Inman Connect has been a whirlwind for the last few days, so much so that I have barely had a chance to sit down at my computer. Compounding the situation has been spotty Wifi access on the show floor, something that Inman should definitely address next year. (Kevin from 3Oceans seems to agree with me with the need for a better Wifi access).
Apart from the flaky Wifi, the show has been a resounding success so far. Kudos to Brad and his organizing team for a fantastic event. It’s definitely one of the best trade shows I’ve ever attended.
Most exciting has been the opportunity to finally meet many of the real estate bloggers in person.
Sunday night’s Beers with the Bloggers event was a great success, thanks to everyone who showed up – Paul from Blogging Systems, Mary & John from RSS Pieces, Erik from RealtyThoughts, Matt and Jonathan from ActiveRain , Jeff from XBroker, Phil from Wellcomemat, Steve from AgencyLogic and Pat from TransparentRE, to name just a few (forgive me if I’ve forgotten anyone).
Of course a big shout out to the Rudy and Joe at Sellsius for suggesting an excellent venue at the Hudson Hotel (make sure you check out their pics of the evening too, see First Round, On Sellsius°). The guys at Sellsius have been doing a bang up job of covering the conference so far, so make sure you check ’em out. I’ve been eyeing Rudy’s EVDO connection rather enviously over the last few days as he’s managed an Internet connection while the rest of us have been in the dark.
But onto the conference itself…
Move.com‘s Alan Dalton takes on Redfin‘s Glenn Kelman. Wow. Highly spirited to say the least. My estimation of Glenn went up several notches as he had to sit up there in a very hostile atmosphere and defend his business model. I walked away very impressed. Like ’em or not, you have to admire Redfin’s ability to soldier on.
Make sure you read Glenn’s take on the Redfin blog (see Holy Guacamole! Move.com Squares Off with Redfin at Inman)
Glenn also reveals that Redfin is soon to be launching in Southern California and Boston.
Oops! Brad Inman spills the beans on Localism, ActiveRain’s new “consumer facing” site. Read Matt’s post Brad Inman lets the cat out of the bag
Where’s Zillow? Despite all the hype over the last year, Zillow has remained conspicuously low key at this show. Signs of greater acceptance by the real estate community? Or are they digging themselves in for a bigger battle to come?
Trulia on the other hand, is getting into the consumer trends game with their Trulia Trends report. Johnathan Miller of Matrix has a good summary of what it entails and I plan on digging into it deeper on the flight back to Portland.
Finally, some takeaway thoughts:
Metrics, Metrics, Metrics
Online marketing is hitting its stride in the real estate space. More than ever, there are so many new options for Realtors to allocate their advertising dollars. The need to track and measure the ROI (Return On Investment) is going to become greater and greater. The companies that can help handhold real estate professionals through managing their metrics are the ones that are going to succeed.
The last year has been all about aggregating data. Whether it’s listings, agent profiles, consumer behavior or demographics, many of the Internet based companies that have enjoyed a rapid rise in the real estate space have built their businesses on the mountains of pre-existing raw data. The next challenge going forward is going to be how those companies keep their databases fresh and whether the data still remains relevant a year from now.
Video Killed the Virtual Tour
I believe this is going to be the year that online video finally make an impact in real estate. The barriers to entry have largely disappeared and the reams of data that now exists now needs context. Video does just that. Realtors and brokers should start looking at how they can incorporate video into their marketing efforts, not only as a way to differentiate themselves from the competition, but as a way to bring greater value to their clients and to consumers.
I hope to expand on much of this over the coming days as well as profile some of the interesting companies I’ve run into over the past 24 hours. But for now, I just have to get some sleep.