April 22, 2005
Blogs and Citizen Journalism in Real Estate
One of The Real Estate Cafe's first posts was in February 2004 fifteen months before Business Week's cover story today, in response to a debate among blog gurus at Harvard about where blogs would strike next:
"Despite the setbacks to Howard Dean’s first-of-a-kind Internet operation, the current discussion around the Blogosphere seems to be centered on when and where the next major impact point will be, and not whether the Internet will be an important player from this point on in the American political panorama.
...there is a sea change in the air, and some of the bulwarks of conventional control of the information stream are crumbling under the relatively free-form innovations from the digital frontier."
The February 2004 post continued, "This is where blogs might find an entry point in the real estate industry. As you know Ralph Nader and Steve Brobeck of the Consumer Federation of America both called the real estate industry a cartel more than a decade ago. One of my visions is a network of home buyers who post reviews of open houses and report on local market trends from the consumers' perspective. As the air comes out of the real estate bubble and the industry slides into a multi-year downcycle, home buyers will become increasing cautious and hungry for this kind of 'citizen journalism.'"
Fifteen months later, it's no accident that one of the Business Week articles featured Curbed.com, the leading real estate blog in New York if not the nation, because "[it] dishes the dirt the brokers don't." Explaining the popularity of his blog, founder and former Massachusetts resident Lockhart Steele told BW, "People trust blog posts more because they sound like e-mails from a friend." Since it's founding in May 2004, Curbed.com's traffic has soared to over a million page view per month.
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