State of the Social (SotS) Google, Yahoo, MySpace, Twitter and Groupons buyout idiocy

5 minute read

2011 seems to be shaping as a year that will make or break some social media companies. In my opinion we will see the further entrenchment of niche Software as a Service (SaaS) companies and some of our past favourites go the way of the Dodo

Twitter is a little on the nose to me and I am going to predict a sharp decline in 2011. Sure, Twitter will exist in some form or another well into the future but to me it is finished as a mass marketing tool and will eventually be relegated to some important niche communications. Twitter’s revenue making announcement early last year completely lacked any corporate imagination and signalled to me to be the beginning of the end for the company (and a multi billion dollar entity) and unless they innovate well I cannot see the service lasting in its current format for too many years. It is great for cross communication and breaking news alerts and it should play on those strengths.

Google has made a great move in move with Eric Schmidt stepping down at Google and being replaced with Larry Page. Schmidt has made just about every web developer nervous (including me) as some of his comments were against every moral grain the company had built over the years and some of his recent comments were just idiocy! Hopefully Larry Page can get the company back on track, his communication is poor, but hopefully he has worked on this over the years.

Eric Schmidt did an amazing job in his initial years of organizing the company and building revenues and profitability, but he has shown he struggles with communication and needed to be replaced.

Facebook goes from strength to strength and has now reached a valuation of around 50 billion. It does however make you wonder how they are going to satisfy the demand from all investors for revenues, especially in the light of them recently raising another billion of dollars. This places pressure on the company to massively increase revenues when they already should be very profitable.

There are many opportunities for Facebook and it will be interesting to see if they show a little more imagination than the Twitter crowd. I think adding personal related services that are paid for makes just as much sense as the boring old advertising model favored by investors.

I prefer to use Facebook for just family and friends, however I now see some really good opportunities there for our business and Facebook give developers the tools to build out some pretty cool applications. Here are some of our recent Agent additions from my company. You should talk to your developers to get them to build out some apps for you just to test the water. All you need is your own page (not your personal account)

RWM Mosman Facebook Page
Raine and Horne Facebook Page
Ristic Real Estate Facebook Page
Graham Lynham Facebook Page

Will Facebook continue it’s amazing growth? Maybe, however, I see a more local version of my personal life, something that is open source and that I have 100% control over who has access to what. I havent seen it yet, and really do not know what it is – but it definitely is not one company controlling my whole digital personal life.

How many companies are offered a buyout of billions of dollars only to reject it and see their valuation plummet in the ensuing years?  Yes, many we have already forgotten about. Groupon rejected Google’s billions and now have to compete with that very same company as Google has just announced they will be launching a competing service. There is a moral to this story – sell your bloody company when you get a decent offer. There are many businesses/ideas you can build with a few million/billion dollars.

I will stay on this site as long as it is free, but to me it is just a chest thumping load of junk. Currently it ranks below my own company site as far as referring traffic (all of the articles on this site are linked to my profile) and from what I can tell this is useless fro business to consumer. For business to business we might see something, but not for the real estate industry.

Rupert got his money back on this investment early. But in the ensuing years MySpace has cost him big big money and he can kiss it goodbye as it is currently burning through 100’s of millions of dollars a year. It was a lame duck from the beginning (disorganized, spam) and is a perfect example of why you sell early! Listening to Rupert speak about technology is excruciating. He simply doesn’t have a clue, quotes like Facebook being a fad, Google struggling once it matures and then his continual assault on free news (BBC< AC etc) is childish and gets him nowhere. Your own blog
If you have a real estate website and you are not blogging about local market, local news, local events then you are missing out the the biggest opportunities for personal and business growth. If you want to start on the ground floor, get a FREE blog and start playing. If you want a professional blog under your own domain name speak to your developer.

Isn’t it wonderful that we have one news organization in the world that actually operates like all major news organizations once did? I hope there are many more years to come of people leaking information we should already know to organizations such as Wikileaks. Stand up for these freedoms we enjoy at all times and never be a hostage to your own motives!

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  • Shane Dale
    Posted January 24, 2011 at 10:06 am 0Likes

    I agree Peter, I often stay quiet because it usually upsets alot of people to hear that the latest fad is not the new messiah.

    I will be seen as boring but I still think the application of technology to real estate has not been effectively implemented. It should be applied more to the fundamental business processes of the real estate process. I dont believe that twitter et al fulfils that role when most vendors still think their agent doesnt give them the feedback they want. However to be fair to agents – its hard to please all vendors 😉

    Australia leads the way in uptake of many tech-real estate systems actually. Its worth noting that media coverage and “buzz” for a specific technology doesnt usually translate directly to its value for a real estate business.

    I do however applaud those agents who valiantly test the new tech concepts and see what benefits may arise – and share their experiences with us here – its appreciated. Its hard to pick the winning new trends and the exact behaviour of consumers – testing is a wise methodology.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted January 24, 2011 at 11:05 am 0Likes

    Hi Shane

    Yes, I love agents that delve and continually try to shape their business.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted January 24, 2011 at 12:04 pm 0Likes

    Great article – an so very true. We got on the Twitter wagon early and it really achieves very little – aside from providing some fantastic articles. So the clue there is if you are writing blogs it is beneficial for your business as it drives SEO and SEM.

    We are very new to Facebook and from what I can see already this is easily the best social media platform for real estate agents. I agree one hundred per cent that if you don’t actually try all forms of social media you are seriously denying your self an education in these evolving platforms.

    I must admit that (to this day) there is no easy answer that will solve all your online social media solutions. A common theme is that all these operations are driven by the simple theme of subscribers.

    Our database still remains (by a country mile) the most important electronic application within our business operation.

  • Shane Dale
    Posted January 24, 2011 at 1:56 pm 0Likes

    Hear Hear Robert – you have your priorities right.

    Get real results functioning on the basics such as a database before chasing less proven techniques. Its clear how to getr esults with a database, but unclear how best to use social media – its a matter of where best to spend your working hours. Thats the critical part.

    Once you have a decent revenue stream coming in – its far easier to spend time investigating new options and hopefully blogging here about the outcomes.

  • Thrimble
    Posted February 22, 2011 at 8:46 pm 0Likes

    I don’t work in real estate but find this blog fascinating.

    Do you really believe that SEO & SEM improves the bottom line of your business? I’ve always thought that people that spend money on this are just speculating in an unproven advertising medium. Yes it works great for some things but real estate?

    If I was going to sell my house, my most valuable asset mind you, I would make damn sure I spoke to every agency woth his while in my area.

    I am not going to put my lifes savings on line with a simple google search. I question the value of it.

    I think the guys that started these companies are brilliant!

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