Zillow Community

Matt Ingram, in the wonderfully titled “Is Zillow Building a Ghost Town?” is skeptical of Zillow’s new community pages, noting the failure of BackFence. I’m also skeptical of Zillow’s prospects for online community building but I think for different reasons, and both of us are premature to call this so early. Zillow is a big player in the “city information” space and therefore should certainly look for ways to enhance social networking at the site.

I’ll waste a few electrons to duplicate what I wrote over there:

I’m also skeptical but this is no Backfence – here Zillow will not pay to have the content developed so if communities do sprout up they’ll be gravy to the Zillow bottom line which should only have to pay a modest amount to ramp up and keep this going alongside their core competency, RE listings.

However the *idea* of local voices is excellent, in fact I’m hoping to create a more tourism focused approach with local bloggers rather than contributors to a community in which they have little stake. Hyperlocal *news* will keep failing but hyperlocal *blogging* has only begun to flourish, and IMHO could become the dominant form of human communication. (insert trumpet fanfare here)

Go Google Go. Mashups for the Masses

Google Maps strikes again with enhanced mashupability.   Google maps is clearly the leader in mapping which is curious because there are many other excellent mapping systems that are similar: Yahoo maps, MSN maps, Mapquest, and several more.

Google, as usual, offers simple integration with websites, very easy navigation, speed, and more.  It “feels” easier and more effective than the others even though I’m not sure it really is.   I remain puzzled by some of the approaches taken by others in the mapping space.   When in doubt just do it like Google does and you’ll have a great, heavily used product.