Platial is a Portland-based social-networking mapping site that, while rough around the edges, shows some intriguing possibilities in amongst the Real Estate 2.0 crowd.

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At it's heart, Platial is a site that allows its users to share interesting locations on a map – much like you would draw out a map to your neighborhood on a piece of paper and give it to guests. Platial embodies this same concept, but on a much grander scale. Through a tagging and buddy system, your map is instantly available to anybody who is searching their site. Friends can contribute and help make it more and more comprehensive.

I can see this site having real relevance at a hyper-local level, where a realtor or agent could set themselves up as an expert on a particular neighborhood. They could share the relevant landmarks and selling points of their particular areas. And while it is not directly related to real estate, Platial offers the opportunity for individuals to brand themselves as local market experts. Like Wayfaring.com, Platial also has an easy way to put a map created on their site onto another site, say a personal blog.

Unfortunately, while there seems to be the beginnings of a local advertising base, there doesn't seem to be an obvious way to sign up as an advertiser. I could see real value for an agent or broker, for example, to sponsor a section of the site. Platial would do well to properly monetize this aspect of the site.

Another creative use of Platial's feature set is what Counter Intelligence: The Real Estate Cafe Weblog is doing, which is helping map falling home prices in order to protect consumers from overpaying in "overvalued" markets. This sort of information-sharing is just the kind of thing that is rapidly democratizing the real estate game.

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