RISMEDIA, May 25, 2007-Where Web. 1.0 basically mimicked the traditional business model online, Web 2.0 has not only the ability to gain information instantaneously, but also to interact with anyone, anywhere, at anytime via instant voice, video or messaging. Web 2.0 is all about sharing and collaboration, not just striving to inform but to get something done. How does that play out in real estate Web sites?
The first generation of the Internet is widely accepted to be 1995 - 2004. In 1995, there were 23,500 Web sites of which 4,000 (17%) were real estate related. Today, Netcraft estimates that there are 100+ million Web sites of which about 48 million are active. Some academics estimate that approximately 6% of all commercial Web sites are real estate related and, if that is accurate, then we may be approaching 3 million real estate Web sites. Google, meanwhile, lists real estate as its top search category offering over 325 million search results for the term "real estate."
Zillow has been the media darling this year, Redfin dominated the CBS 60 minutes show last week, while Sequoia Capital just gave Trulia another $10 million in funding yesterday. All three of these companies were identified as "Top 10 Trendsetters" companies to watch and were listed in the 2007 Swanepoel TRENDS Report that was published in January 2007.
Even NAR announced earlier this week a plan to raise $60 - $100 million in the next 3-5 years for the creation of a technology corporation.
So, real estate is big on the Internet, but what is the industry going to do about it this time around?
"Web 2.0 is a different kind of Internet as a result of ubiquitous broadband, cheap hardware and open-source software," says Stefan Swanepoel, author of the annual Swanepoel Trends Report. Published by RealSure and RISMedia, the Report discusses in detail the growth of real estate as an information-based service industry and how brokers and agents were previously the exclusive holders of "home for sale" information. But today this has changed, and with the advent of Web 2.0, the sharing of information and collaboration with others has become common place.
The Web 2.0 wave is stimulating ongoing innovation upon earlier creation and is constantly searching for the next ‘big thing' says Swanepoel. "Don't be caught off guard again and think that Internet companies will again fizzle and not impact your business," he says. "This time around the Internet is going to finish what it started a decade ago and the new breed of business models, many Internet based, will collectively re-engineer the home buying and home selling process," Swanepoel said.