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Another Online Community for Real Estate
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Last weekend, real estate agents and brokers got introduced to yet another social and business network to participate in when online real estate news service, Broker Agent Professional, launched Broker Agent Social ( Within the first 100 hours after launch they exploded to 2,000 members - adding a new member every few minutes.

Broker Agent Social enters an already crowded field dominated by players such as ActiveRain, RealTown, Zillow Community, Inman Community and RealSeekr.

It isn’t that there’s not room for one more as I actually suspect we will see another dozen or more develop over the next year as different online communities each strive to find their niche and target audience. According to Morgan Stanley, networking online has become the 2nd largest activity online after email.

Not all online communities are of course the same as My Space, Facebook, LinkedIn, Buzznet and Hi5 have already proven. In their case differentiation, at least in the beginning, may have started as a group of school friends, an international social network with a local flavor or an online community featuring a specific interest such as pop, punk or rock bands.

It will not be any different for real estate online communities.  Each one is going to have to first its specific importance and usefulness to its members and secondly find a revenue model that they can sustain. Although initial indications were that marketers strongly supported online networks, most of the largest networks have yet to turn a profit and with a downturn in the economy advertising budgets are being reeled in.

That said I am still positive that online networks will play a significant role in shaping the future of the home buying transaction and I have dedicated a trend to them in my 2009 Swanepoel TRENDS Report.

Time will tell who will be able to build a loyal and meaningful following that will cherish their online relationship enough to stay active members. Having a lot of members is important but it is the focus and specialization that instills the desire to for members to return on a frequent basis and it is quality of the content that encourages participation and loyalty – both key factors in long term survival.

Meanwhile, I will see you online.



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