Neighboroo - the most fun map app since Zillow

While attending RE Connect last July, the event that spawned the Transparent Real Estate blog, I met Travis who tried to explain his new baby Neighboroo to me. Neighboroo is a site that defies verbal description... you need to see the map. My first impression from our conversation was that Neighboroo would drill down locally to help its users assess the many variables - crime rate, school reputation - of a neighborhood. Well, Neighboroo launches today and I'm pleasantly surprised that it's a demographer's dream map for national data. Based on my initial interpretation of my conversation with Travis, drill down to zipcodes might be next (that would cook). I hope Travis might see this post and address what's next.

Neighboroo is a great "play tool" on par with Zillow when it unveiled. Perfect for Stumbleupon. Let's see what Travis' business model will be - it looks like it will be a great advertising play, and not just for real estate related ads.

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  • 10/17/2006 8:10 PM REBlogGirl wrote:
    Wow, very cool. It's very "heat-mappy." Very sweet mashup. I'd like to see them glam it up a bit, though. And, like you, dying to see what they up with for a business model.
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    1. 10/18/2006 11:14 AM P Kitano wrote:
      I knew you'd like it... certain personalities will really take to it, I used to study and draw maps for hours when I was a kid...

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  • 10/18/2006 1:35 PM teresa boardman wrote:
    Very nice, easy to use and kind of fun. I really hate to ask but how do we know the data is correct?
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  • 10/19/2006 4:22 AM Maureen Francis wrote:
    I meant to come back right after you posted this to say "that's nifty." Very fun to play around with.

    Drill down to zip code would have great applications for Realtors.

    My question is where the data comes from. The red state/blue state for politics makes me wonder how a democratic president has ever been elected in the US. So how timely is thet data too. Which leads me to a suggestion. Wouldn't it be fun if you could put in different years to see how areas have changed over time?
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    1. 10/19/2006 6:40 AM P Kitano wrote:
      I made a suggestion to Neighboroo to disclose the data used on the site. Also, I notice an upcoming feature will be user generated content about their own neighborhoods... I'll surmise that it will look like a local mashup with user comments (I bet the first ones will say stuff like "here's my favorite Chinese restaurant")

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      1. 10/19/2006 1:06 PM P Kitano wrote:
        I heard back from Neighboroo that the source data won't be disclosed yet...

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        1. 10/19/2006 2:04 PM teresa boardman wrote:
          If I don't know where the data is it is of no use for me, but the site is pretty and cool. I'll compare it with some trusted sources of data to check for accuracy and report back when I have time.
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    2. 10/20/2006 3:54 PM P Kitano wrote:
      that red map overwhelmed me to here in San Francisco, the bluest city in America... I bet they're working on the trend graphs... that would be killer... Marin County, the fabled hot tub new age suburb north of SF was apparently Republican in the 50's...

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  • 10/20/2006 8:07 AM Travis wrote:
    thanks for all the comments! we are very excited about our launch after months of a lot of hard work.

    We are certainly "heat mappy". I'll address some people's concern with the accuracy of the data.

    There are numerous sites with demographics data, and they all get the info from different vendors who aggregate and reformat data primarily from the Census Bureau. We have compared our data with other sites and found that it is inconsistent across websites and vendors.

    Most information is static, so even if the vendor is correct, you may be seeing data from a year ago. Even if these websites are live, then the question of the techniques vendors use to come up with the numbers can vary. For example, some use what's called "mailbox" counts to estimate population change since the last published government reports.

    Neighboroo tries its best to keep our data fresh and accurate. It's unlikely we (or anyone) have exact numbers, especially regarding demographics. We tested our data against selected areas and found that it should be within 3-5% variance from other vendors.

    We expect most people come to our site to look at trends and to compare regions, so we focus on aggregate trends, rather than trying to get the most exact number. In our FAQ and throughout the site, we suggest users go directly to a professional for an appraisal or population count before making a big decision, e.g. opening a retail shop.

    Thanks for all the comments! Please keep them coming!
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  • 10/20/2006 11:25 AM Joel Burslem wrote:
    They should license it to brokers who want to put it on their web site.
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    1. 10/20/2006 2:23 PM P Kitano wrote:
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  • 10/20/2006 12:23 PM Jim Duncan wrote:
    To echo Travis' comment regarding the accuracy of data, I compared a few demographic numbers between his and the Census' data for my region, and the 3-5% number he cited is accurate. At least for my area.
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    1. 10/21/2006 5:16 AM Lenny Gurvich wrote:
      Am I missing something regarding the zip drill down? Just entering a zip in the location field brings back data for that zip.
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      1. 10/21/2006 6:30 AM P Kitano wrote:
        Thanks Lenny... I was missing it... the map wasn't zooming in close enough for me to click on local zips. For some reason I didn't even think of querying by zip code... it works.

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  • 10/26/2006 11:49 AM Travis wrote:
    Jim, thanks for verifying the accuracy.

    Due to popular demand, we will be adding more coverage and zoom earlier than planned.

    As for citing specific sources, we will be more descriptive about where the information comes from. We certainly rely on the Census Bureau, IRS, and other government agencies for the basic demographics and income/job data. If you see that the numbers are slightly different than government sources, it's because we sometimes use different methods to tweak the data for better accuracy. Things keep on changing, and it's very difficult to synch up with the government everyday. Also, for many stats, the publication is only periodic, so we must do some projections.

    Overall though, our basic data is pretty in synch with the bureaus. Please let us know if there is any gross error. We admit to mistakes and will do our best to correct problems.

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  • 2/12/2007 9:36 PM john beck wrote:
    Most of the new sites in real estate have the maps in mash up form. Buying a home is a lot easier when you can see a map of the area, besides if you begin with just a home spec form- the results get displayed but then at that point want to see them on a map anyway.
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