US real estate search engine trulia.com is moving into international real estate search through a new partnership with ListGlobally.
ListGlobally was created by propertyportalwatch.com publisher Classified Ad Ventures to allow agents and developers to market their listings to buyers around the world through a network of leading property portals. It involves no contracts or set-up fees, charging a flat fee for for each listing which is active for 90 days.
At the moment, the ListGlobally network includes rightmove.co.uk (UK), the iProperty.com network of portals (Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong), propertyfinder.ae (UAE), 99acres.com (India), immobilienscout24.de (Germany), privateproperty.co.za (South Africa), spiti24.gr (Greece), and domavin.com (Russia) amongst others.
trulia.com says it will be ListGlobally’s exclusive partner in the US and plans to launch the international search feature in the first half of 2011 to address increased consumer interest in the global property market.
“We live in a global marketplace and more and more Americans are expanding their home search beyond US borders,” says Pete Flint, CEO and co-founder of trulia.com. “Our users are moving overseas for jobs or they may be interested in second homes and places to retire. We are excited to launch global search capabilities because it is important for us to establish trulia.com as the one-stop shop for the real estate needs of all of our users.”
Portals soon to be added to the ListGlobally network include seloger.com (France), idealista.com (Spain), immobiliare.it (Italy), oferty.net (Poland) and homein.com (Global). The company says it plans to rapidly expand its listings throughout the year.
If any property portal, MLS or software provider is interested in partnering with ListGlobally, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 14, 2011 by Alice Allan
Wikipedia, which turns 10 years old this weekend, has taken a lot of heat over the years. There has been repeated criticism of the site’s accuracy, of the so-called “cabal” of editors who decide which changes are accepted and which are not, and of founder Jimmy Wales and various aspects of his personal life and how he manages the non-profit service. But as a Pew Research report released today confirms, Wikipedia has become a crucial aspect of our online lives, and in many ways it has shown us — for better or worse — what all information online is in the process of becoming: social, distributed, interactive and (at times) chaotic.
According to Pew’s research, 53 percent of American Internet users said they regularly look for information on Wikipedia, up from 36 percent of the same group the first time the research center asked the question in February of 2007. Usage by those under the age of 30 is even higher — more than 60 percent of that age group uses the site regularly, compared with just 33 percent of users 65 and older. Based on Pew’s other research, using Wikipedia is more popular than sending instant messages (which less than half of Internet users do), and is only a little less popular than using social networking services, which 61 percent of users do regularly.
The term “wiki” — just like the word “blog,” or the name “Google” for that matter — is one of those words that sounds so ridiculous it was hard to imagine anyone using it with a straight face when Wikipedia first emerged in the early 2000s. But despite a weird name and a confusing interface (which the site has been trying to improve to make it easier to edit things), Wikipedia took off and has become a powerhouse of “crowdsourcing,” before most people had even heard that word. In fact, the idea of a wiki has become so powerful that document-leaking organization WikiLeaks adopted the term even though (as many critics like to point out) it doesn’t really function as a wiki at all.
Most people will never edit a Wikipedia page — like most social media or interactive services, it follows the 90-9-1 rule, which states that 90 percent of users will simply consume the content, 9 percent or so will contribute regularly, and only about 1 percent will ever become dedicated contributors. But even with those kinds of numbers, the site has still seen more than 4 billion individual edits in its lifetime, and has more than 127,000 active users. Those include people like Simon Pulsifer, once known as “the king of Wikipedia” because he edited over 100,000 articles. Why? Because that was his idea of fun, as he explained to me at a web conference.
Yes, there will always be people who decide to edit the Natalie Portman page so that it says she is going to marry them, or create fictional pages about people they dislike. But the surprising thing isn’t that this happens — it’s how rarely it happens, and how quickly those errors are found and corrected.
With Twitter, we are starting to see how a Wikipedia-like approach to information scales even further. As events like the Giffords shooting take hold of the national consciousness, Twitter becomes a real-time news service that anyone can contribute to, and it gradually builds a picture of what has happened and what it means. Along the way, there are errors and all kinds of other noise — but over time, it produces a very real and human view of the news. Is it going to replace newspapers and television and other media? No, just as Wikipedia hasn’t replaced encyclopedias (although it has made them less relevant).
That is the way information works now, and for all their flaws, Wikipedia and Jimmy Wales were among the first to recognize that.
A spectre is haunting Mountain View. No, not bed bugs: bit rot. Google is in serious decline.
I don’t see how they can deny it. They have famously always been a data-driven organization, and the data is compelling. Business Insider’s list of the 15 biggest tech flops of 2010 cited no fewer than four from Google: Buzz, Wave, Google TV, and the Nexus One. Bizarre errors have erupted in Google Maps. Many of its best engineers are leaving. Influential luminaries like Vivek Wadhwa, Jeff Atwood, Marco Arment and Paul Kedrosky (way ahead of the curve) say their core search service is much degraded from its glory years, and the numbers bear this out; after years of unassailable dominance, Google’s search-market share is diminishing—it dropped an eyebrow-raising 1.2% just from October to November—while Microsoft’s Bing, whose UI Google tried and embarrassingly failed to copy earlier this year, is on the rise.
Even their money fount, AdWords, is problematic. An illustrative anecdote: I recently experimented with a $100 free certificate for my own pet app, and found my ad got stuck “In Review” indefinitely. According to users on AdWords’ discussion boards, this is common, and the only way to fix it is to file a help request. I did, and the problem was soon repaired—but what happened to the speedy algorithmic solutions for which Google is famous?
The general tone on the AdWords forums is exactly like that on those devoted to the other Google service I use a lot, App Engine: users on both frequently complain about the way Google neglects and/or outright ignores them. I like App Engine a lot, but it’s prone to sporadic bursts of inexplicable behaviour, and some developers are abandoning it because of Google’s perceived reluctance or inability to fix its bugs and quirks. Another example: a bug in Android’s default SMS app which sent text messages to incorrect recipients festered for six months until a spate of high-profile coverage finally forced them to fix it. How can they neglect problems like that in their only big hit of the last five years? Never mind don’t be evil—what happened to pay attention?
Once upon a time, Google was the coolest place for a techie to work. Not any more. While I can’t quantify this, I’m confident that most engineers will agree: somehow, over the last 18 months, their aura has faded and their halo has fallen. Once their arrogance was intimidating and awesome. Now it just seems clueless.
I feel a little bad being this critical, because I am—or was—a giant Google fan. I admire their China stance, and the way that they innovate like crazy and constantly take chances, not all of which pay off. I had an Android before Android was cool. But this is no mere losing streak; this is systematic degradation. They seem to be rotting from the inside out.
What happened? The same cancer that sickened Microsoft: bureaucracy. A recent NYT article claims that “the bleak reality of corporate growth” is that “efficiencies of scale are almost always outweighed by the burdens of bureaucracy.” A famous (and brilliant) essay by Moishe Lettvin, a former MS employee, explains why Windows Vista was such a turkey: at the time, every decision—and every line of code—had to filter through seven layers of management.
My sources tell me that since then Microsoft has become much more efficient, and their recent successes—XBox, Kinect, Windows 7, Windows Phone, Bing—testify to this. Kudos to them. Can Google do the same? Let’s hope so. But their situation is more difficult and dangerous: they could conceivably lose 90% of their business in the space of a few months, if a qualitatively better search engine comes along. That’s not likely to happen, but it could . . . and I’m almost beginning to hope that it does.
It’s not like they’re Yahoo!, halfway past the point of no return. Google is still a giant money machine full of brilliant engineers. Google Voice could be huge. If the rumors of their super-secret augmented-reality app are true, they have another hit in the wings. Even their self-driving cars make strategic sense to me. Still, the trajectory is clear; they’re in decline. They seem to have finally stopped believing their own press releases and realized that they have a problem—but is it too late? Has Google grown too big to succeed? I fear that the answer is yes
A lot of content on the Web today is syndicated across multiple sites. For Google News, that's a problem, as the service has to determine which one of these sources to pick as a headline. Today, Google introduced two new metatags that allow publishers to give "credit where credit is due," as the company puts it, and highlight original sources and indicate when something is a syndicated copy. Google will use this information to rank stories on Google News.
The two new tags that Google introduced today are syndication-source and original-source. The syndication-source tag can be used to indicate the location of the original story. The original-source tag should be used to highlight the URL of "the first article to report a story." A story that uses material from a variety of original sources can include more than one original-source tags to point to these. Both of these tags can also point to the current page URL, so publishers can call attention to their own original reporting. You can find more details for how to implement these tags on your site here.
For now, Google still calls this an experiment is only using the syndication-source tag in its rankings to distinguish among groups of duplicate articles. The original-source is "only being studied" and doesn't factor into Google's rankings yet.
It is worth noting that the hNews microformat, which was developed by the Associated Press and the Media Standards Trust, already offers a similar functionality, including a tag for identifying the originating organization for a news story. According to Google, though, "the options currently in existence addressed different use cases or were insufficient to achieve our goals."
Can You Trust the Internet?
The problem with this system is that it is based on trust, as Search Engine Land's Matt McGee rightly notes. Nobody can stop a spammer from marking unlicensed copies of a story as original sources, for example. In it's FAQ for these tags, Google says that it will look out for potential abuse and either ignore the source tags from offending sites or completely remove them from Google News.
RentJungle is new real estate rental search site.
According to their press release:
Rentjungle.com works much like Google in that it scours the Internet and pulls together apartment listings from a variety of sites. It one ups Google by focusing solely on apartment searches and displaying results either on a simple, interactive map or as a listing with links to Google street views. So you can get an idea of what awaits outside your front window without having to physically visit the placeâ€”especially useful if youâ€™re moving to a new city or want to apartment hunt at 2am. (emphasis added)
Here's how easy it is to search on the website. Enter address, city or zip.Â Interestingly, you can search for rentals near colleges.Â It searches many websites, including Craigslist, Sublet.com,Â and Apartments.com.
Or, you can search it out on Facebook and share it with a friend:
Besides being able to search for apartments in a city, including neighborhoods, it has a Facebook application you can add to your Facebook page. Â It lets you search on Facebook for apartments and share the results with your friends.
Rent Jungle has launched an apartment search and sharing application that is first of its kind in the apartment industry. You canÂ search for apartments using our Facebook Apartment App without even leaving the Facebook site. You can share apartments and invite your friends to comment. Best of all, it is free! Try it! (emphasis added)
It also has a rent comparison tool to see if you are paying too much for rent.Â Interesing.
Who's the guy in the Jungle?
Behind the site is Rick Ferris, a real estate broker with over 30 years experience in residential and commercial realty.Â Heâ€™s sold or leased over $400 million in commercial property and has earned the CoStar Power Broker Award every year since 2002.
I'm going to have to pass Rent Jungle to my son, who's looking for an apartment in Manhattan.
Have New Yorkers outgrown CraigsList?
The 101 on avoiding the traps of using CraigsList in your apartment search
CraigsList used to be the #1 destination for New Yorkers looking for apartment rental deals. Nowadays, the venue has become a minefield of pitfalls to avoid, sending wannabe tenants to StreetEasy. Here’s a bit of a breakdown of how this wondrous list of lists works in the world of NYC real estate.
- Traffic galore: So many eyeballs land on CL, that it’s almost impossible to avoid the site from a broker’s standpoint. The sheer amount of traffic that this community gets from apartment hunters is astonishing, with everyone looking to get a deal and find that hidden gem or diamond in the rough. It’s no wonder that hundreds of ads are posted on the site daily, with frequent double and triple posts of the very same apartment.
- Ring ring: Brokers clearly try to capitalize on this volume, with their primary goal of making the phone ring. (Note: apartment ads on CL costs the broker $5 – $10, so these are dollars clearly going towards getting business.) Unfortunately, many are trained to do only that: get the phone to ring no matter what. This means often creating “Frankenstein apartments” for the desperate tenant to drool over: a picture of a bathroom from an UWS 2-bed, the kitchen of a Financial District studio and the roof-deck of a Gramercy condo, slap an attractive price on it and … voila! The perfect apartment now exists.
- Inflated Expectations: Clearly, brokers know that no one will call on a $5k 1-bed … the lower the price, the more calls they get. Everyone is incentivized to advertise only their cheapest deals or else make them up. The result is an inflated sense of the number of “bargains” out there, and therefore a very skewed sense of what is realistic to expect. So what happens when you call? “I’m sorry, this apartment is rented but I have another 1-bed you will just love.”
- For rent by whom?: For those of you looking to go the “for rent by owner” route thinking you can avoid all shadiness, ask the voice on the other end if s/he is a broker. If the answer is anything but “No”, there’s a significant likelihood that the answer is yes, as 50%+ of owner listings have an agent behind them.
So how do you determine whether an ad is real and an agent worthy? Here is a question-driven litmus test to guide your way:
Question: Where is the apartment located?
- Bad Answer: It’s in West Chelsea
- Worse answer: The landlord prohibits me from giving the exact address.
- OK Answer: It’s located at on 5th Avenue, between Y and X.
- Ideal Answer: It’s at 625 Fifth Ave, Apt. 2C (agents often find it hard to share if it’s not their exclusive listing, though)
Question: Tell me more about the apartment: where is it facing? what is the bathroom like?
- Bad Answer: What are you looking for?
- Good Answer: It’s facing north; the bathroom was renovated 3 years ago and has a stand-up shower (not tub), etc.
Question: What size bed can I fit in the bedroom?
- Bad Answer: You have to just see the apartment; come to my office to register.
- Good Answer: If you have a queen, that would work well. Frankly, a king just wouldn’t fit unless you eliminated all walking space.
Question: When is it available?
- Bad Answer: I’m not sure, let me check with the landlord and I’ll get back to you.
- Worse Answer: When are you looking to move?
- Good Answer: The tenant’s lease expires in the middle of June and the apartment is available for occupancy on July 1.
If you do choose to conduct your own apartment search, do so with your eyes open and your expectations adjusted. If it sounds too good to be true, chances are that it is. Otherwise, go the broker route if you want to avoid these hassles altogether.
Have New Yorkers outgrown CraigsList?
When we launched the 1000watt Index in January, we knew it would never stop growing.
And over the last year, we’ve steadily added companies and categories, growing it to become a comprehensive guide to real estate technology service providers in the US.
During this time, we also received many submissions from companies overseas. Many of them were interesting to us. A lot of innovation was indeed happening outside U.S. borders.
Expanding the Index was only a matter of time.
So, today, the Index goes global. We’ve nearly doubled the number of links to progressive companies and expanded it to include several key new regions; right now, Canada, Asia Pacific and Europe.
Befitting these new additions we’ve transformed the 1000watt Index into the Global Real Estate Index.
We also found a partner uniquely positioned to help us do this. We are pleased to announce that this new site is a joint initiative between 1000watt Consulting and our friends at Classified AdVentures.
Classified AdVentures was started by Simon Baker, formerly the CEO of REA Group. His team works with property portals and franchise groups in all major international markets.
Together, we have big plans for the Index in 2011, which includes the expansion into more markets (South America is coming soon).
So, if you have a company you’d like to see featured on the Index, head on over to www.globalrealestateindex.com and submit your request. As always, we review all submissions personally, insuring that what we publish meets our criteria.
If you have ideas for new categories, or how we can make the Index more useful, please email them to info [at] 1000wattconsulting.com.
Around the world, innovators are bringing bright real estate ideas to life online. The Global Real Estate Index was built to help you discover them.
Here is a screenshot:
Google unveiled it's new Books Ngram Viewer last week, which tracks words indexed by Google Scholar, allowing any user to potentially trace cultural trends through archived literature. The above n-gram tracks the prevalence of the words "television," "radio," "newspaper," and "Internet," with relatively predictable results as media has morphed throughout the past century.
Though the data trends are of course limited to Google's own "canon" (of indexed books), the results that CNET calls A Time Machine For Wordplay are utterly fascinating. Profound shifts in American philosophy over the past two centuries can be traced to the prevalence of usage of the words "Liberty" vs. "Freedom," which I found in Alexis Madrigal's article in The Atlantic.
Also amusing is the rise of Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies in recent Literature.