Author Archive

Tom Fernandez

Tom is a former Realtor an expert web marketer and avid entrepreneur. Verity Consulting was founded by Tom in 2008 after leaving 1ParkPlace as Director of IDX Sales Operations. He also manages the SmartDesk and SmartSites program for CRMLS. Connect with Tom on Google +, LinkedIn or Twitter.

 

Infinity Arts IDX System Review

Written by Tom Fernandez. Posted in IDX Systems

Nice looking system, well laid out with some nice features for getting listing data indexed. The custom subdomain feature is nice so you can achieve a more integrated look and feel and get mls listing data indexed. This requires more work, which is why it ends up being more expensive than other systems but you end up with a much more advanced solution when completed.

Read the complete review of the Infinity Arts IDX System; pro’s, con’s and a key features here.

Add your own review here…

IDX Broker Review

Written by Tom Fernandez. Posted in IDX Systems

A review of the widely respected IDX Broker IDX system for real estate agents and brokers. Read my opinion on their strength’s and weaknesses. Weigh in yourself as well by joining in on the conversation.

Strengths

  • Fairly simplistic search with satellite map search capability
  • Ability to produce RSS feeds of listing data (your listings only – on the back end)
  • Captures referring url for lead sourcing at the lead/contact level
  • Analytics for key measurement criteria
  • Fairly inexpensive and feature rich
  • Customizable look and feel if your into editing css/html files
  • Basic customization of lead capture/ user registration settings (yes/no or # pre-defined # of search or detail views)

Weaknesses

  • Limited contact management ability, no emailing/drip email campaigns or email blasting
  • Can’t easily view listings viewed or saved by registrants (have to log in as them to see this data)
  • No RSS feeds of listing data (other than your own listings) to create indexable content

Summary & Conclusion

At first, I was extremely excited about this vendors IDX System because of the powerful customization options built into the back-end. You can really make this system blend into your existing website from a look and feel standpoint and even use your own search forms as long as you use the right css commands to interact with their system. The downside though is that the contact management portion of this IDX system is a little sub-par and in my view this creates an unavoidable problem. With the addition of some solid contact management abilities and a customizable user registration setting this IDX system could be a real force to be reckoned with. My experience in dealing with them so far has been fantastic, they are really a responsive and nice group people and that in itself should be valued highly. And, though their IDX system isn’t technically an iFrame based solution you or your web designer will simply be creating wrapper pages to integrate into your existing site/blog so unless you get into some creative workarounds, none of the MLS listing data will be getting indexed on your site.

Over To You…

Are you an IDX Broker customer? If so, leave a comment and tell us your thoughts

1ParkPlace Review

Written by Tom Fernandez. Posted in IDX Systems

1Parkplace, based in San Diego, has long been a player in the real estate IDX space. I’ve taken a close look and have shared some important strengths and weaknesses to be aware of.

Strengths

  • User-friendly, graphical map based guided search
  • Agent configurable lead capture settings to require registration to see complete address, photos & property description
  • Solid back office system for contact management, automated and customizable drip email system and listing management
  • Ability to produce RSS feeds of listing data (from the back-end)
  • Captures referring url for lead sourcing at the lead/contact level
  • Solid analytics for key measurement criteria
  • High quantity lead generation (50-150+/mo) that I can personally confirm

 

Weaknesses

  • Cost:  can get expensive quickly
  • RSS feeds of listing data are proprietary
  • Service: Customer Service issues have and continue to be prevalent
  • Development Methodology: Proprietary, fairly non-interoperable and non-customizable
  • Style: Lacks web2.0 look and feel, generally looks old compared to others

Summary & Conclusion

Unfortunately this vendor hand-cuffs you to their proprietary (and new) blog platform in order to create and utilize the RSS feeds of the listing data for seo juice.  Also the feeds are only created on the back end so your site visitors don’t have an option of receiving listing updates via RSS (as opposed to email).  The IDX system by itself is an iFrame solution only making it non-indexable to search engines unless you also go with one of their blogs which will set you back a few grand.  Overall it’s a good effective system for generating leads but plan on budgeting extra $$ to drive traffic to your site in order to see some ROI.

Note: If you are into email marketing and want this ability integrated into your IDX system than you should take a serious look at this system. Comparatively speaking, it’s fairly advanced with pre-built (but editable) drip email campaigns. It also has email blasting and quick email abilities that send each email out on a generic / professional email template which of course has your basic branding elements and links back to your site (a customized email template service is also available as an upgrade).

The Broker Tools:
Leads are automatically routed to the listing agent assuming the listing agent has a 1parkplace IDX account. Lead routing can also be done manually again assuming the agent also has a 1parkplace account, and the system includes useful reporting abilities to track lead / agent activity. An intranet upgrade is available as well.

Over to you…

If you’re using 1Parkplace now, or used to, let us know your thoughts with a comment below.

Real Estate Webmasters Review

Written by Tom Fernandez. Posted in IDX Systems

Real Estate Webmasters, another long-time player in higher end real estate websites with integrated IDX, is reviewed.  There are some fundamental aspects of their technology that should be seriously considered if you’re a prospective buyer.

Strengths

 

  • Powerful, stylish and highly customizable search that includes satellite mapping
  • IDX & CMS is tightly integrated offering complete indexability of search results
  • Standard back office abilities for contact management, drip email and listing details
  • Offers a totally customized IDX option (if you really want it!)
  • Offers snippet ability to dynamically create search filters
  • Appears to have built in analytics for key measurement criteria
  • Technologically progressive
  • Appears to have high customer service remarks
  • Will integrate your local mls data at no charge

 

Weaknesses

  • Expensive compared to others
  • Agents ability to customize the IDX appears to be limited
  • Indexing ability of listing data requires you to use their website/blogsite platform
  • Search interface isn’t guided and can lose some (less internet savvy) people with all the search options
  • RSS feeds of listing data don’t appear to be available

Summary & Conclusion

Very expensive and back office may not be as robust compared to others (need more time to evaluate).  If you require a totally customized IDX for your project and have the resources to pay for it than they might be the right choice for you.  They do offer an iFrame version as well.

 

Over to you…

Are you a Real Estate Webmasters client? Let us know how their doing with a comment below.

 

 

Diverse Solutions Review

Written by Tom Fernandez. Posted in IDX Systems

Is Diverse Solutions the best IDX System out there? I’ve taken a close look and listed out what I think are some important strengths and weaknesses to consider.

Strengths

  • Powerful, stylish and highly configurable satellite map based search
  • Agent configurable lead capture settings to require registration after X number of searches
  • Solid back office system for contact management, automated and customizable drip email system and listing management
  • Ability to produce RSS feeds of listing data (from front end and back-end)
  • Appears to have analytics for key measurement criteria
  • Technologically progressive and interoperable
  • High value proposition due to feature rich-low cost base package
  • Appears to have high customer service remarks

 

Weaknesses

  • Search interface isn’t guided and can lose some (less internet savvy) people
  • Does not capture referring url for lead sourcing though the lead source could be achieved through effective use of google analytics

Summary & Conclusion

A value and feature rich web2.0′ish IDX system with open ability to utilize RSS feeds of listing data for seo benefit.  The base IDX package is very elegant and extremely configurable and is connected to a solid CRM for lead and contact management.  The fact that you get all this configurability and the RSS feeds and don’t have to use their website or blog platform is key.  Yes, it’s an iFrame solution like the others but proper utilization of the RSS feeds can generate tasty seo juice.  Also, if you’re in an area where they do not provide IDX service, and you want it, you might need to swallow a development fee if you go it alone.

Over to you…

If you are using Diverse Solutions weigh in with a comment and let us know your thoughts.