Redfin Integrates Microsoft Virtual Earth Map Platform,
Continues Expansion in Greater Seattle and San Francisco Bay Areas

SEATTLE – Jan. 12, 2007 – Online real estate broker Redfin Corporation today released a new version of based on the Microsoft Virtual Earth map platform, offering home-buyers powerful new ways to explore a neighborhood. With today’s announcement, Redfin also more than doubled its geographic coverage in the Greater Seattle and San Francisco Bay Areas; and added online agent chat and more listing information such as homeowner’s dues.

The first to display real estate data on an online map, Redfin originally developed its own mapping technology using government-provided imagery of Seattle and San Francisco. Now that mapping platforms have become publicly available on the Internet, Redfin replaced this technology with Virtual Earth to expand more quickly and to offer a richer user experience. A blog posting on why Redfin chose Virtual Earth over other mapping platforms is available at:

The integration available today gives Redfin users better performance, double-click zooming, and a choice between aerial imagery and the traditional map view. Redfin plans to use Virtual Earth to offer bird’s-eye views of neighborhoods, driving directions, mobile telephone integration and more neighborhood information about local attractions and retail shops.

With the new map, Redfin is expanding from San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties in California to now serve Napa, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma counties. In Washington, Redfin is expanding eastward to include all of King County as well as Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties. Redfin also has hired new agents in these areas to provide local support for customers using its e-commerce service to buy or sell a house. The expansion increases the number of listings available on by nearly 200 percent and the number of records on past sales by more than 150 percent.

The latest version also includes new features based on direct customer feedback:

  • More listing information: listings now include all available details from each multiple listing service such as homeowner’s dues, open house information and virtual tours, when available.
  • Online agent chat: start an instant message chat with a Redfin agent to get immediate answers while making an offer or starting a new listing (9 a.m. – 6 p.m. PT, Monday through Friday; noon – 6 p.m. PT, Saturday and Sunday).

“The Redfin real estate brokerage site provides precise outlines of every property directly on the Virtual Earth map, demonstrating just how flexible and powerful our platform can be,

34 thoughts on “Redfin – PRESS RELEASE

  1. Ardell,

    I’m surprised you published the press release in full… It’s really not interesting news (John L Scott and have been using Microsoft V.E. for months and agents already have a place to chat: It’s called the blogosphere with a little email through in for privacy!)

    I get similar requests to publish fluff about three times a week, but I’m always hesitant because I think it looks kind of cheesy.

  2. That Redfin NEEDED to change at this stage of the game, is the bigger part of the news, between the lines, and in my opinion…the part we should talk about.

    Redfin’s original impact was not because of the model or fee structure, but the “kewlness” of the site. How does this change that? Did their site need to be “kewler” and IS this change making them just “one of the boys”?

    Excuse me while I go clean Allen’s puke off my shoes.

  3. The techie crew of the site is razzing me on this one. I’ve only had two “embargoed” press releases. One was Zillow which turned out to be “the shot heard round the world” and Greg Swann hit his button before me LOL. So on this one…my second embargoed press release ever, I was more focused on hitting the button at exactly 8 a.m. than anything else.

    We’re burying it with new articles.

    Live and learn…I feel SO USED…and by a woman! 🙂

  4. Ardell,

    You have an infinite more experience than me as I’ve never been given an embargoed PR and do to the fact that my company is a publicly traded company, I’m not allowed to give them out to bloggers! I have signed NDAs before (Non-disclosure agreements), signed one with Zillow way back before they released a product as a matter of fact, but I can’t think of a time when I was given information, but not allowed to publish something until a specific time (And if I have, it was probably spammish, so I never mentioned it).

    My take is to never publish a PR directly, but I have been known to quote them and/or write about the topics of the press release if I find them interesting.

  5. Hi Ardell, the story between the lines is that the map that Redfin built from scratch in 2004 was simply out of date. All our competitors were able to start on Google Maps or Virtual Earth and did not have to deal with swapping out their legacy map.

    As for how cool we are.. We were cool but we’re less cool now that we don’t have the monopoly on searching listings using a map. In a few months with this new map platform hopefully we regain some coolness because we can focus on building coolness instead of maintaining our own map :).

  6. Matt,

    I wholeheatedly agree, as I said in my comment, the story IS that Redfin will no longer have their self built search and is getting on the bandwagon. That IS newsworthy in my opinion.

    As to publishing it all, it is presumptous of the “in the know” people to assume the many, many thousnads of RCG readers are aware of what Redfin is. To only show the bit that is newsworthy to the few “techie minds” would be a disservice to the Average Joe Reader.

    There…no apologies 🙂 Allen…start puking again. Purge your system. Get rid of the holiday weight. Apology rescinded 🙂

  7. Embargoed information: The one thing we should do next time is set up the post in WordPress using the Timestamp function. Set the timestamp for the emgargo time and WordPress will post automatically. That’s how TechCrunch beat us both on Zillow.

  8. Greg,

    I went to your site last night to see how you did it on the Zillow Embargoed press release. But I couldn’t do it “your way”, though I would have liked to.

    If it were about a business model change…I could have done it “your way”. Alas…I am merely a real estate expert and not a GeekyGirl. Seriously, that’s what it came down to. I lacked the understanding of the techinical aspects to editorialize, condense, excerpt…so I decided it was unfair to Redfin to do anything but show it all.

    Now if they were changing the fee structure, or the tour system, or something that involved actual real estate…well then I would have been less kind. 🙂

    In fact I’ve promised “them” a piece entitled “How I REALLY FEEL about Redfin” LOL

  9. Ardell,
    You shouldn’t feel used! As Dustin pointed out, John Cook, et al., wrote about the new map and didn’t sue us for an HR violation :). We shared the press release with you to do what you wanted with it: share your thoughts with RCG readers, review the new site, educate “average Joe readers” …

    As you can tell from Matt’s comment, we’re super excited about what we’ll be able to do now that the team is freed up to focus on adding other “cool” (Matt – is that your favorite word? :)) bells and whistles. Ideas? Feedback? Send it our way!

    Redfin does post its press releases in the news section ( and on our blog we post more information such as today’s “Redfin Moves the Earth” ( so people understand why we chose Virtual Earth and another post about what you’ll find on the new site from an in-the-trenches Redfinnian (

  10. Cynthia,

    I fell better now that I’ve been forced to “analyze” the situation. My problem with all the “Redfin-Lover” stuff aimed at me, is it reminds me of…well, I can’t say it. When people like Mr. Puker, pukes…I wonder if he is just a “Redfin-Hater” as in “let’s hate all discount brokerages”. Of course that makes me defend Redfin even more.

  11. Okay, newbee on the block here, work with me….In all of this, do any of you think that their might be competition awaiting them out in the distant future? Curious? And if so what would it take for this competitor to be better than them.

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