Hyperlocal Venues Differentiated

Earlier this year, I noted that hyperlocal sites like Outside.in, Localism and Street Advisor were coming out in full force, and that this creates marketing opportunities for Realtors. Marlow commented that her Connecting Neighbors site provided a reasonably priced hyperlocal marketing venue:
Feb 7, 2007: I really do love my Connecting Neighbors website. It's an easy way for me to keep in touch with people monthly and the different categories, such as "Arts Events" or "Community News" allows me to advertise my friends events, feature and highight them, and then I can send them a link which they often send out to THEIR friends ad it's self-perpetuating. Now that it's set up, it only takes me an hour or two a month to update, and it's an affordable service I can offer. It has replaced monthly snail-mail mailers for me.

I don't mean to sound like an advertisement, but I'm just sharing info about a product that I use.
Hyperlocal sites continue to launch, and many are positioning themselves to serve as real estate marketing platforms. Here's a chart that compares the different categories of hyperlocal venues and how appropriate each is for realtor marketing purposes.

Hyperlocal venue
User generated content?
User relationship with Realtor?
Online local newspaper
Local search
Local content aggregation
Outside In, Placeblogger

Very little - now transitioning to Web 2.0 with more blogs and user-generated content Very little - Users of these well trafficked resource sites are searching for or browsing specific information and have little intent to network or participate.
Neighborhood information venues
Connecting Neighborhoods
Local Guides
Very little - role is similar to local resource sites above. New Local Guides is recruiting neighborhood "guides" for content.
More relevant than Citysearch - Focus on neighborhoods attracts a reader base that is potentially sticky and can develop into leads
Review sites for community businesses
100% user-generated. Reviews posted by individuals and credible when number of reviews reach critical mass. Not relevant unless review is specific to the Realtor. Reader generally has no relationship with reviewers, so reviews not credible unless many reviews are consistent

Neighborhood Venues in which data is usually generated by Real Estate professionals
Zillow, My-Currency, Trulia Voices, Localism

Dialogues between consumer and real estate pro is fostered by Q&A and other Realtor data contribution which position Realtor as experts.
Relevant - Readers are generally not members of the community, but interface with participating Realtors, who post profiles of themselves
Social Networking based Neighborhood Venues

User content generated by members of specific communities. Cursory inspection shows traction has not happened in most neighborhoods in StreetAdvisor... Fatdoor just focusing on Silicon Valley to prove model.
Highly relevant if traction occurs in a specific neighborhood - networking model is related to Facebook... the intent is for reader to actually network with known individuals within their community, which would obviously include local real estate pros.
Private neighborhood and HOA community websites
Content generated by users within a specific community in which every member is related. Challenge is to get lazy HOAs to actually pull the trigger and develop the website.
High relevancy - "Virtual" neighborhood websites theoretically will foster high credibility because all members are part of same physical community

(disclosure: Trulia is one of the clients of my company Domus Consulting Group)


Mary Pope Handy reports:
Hi Patrick,

Several months back I wanted to start a neighborhood website and I looked at the expensive templated sites available (Connecting Neighbors and Neighborhood Agent, among others). I kept looking and found one aimed at HOA's but readily useable for an agent like me - 4Neighbors.com. This is for agents who don't mind writing their own copy. I got one set up for my Belwood neighborhood of Los Gatos (BelwoodOfLosGatos.com) and have been very happy with it. And it's soo inexpensive it's almost free.

Check it out!

Related articles on Hyperlocal Content

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  • 6/12/2007 2:41 AM Perry wrote:
    Nice summary, Pat.

    I'm convinced (and committed) that the venue we're creating in Localguides.com will become a really valuable landing place for exploration and publishing around neighborhood information. Lots more to come from our team on this theme.

    Stay in touch, Perry.
    Reply to this

  • 6/13/2007 5:58 AM Phil wrote:
    As much as I hate to say this on a real estate oriented site, eNeighbors is not really intended for realtors to set up neighbor sites. We really want the HOA board to adopt our site. That way we know that everyone will use it.

    With that said, I highly encourage realtors to contact the board members in their communities and get them to set up an eNeighbors site. The residents will thank you for it, and you can sponsor the site. It's the best way to lend instant credibility to your realtor services will offering a very valuable service that you really don't have to do very much to get going.

    Hope that provides some clarity. And btw, thanks for including us in the list.

    - Phil Freund
    Reply to this

  • 6/25/2007 10:05 AM Douglas Trudeau wrote:
    Great article on hyperlocal sites. What's most imortant to me is "User relationship with Realtor?"
    Reply to this

  • 10/20/2007 7:49 AM Bill Gassett wrote:
    Thanks for this useful info. I had only heard of a few of these sites. It is nice to become aware of some of the others.
    Reply to this

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