Monthly Archives: April 2005

Using RSS in the Real Estate Industry


Thought this might be worth reading:

Using RSS in the Real Estate Industry

February 3, 2005

We have a few forward-looking real estate customers.  A key part of the realty industry is marketing property listings. As the RE industry embraces digtial media, we found syndication via RSS 2.0 to be a great marketing tool.

Do you or Nate know this company?  Regardless, their marketing philosophy appears to be something you could have written:

We are asked all the time how we market our products and services. It
surprises many traditional software and consulting firms that our
marketing boils down to “living open source”. As a pro- open source
company, we live the open source development model — from software to
open standards business processes — for many of our projects.

Full text online at:  Marketing Tips  for Open Source Companies

Posted in Uncategorized

Beyond MLS matches: Developing filters to recommend housing choices in new communities


I am thinking of adding an open source playpen on The Real Estate Cafe’s blog to invite change agents and real estate technologists to brainstorm about consumer friendly innovations and open source collaborations.  Here’s an example of the kind of post I’d like to make… what’s your take?

According to NPR’s WeekendAmerica segment on "The Culture Filter Machine," there is so much information online now that people want someone to help them sort through it all. Technologists are exploring new ways to watch your behavior and develop "filters" to match your preferences., for example, uses your purchases and recent purchasers by others with similar interests to help make recommendations to you. 

Could this model be applied to real estate?  Is it possible to use your search profiles to develop filters to refer you to new properties or communities?  Beyond your own preferences, would it be possible to develop search profiles from similar buyers to make recommendations for you? 

To get some ideas, look at how these new matching models are already being used in the music industry: has developed proprietary music analysis technologies capable of identifying music preferences of a user or the whole current recorded music market and intelligently selecting music to recommend to the user or to release as a single.

Our technology not only allows similarities to be identified between existing successful music and unreleased or unsigned music, but can  also use that data to identify emerging trends as the music landscape changes.

If something similar were developed for home buyers, what kind of dream
functionality would you like to see?  How would it differ from the daily email updates thousands of buyers receive every morning from the MLS and

Bonus question:  If you’re a builder, developer, or real estate agent / broker, what kind of functionality would you like to see to help you decide what to build or renovate next?

Posted in Tech Trends

Grin & Bear it: Dumpster diving on Brattle St.

New rule protects consumer info from Dumpster diving

Real estate finance cos. must safely dispose of personal data

Friday, April 22, 2005

Posted in Uncategorized HAVENS: Group finds oddball habitats for picky hipsters�-�ENGLISH

Posted in Uncategorized

INTERNET DATING CONFERENCE – San Francisco – July 21-22, 2005

Posted in Uncategorized

Blogs and Citizen Journalism in Real Estate

Businessweek1One of The Real Estate Cafe’s first posts was in February 2004 fifteen months before Business Week’s cover story today, in response to a debate among blog gurus at Harvard about where
blogs would strike next: 

"Despite the setbacks to Howard Dean’s
first-of-a-kind Internet operation, the current discussion around the
Blogosphere seems to be centered on when and where the next major
impact point will be, and not whether the Internet will be an important
player from this point on in the American political panorama.

…there is a sea change in the air, and some of the bulwarks of
conventional control of the information stream are crumbling under the
relatively free-form innovations from the digital frontier."

The February 2004 post continued, "This is where blogs might find an entry point in the real estate
industry. As you know Ralph Nader and Steve Brobeck of the Consumer
Federation of America both called the real estate industry a cartel
more than a decade ago. One of my visions is a network of home buyers
who post reviews of open houses and report on local market trends from
the consumers’ perspective. As the air comes out of the real estate
bubble and the industry slides into a multi-year downcycle, home buyers
will become increasing cautious and hungry for this kind of ‘citizen

Fifteen months later, it’s no accident that one of the Business Week articles featured, the leading real estate blog in New York if not the nation, because "[it] dishes the dirt the brokers don’t." Explaining the popularity of his blog, founder and former Massachusetts resident Lockhart Steele told BW, "People trust blog posts more because
they sound like e-mails from a friend."  Since it’s founding in May 2004,’s traffic has soared to over a million page view per month.

Posted in Counterintelligence, Moblogging in Real Estate, Real Estate Bubble, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance

Blogs Will Change Your Business

Posted in Uncategorized

New York’s Real Estate Know-It-All

His Web log,, dishes the dirt the brokers don’t. …"People trust blog posts more because
they sound like e-mails from a friend."

Online Extra: New York’s Real Estate Know-It-All.

Posted in Uncategorized

“Bubble Hour” banned in Boston?

Craig_linebubble1_1The following message was posted to the housing forum of CraigsList in Boston, hoping to get some feedback on a proposal to host an educational seminar to discuss the real estate bubble.  Instead of getting intelligent feedback on the merits of a potential monthly series, I got flamed for spamming and the post was abruptly removed.  The proposed monthly meeting has the genuine intent of informing and protecting real estate consumer during a time of great economic uncertainty and heated debate among economists, including Alan Greenspan, about when the bubble will peak.

With reporting that traffic on their real estate section surpassed 7 million pageviews for the first time in March 2005 and more than 1 million homes-for-sale searches, isn’t it fair to ask if consumers should think twice before rushing into an overheated housing market and to give them a forum — online and off — to learn more about the risks and benefits of buying in a real estate bubble?

To dismiss that question as spam seems to have been a disservice to CraigsList users.  If, on the other hand, my original post below inadvertently crossed the line between posting comments / content and spam, I apologize to Craig Newmark (shown in the cartoon above) and his readers and thank them for clarifying the boundaries of acceptable behavior for this Newbie.  Banned or not on CraigsList’, we’d like to know what you think about hosting the educational seminar or monthly series of "Bubble Hours" described below. 

Bubble Hour:  Monthly meeting to discuss

As a real estate consultant and newcomer to CraigsList forums, I was pleased to find considerable debate about the real estate bubble, enough that one post last year asked, “Can the RE Bubble have its own forum….PLEASE??”

Would anyone, particularly would be home buyers or sellers, be interest in attending a one time seminar, or if worthwhile a monthly meeting, to discuss the real estate bubble in person and hear a featured speaker?

I have tentatively lined up a room at a centrally located hotel on Route 128 for the evening of May 5th. If you are interested in attending, please contact me offline at

Regardless of your interest in attending an experimental meeting, readers are invited to visit The Real Estate Cafe’s blog to discuss the real estate bubble, learn how to save money in real estate transactions, get information on FSBO seminars, and a variety of other topics:

Should be interesting to hear what Alan Greenspan says today, particularly following the articles in the Boston Herald on April 19.

Bill Wendel, Founder
The Real Estate Cafe
Cambridge, MA

Posted in Real Estate Bubble, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance

Here and Now : Wal-Mart Family Seeks to Roll Back Estate Tax – 4/20/2005

Will changes in the estate tax revive the million market place in Greater Boston?  High end of the housing market has been falling in Boston, and has a growing oversupply of listings.

For the fourth year, the US House of Representatives has voted to elliminate the estate tax.  What impact would eliminating estate taxes, which currently begin $1.5 million, have on the high end of the housing market locally and nationally?

Here and Now : Wal-Mart Family Seeks to Roll Back Estate Tax – 4/20/2005.

Posted in Uncategorized
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