It comes as no surprise that youngsters in their late teens and early twenties are not into Facebook. The site, which launched under the brand Facemash in 2003, became available to the public in 2006 and reached 100,000 pages in late 2007. The site welcomed my profile in 2008. Even then, I believe that I was an early adopter. In those early days, there were a few dozen of us visiting the site every day to chat. Then the site changed. The Broker Public Portal must avoid the same fate.
In February 2011, Facebook killed itself by making the decision to replace the chronological post feed with its patented News Feed. I could not visit the site anymore to reliably catch up on the people that I cared about. Instead, Facebook showed me the posts that their machines believed are most important to me, hiding the posts of many of my friends and blasting my visit with advertising. It was like they filtered my email with little or no input from me. In July, Facebook restored the chronological news feed, but it requires a lot of user configuration. I am not planning to go back.
Admittedly, my Facebook activity has gone way down. Rather than checking the site multiple times a day, I most likely check it a few times a week. By backing up from visiting the site, I gained the perspective that it is no longer a social media site for connecting with people. It is an advertising site that lets in just enough social posts that barely hold my attention. I think that consumers are also migrating from advertising property search sites to ad-free sites.
By now, you likely know that the Broker Public Portal and Homesnap have dissolved their joint venture. After October 31st, the agreement between the two companies will end. I have the feeling that under the guidance of CoStar, the company that also acquired Homes.com, is going to destroy the Homesnap product with advertising. It will be a real shame if they do.
As the Broker Public Portal reimagines its next iteration of a national MLS consumer property search site, I am overjoyed with the board’s commitment to being ad-free. In a recent meeting with a real estate search site developer, they pointed to Redfin’s popularity by applauding the user experience as the driving force. Sure, Redfin.com does offer a pretty good search experience, but it is not much different than most other brokerage websites. Being parcel centric, and national, are clear differentiators. I believe that the most differentiating feature of Redfin versus other sites like realtor.com, Homes.com, and Zillow.com, is that it has more to do with the preference of an ad free search experience.
Much in the way that social media sites should hold true to always displaying the posts of the people I follow and care about, the Broker Public Portal will display every listing. Moreover, the new broker portal website will hold true to keeping advertising out of the search experience.
The guiding principle of the Broker Public Portal is that home search should be delivered by real estate professionals, not advertisers.
At this point, over 15 exceptional companies have committed to propose partnership opportunities to launch the new Broker Public Portal – which will replace Homesnap. It is exciting to see so many companies with outstanding technical skills going all in to support the partnership with brokers and MLSs across the industry.