WARNING TO ALL REALTORS AND BROKERS: The Future is Now When Parents Are Buying Domain Names for Babies!

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photo of The Pankow Family by Paul Connors, AP

Technology and innovation are roaring into the Real Estate space at warp factor 5 and there is nothing agents and brokers can do about it but accept the sweeping changes that are taking place. The next generation of online marketing through Google, for the Real Estate community, is blogging. A big factor of this new wave is Web 2.0, widgetry, and the idea that no matter who you are or what you do-you must have a presence online in order to be taken seriously.

With all of this said, the trend continues with the fact that Harvard, the icon of all American Universities (Sorry Kevin!), is suggesting that each applicant write a blog and show that they have an online presence. Consequently it is of great interest that more and more parents are securing domain names for their unborn children. Anick Jesdanun wrote an excellent article on this growing trend. “It is the starting point for your online identity” according to Warren Adelman, president of registration company GoDaddy.com Inc.

Adding to Adelman’s claims is Peter Grunwald, Grunwald Associates, who specializes in researching kids and technology. “Given the pace of change on the Internet, it strikes me as a pretty impressive leap of faith that we’re going to use exactly the same system and the same tools 15 to 20 years from today.”

What does this mean to the Realtor or broker who is scratching his/her head at these notions? The focus is not on these unborn children who will have a domain name waiting for them in the year 2022 when they will need to begin looking at colleges. The focus for a Realtor or broker is the fact that these home buying parents, like the Pankows, are looking for agents and brokers who speak their language, understand the internet, and show the same concern for online identity/presence.

For those agents or brokers winding down their careers, this message is really a moot point. But make no mistake about the facts. For agents and brokers building a career, in mid career, or looking for lead generation tools-an online presence on Google using blogging and technology is akin to Career Survival 101.

“Walk Score” Awesome Widget for Realtors: My San Francisco Digs vs San Rafael Digs-Can You Dig It?

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In another of a plethora of fun widget sites, www.walkscore.com rates your home’s proximity to “walkable” landmarks, plotted on a map, within a neighborhood. The landmarks are then listed by name and address in the left sidebar for your convenience.
According to Walk Score: “ We help home buyers, renters, and real estate agents find houses and apartments in great neighborhoods. Walk Score shows you a map of what’s nearby and calculates a “Walk Score” for any property. Buying a house in a walkable neighborhood is good for your health and good for the environment.” For information on how Walk Score derives their “Walk Score follow this link: How It Works.

If you drill down on the “Walk Score” link provided above you will see that my former digs in San Francisco received a very high Walk Score of 91 out of a possible 100. This is a information rich tool and it does give any newbe to a neighborhood tons of ideas for exploration.

On the other hand, the sensitivity to distance seems to be a real issue with Walk Score. Most of the bars and restaurants listed were within a few blocks (.25 of a mile) of my former address in the Lower Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. These bars and restaurants were mom and pop joints which I visited infrequently. Why? Fillmore Street was only 4 blocks away and crowded with some of the best restaurants, bars, and people watching in the city!

An example of the curious results: Walk Score’s listing of John Lee Hooker’s Blues Club “The Boom Boom Room” which is a long walk from my old condo. Why is this odd? They failed to list incredible world class restaurants that were half the distance yet reside on the same street (Fillmore Street) as the Boom Boom Room.

In Walk Score’s favor is the fact that they provide a transparent page about why Walk Score doesn’t work called: “How It Doesn’t Work: Known Issues with Walk Score.”
I found this a saving grace and a very important reason to like Walk Score.

In the same vein as my questions about bar and restaurant choices within my San Francisco Walk Score, I was left to wonder why natural beauty was being left off the criteria list. I live on the water with full use of a boat dock, marina, and yacht club-I don’t own a boat. Yet Walk Score never took this into consideration when calculating my new suburban digs score. Even though all of these facilities are open to the public, within a stones throw of my doorstep, none of the water related facilities were mentioned in my scorecard.

Consequently my San Rafael score, a below average 31 out of 100, took an unfair beating in my opinion. But of course that is the fun of Walk Score-nobody will ever agree and it leaves tons of room for debate.

I would love to propose to the Walk Score folks the idea of a board game for adults. Make it a cross between “Charades” and “Mad Libs” with adults testing their neighborhood knowledge.

To add your Walk Score widget to your blog or website go to http://www.walkscore.com and follow the simple instructions for your free widget.

If you have further questions please comment here or write Dean Guadagni at ddguad@aol.com. Thanks!