Owning the conversation around real estate seems to be a big trend these days. Zillow’s trying to do it with their new release (see Zillow Asks What’s For Sale in your Hood?) and now there’s another competitor on the block, so to speak.
YourStreet.com went live this morning. It’s a site for real estate geeks (of whom I proudly count myself one) to get together and talk about what’s happening in their city. The site covers Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle right now and soon will be adding Boston, Chicago, Dallas, and San Diego into the mix. They hope to be covering the top 50 metro areas in the country by the end of the year. (Hopefully Portland gets in there).
The site was started by a group of CNET veterans and was demo’d at the SFBeta mixer last month; Rafe Needleman mentioned it briefly in his recent post Start-ups in the city. YourStreet uses a bunch of ‘social’ features to try and aggregate the local neighborhood knowledge of local residents. Local news articles, forums, blog posts and neighborhood wikis all add to the conversation. Flickr photo feeds from each city liven up the page as well.
Much like mycurrency.com (see My-Currency Wants to Use the Wisest of the Crowds) is trying to do, YourStreet.com is also hoping to tap into the ‘wisdom of the crowds’ to track neighborhood real estate markets. The idea is the people on the ground have an intuitive sense of what’s happening in their neighborhood, so users vote on a scale of 1 to 10 on whether it’s a hot or cool market. The votes are tallied and presented in a color coded graph. Votes are tied to a user’s profile and people can choose to agree or disagree with that opinion, which effectively polices the ratings – I suspect that the more people disagree with a particular ranking, that vote would drop out of the calculation.
I think this is probably the most compelling aspect of YourStreet. It allows anyone to quickly add their voice to the mix in a really fast and easy way. I bet this becomes one of the most popular features on the site. How accurate the Market Monitors actually become is another question altogether.
Real estate professionals are invited to become part of the site and even promote themselves (adding a link to your user profile) as long as you follow the guidelines established in their Good Neighbor Policy.
No sense of how they plan on monetizing the site – not even the ubiquitous Google Ads right now. I think with a few more smart content partnerships (Turnhere‘s neighborhood videos for example, or Trulia‘s neighborhood data) this site could take on the big Z and turn into a great consumer neighborhood resource.