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Web 3.0 and Move

Posted on Thursday, Jul 12th 2007

We have already discussed on the online real estate industry overview, and have covered ZipRealty and Zillow. Here, we take a look at Move’s offering from the Web 3.0 perspective.

Move, originally known as Homestore, was launched in 1993. The Company is headquartered in Westlake Village, California. It is a real estate-based site providing comprehensive property listings for sale, home finance, moving, relocation, new homes, apartments for rent and senior housing. According to a Hitwise survey of Real Estate sites, conducted in February 2007, Move is ranked tenth with 1.45% market share.

Move, with its ease of use, easy inter-category navigation, drop-down menus, interactive help sections, FAQ and neat design is an attractive, functional offering.

Context
Move has something to offer everyone. To begin with, the site offers contextual split for Homes (unfinished or old), New Homes, Rentals, Home Finance, Moving, and Home & Garden. Move has a localized flavor for every kind of information listing, starting from home searching in specialized areas to inventory of local lenders or movers, to local mortgage rates or market trends.

The detailed information on home listings are replete with interactive maps, photographs, 360-degree video demos of home interiors, nearest clinic, grocery store, public library, church and many more. (Great!)

I like Move’s Senior Housing section, (powered by Senior Housing Net) with special consideration for people affected with age-related diseases like Dementia or Osteoporosis and for those who require continuous medical supervision. Move also has a number of useful articles containing advice on home selection, finance, health care tips, etc. for aged citizens.

The coverage on Corporate Housing is also impressive. This section takes into account such factors like proximity to an airport, business center or community features like dining halls for corporate dinners. This section can be expanded further to include more of commercial real estate information. They should take a look at Loopnet.

Content
Move helps users find home listings, lenders, movers and realtors in their preferred locations for free. It also helps real estate agents create resources for the same.

Move offers detailed information on individual homes with full coverage of essential amenities like garage, alarm system, air conditioning, information on nearby schools, colleges, local community, and neighborhood. Interactive maps are a good idea. They can be even better with prominent marking of local landmarks, markets, public services, clubs, etc. These apart, Move offers a number of interesting tools for buyers, sellers and real estate professionals.

Property Value & Home Price Check, powered by HomeInsight helps home owners or property sellers determine the market value of their property, compare prices with other unsold homes in the neighborhood, etc.

The Mortgage section helps users calculate monthly payments and interest costs for home mortgages at various loan term lengths, provides information on local mortgage rates, home mortgage lenders and also contains a question-answer forum for Veterans Affairs loan, senior home buyers, building, remodeling, etc.

The Mortgage Refinance Calculator helps users decide whether they should refinance their current mortgage at a lower interest rate. It calculates the monthly payment and net interest savings, and also makes estimate of how many months it will take to break even on the closing costs.

Home Affordability Calculator provides the user an estimate of the home price he or she can afford based on the amount of money that can be borrowed against the money saved for down payment.

Move also contains many useful articles on home finance and budgeting, moving, apartment living, senior and corporate housing, home renovation, gardening, etc.

Community
Move caters to contextual nuances by providing a Q&A forum, e.g. VA Loans, Building & Remodeling, etc. This sets it apart from most other real estate sites like Zillow or ZipRealty. The section has immense potential and I would like Move to replicate this kind of niche interactive features to other sub sections like roommates, apartment, corporate and senior housing sections and have live discussion forums, message boards, etc.

Commerce
Move earns revenue primarily through commission fees on property transaction services rendered through its partner sites and ad revenues.

Personalization
Move does not compel users to sign up to search information. Personalization in Move allows users to save searched homes and create their own resources. Registered members also get e-mail alerts for favorite homes and latest updates on property price, market trends and new features on Move. Move, however misses out on personalized recommendation and a personal agent a la ZipRealty.

Vertical Search
Move allows its users to search home, apartment, and rental listings by zip code, city, bedroom, bathroom, price range, property type, square footage, lot type, community features, and finance options. Advanced search options enable home seekers to narrow down searches to look for pet friendly homes or corporate housings with concierge service or high speed Internet connection within specified radius of zip code.

Business Model
Move earns revenues in the form of commission fees and ads posted on its site. The site also provides real estate content to portals like AOL, Yahoo, MSN, Excite, IWon, Net Zero and IBS.

Web 3.0 Rating: Context: A, Content: A, Community: A-, Commerce: A, Personalization: B-, Vertical Search: A-; Overall Rating: A-.

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