One Problem with Blog Journalism / Revisiting Edgeio

I've been discussing why blogging, the main component of "open source journalism", is developing increasing credibility with the news reading public. Here is one problem with blog journalism - the focus tends to be on "real time" reaction to developing news. Digg users scour the news sources and blogosphere for Diggable stories. Reporters at major newspapers are told to write a 300 word reactive piece to a developing story for inclusion on the paper's website, then rewrite and polish the article for the daily. The problem - blogs may not be the correct vehicle for news requiring complex analysis.

The journalistic paradox is this is how news was delivered before radio began its "mass media" dissemination (Wikipedia says "mass media" was coined in the 20's). Reporters worked beats to find the news that at best could sell extra newspapers with their classic "Extra! Extra!" tagline. The evolution of a story line captures audiences, it's still a widely used journalistic gimmick. And full time running blogs (not mine, I only work evenings) exploit their real time reporting and commenting capabilities to follow stories and build readership.

But back to the problem... the journalistic discipline of fleshing out stories happens in stages, but it may not happen at all. Loose ended threads... gut reaction posts that a day later prove invalid... no followup on story lines because the blogger is off to the next topic... no time for reflection. At best, a thread worth discussing is picked up by other bloggers.


So now, I'm taking a second look at my analysis of Edgeio's acquisition of ARES, mainly because I didn't have the time to study the business model more thoroughly. I received some fine comments that essentially raised two questions.

1) Since real estate is all local, "national MLS searches" doesn't make too much sense... so what's behind Edgeio's national MLS access play?
2) Kevin speculates about whether the MLS's will even allow their data to be aggregated into Edgeio's database.

My take on the ARES deal is it was not done so one part of the country can search through MLS listings in another part... there are easier options to do this. This deal was done so Edgeio can offer a more comprehensive set of listings than Trulia and other national Web2.0 search sites. For example, Trulia partners with some brokerages but relies on independent brokers and agents to index or feed their listings to Trulia for inclusion in their listings database. And Trulia requires the broker/agent to set up the feed or index the listing, not a friendly task.

Here's where Edgeio's value proposition stands out - ARES' listers (brokers/agents) submit their website (displaying all its local MLS listings) to Edgeio, which "scrapes" the listings, MLS and all, to their database and automates the indexing of new listings. For an ARES broker, Edgeio serves as another listing service like Craigslist... but it's automated like a feed...there's no effort in recrafting or customizing each Edgeio listing as it comes online.

 - CEO Keith Teare then substantiates the ARES acquisition strategy indirectly within his blogpost Sunday:
By way of background, edgeio launched in March with zero listings. We took in about 100 new listings per day at that time. Today we take in about 700,000 new listings per day.
This is a key stat I needed to see - - the 700,000 per day number is proof that their listing aggregation engine works.


In practice, this is a simple model on how Edgeio/ARES will work: 1) a ARES broker, say in Boise Idaho, indexes their local MLS listings through Edgeio, 2) a local Boise customer (or even a California one) finds an MLS listing but contacts the publisher, the ARES broker, about the property.

BENEFIT TO EDGEIO - as a national search site, Edgeio's Boise home buyers can theoretically see all Boise MLS listings, Trulia's can't. BENEFIT TO EDGEIO BROKER CLIENT - additional free listing source plus the Broker is likely to become the potential buyer's first point of contact, not the listing agent, because the buyer is routed through the ARES broker's website.

Can a local MLS stop these ARES brokers from poaching their listings? Edgeio will seem to function like another national IDX site like Re/MAX.

VentureBeat mentions:

[...] Edgeio seems to be doing an end run around this system, but legally. [...] This means Edgeio can show these 1.5 million (MLS) homes in its search results, and let users drill down to see the data details hosted on Web sites it has relationships with [...]

I experimented and found a Keller Williams San Francisco listing. There seem to be three hyperlinks to the listing's "source: - "Contact publisher" links to the KW site , "Powered by" to a Point2Homes website and  "Posted on Real Estate @ Point2Homes". The three sites are different and confusing, but two of them point to one agent (if this listing disappears, the reader can test another Edgeio housing listing). Many of their listings point to 2-3 different sites in this way - right now, it causes a credibility problem for Edgeio as a real estate listing source.

So the integration of ARES broker networks into Edgeio's offerings will elevate Edgeio's brand perception as a listings source... I posed the question earlier - can they succeed in the similar way their classified cousin Craig's List has done? It's about marketing....


Here's the final problem with blog journalism - I'm finishing up this article Sunday night (err... Monday morning) so this post is all conjecture... it would be nice to verify some of the information during normal office hours!

Related articles:

Next RE Web2.0 challenger - Edgeio
More Web2.0 Competition:
Blogging? You'll Benefit from the New New Media

Technorati Tags:, , , , , , ,
Generated By Technorati Tag Generator


What did you think of this article?

  • 12/6/2006 4:04 PM Realtio wrote:
    Real estate agents used to upload their listings to the local MLS and that was it. Today you want to make sure that your listings are being seen and have good placement at sites like Google, CraigsList, Trulia and now…...
Page: 1 of 1
  • 12/5/2006 4:28 AM teresa boardman wrote:
    A note about Craigs list, I have talked to people about why they use Craig's list, ordinary real people who are not in our industry. What I have found is that they use it because when they read the ads they are written by real people and some how seem more honest and real. Craigs list is big here in the Twin Cities and I don't think any of the big pretty techie sites can touch it.
    Reply to this
    1. 12/5/2006 6:40 AM Pat Kitano wrote:
      Very interesting to hear how much traction Craigslist gets all over the country... we're still used to it being a Bay Area phenomenon... citizen journalism at its most grassroots.

      Reply to this

  • 12/5/2006 9:48 AM Jeff Tomlin wrote:
    Interesting analysis. I've posted some notes on my blog... just hoping to add some clarily to the issue:

    Jeff Tomlin
    Point2 Technologies
    Reply to this
    1. 12/5/2006 3:40 PM Pat Kitano wrote:
      Thank you Jeff. Your insider perspective clarifies the relationship between Point2 and ARES. I recommend readers to your post for followup on this discussion.

      Reply to this

  • 12/5/2006 1:24 PM Marlow Harris wrote:
    In answer to your question "Can a local MLS stop these ARES brokers from poaching their listings?" I think they can and they do, as this is copyrighted information.
    Reply to this
    1. 12/5/2006 3:30 PM Pat Kitano wrote:
      Interesting! I'd like to ask Keith Teare at Edgeio if ARES has any cases of backlash from MLS... after all they do access MLS by stealth...

      Reply to this

  • 12/5/2006 3:09 PM Brian wrote:
    Has anyone stopped to do the math? 700,000 new listings a day? Right...
    Reply to this
    1. 12/5/2006 3:24 PM Pat Kitano wrote:
      It's possible to get to that # if they're scraping listings from a lot of website/blogsites... I give CEO Teare benefit of the doubt on this #, after all he has credibility on the line.

      Reply to this

  • 12/5/2006 6:31 PM Athol Kay wrote:
    The problem with blogs touching on a subject and then moving on is a great point. I think the blogosphere as an organic whole though acts very much like a brain does though. Individual brain cells hardly have relevance, but the whole can be quite valuable.
    Reply to this

  • 12/5/2006 8:01 PM geno petro wrote:
    Its all such a fast moving target. Blogs have quickly evolved from something lesser than what they are now and will undoubtably grow into something more rarified and narrower at the top (the best writers and thinkers will rise I would imagine). I mean there are a couple hundred million people posting and most are not journalists. "700,000 listings,Craigslist,bloggers, blogosphere..." Ten years ago 99.9 wouldnt even be able to fathom the concept much less the lexicon. The impetus to this whole movement, I believe, is the fact that its basically free. Its like having a set of golf clubs (your computer ) and being able to play free golf 24/7 anywhere you want with little or no rules.
    Reply to this
    1. 12/5/2006 10:00 PM Pat Kitano wrote:
      Athol, Geno, thx for excellent comments - - - I expect that the best writers will rise from the vast blog pool, but in the meantime, to give a talk show analogy - the Jerry Springers will rise with the Charlie Roses - citizen journalism is another medium with its own developing set of celebrities.

      I spoke with a journalist today who made the observation that the hordes of bloggers act like "knockoffs" of journalists... journalists, financed by media companies, create the stories which minutes later are appropriated by the bloggers. It's a reality that journalists have a hard time facing and I expect they need to reinvent themselves to either join the hordes or lead them.

      Free set of golf clubs for an open all night course... LOL

      Reply to this

  • 6/15/2007 7:30 PM Real Estate Web Guy wrote:
    If the listings are being "scraped"; the MLS will catch on and stop them. The only way they can pull an end run around this is if the listings coming from ARES's select brokers are only those brokers listings.

    If the data contains listings from all the brokers in the MLS and ARES has a contract with only one broker... they're in trouble.
    Reply to this

Page: 1 of 1
Leave a comment

Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.


 Email (will not be published)


Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.