
  2. SIOC enabled search engines: SIOC engine will deliver more relevant search results based on your queries. For example if you do a search for “homes for sale in Cape Coralâ€? the search engine will say I found these sites and would also provide a link that says if you think this article is helpful, you may also want to read this article as well. Search engines will work better because each article will have contextual information that is attached to it and helps guide the spider rather than having the search engine decide what it “thinksâ€? your article is about.
  3. Content suggestion tools: Your visitor has read an interesting article about home selling trends in your farm area but they want to learn more. Using SIOC you would be able to suggest related articles based on topic. The end result is that you are able to help your client find more and relevant information on their specific areas of interest. Essentially you build your credibility as a trusted source and data center to your visitors.

To learn more about SIOC, visit the SIOC Project

FOAF: (Friend of a Friend)

The technical mumbo jumbo:

According to Wikipedia, FOAF (Friend of a Friend) is a project for machine-readable modeling of homepage-like profiles and social networks. FOAF is a schema for defining relationships between people, and various attributes such as name, gender, and interests. To enable linking, each record includes globally unique identifiers (GUID) for each friend (such as SHA1 checksums of their E-mail addresses, a Jabber ID, or a URI to the homepage or weblog of the person).

Plain Jane explains:

The FOAF Project, itself, actually explains the concept fairly well. The idea behind FOAF is simple: the Web is all about making connections between things. FOAF provides some basic machinery to help us tell the Web about the connections between the things that matter to us.

Thousands of people already do this on the Web by describing themselves and their lives on their home page. Using FOAF, you can help machines understand your home page, and through doing so, learn about the relationships that connect people, places and things described on the Web. FOAF uses W3C’s RDF technology to integrate information from your home page with that of your friends, and the friends of your friends, and their friends…

In FOAF each author is given a unique identifier that can be used to connect content with its author. Once FOAF is implemented and in wide spread use across the web you will be able to find any new content written by a specific person just by providing their GUID. Gone will be the days of searching for an article by Joe Smith that returns 100 million search results. Instead the GUID can be used to return just the articles from the author you are after. Eventually you could get an RSS or ATOM news feed that is an aggregate of all of your favorite authors’ posts.

Using FOAF you can specify your interests which can be used to find related posts that are of specific interest to you. Imagine being able to do a search for like-minded people by just entering some demographic information.

Because FOAF allows you to associate people with each other you will also be able to locate similar content from related authors. If you happen to work in an office with 50 other agents you can list them as associates and provide your visitors with links to posts from people that you know and trust rather than casting your visitor to the wind and having them land on a competitors website.

When FOAF makes the big show, you will be able to provide your clients with topical and timely information from people that you trust. You can give them a consistent and reliable source of information, engage them and hopefully win them over.

EXAMPLE: My name is Mary, this is a picture of me, I’m interested in blogging and SEO, I work at RSS Pieces in the real estate technology industry, I author these sites and publications and here are some links to my colleagues and friends. FOAF takes all this information, compares it to FOAF documents from other websites and maps a relationship between me, my friends, their friends, etc. It basically auto generates the largest possible personal network available tome through six degrees of separation.

Uses for Friend of a Friend in real estate:

1. FOAF enabled suggestion. You can offer your clients additional related materials at the end of a post by associating yourself with other like-minded people or sources on the web.

2. FOAF enabled networking. Think of this as reducing the 6 degrees of separation or at least helping people visualize it. You can help your clients connect and learn from other trusted sources rather than them looking around the internet randomly and get information that is deceptive or down right incorrect. Instead they trust you and you are recommending people that they can trust as well.

3. FAOF enabled search. In the future, people will be able to search for content, find you and also see a list of related posts from people that are within your sphere of influence. You will be able to give and guide people to more relevant information.

To learn more, visit the Friend of a Friend Project


The technical mumbo jumbo:

According to Wikipedia, the Atom Syndication Format is an XML language used for web feeds, while the Atom Publishing Protocol (APP for short) is a simple HTTP-based protocol for creating and updating Web resources. Web feeds allow software programs to check for updates published on a web site. To provide a web feed, a site owner may use specialized software (such as a content management system) that publishes a list (or “feed”) of recent articles or content in a standardized, machine-readable format. The feed can then be downloaded by web sites that syndicate content from the feed, or by feed reader programs that allow Internet users to subscribe to feeds and view their content.

Plain Jane explains:

The future of real estate technology is syndication of information not the syndication of text. What is the difference? Information can come in all forms, visual, spoken, written or just plain blocks of data that a computer understands. Wouldn’t it be nice to have one format that can address them all?

There is one format above all others – ATOM. Think of ATOM as RSS on steroids. ATOM is simply a more robust form of web content syndication that abolishes some of the shortcomings of the various flavors of RSS.

Shortcomings? Yes. There are 3 common versions of RSS and each was introduced to resolve a problem with the previous version. RSS does not adequately describe content and it doesn’t deal well with multimedia files – aka podcasts, Vidcasts, etc. Rather than evolve the specification, the people behind RSS have continued to throw it out and start over much to the dismay of web site operators and developers everywhere. In fact the RSS2 specification itself forbids revisions and instead requires a new version if a problem exists. Hardly the way you want to do business right? That would be like saying cedar shingles are a fire hazard so you just need to buy a new house.

Uses for ATOM syndication in real estate:

  1. ATOM supports embedding of images and other data into the feed itself so you can now provide listing images, market graphs, and farm area images via syndication feeds.
  2. ATOM also includes more detailed information about your posts so it is easier to pull feeds from a site and chose how they should display on your site.
  3. ATOM is open and flexible. Rather that throw out the baby with the bath water, you can support new functionality by just adding it onto your existing ATOM reader.

Check out the other participants Yankee Swap Blogs:

Transparent Real Estate’s Pat Kitano vs. Zillow’s Drew Meyers

RSS Pieces’ Mary McKnight vs. Future of Real Estate Marketing’s Joel Burslem

St Paul Real Estate Blog’s Teresa Boardman vs. Phoenix Real Estate Guy’s Jay Thompson

3 Ocean Real Estate’s Kevin Boer vs. SLC Real Estate’s Nigel Swaby

Issaquah Undressed’s Larry Cragun vs. Maury Properties’ Andrew Maury

Chicago Home Weblog‘s Geno Petroche vs. NY Houses 4 Sales’ Christine Forgione

Phoenix Arizona Real Estate Blog‘s Jonathan Dalton vs. Real Estate Snippets Bonnie Erickson

The boys of Sellsius vs. Real Estate Tomato’s Jim Cronin

ML Podcast’s Michael Price vs.’s Elise Wright

My Tech Opinion’s Reggie Nicolay vs. Ubertor’s Steve Jagger

Redfin’s Glenn Kelman vs Rain City’s Ardell DellaLoggia

CondoDomain’s Anthony Longo vs. miOaklandCounty’s Maureen Francis

The San Diego Home Blog’s Kris Berg vs. Urban Dig’s Noah Rosenblatt

The Property Monger’s Jon Ernest vs. XBroker’s Jeff Corbett

Realty Blogging’s Richard Nacht vs. The Mortgage Reports’ Dan Green

Christian Real Estate Network’s Justin Smith vs. Wanna Network’s Tony Senna

Sacramento Voice’s Gena Riede vs. Atlanta 575 Real Estate’s Brad Nix

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