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
journalism.’"

Fifteen months later, it’s no accident that one of the Business Week articles featured Curbed.com, 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, Curbed.com’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

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