WEB 2.0 vs. WEB 1.5 and Blogwars

“Web 2.0 can be defined as “the philosophy of mutually maximizing collective intelligence and added value for each participant by formalized and dynamic information sharing and creation.” Web 1.5 is where the information is conveyed differently by the industry practitioner, but the industry practitioner doesn’t understand that .5 of the “added value” comes from the commenter who disagrees with the post or adds more info than the post itself conveys.

Many of the blogwars going around, and not just the one involving Sellsius and BHB and 4Realz, are actually based on a growing separation involving the meaning of WEB 2.0. Just as every industry and activity since the beginning of time divides into 80% vs. 20% groups, so does the meaning of WEB 2.0. 80% will grab it as a new way to make money off of it. 20% will try to “get it” and apply it properly to the betterment of the industry as a whole. Such is life and no one can change that or stop the fights over it.

It really boils down to interpretation of “added value”. Is that value monetary? Some will erroneously assume so, as they think everything is about how to make more money. No one can change that. But the principle of WEB 2.0 is about the change in the way information is presented and BY WHOM it is presented. WEB 1.0 is a commercial – a one sided mirror. WEB 2.0 is an exchange of ideas where the general public is not the “reader” only, or the one “information is conveyed TO“, but the most important part of the information process and where the “added value” comes from.

If you argue your right to control information, as the information may not be conducive to your monetary objective, then you are at WEB 1.5, not WEB 2.0. It’s as simple as that. If you still want a one way mirror where you control the information in the comments, other than pure flaming deletions and spam deletions, and not transparent glass where more value comes from the anonymous commenter than the post writer, then you don’t “get” WEB 2.0.

Of course that’s my definition and how I understand it. Perhaps a Buyer’s Perspective is likely the best example of WEB 2.0 as far as the real estate industry is concerned, available on the internet today. ALL of the lesson learned is learned by the agents, and not the potential buyer of real estate. The potential buyer of real estate is the one doing the teaching, not the agent.

RCG is one of the best examples of WEB 2.0. Not because I am more transparent than many agents. Not because Rhonda conveys tons of good lending info to consumers. Not because Jillayne presents the underbelly of what is happening out there in her inimitable style of presenting that information. RCG is the best example of WEB 2.0 because of what readers learn from Tony Chase in the COMMENTS section of the Popcorn Ceiling Removal post. It is the best example of WEB 2.0 because of what we all learn from czb, and Biliruben, and Sniglet, and Polly and Adrianna and Jack and yes even Synthetik 🙂 to name just a few. They are WEB 2.0, not us. We cannot create WEB 2.0. We can only create an environment for WEB 2.0 to thrive in, so those commenting can create WEB 2.0 by the value added via their comments.

They, both the named and the anonymous commenters, are WEB 2.0. Not us.

Until agents and lenders and industry practitioners and vendors of services to agents, understand that “mutually maximizing collective intelligence and added value for each participant by formalized and dynamic information sharing and creation.” is NOT about what THEY SAY in the post itself, but what they learn from those commenting on what they say, in particular from those who add more to the info in the post and often those who disagree with the information in the post, there will be blogwars.

Change never happens without disruption, Rome wasn’t built in a day and rarely do more than 20% ever “get it” at all. Most will stop even trying to “get it” at the point where they find a way to make money off of it. That’s how innovative principles become “buzz” words only, because the buck stops there.

REALTOR (R) Magazine Welcomes Web 2.0

REALTOR (R) Magazine’s March issue has as it’s cover story: “Welcome to Real Estate 2.0”.

0308 cvr toc 1 2 3 4 5 6 7The article gives an overview of Web 2.0 and how a few innovative people in the real estate world have been on the leading edge of applying the new technology in effective ways. A few of the many well regarded real estate bloggers are mentioned including ARDELL DellaLoggia and Dustin Luther, and Rain City Guide as being one of the sites for promoting Web 2.0. Congratulations Dustin and ARDELL!

More leaders in Web 2.0 are highlighted such as St Paul Blogger Teresa Boardman of StPaulRealEstateblog.com and Matt Heaton of the Real Estate Social Networking site ActiveRain in Bellevue. Some of the others also mentioned are Frances Flynn Thorsen (Realtygram Blogger) Jeff Turner (Turner’s Perspective ) and Daniel Rothamel (Real Estate Zebra blog)

A few large companies are joining in on the conversation, Coldwell Banker with Second Life, and is also joining with Scripps Networks (who owns HGTV) with their FrontDoor.com.

Definitely exciting times in real estate with so much going on, and the Web 2.0 conversation (party!) is only just beginning!

Flying under the radar with the stealthy SecondSpace

In Seattle, the real estate technology scene is pretty crowded. There’s the big 3: Zillow, Redfin, HouseValues. And then, there’s the cool 3: ActiveRain, Estately, and RealTech. Well, there’s another company in town, which will soon be joining the party.

Bellevue based, SecondSpace, was founded by Classmates.com executive Anil Pereira and former Microsoftie Alok Sinha, SecondSpace landed $6.6 million in venture funding from Ignition Partners over a year ago. Alok (their CTO) & Delane Hewett (their Software Architect) both had stints in the MSN HomeAdvisor teams (back in the Web 1.0 days), so they know the internet real estate space better than most new comers.

Pat Kitano of Transparent RE, talked about them 6 months ago when they came out of stealth mode, and starting flying under the radar. The most interesting thing about the company’s business plan is that they are attacking what appears to be small vertical niche. However, one does not talk venture capitalists into writing big checks for thinking small. Their sites, ResortScape.com and LandWatch.com are currently targeting consumers looking for vacation homes and vacant land. In future, they’ll probably target time shares, vacation homes in foreign countries, non regional visitors, and other second home ownership opportunities with additional sites targeted for those niches.

stealth fighter.jpgTechnologically speaking, they have some very compelling technology under development and a very talented technical staff. On their blog, They’ve talked about using SOLR & Lucene as the basis for their search engine, which should give them a near term advantage until somebody does the same thing or writes a check for Endeca. The neural network based learning they employ, should help visitors find interesting properties easier (think of a Google-like search experience tuned for real estate) and it allows them distribute more qualified traffic to their customers (brokers, developers, etc) than a traditional means would allow. They also have even more interesting features on the drawing board, that I’m probably not at liberty to discuss, but I can say their job posting on Craigslist drops some big hints.

However, given that they only have 70,000 listings at the moment; it’s difficult to fully appreciate the impressive technical infrastructure they are building until they have more data to test it with. It’s kind of like test driving a Corvette on a short pot-hole filled road. You just know it performs better than the conditions will allow for. The problem is until the test track improves, you don’t really know how much faster the car really is.

The real question is there a market for a second home or vacation home real estate web portal, when the first home real estate market is struggling? And is that opportunity worth the millions Ignition Partners is investing? For comparison sake, a typical NWMLS IDX web site has about 56,000 listings right now and popular real estate blogs currently have a larger reach than Landwatch.com (their largest site). Even with hockey stick growth of 10,000 new listings a month, it’ll be another 7 years before they hit the million mark (which I think is the magic number of listings you need to have to be taken seriously if you have big aspirations). I think the only people that read their blog are their employees, their VC’s and I. I think they need more a LOT more listings and a LOT more traffic before they are taken seriously by the general population. That hockey stick growth better turn exponential or they better have very patient investors.

Perhaps most disconcerting, they have no visible marketing push, and no real buzz in RE.net blog-o-sphere. Maybe, they are just flying under radar of the public eye until their technological terror is fully operational? Maybe it’s because their business model and the community they serve are so different than the ones the titans Web 2.0 real estate are currently serving, that they don’t need to play by the same rules? Maybe developers don’t feel the need to read or comment on blogs? Maybe their business development leaders needs to read Seth Godin or Dustin Luther?

All I know is that sooner or later, they’ll need to soar above the clouds with after burners at full throttle or crash back to earth. They can’t fly under the radar forever with the firepower they are packing… Anyway, I’m going to be watching this company very closely. The technology under development is too compelling and the business plan is too interesting to stay under the radar at cruising speed for much longer. Will 2008 be the year SecondSpace goes supersonic?