If the last two years were a race by the big portals to get listings into their databases, then 2009 is looking like it will be the year that the race shifts to who can add the richest context to all of that data (see Neighborhood Search Comes Back).
We’ve gone from the refrain being listings, listings, listings — to the more familiar; location, location, location.
Case in point, FrontDoor last week launched its new City Guides – an ambitious editorial project aimed at building up relevant content for all the major metro areas. The site has hired professional editors to curate stories and articles aimed at helping people better understand the cities that they are searching for online real estate.
A big part of the push seems to be on video content, which was another big trend emerging out of Connect last week — video seems be finally on the verge of more widespread adoption inside of real estate (check out what Halstead Property is doing with their ProperTV initiative, for example).
Curiously though, Frontdoor does not seem to have enabled embedding of their videos. I would have thought it would make sense for the company to enable brokers/agents to take and embed their neighborhood videos on their own sites through a customized player that drove links back to Frontdoor and through content that drove awareness of their brand. Just like what Trulia did with their market data widgets, when they first launched.
On a slightly different note, Onboard Informatics launched a new product they are calling their Lifestyles Listings Engine which enables their partners to take a real estate search beyond the ZIP code.
The key here is to enable consumers to discover more about the places that they want to live before they get to the actual property search. This is a trend we’re starting see more and more sites offer (see Estately Comes to Portland).
Finally, on a lighter note, for those of out there already on the hunt for a home and need more information about where you are looking, check out Lethal, a new application for the iPhone. With the push of a button, Lethal finds your immediate location and tells you how safe you are. It could just save you from a big mistake.
Photo by livinginacity