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February 2009
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April 2009

Sharing habits of RealBird agents and consumers

The RealBird Listing Publisher provides a convenient way for agents in the member area to quickly share their listings on social networks and social bookmarking sites after publishing it. The chart below shows the sharing habits - the distribution of sharing destinations - of the RealBird listings. Since this particular sharing service is different than the one available on the RealBird single property websites and used only by RealBird members, the chart represents the importance of these destinations as decided by real estate professionals. 

Sharing distribution

The second chart shows the sharing distribution by consumers from the single property websites. This stats might include RealBird member agents as well, so it represents a different data set. Facebook and Twitter rule as well, but LinkedIn is #2. I suspect that LinkedIn sharing - being a professional network - is used by the RealBird member agents again and not by consumers.

Sharing distribution on the single property websites

-- Zoltan

Win an iPod Touch. A social media experiment

This post is reblogged from our ActiveRain blog

RealBird iPod Touch Sweepstakes on TwitterAnother week, another promotion. We are now experimenting with social media marketing. More specifically, we are attempting to create a viral marketing event in the form of a sweepstakes. Aside from the obvious, which is to promote our own brand, we want to be able to demonstrate to our readers and members how to utilize social media to achieve a marketing goal. We selected ActiveRain (as the viral hub) and Twitter to be the core platform for this experiment.

Twitter this message to participate

In our opinion, the four rules below are the basis for a successful social media campaign:

Rule #1 - The transaction cost for participants has to be as low as possible

Transaction cost means not only the monetary cost, but the abstract cost of efforts, time and mental resources as well. We designed this sweepstakes so that it only takes a few seconds to enter. Just click here to post the following message to Twitter and you are in.

"RealBird is giving away a free iPod Touch #realbird1 ReTweet to enter Rules:"

Rule #2 - An incentive has to be provided

Incentives do not have to be monetary in nature. They can be a reward as trivial as feeling good because of the participation, as it would be the case in charity campaigns for instance. In this particular case, the incentive is two fold: 1) the Apple iPod Touch which will be the prize for one lucky participant - this is a monetary incentive 2) the excitement of participating in something of this nature - this is a mental incentive. I suggest not to underestimate 2) either in terms of its effect.

Rule #3 -Ideally, do some good in the process

Related to Rule #2, good campaigns are those with secondary or by-product value for participants. We designed this campaign in a way that the tweet contains a link to randomly selected active RealBird listing website. So while the message will be traveling on the web, every instance of the message will link to a random RealBird listing, hence bringing exposure for a RealBird member and their property; for free.

Rule #4 - Be as transparent as possible

Transparency creates trust. Trust increases participation. We made sure that you will see as much of this campaigns internals as we do. You'll see all participants by searching Twitter for the topic #realbird1 and you will also be able to see the click-through rate, peaks and drops, viral hubs and sources through the amazing URL shortening service

Enough of the theory: this is the single step to take in order to participate:

Simply Twitter (or retweet) the message below. Make sure that the Twitter topic #realbird1 is presented in the message.

Enter sweepstakes: RealBird is giving away a free iPod Touch #realbird1 ReTweet to enter Rules:

Current participants: See as participants join the sweepstakes

Click-through traffic: See stats here

Sweepstakes rules and disclaimers:

  1. No purchase is necessary to participate
  2. A participant is defined as a Twitter user, uniquely indetified by his or her Twitter username
  3. One prize for one randomly selected participant: an 8GB Apple iPod Touch (2nd generation)
  4. One entry per participant no matter how many campaign tweets are posted
  5. US and Canadian residents can win only (although we welcome others to retweet )
  6. Drawing is on April 2, 2009
  7. Free shipping of the free prize, no cost to the winner
  8. The linked, random RealBird property website may contain 3rd party advertisement. This advertisement only shows when visitors arrive through this campaign's channel and there are no advertisements on the RealBird single property websites otherwise.
  9. No association or business relationship is claimed by RealBird with ActiveRain, Twitter, Apple or any other party mentioned in the campaign.
  10. While RealBird employees and their families can Twitter the message, they can not participate in the sweepstakes and their Twitter account will be excluded from the list prior to the drawing
  11. Prohibited where local and state laws disallows such promotions
  12. The winner will be announced on this blog and we will contact him or her via email, Twitter and phone (if it is publicly available) for delivery information. If we can not reach the winner within two weeks from the drawing date, we'll conduct a new drawing.

-- Zoltan

Vertical real estate search engine - co-branded with revenue sharing

The following post is reblogged from our ActiveRain blog

Encouraged by the positive feedback from the real estate community about the initial release of the "Search The Real Estate Web" custom search engine, we are pleased to let you know that we released a co-branded version as a free service. We also offer a unique revenue sharing advertising model for those agents who deploy this co-branded version. But first thing first.

Vertical real estate search engine

The RealBird vertical real estate search engine allows consumers to search for any real estate terms across thousands of real estate sites and networks. It utilizes the familiar Google user interface and utilizes Google's technolgy to provide state-of-the-art content ranking and lightning fast results. Rather than searching the billions of pages in the regular Google index, this search engine focuses on hand selected professional real estate content. While the selection is focused, the number of content pages are still large and aggregated from distinct real estate sites. In other words, the vertical real estate search engine provides a more focused, but robust result set for the consumers and hopefully a very accurate search experience of real estate content.

Co-branded - your traffic, your brand, your links

With the current release, real estate professionals can create a co-branded version of the same service for themselves. It is a free service. The co-branded service provides you with a version of the service which carries your photo, name, links to website, blog and featured listings on ALL pages and upon subsequent returns of the same visitor (see Bill Gassett's example on the right). This branded information is presented to all consumers who arrives through your very own link. The co-branded version also comes with a branded search widget which you can add to your blog and ActiveRain sidebar. Embedded in this post below is Janie Coffey's live widget for demonstration. As you can see, the widget itself carries your brand and links and all searches submitted through a particular widget maintains the branding information. Furthermore, when a consumer shares your widget through social networks, bookmarking sites or via email, it maintains your co-branded version also, so that you get incremental traffic to your own co-branded search engine from additional placements.

Revenue sharing

As you can see, there are advertisement above, below and on the left of the search result. We thought that it is only fair that we share the revenue with you for the traffic and click-throughs originated through your co-branded service, your blog's traffic and through your social networking activities. The system is designed in a way, that you can add your own custom content to the footer section of the search result pages. Not only the header will carry your profile and links, but you can also add further revenue generating and promotional content below the search results. In short, click through traffic from the built in ads above and on the left will generate revenue for us and all click-thrus below the results will generate ad revenue or traffic for you (assuming you configured the service with your own ad code) .

SEO benefits

One of the beauty of this design is what I like to call "chain-linked" SEO. This may sound like a complicated concept, but in practice it is very easy to accomplish. The idea is that you deep link from your websites and blogs to your co-branded search engine result page with specif search terms, "do follow" links and proper anchor tags. When Google's main search engines indexes your content again (your website, your blog etc.) and it finds these links, it will follow them to your own RealBird search engine result pages and it will index those pages also. Those pages contain your search engine friendly links. These links are pointing back to your website and blog. Ideally, Google will follow these links to your 3rd party sites and consider them as backward links. The RealBird system allows you to create as many "deep links" to specific result pages as you want hence making Google follow and index even more pages with your own links on them. In turn, this may very well increase your website and blog ranking even more. We suggest that you set up a few direct links for search terms for which your own content comes up first (your name, your brokerage, your local market and your name) and add those links to your website or blog. You can also add a few to your ActiveRain sidebar, under the link section, which will be populated to all of your AR blog posts. Within the RealBird member area, we provide a handy tool to create these links in seconds. Furthermore, because hopefully many of you will create deep links, the overall number of pages Google will know on the same domain name ( will increase drastically.

Here are three more examples:
Virginia Beach real estate
Healdsburg Real Estate Blog
Akron, OH homes for sale

Transparency - the value proposition

We love transparency, so here we go: the value proposition for everybody involved is the following:

Consumers - They have access to a focused, easy to use, general purpose vertical real estate search engine

Us at RealBird - We receive ad revenue on the portion of the traffic

YOU - Free marketing and branding tool for you. Provide an invaluable service to your visitors. Increase the SEO of your own content and generate additional revenue with the revenue sharing model, if you opt-in to do so.

Additional content

We are continously improving the search engine by adding more related websites and networks to its index. With this release we have added content from RISMedia, Real Estate Shows, ClassifiedFlyerAds, Zipvo, Postlets and VFlyer to the growing index. As always, if you do not find your own blog or website after searching for your name or your domain name, just let us know. You can request the inclusion by commenting below.

Best practices

I hope I could successfully explain the benefits of this new, free service. It's cobranded, all your visitors who comes through your widgets and co-branded links will see your own photo banner no matter what they searched for, the revenue sharing or additional promotional options and SEO. If you decide to utilize this service - and we certainly hope you will - than we suggest that you promote your co-branded version as much as you can. Here are a few tips on how to do it:

  • Use the built in social bookmarking feature on the co-branded widget - share the link on Facebook, delicious, Digg, Twitter and others
  • Create good, meaningful direct deep links using specific search term and your co-branded Url. Chose the ones which directly benefit you and make sure that the link's anchor tag has related, meaningful name and title.
  • Add the co-branded widget to your blog and website and share it through email as well. Ask your network (farm, friends) to share it with their friends as well.

How to get started - it's free

  • Existing RealBird members: Access the widget configuration page in the member area (login required)
  • New to RealBird? Register for free and configure and grab your private labeled widget on the "Widgets" => "Search The Real Estate Web™" member page

Finally, please share this announcement with your network !

As always, we do appreciate if you share this post by Re-Blogging, through FaceBook, via Twitter other networks or by simply emailing it to your collegues.

Thanks and do not hesitate to contact us with your feedback.

-- Zoltan