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April 17, 2005

Will mobloggers pop the real estate bubble?

Bubble_selfprotrait_3Yesterday's conference on Grassroots use of Technology at MIT has reenergized my interest in moblogging in real estate.  Will the prevalence of iPods, smartphones, and digital video recorders create a new generation of house hunters turned citizen journalists?  Not if the decade-long, lemming-like rush continues to cause home buyers to view each other as competitors, is my guess.

But if the housing market begins to slide as real estate bubble watchers caution, buyers may look to each other for information about what is really happening in the marketplace rather than traditional real esate agents / listing agents who are obligated to get the highest price for sellers and continue to fan the flames of "irrational exuberance."

How will those peer-to-peer exchanges occur?  Will those amatuer roving real estate reporters begin to post their own comments in writing, audio clips, or video clips to the web?  Those are the kinds of questions I would like to explore in this discussion of "Moblogging in Real Estate." 

In addition, I'd like to use the forum to experiment with my own attempts to learn each of the means of communicating above.  I am particularly interested in experimenting with Podcasts and Videoblogging, and seeing how VR images can be incorporated into blog posts to give real estate consumers richer information than otherwise possible from look-alike listing sites published by over a million real estate agents nationwide.

Here's one attempt at posting a VR movie in Quicktime.  Does it load on your site and are you able to rotate the VR image with left or right with your mouse?  Need to learn how to make my videos load online... anyone else in the real estate community -- or any home buyers or sellers -- experimenting with moblogging?

Download top2_030205.mov (296.4K)

Bill Wendel | 10:14 AM in Extreme Househunting, Moblogging in Real Estate, Real Estate Bubble, Tech Trends | Permalink

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The movie works fine on my WinXP machine. Might be good to post a few details on how you created it. How much of a learning curve? How hard once you're up the curve? How time consuming? What did you use to "film" (?) the original - non-VR - video file?

Posted by: Douglas McCarroll | Apr 18, 2005 10:09:59 AM

I'm interested in the podcasting/videocasting by both real estate agents, the home owners, and the home buyers.

I see it as three separate interest groups here with an overlap of interests. The Agent wants to make a sale (not always for the highest price), the seller wants to sell for either the highest price, or as soon as possible) and the buyer wants the lowest price.

Because of these separate aims, the content of what would get podcasted/videocasted is different.

Re: The VR movie...
Very nice. I'm also using a WinXP PC. I too would like to know what tools (Physical and digital) that were used to create this.
If these tools are available to the home buying public then it opens up loads of possibilities.

Posted by: Ben Hamilton | May 18, 2005 7:19:39 PM

Ben,

Thanks for your insight regarding the threefold perspective that moblogging could to meet the informational needs of buyers, sellers, and agents. I suspect agents and sellers will continue to rely primarily on still imagines, with more tech savvy adding VR images like the one you downloaded and video clips.

Buyers, on the other hand, will probably be more innovative in their use of new handheld technologies as they will be trying to document negative aspects of the property which the seller and agent will hide.

I think it is more likely they will use camera phones and smart phones, like the TREO 650. If you missed it, you can see some examples of recent clips online at the link below. Our goal is post directly to our blog, and for site users to be able to access the images as they can on the VSPAN link in the attached:

http://realestatecafe.blogs.com/real_estate_cafe/2005/02/moblogging_afte.html

The VR panorama you asked about was stitched from 12 still images using VRToolBox.com. My recollection is that some of the more expensive digital camera automate partial panoramic images with one click, rather than the labor-intensive solution I used. Unfortunately, I am a Mac user, so I can't offer too much advise about WinTel machines, but my recollection is that VRToolBox.com is cross-platform.

Looks like you can download a demo version of their software at:

http://www.vrtoolbox.com/vrthome.html

Posted by: RealEstateCafe | May 18, 2005 7:45:37 PM

Hey,

Great Blog!!

I will bookmark your site for sure for updates on Investment, Finance, Mortgage, Foreclosure and Real Estate related issues. You already there on my Links Directory.

Keepup the good work!!

Posted by: Stop Foreclosure | Dec 13, 2005 5:09:24 PM

Providing VR images via podcasts proves to be a bit tricky. So far handhelds like the iPod and Video Enabled phones can handle linear video, but the QTVR format as yet is unsupported. We have converted several QTVR images to iPod enabled videos. The feed to view them is http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=112371796 (iTunes Link)

It's a time consuming process to convert QTVR to linear video and doesn't lend itself well to mass produced content and it loses it's interactive quality.

Our new startup MLPodcast.Com has had great success in our early stages with brokers and agents from several states using our video podcast service, the videos work well as virtual tours, albeit without the panoramic rotation features. The primary benefit to Video Podcasting is the exposure avaialble through RSS. We submit each new feed to dozens of directories that parse the feed and provide exposure to agent listings in new channels, including iTunes. It's become a great listing and marketing tool for those that have chosen to embrace it.

For those interested in VR, the trade association IVRPA http://www.ivrpa.org (international vr photographers association) is a great resource that can point you to the latest in vr software and tools.

Yours is one of the better real estate blogs I've found. I'll be sure to give it a mention in an upcoming post on our corporate blog.

Posted by: Michael Price | Jun 2, 2006 8:58:08 PM

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