Our Top Picks for Mobile Apps in 2010

As more and more Internet users are accessing the Internet via mobile devices, a growing number of companies and sites are responding to the need of mobile users for a user-friendly Internet experience. Traditional sites have yet to offer a user-friendly experience to mobile users. In the meantime, mobile apps make mobile Internet access fast and easy. These are our top picks for mobile apps for 2010.

Foursquare

Foursquare is a mobile social network that allows users to share their location with friends by “checking in” on their mobile device when they go into a location such as a restaurant. Foursquare is also a game, enabling users to earn points and badges. Foursquare is fun for users, and good for businesses, many of whom adopt it as part of their customer loyalty program. Foursquare can be a great tool for real estate agents because of its location-based focus.

KWKLY

KWKLY provides homebuyers an easy way to get rich property information straight from the MLS to their web enabled mobile phone. Kwkly  connects agents with buyers, delivering buyers the property info along with participating agents’  contact info. It can be a great lead gen tool for agents.

TweetDeck

TweetDeck is a Twitter app that enables users to access and use Twitter from their mobile devices. It’s ideal for agents, becuase agents are always on the go and need to be able to access Twitter from a mobile device. TweetDeck also has a Facebook integration that enables users to access and use Facebook from their mobile phone.

Zillow

Zillow is one of the largest real estate websites in the US. It offers users free real estate information.  Agents have many ways to promote their business on this site, including adding their listings, advertising, and being active and helpful on the Zillow community. Responding to the mobile revolution, Zillow offers free mobile apps to its users, enabling them to access real estate information from their mobile devices.

Yelp

Yelp is an online community that enables users to rate local businesses, including real estate agents. Every business owner can set up a free Yelp account to post offers, photos and to message their customers. Agents can also advertise on Yelp. Yelp has responded to the mobile revolution by creating mobile sites and apps for mobile Web users, including http://m.yelp.com for cell phones, Yelp for iPhone, Yelp for BlackBerry, Yelp for Palm Pre, and Yelp for Android.

Don’t be Lazy with Your Passwords!

On Sunday, December 12 2010, 1.3 million Gawker media accounts were hacked. Some of the information – emails and passwords – was released on the Internet.

Gawker has asked all its users to change their passwords. While this is certainly an inconvenience, the issue is far more serious for anyone who’s been lazy with their passwords.

Let’s face it – modern life demands that we use countless passwords. Our bank, online grocery shopping, social media sites, email, and many other sites are asking that we create an account and register with them prior to using their services. For many of these sites, it’s a great way to develop a huge email list for marketing purposes. Some demand that we register to avoid spam.

For us, as users, it means that the temptation to use a single user name and password across all accounts is huge. But as convenient as this might be, the recent Gawker Media fiasco demonstrates just how risky it can be. If you use the same user name/password combination across all your accounts, a hacker who hacks into one account gains access to all of them.

So what should you do? You can use password management software. If you prefer to manage your passwords by yourself, ideally you should have a separate password for each account. Keep those passwords written somewhere, but not stored on your computer.

If this is too much if a hassle, at the very least, you should create a separate password for each financial account. Never use the same password that you use on low-security social media sites, for example, for online banking. And if you have more than one online banking account, it’s best to use a different password for each of those accounts.

As for the passwords, do yourself a favor and – unless the account is of no importance to you – avoid the most common passwords that people tend to use– these include “123456,” “password,” “letmein” and more. The best passwords have at least 12 characters, are random (not a real word), and include a combination of lower and higher case letters and of special characters.

Password management is a big headache, but it’s part of modern life. Don’t be lazy with your passwords! The risk is simply too high.

Internet Trends — Mobile on the Rise

In a recent study, Morgan Stanley suggested that smart phones will out sell desktop and laptop computers by 2012. Do you agree? I think anyone who has an iPhone or droid can certainly agree that this is going to happen – perhaps even in  2011. There is no denying that mobile Internet traffic is on the rise.

Now is a great time to develop your mobile marketing plan. Here are three mobile tips that you can incorporate to help make this happen!

Dose your website have a mobile version? If not, you might want to consider getting one. If you have a custom site, have your web developer design a second version specifically for mobile devices. Some companies such as RealEstateSites.com offers a free mobile version of their agent website product.

Do you use TEXT lead capture? If not, you might want to consider adding a text sign rider to your listings. Services such as SmarterAgent.com and KWKLY.com offer mobile and texting services to real estate professionals. ListingDomains.com offers a text rider upgrade to their listing website product for $10.00

Have you looked into QR codes? QR codes are still fairly new here in the states but they have taken some countries like Japan by storm. QR Codes storing URLs may appear in magazines, on signs, buses, business cards, or on just about any object that offers users information. Users with a camera phone equipped with the correct reader application can scan the image of the QR Code to display text, contact information, connect to a wireless network, or open a web page in the phone’s browser.

Google’s mobile Android operating system supports the use of QR codes by including the barcode scanner (ZXing) on some models.

View more presentations from CM Summit: Marketing in Real Time.
Look for some exciting new mobile innovations in 2011 from Properties Online!
Amanda Cornelius

New Video Posting Tool for Real Estate Agents

For many years Real Estate agents have struggled to create professional, engaging videos for their listings.  The expense of having a professional video shot has always been cost prohibitive and the quality for most do-it-yourselfers usually leaves something to be desired. Virtuets seeks to solve these issues by enabling real estate professionals to create property videos that won’t break the bank.

This December, Properties Online will be releasing their new product called Virtuets. Virtuets allow real estate professionals to create stunning videos for each listing using still images, music and a whole lot of pizzazz! The agent can select the genre and music that best fits the property and the Virtuet’s engine does the rest. Agents can share the videos on YouTube, blogs or Facebook!  Additionally, they can burn each Virtuet to a DVD for safe storage. These engaging videos will impress even the most discriminating seller. The company plans to release this new product as an added value service for their website products ListingDomains.com and RealEstateSites.com but will also launch a stand alone version in 2011.

-Amanda Cornelius, realinventive.com

NAR 2010 Highlights

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For those of you who couldn’t make it out to New Orleans this year for the National Association of Realtors Convention, I thought I would hit the highlights for you.

LOWES
Let me just start off by saying I can be bought with cookies. Lowes had (by far) the best give-aways at the show. I walked off with a 1 gig jump drive, a mini mouse for my laptop and freshly baked cookies (with coffee to boot!).

This friendly booth made me remember why I do my home improvement shopping at Lowes. Not only great products and services, but great customer service!

Terri Murphy
If you ever have a chance to hear Terri Murphy (@terrimurphy) I would suggest you take advantage. Her insights on real estate and technology are right on the mark. I have seen her speak at a Century 21 regional event and now at the Kodak booth in New Orleans.

As a top producing sales person in the Chicago area for over 24 years, Terri understands the unmatchable power of strategic alliances that truly create a strong differentiation in the market today.

Terri is the President of Terri Murphy Communications and Chief Information Officer of U.S. Learning in Memphis, TN. She is the founder of www.WomensWisdomNetwork.com., an online resource network for women in business.

RealBiz Media
Next One Interactive, Inc. (OTCBB: NXOI) and RealBiz Media have launched a unique real estate marketing platform for real estate companies and professionals called “Connextions”. In a nutshell, these two companies have developed a technology platform that is able to take virtual tours, make them broadcast ready, and feed them to the largest real estate websites (Realtor.com, Trulia.com, etc), social networking sites (Facebook.com, Youtube.com, etc) and now …. television! Connextions is the only real estate marketing technology platform that is able to combine the power of the Internet and Television and provide it in a single automated marketing solution for the real estate professionals.

I caught up with Steve Marques at NAR to brefiely go over the new program.

Wells Fargo MTG
Winner of this years “Fun” booth. At the Wells Fargo booth, visitors are able to play a series of games including Texas Hold-Em and “Bop the Mole” in hopes of winning cash, cooking gadgets and the coveted Wells Fargo stuffed horse. It is always fun to see what Wells Fargo will come up with next.

QR Codes
QR (Quick Response) Codes made an appearance at this years shows. Several companies are trying to turn the QR hype into a business. A few companies were offering the QR codes for a flat or monthly fee. You are able to add listings, and create the QR codes that will redirect visitors with a QR reader to the listing page you created with the company. The issue I have with this product idea is that you (the agent) can create QR codes for free using Kaywa and you can send the visitors directly to the listing page on your website. Seems more cost effective and less time consuming to do it that way – no? It will be interesting to see how this pans out.

We (ListingDomains.com & RealEstateSites.com) are in the process of adding a QR code generator to our Listing and Agent websites service. We do not plan to charge anything additional for this service. We will also offer a sign rider with the QR code for an added fee. More to come on that …