Archive for the ‘mashups’ Category

How is Redfin Doing?

November 2, 2006

I am asking agents/brokers in Seattle & San Fran to provide me with some data – or maybe the good folks at Redfin can stop by and let us know.  I want to find out how Redfin is doing.  Does anyone have any current numbers?  How many properties are currently listed through Redfins $2k flat fee?  How many deals has redfin closed (either side)?  What are the numbers?

If you have any info, you can leave it here (as a comment) or send me an email at realestate20@gmail.com

Maybe I could find this data at the Redfin site…but the have made some changes (I have not been to their site in a while) – I cannot even figure out how to find the “for sale” listings anymore.

The Redfulia of Apartments announces it has $20M to burn.

September 21, 2006

mynewplace.com

Mynewplace.com, another web 2.0, google map, ajax ridden, pathetically slow Internet startup announced a $12M VC round the other day – bringing the total up to $20M.

So what are they going to do with the $20,000,000?  That’s easy, give it away to anyone willing to use their website (sound familiar?). 

Need an apartment?  Get $100 cash back (your choice – a check up to 10 weeks later –or- the coveted amazon gift certificate) when you locate your next apartment using their website.  After scrolling down the search results and waiting for the pages to load, I think you could break it down to about $6-$6.50/hr.

Oh…did I mention you are not allowed to actually look at an apartment until you provide them with your email address?  Genius!  (Note to self: the next time you launch a website with $20M, make sure to build in a guaranteed loss of users)

So this is the point where I give this startup, and the VC’s that backed them, some insight.  It is the same advice I have offered up before.  As a consumer, you will only get one chance to bog down my browser and piss me off by asking for my email address to use your site.  It’s a simple frick’n recipe folks – it’s called the path of least resistance – simple is always better.

Oh…one more tip – the next time you announce a major round of VC, make sure your blog has been updated within the last 40 days. 

The Elevator Pitch

September 20, 2006

Dear Venture Capitalists,

Over the past several months, my team and I have been working diligently on what we feel will be the business model that revolutionizes the real estate industry.  Our sophisticated, web 2.0 technology allows users to search for properties via an interactive map.  Buyers that choose to purchase a home through our online service will receive a 150% rebate on the full purchase price while perspective sellers receive $20,000 to consider using our free services.

The management team is willing to relocate to Seattle.  We have embedded our website below for your review.

 

—————————————————

redfulia

stand by

trulia – I don’t like it

September 15, 2006

trulia

Today I am going to take a look at trulia.  I am going to point out some strengths and some weaknesses, and then I will give you my take.

Strengths:

1. Although trulia is considered “web 2.0,” they have done an almost flawless job with their web 1.0 SEO efforts (with the exception of adhering to w3c standards – their San Diego listings page shows 182 errors).  The site’s architecture is set up exactly the way it should be…unfortunately, their programmers wrote some ugly code.  It’s nice to see a 2.0 company that still worries about search engines, even if their programming team is what I would consider second rate.

2. Trulia does a great job at implementing RSS feeds.  Although RSS is still very far from being main-stream, geeks love it, and it meshes nicely with real estate.

3. They have been able to do a good job with PR.  PR is the most important strategy for a web 2.0 business today.  When meeting with a VC, you get to say things like “we haven’t spent anything on advertising.”  Then you get to say things like “our growth is organic” or “our growth is viral.”  Everyone likes that.

Weaknesses:

1. No inventory.  Sure, trulia has a ton of listings…maybe 2% of the listings in each market they serve (probably less).  Why in the hell would Joe Buyer want to look at 2% of the available homes for sale in his market when he can visit any local IDX site and view everything?  So he can play with a map? 

2. Slow, slow, slow.  When you use trulia it feels like you are on a dial-up connection.  The pages take forever to load – if you accidentally mouse over something, it slows everything else down.  The site is just dreadfully slow.

3. I think the two points above are fatal.

My Take:

First: What it comes down to is this.  Using trulia is a waste of time.  If I am a serious buyer, I do not want to visit 15 websites (not even 2 websites) to see what is available.  I want to go to one website – and I do not want it to feel like I am on a 14.4 modem.  Trulia will never have a meaningful percentage of the market (unless they join every MLS in the country).

Second: As far as agents and brokers using trulia – Its pretty simple, trulia is a pimp – and if you feed them all of your listings, you are a whore.  Without your listings, trulia would not exist…they should be paying you for content…not the other way around.

Sure, they may not be charging you anything right now, but a good crack dealer never does.  When you find yourself dependent, you better believe you will be paying the piper. 

If you want to spend your time and money building businesses for other people, give me a call – I can help you out with that.

Redfin will flop like a fish out of water

September 14, 2006

redfin

Seattle startup Redfin, which has raised over $8M, doesn’t have much time left on the dock – they are sucking for air and here is why.

First – Their website just plain sucks.

Q: If their mapping technology is so great, why did they take it off of their homepage?

A:Because everyone left their site while the homepage was loading – that’s why. 

Now, instead of the homepage, the search page takes what feels like an hour to load, then it only takes 50-60 more clicks to zoom in on an area, then only another hour for the map to re-load, then a little more zoom, then another 45 minutes or so. 

Now I get to look at the roof of a home for sale.  Technology rules! 

Sure a few geeks, with nothing else to do, like to use it (I am not ripping on geeks, I am one myself), but the general public wants a fast, easy to use website that they do not have to learn how to use.  Just ask Craig and Sergi.

Second – Their founder recently quit or was fired.  Enough said.

Third – They do not make money. 

Their model will simply not support a business.  They are basically giving away the $8M+ that they have raised to any buyer willing to use their service.  I have news for Redfin – you will not survive on your margins…period.  Impossible.  End of story.

Fourth – They are not doing much business.  In this blog post, they claim to already have two pending in sales in California – after two months in the market.  Two pending sales in two months?  With how much money these guys are spending on PR– that is absolutely horrible.  Their financial backers have to be freak’n out.

In closing,I have to say that I whole-heartedly believe that real estate and the Internet go together like peanut butter and jelly – its a perfect match.  But I think that the VC’s and Entrepreneurs starting these new Real Estate 2.0 companies better get back to basics before they go broke.  Real estate buyers are looking for properties – not the latest widgets.  I understand that adding needless steps to a process is something that some people think is cool – but like parachute pants and fancy flash websites – they are fads that will eventually go away.  When it comes down to it – simple always prevails.

Hello Web 2.0 world!

September 14, 2006

Welcome to Real Estate 2.0. This is my first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

me

I decided to start this blog today because I needed a place to vent.  I am the founder of a small (self-funded) internet real estate startup that does not utilize any of the retarded ajax or ruby on rails technology bullshit that we see oozing all over the web.

I am a strong believer in Web 1.0 – meaning a well built, w3c compliant, search engine friendly, lots of indexed (or index-able) pages, fast loading, old fashioned type website.  You know, the kind that does not have a tag cloud, a 36+ size font, and a google map-mashup on it’s homepage.

Although I will be focusing my energy on the Real Estate 2.0 crowd – I will most likely be biting the ankles of other web 2.0 companies (outside of the real estate industry) as well.