Next week is real estate week on the Web. Homestore.com is thought to be finally relaunching as Move.com sometime next week. And on Monday an entirely new apartment rental listings site will launch called MyNewPlace. CEO John Helm gave me a quick demo of his site.
You can search by any imaginable location, price range, or amenity (parking, pool, storage, pets) on MyNewPlace, and the rentals come up both as a list and on a Google Map mashup. The site will be just for rentals, as opposed to home sales, and will list about 6 million rentals at the outset. Of those, Helm has cut deals with the landlords of 2 millon units to show more extensive detail pages of their properties, including pictures and floor plans. Rather than charge a listing fee, though, Helm will charge only if the apartment is actually rented. Landlords will pay him $250 to $275 per signed lease.
How will Helm know if an apartment is rented? He will offer a $100 rebate to each apartment seeker for coming back to the site and notifying MyNewPlace that they have signed a lease. But it is the landords who will pay for the rebate, on top of the $250 to $275 fee. It's pay for performance and it's very trackable.
Like any listing site, MyNewPlace will live or die on the quality fo its listings. At launch, it will lean more towards the 300-unit apartment complex in Atlanta than the penthouse apartment in Manhattan (because Helm is cutting deals with large property owners first). But that $100 rebate should drive a lot of initial traffic. And Helm has been smart in getting the landlords to foot his marketing bill.
As of March there were more than 6,500 vlogs, says directory Mefeedia.com, compared with fewer than 300 a year earlier. Advertisers are getting more comfortable with online video spots. In
the United States, Internet video ads brought in $225 million in 2005
and are expected to break the $1 billion mark in 2008.
Most of those ad dollars are not going to vblogs, but there is no reason why talented two- and three-person shops can't grab a nice portion for themsleves. Rocketboom, for instance, auctioned off an ad on eBay for $40,000. That's not a bad place to start.
You know how sidewalks are always cracking and breaking up as tree roots push them up from below? A former public works inspector from Santa Monica has the answer to this problem: make sidewalks out of recycled tire rubber. His startup, Rubbersidewalks, sells rubber pavers that can be easily removed or replaced to give those roots more breathing room. They are supposed to last 14 years, after which they can once more be recycled.
Not to mention, they'll add a nice spring to your step.
Nintendo announced the name of its next-gen gaming console, and the best it could come up with is "Wii." Why not stick with "Revolution," the console's code-name? Sure, it's a little bit Matrix circa 2003, but it's better than "Whee!", er, "Wii." I don't know. Is it me, or is that double-i really annoying?
Meanwhile, Microsoft already sold $1 billion-worth of Xbox 360s last quarter, and expects to sell at least five million units this year. And, of course, a better name for Xbox 360 would have been Xbox Revolution (which is the same thing as a 360), but Nintendo already took that name. And now it is throwing it away. Wii-erd.
Add ThinkFree to the growing list of online Office competitors, including AjaxPC, Google's Writely, Numsum, and Jotspot's Tracker. Glad to see they are using the term Webtop to describe the service.
ThinkFree, developed by South Korea's HANsoft, is an all-in-one suite that includes a Web-based word processor, spreadsheet, and slide presentation app. Meanwhile, the misnamed Office Live includes none of those.
More free software from Google. Today Google released free 3-D modeling software called Google SketchUp. It lets you create virtual models of home additions and other objects, with the idea that you can then upload the buildings and objects to Google Earth or share them with others. Is this an attempt to give Google Earth a Second Life by turning it into a virtual world where visitors can create their own buildings, vehicles, and other objects or just roam around?
(The software download is only available for Windows, but a Mac version is promised soon).