API - Making Your Site A Powerful Tool and RE-Source

By
Education & Training with Director of Education & Industry Outreach at eXp Realty & RE Tech Campus

API Making Your Site A Powerful Tool & Source of Information

What is an API?  It's the acronym for "Application Programming Interface" and it has great value once you understand what it is and how it works.  Many have seen the term (API) around for quite some time, but figured it's just some techno-jargon that means nothing or adds no value to those of us on the RE Net. WRONG!  One thing I have learned over the years is that even if you don't understand some things, you should still know of them or at least about them, right?  I see some of you shaking your head "yes" right now. 

To keep this post about API simple and easy to understand, I'll just put it this way; adding an Application Programming Interface (API) to your site can add powerful and useful information to your traffic and visitors and it requires less work than you may think.  By incorporating an API into your site, you can deliver data and gather information all at the same time.  An API can benefit you and your readers by providing them with valuable inter-active data and information. You'll get customers, not filled in forms, brand recognition and best of all, it's FREE! 

Real Estate and Mortgage Data for Your Site

Why Integrate with Zillow's Data using API, would likely be the first question you're be asking yourself right now?  One thought is that if sites like Yahoo.com and Education.com Integrate our API, why wouldn't you consider it as well?  Not everyone will be able to do this, but as for the Implementation and Requirements, everyone could do this if they wanted to. I had no idea how powerful an API could be until I researched it a bit, and that's why I'm sharing this with you.

Take a few moments to understand what API is, how it works, why it could add value and growth to your site and business, then let me know if you'd like to take Zillow's API to the next level on your site.  If you're comfortable working with an API and incorporating into your site, that's awesome. If not, I've seen what companies like Z57 and Diverse Solutions can do for Real Estate Business sites and would be happy to put you in contact with the individuals who can assist you if needed.

Some Great Samples of Sites with API

These took me a while to research and find so I hope you'll take a moment to really look at these well known sites that use/deliver API to bring value to their clients and visitors. Those clients and visitors being YOU and I.  Last.fm , EBay, Facebook, Feedburner, (now @Google) Windows LIVE, DIGG, Delicious, Google Maps, Flickr, Twitter, Yahoo, and Zillow!  Here are some other samples of what an API looks like on a "LIVE" site and from the users perspective: Yahoo Real Estate, Manage My Life, Public School Review, and IDX Central.

To get started using a Zillow API, you'll need to 1. create an account on Zillow, (only if you don't have one already) 2. Get a (ZWSID) web services ID, then 3. Take a look at our Developers Guide to get instructions on which data API will best suit you and your sites needs.

As with most API's and sites, there is a "Terms of Use" which is always funner than reading the obituaries, but I'd rather have to discuss terms of use with you than have to discuss some of the "use of terms" I've heard in this Industry. lol~  Go ahead, show me some samples of what you've created, and how your using Zillow's API, I'd love to be able to share that with others both here and on my site. Enjoy!!

Related API Information and Tools:
Effective API Design By Joshua Bloch
(Principle Engineer at Google)

Full List of Google API's
The API Finder

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Rainmaker
452,189
Shar Sitter
Rooms With Style - Minneapolis, MN
Home Staging and Redesign Minneapolis/ St. Paul, M

Brad, I looked at some of the links you provided and I still don't get it, sorry. Yahoo Real Estate for example says they won't contact you or do anything with the information. So what good is it doing them? Sorry if that is a really stupid question.

Oct 25, 2010 04:06 PM #16
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Brad Andersohn
Director of Education & Industry Outreach at eXp Realty & RE Tech Campus - Fairfield, CA
ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876

Hi Shar - Great question, thanks.  The Yahoo link in this post was just to show a sample of how an API is being used on their site.  The value of an API on YOUR site would in fact be what YOU would do with the data and information.  I have a feeling and trust that you would be contacting your potential clients and putting the information to good use.  :-))

FYI - I think the reason they claimed they won't contact you is because it is just a home value query. Some consumers might be cautious of entering an address or information if they think they'll get spammed or contacted.  That one in particular is not a lead cultivation or lead capturing tool.

Oct 26, 2010 02:31 AM #17
Rainmaker
452,189
Shar Sitter
Rooms With Style - Minneapolis, MN
Home Staging and Redesign Minneapolis/ St. Paul, M

Okay that makes way more sense. Thanks for clarifying. I always worry though that it is a turn off. A couple sites I go to this big thing pops in front of you and you can't go any further until you enter your info or say "no thanks". It's kind of tacky to me. Is there anyway to do it and keep a classy looking website?

Oct 26, 2010 04:49 AM #18
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Brad Andersohn
Director of Education & Industry Outreach at eXp Realty & RE Tech Campus - Fairfield, CA
ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876

Actually there is, use a variety of the Zillow API's as a solution!!  :-))

Oct 26, 2010 05:59 AM #19
Rainmaker
452,189
Shar Sitter
Rooms With Style - Minneapolis, MN
Home Staging and Redesign Minneapolis/ St. Paul, M

Got it! :-))

Oct 26, 2010 03:08 PM #20
Rainmaker
140,924
Aida Pinto
United Associated Brokers - Downey, CA
Real Estate Broker (562) 916-3237

Hi Brad....hope you remember me....I've been away....I need your help....I just sent you an email....I hope you can help me.....sorry for posting this as a commnet.....but I really hope you can help me....thanks.

Oct 26, 2010 05:58 PM #21
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Brad Andersohn
Director of Education & Industry Outreach at eXp Realty & RE Tech Campus - Fairfield, CA
ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876

Hello Aida - of course I remember you, I've the memory of an elephant!  haha~

I Got your email and contacted the powers-to-be here at AR to see what they can do to help you out.  Hopefully they will take good care of you, if not, let me know and I'll try to butter them up a bit for ya. :-)

Oct 27, 2010 07:01 AM #22
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Brad Andersohn
Director of Education & Industry Outreach at eXp Realty & RE Tech Campus - Fairfield, CA
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For anyone interested in seeing how you can use a Youtube API on your Youtube channel (comment #9 above), or even apply the Zillow API on your Youtube Channel, here's a link to the direct answers and what you'll need to do this.  Very cool... and for the record, the competition is already doing it. http://code.google.com/apis/youtube/overview.html

Oct 28, 2010 04:33 AM #23
Rainmaker
632,341
DeeDee Riley
Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA - El Dorado Hills, CA
Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas

Thanks Brad!  Not sure I'm ready for this but will start keeping my eye open about info regarding it. 

Oct 28, 2010 04:04 PM #24
Rainmaker
407,599
Alexander- Slocum
Premiere Property Group, LLC - Vancouver Washington - Vancouver, WA
Realty Team- Vancouver WA Real Estate

There goes Brad, sending me down another Rabbit Hole!  The other time you did that, it took me over two solid months cleaning 5+ posts a day to get the MS Excel code booted out -- it was like my blog ate the cookie to make you LARGE! :).

I'm still 50 web pages to go on the Project you and Bob started me on with your Hit-Router webinar last year -- and Google loves that as well.

My first burning question for you with this enticing treat, relates to Zillow being a very real Google-Page-1-everywhere competitor to my website.  Is using a Zillow API on my site or blog SEO Neutral or, does it send juice to Zillow.com that I want to keep for my site?

Thanks!

 

 

Nov 08, 2010 05:58 AM #25
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Brad Andersohn
Director of Education & Industry Outreach at eXp Realty & RE Tech Campus - Fairfield, CA
ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876

Great question John and Kathryn (not sure which one of you asked it...lol) 

I can tell you there are so many valuable reasons and benefits to an API but regarding the search engine optimization, I'll have to confirm my theory before I answer.  I want to check out a couple things and then talk to our Zillow engineers as well. Once I get an answer, I'll post it here. Thanks to you both, you guys are always on it!  :-)

Nov 08, 2010 03:44 PM #26
Rainmaker
407,599
Alexander- Slocum
Premiere Property Group, LLC - Vancouver Washington - Vancouver, WA
Realty Team- Vancouver WA Real Estate

Thanks Brad.  Also, I found that back in 2008 Drew Meyers did a post on the Zillow Blog about using Zillow API.  He pointed to the NetBean 6.1 program as being a great coding aide, with a mini-tutorial at that site.  The NetBean program is now at version6.9.1 and the Tutorial does not quite work the same with the new version (at least to me the flow does not map quite the same...).  You or anyone you know up to refreshing the NetBean Tutorial ? :)

John

Nov 09, 2010 08:11 AM #27
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Brad Andersohn
Director of Education & Industry Outreach at eXp Realty & RE Tech Campus - Fairfield, CA
ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876

Hey John - I'll look into that and see if someone would be interested in doing that or maybe even take on the challenge myself.  I'll have to get back to you on that one, I just got back from NAR in New Orleans and trying to catch up.  Give me a day or so...  Thanks.  :)

Nov 09, 2010 08:20 AM #28
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Brad Andersohn
Director of Education & Industry Outreach at eXp Realty & RE Tech Campus - Fairfield, CA
ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876

Hi John - I'm back. :-)

My tech guys responded with this: I have never heard of NetBean and no one has asked me about this tutorial before. There are others who have tried to make integrating the Zillow API easier.  Here's a page that has information on a PHP library that makes it easy to integrate the Zillow API: http://freezerfrog.com/2009/10/pillow-a-php-zillow-library/ Also, this developer has helped people with Zillow API implementations:
http://www.zillow.com/profile/Elixir/ or  www.elixiraddons.com

Hope that helps John, let me know.  Thanks.  :-)

Nov 10, 2010 08:35 AM #29
Rainmaker
407,599
Alexander- Slocum
Premiere Property Group, LLC - Vancouver Washington - Vancouver, WA
Realty Team- Vancouver WA Real Estate

Hello Brad - Welcome Back (repaired PC and all?).  This is a nice mash-up your guy provided the reference to.

The outfit I was referring to is NetBeans.org, which is an open-source project devoted to JAVA applications.  Their NetBeans IDE 6.9.1 is a platform to aid in semi-automatically creating JAVA applications, and they've already accessed the Zillow API codes for our use.  We just need to get our Key code in and have a clue as to what we are doing.

Here's their tutorial for an older version of the IDE and the Zillow API: http://netbeans.org/kb/docs/websvc/zillow.html

Looks like I must brew up some Java (Hairbender :) ), and put the propeller beanie hat on, and sit down with the JDK and IDE Tutorials!

John

 

Nov 11, 2010 09:46 AM #30
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Brad Andersohn
Director of Education & Industry Outreach at eXp Realty & RE Tech Campus - Fairfield, CA
ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876

Hey John - brew me up some of that "hairbender" and I'll stay up all night trying to get this working for you. That stuff really works. lol.  Seriously, if there's anything else I can do to assist with this, give me a shout, you know I'll do my best.  :-)

Nov 13, 2010 05:27 PM #31
Rainer
11,344
Drew Meyers
Horizon - Seattle, WA
Drew Meyers

Hey all, for those looking for further help getting the zillow api up and running -- the links on this page might help :)

Zillow API Resources

I managed the Zillow API program for a few years while working at Zillow, so happy to help if I can.

Nov 14, 2010 08:07 AM #32
Rainmaker
407,599
Alexander- Slocum
Premiere Property Group, LLC - Vancouver Washington - Vancouver, WA
Realty Team- Vancouver WA Real Estate

Hi Brad -- Hairbender is one of the best!  One of our local Hawaiian restaurants serves it up in the morning, and keeps it coming -- great for the cloudy rainy days!


Hi Drew - I took a look at the NetBeans Tutorial (link is broken however, on the Zillow API Resources site), and I like the idea of using Java for this and other applications.  The tutorial has not made a lot of sense to me yet as I'm lower down on the Java learning curve; and the tutorial itself for the Zillow example seems to have not kept up with the latest release of the IDE which I downloaded.  At this point do you have any thoughts on the accuracy of the NetBeans Zillow Tutorial

Thanks!  John

Nov 14, 2010 08:29 AM #33
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470,810
Pam Dent
Gayle Harvey Real Estate, Inc. - Charlottesville, VA
REALTOR® - Charlottesville Virginia Homes / Horse

Hi Brad - I have bookmarked this so that I can come back and follow all the links.  I'm still not quite sure how this would work on a real estate blog or website.  Would love to see an example, or maybe I have just not followed that link yet.

Nov 23, 2010 12:16 AM #34
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Brad Andersohn
Director of Education & Industry Outreach at eXp Realty & RE Tech Campus - Fairfield, CA
ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876

Hi Pam - there are some sample links in the above post, you can also find out more and see more samples here:  http://www.zillow.com/howto/api/APIOverview.htm  I know a couple guys who are real pros at this stuff including Drew Meyers, let me know if we need to hook you up. :-)

Nov 23, 2010 10:07 AM #35
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