The hottest new Virtual Tours boast about syndication and that's swell. Syndication is fine, but you will find that you're going to have to contribute your own effort if you want to draw visitors to your virtual tours.
For example, TourFactory boasts about syndication to YouTube, Trulia, Zillow, Home Debut, Move, Homes.com, Facebook, Virtual Tour Hotsheet, Oodle, Blinkx, Vast and Hotpads, among other sites. This is an impressive list, but some of these sites just don't get all that much traffic.
TourFactory puts your virtual tour on YouTube for you, but the YouTube ownership is theirs, not yours. You can't customize or optimize the YouTube posting beyond what appears on your virtual tour. The SEO benefit goes mostly to TourFactory, not to you.
Home Debut is a site that serves as a portal for TourFactory's own tours. Again, it's a nice portal, but not a great grabber on the Web.
TourFactory gives you "your own website", which is a portal for all your virtual tours in one place. However to my knowledge, you can't customize the site's domain and you can't do anything to build SEO for the site that will benefit your company or you.
TourFactory lacks widgets (unlike RealBird) that would allow you to embed their nice-looking tours in, say, in your ActiveRain blog. Again, that's too bad. TourFactory would be wise to make that possible.
So, what can you do to get your virtual tours seen?
- Link to your virtual tours on ActiveRain, Facebook, Twitter LinkedIn, Naymz, Google Buzz, anyplace else you can copy and paste a link to your tour.
- You can upload your tour to Craigslist, which may be one of the best ways to get it in front of buyers on the Web (see the "Referring Web Pages" JPG below)
- Presumably, you can burn a CD, DVD or otherwise capture your tour and then once you've captured the video you should be able to upload it here or to YouTube under your own account. I haven't tried this yet, but I've read that it works.
Don't get me wrong, I like the look of these virtual tours. I just believe that it should be much easier to link to them and give them the kind of visibility they deserve on the Web.