If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, then the founder of the Clozing definitely has no qualms calling his new site the “Techmeme for Real Estate”.
Launched today by Sellsius blog head Joe Ferrara and his partner Anthony Barba, The Clozing is meant to be “your real estate water cooler”. It aggregates and displays real estate headlines from across the Net. Feeds from various sources are mixed together and displayed as stories break. The site hopes to make money through sponsored posts from advertisers that are highlighted on the right of the mix.
I love the idea personally. Techmeme remains one of the few sites I make a habit of monitoring throughout the day. Having a source of great real estate related links could be a really useful outpost to head to daily.
Nevertheless I have a few minor quibbles and suggestions for the Clozing on launch day.
The related stories algorithm seems to need some tweaking, as many of the headlines seemed to draw in random discussions. A story on IDX on Agentgenius.com was somehow linked to an announcement on Rismedia about a Green Resource website, for example.
For the Clozing to be truly useful, the relevance of the supporting discussions must remain high, at the risk of alienating the users. Given a generous allowance for launch day bugs, the Clozing ought to fix this quickly – else run the risk of going the way of RealEstateVoices.com – a much ballyhoo’d Digg clone that launched in 2006 and fizzled quickly.
Also – I wonder how truly safe it is to rely on a single source of authority (blog links) these days, given that much of the online discussion has moved quickly onto new platforms. News is increasingly shared and disseminated via social networks like Twitter so finding the fast moving conversations and links that are shared via those tools (like http://tweetmeme.com/) will be a must-have feature for the Clozing.
All in all though – it’s a great start and a nice addition to my daily bookmarks.