Goodbye Dave, Time Top 50, Google Voice

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Here are some notes from the past month that I wanted to share with you, basically a little housekeeping and some interesting happenings.

Dave Platter
As you know Dave has not penned an article for a while on after being one of the earliest contributors and since he left REA has been busy taking care of his young family. Dave has decided to discontinue his involvement with I wish Dave and his family all of the best in life’s pursuits and thank him for all his efforts in making business2 what it is today.

Time 50 Websites of 2009
The list is out again this year and from what I can see only two real estate websites made it onto the list. Craigslist is also there and there are some other pretty cool sites as well. View it here. There are some pretty cool new sites on the list and a few I had never heard about, so grab a coffee and sit back and enjoy the read.

Google Voice
I received my Google Voice Account (USA only) and had it all setup in a matter of minutes. For those of you that do not know (click for Wikipedia expanded explanation), Google is basically creating a web based phone platform (view article here)where calls and messages are routed and also translated to text and sent as an SMS. Pretty cool I must say!

One small step for Google: So I was excited to try this out. My friend Luke called my Google Voice number and left this message (you get both voice and voice translated text message)

Hi Peter, this is Luke, I am sitting in my apartment watching ‘Arrested Development’ with Ganesh just calling to confirm that we are having some beers at Charlies later.

Now, I waited only a matter of minutes for the text message to come through as an SMS, confirming this was being translated. Then finally this text message arrived.

Hi Peter, This is Luke I’m sitting in my apartment what you’re doing something wrong with the cash just calling to confirm, we’re having the ranch early winter. I don’t really.

Hardly a glorious beginning. However I will give it some time and see how it pans out. To get a message translated to text is fine (remember you do also get original voice message), and all it has to do for the most part is give me an idea of what the caller requires. I can understand being confused with Ganesh, but the rest was pretty clear.

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  • Trevbor
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 8:50 am 0Likes

    Peter, your Google Voice story has started my day with a smile, – thanks.
    I recall someone telling me once that Microsoft had a department dedicated to Recognise Speech technology that was referred to as the “Wreck a nice beach” department. Looks like the technology still has some bugs, huh?

  • Trevor
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 8:51 am 0Likes

    Any my typing has bugs as well. You think I’d get my name right! lol

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 9:03 am 0Likes

    That was a close translation πŸ™‚

    Did the accent of the caller have a part in it? ie. Aussie, Indian ??

    Just out of interest, how did you convince google that your google account was now in the US. Did it just auto detect you based on the location you logged in??

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 9:09 am 0Likes

    The accent of the caller (Luke) was American. You can try my Google Voice Account if you (anyone here) like and leave a message and we will see after a few calls which ones worked.

    I signed up with my address, which is a Google Apps Account and my details on this account are here in USA – so that can make a difference.

    My number for fun is 0011 1 617 237 0162, leave a short message and I will post first 5 here. Should be fun.

  • Kylie Emans
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 1:39 pm 0Likes

    My blackberry produces similar texts to my friends when I have had too many glasses of red!

    I think we have created a monster with google. Last week I read an article about google cash, now we are talking telecommunications!

  • Sal Espro
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 4:45 pm 0Likes

    It was always going to happen, just a ‘normal’ procession from Gtalk (which works beautifully. So much so I can now see that with this new phone number (SMS) interface, Skype will be seriously challenged in the near future). Gtalk has both the real-time messenger (typing) + Voice functions. I have tested it to and from international destinations (needed a way to communicate from UAE without being horrendously charged by their local govt’s monolopy telecoms – Everything else was blocked).

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 4:53 pm 0Likes

    Hi Peter, I’m sure it will all go very well for you over in the US.

    Once Google get it right it’ll be really handy. It could change a lot of the data capturing for real estate enquiries by agents & receptionists.

    It was also interesting to see that Redfin (mentioned in comments in your previous post – View from Beantown USA ) made it into the Top 50 websites in Time Magazine…

    They mention:- “Disintermediation

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 9:43 pm 0Likes


    In the USA people have been accustomed to paying 6% commissions. 3% for buyers agents and 3% for sellers agent.

    Now 20 years ago that may have been fair, but today you are looking at property prices (although recently deflated) about 3 times that amount.

    Wage increases have not come close to that, so who would pay 6% commission on a $1 million property? – not many I would gather. Australian agents could only dream of commissions like this.

    Like many industries real estate has to move intelligently with the times and you will see an effect in Australia as well.

    It comes down to simple arithmetic, what is an acceptable fee for someone selling an important asset? – Mixed with what benefit the person receives from the person selling the asset. If it makes sense then it works!

  • Sal Espro
    Posted August 26, 2009 at 1:29 pm 0Likes

    Forget the sale commish. The real rort in the industry wrt commish at the moment is the huge % possible acting as a ‘buyer’s agent’. Same % as sales for a helluva lot less effort. I’m a gonna get me a bitta that!

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted August 26, 2009 at 4:52 pm 0Likes

    Something has to give Peter.

    A friend of mine is in real estate sales over in the US & had thoughts about moving back to Australia & doing real estate here.

    When I told him about the commission structure & approx. how much he’d get in his pocket as his part of the commission PLUS add to that the fact that he couldn’t sell anyone else’s listings he decided to pass.

    He told me that he listed a $6 million+ property over there & then sold it in less than a week. The fee to the office was approx. $360,000 & his cut was in excess of $200,000. That’s a crazy amount of money in anyone’s language or currency.

  • Sal Espro
    Posted August 28, 2009 at 2:18 pm 0Likes

    >he listed a $6 million+ property over there & then sold it in less than a week. >The fee to the office was approx. $360,000 & his cut was in excess of >$200,000. That

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