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Using Flickr photos in listing presentations

Flickr_realbird Flickr is one of the most popular online photo sharing services and known for their high-quality photos - uploaded by amateurs and professional photographers. This tutorial will show how to use Flickr images with the RealBird Listing Publisher service for creating a great looking online listing presentation.

RealBird allows you to spice up your listing websites with background images. This is a great feature for visually highlighting some of the main characteristics of the property. Many of our members are using high-quality property pictures or a nature photo to capture the mood of the property, like ocean or mountain view or to emphasize that it is a horse property. The challenge for the high adaptation of this visually captivating feature is that many agents do not have access to high-quality, royalty free images to upload as a backdrop.

This is where Flickr comes for our rescue. Flickr provides a way for its members to decide under which licensing term they are sharing their photos with the public. While the default setting I believe is "All rights reserved", that is, fully copyrighted and no reuse is permitted, many Flickr users opt-in to share their photos under one of the variations of Creative Common licenses.

In order for you to reuse Flickr photos, you have to make sure that the creative common license is such, that it allows commercial reuse. There are other details which you have to pay attention to. See the tutorial below.

Let's take an example of property which has an ocean view. Probably you will want to upload a background photo of the ocean, sunset or similar. Besides searching for "ocean view" or "ocean sunset" on Flickr, you can also add some additional characteristics, e.g. California, so that the random images will more likely represent the natural attributes of the California coast vs Florida or the South Pacific.

While it is not a licensing issue, but more of a best practice consideration, selecting a general purpose design with no geographically specific visuals is advised, to avoid confusing your visitors. The background image is a very powerful visualization tool and you may mislead visitors unintentionally, if they think that the background photo was actually taken from the house or relates to your property. The goal here is to choose an image which symbolizes the main characteristics, but in the meantime, does not imply that it is an actual photo of the property or its surroundings. (Of course, this is not a problem if you are using your own images of the listing for the background overlay)

The tutorial assumes that you already created a RealBird single property website.

Step 1 - Search for photos with proper licenses

  1. Go to Flickr's advanced search
  2. Enter your keyword: ocean view
  3. Check all of the following checkboxes for the following restrictions at the bottom of the search form:

Creative Common Search Criteria

Step 2 - Choose the photo and download it

Flickr2_2 Once you found the image you like, you will have to get the link to its high resolution version:

  1. Click on the photo that you like in the list
  2. Click on "All version" above the image on the left side
  3. Select a large size version (1024x768 or bigger)
  4. Double check that you performed a correct search. Below the image, it should state with the corresponding icons, that it is a Creative Commons-licensed photo, and most likely also, that it requires attribution
  5. Click download image and save it to your local computer

Look for these logos below the Flickr picture:

Somerights20 Cc_icon_attribution

Step 3 - Using the image on RealBird

One of the options of the RealBird listing website theme customization feature is using an uploaded photo as a backdrop. To use the Flickr photo downloaded in step 2, follow the steps below:

  1. Login or register at RealBird
  2. Add/edit a listing
  3. On the list of listings page, find the subject property and click "Change design theme" on the right side
  4. Select the "Single, large background image" tab
  5. Upload the image from your local computer through "Browse..." and "Upload"

Step 4 - Attribute the work

From the Creative-Common license: "Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work)."

The best way to do this is by adding a link to the Flickr photo page (the Url in Step 2, Item 2 above) at the bottom of the description of your property using the RealBird editor. The link should say something like "Photo courtesy of [Author's name]"

That's it, you are done.

I hope you find this tutorial helpful for your next RealBird listing presentation.

-- Zoltan

I hate to do this in a blog tutorial, but since we touched some licensing issues, here comes the RealBird disclaimer: This is not a legal advise on how to interpret the legal context of the copyright and licensing terms on Flickr. We are providing a technical tutorial about how to use Creative-commons licensed photos if you decide that you have the rights to do so. Please do not use copyrighted material with RealBird, unless you have proper permission from the copyright holder.

More Street View Cities

Just in: Google added 12 more US cities to its Street View coverage:

  • Albany, NY
  • Schenectady, NY
  • Boise, ID
  • Juneau, AK
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Manchester, NH
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Durham, NC
  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Salt Lake City, UT

See our instructions on how to add Google Street View to your single property website published with RealBird

-- Zoltan Szendro


Central Valley MLS

Central Valley Map Searh Just a quick note, that we received a heads up from MLSListings Inc. (formerly known as RE InfoLink ) that their IDX feed now contains Central Valley MLS data. They are in the process of merging local MLSs and it seems Central Valley is already part of the unified feed. That's a good news for another 1000 California real estate agents and brokers. The RealBird Map-based Search service is now available in San Joaquin, Stanislaus and West Merced counties. Start a free trial and test-drive RealBird's novel IDX map and widget technology. That was quick. A few days after our MRIS release we have another area covered. That's what I am talking about ! More coming soon, so stay tuned.


-- Zoltan Szendro

MRIS MLS coverage added with Open House Map support

We have been working on it for a while, but finally, we are glad to announce, that MRIS MLS coverage (Metropolitan Regional Information System) is now available for the RealBird Map-based MLS Search service. MRIS is one of the biggest MLS in the country with almost 60,000 member real estate agents providing access to 90,000 plus active listings. We are glad to bring the unique and powerful features of the RealBird IDX solutions to the MRIS market.

Below is a quick feature list. For more info and examples see or go straight ahead a set up your free trial

  • Map-based MRIS Search: instant, visual results: Consumer facing IDX solutions has to be quick, visually impressive and "sticky" in order to capture and keep visitors on your site. The RealBird Map-based MLS solution provides intuitive, quick user interface and it brings visitors a few click closer to becoming your home buyer leads.
  • Flexible: add it to your website or blog: The RealBird solution has a flexible user interface to provide you with the most possible options for integration. You can embed it into your website or blog and it fits into different design templates nicely. You can change the width of the map, enable, disable headers and footers, change background color and so on.
  • Neighborhood MLS maps: Create neighborhood listing maps
  • Niche searches: Configure and share unlimited niche searches like "Luxury DC" or "Bargain Baltimore"
  • Open house maps: The industry's first private labeled open home maps
  • Social bookmarking and email sharing: Built-in social bookmarking and email tool for easy sharing by you or your visitors
  • Capture leads from portals and search engines: One of the most unique and groundbreaking features of the service is the "real estate search" syndication platform using your featured listings as the marketing vehicle. You can now embed your map-based MRIS search in your single property websites created with RealBird and capture buyer leads from real estate portals and search engines including Craigslist, Trulia, Google and more. Read more about this novel approach in our previous post
  • MLS hotsheet widgets: Create automatically updated photo slideshows, email signatures, banners, blog sidebar widgets and more from any MLS search and hotlist

See live examples on RealBird and go ahead and set up a free trial to see all the options and features yourself.

-- Zoltan Szendro