You may have noticed websites popping up with ‘RSS feeds’ on their site. RSS basically allows someone to link not just to a page, but to subscribe to it with a notification every time that page changes. For example, news websites have taken this on board with top news from various organizations feeding into one website.
RSS can push all kinds of information from news articles to blog entries, stock quotes, weather data, photo availability and more.
One such website has been developed by Brightfox, which is called PropertyMash. It embraces the new ‘mash up’ technology and is applied with a real estate focus. What this means for those in the property industry is the ability to access all real estate news and information in one spot. Visit it here…www.propertymash.com
We’ve also created an iframe application, so organizations can have live real estate news from property mash on their website for free. This has already proved successful for some of our clients as they obtain more visitors to their site and demonstrate the importance of market intelligence to their clients. Visit the PropertyMash site for more information.
More Web 2.0 information coming shortly…
Another common web 2.0 ‘feature’ is the blog. While this concept has been around for many years, it only seems to be a recent feature for businesses. A blog is an online journal of commentary and chat, and usually people have written blogs regarding social ideas and life in general – for example travel blogs. However the corporate world has now taken up blogs as an innovative way to promote their company, products and services.
The best thing about a blog is that it enables organizations to build an informal dialogue with their clients and prospects. For example, General Motors runs a blog that discusses topics ranging from auto racing to car design. In the property industry, individual real estate agents are using blots to promote their experience in the market, property developers are keeping buyers in touch with new developments and so on.
Brightfox has built several websites recently that have incorporated the blogging feature, which enable the agencies with limited technical knowledge to blog for themselves as a way to keep in touch with their clients and maintain a leading edge.
Businesses from a myriad of industries are setting up their own Facebook profiles. Facebook is a social networking site with over 64 million users worldwide and specifically designed as a way for people to keep in contact with their friends. However businesses are seeing the potential and are hoping to delve into this market. While the business benefits of networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace are yet to be seen, property developers and real estate firms can still embrace the idea of social networking and apply it in a more business sense.
An innovative method is the communication with clients and/or business partners via secure portals. Portals are one of our specializations that are becoming more frequently requested by our clients. They allow real estate agents, property developers and project marketers to connect online more intimately with their clients and each other.
For example, a property developer that has a large number of external agents working to sell their stock ultimately spends a lot of time emailing and faxing out updated stock lists, pricelists, construction updates, marketing material and so on. But via an agent portal – an external agent can logon to a secure website and access all this information in a live format, as well as viewing their buyers contracts and any commission owing to them, all uploaded by the developer at the click of a button.
Other innovative portals include vendor portals, where vendors can view all activities and inspections conducted on their property by the real estate agent. Another solution is for project marketers to enable developers to view the progress on the sale of their developments, activities and advertising…the possibilities are endless.
Web 2.0? Who? What?
This subject is one of much debate among IT experts, but the general consensus is that web 2.0 is more of a concept than an actual tangible change. You have probably heard new jargon popping up at the meetings over the water cooler such as Facebook, MySpace, tagging, blogging and social networks – these are probably the most widely recognized aspects that are changing the internet – and being defined as ‘web 2.0’.
The ‘idea’ of web 2.0 involves the ability for internet users to generate and distribute content, often with the freedom to share and reuse. It does include a largely social element – but before you disregard this as your colleagues posting drunken nights out of themselves online, consider the economic potential for businesses – after all, word of mouth (albeit ‘virtual’) is an incredibly powerful sales and marketing tool.
One such example is YouTube. An online video sharing website, not only does it include the quirky videos sent around the office for fun, but also includes a more professional side. For example, politicians such as Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama are campaigning via YouTube. So how can this affect the property industry? Already property developers and real estate agents are posting videos of themselves and their accomplishments onto YouTube. At Brightfox, a common feature we are now including for our clients’ websites are a video and news page where property firms can upload their YouTube videos onto their own corporate website.
Stay tuned – More information on Web 2.0 to come…