Africa’s Mobile-Sun Revolution

Steven Sinofsky:

are just at the start of this next revolution at improving the lives of people in developing economies using solar power.
 Three sets of advances will contribute to improved standards of living relative to economics, safety and comfort.
 First, more and more battery-operated appliances will make their way into the world marketplace. At CES this year, we saw battery-operated developed-market products for everything from vacuum cleaners to stoves. Once something is battery-powered, it can be easily charged. These innovations will make their way to appliances that are useful in the context of the developing world, as we have seen with home lighting. The improvement in batteries in both cost and capacity (and weight) will drive major changes in appliances across all markets.
 Second, the lowering of the price of solar panels will continue, and they will become commonplace as the next infrastructure requirement. This will then make possible all sorts of improvements in schools, work and safety. One thing that can then happen is an improvement in communication that comes from high speed Wi-Fi throughout villages like the one described here. Solar can power point-to-point connectivity or even a satellite uplink. Obviously, costs of connectivity itself will be something to deal with, but we’ve already seen how people adapt their needs and use of cash flow when something provides an extremely high benefit. It is far more likely that Wi-Fi will be built out before broad-based 3G or 4G coverage and upgrades can happen.

Black Friday: tablets outspend desktops and smart phone shoppers dominate

IBM Watson:

Tablets Out Spend Desktops: For the first time, Tablets average order value of $136.42 exceeded that of desktops, which ended the day at $134.06. Smartphone shoppers spent $121.06 per order, an increase of 4.3 percent over 2014.
Smartphones Shoppers Dominate: Smartphones remained the Black Friday shopper’s device of choice. Smartphones accounted for 44.7 percent of all online traffic, 3 and a half times that of tablets at 12.5 percent. Smartphones surpassed tablets in sales, driving 20.6 percent of online sales (up nearly 75 percent over 2014) versus tablets at 15.5 percent.

IBM100 – Icons of Progress


n the span of a century, IBM has evolved from a small business that made scales, time clocks and tabulating machines to a globally integrated enterprise with more than 400,000 employees and a strong vision for the future. The stories that have emerged throughout our history are complex tales of big risks, lessons learned and discoveries that have transformed the way we work and live. These 100 iconic moments—these Icons of Progress—demonstrate our faith in science, our pursuit of knowledge and our belief that together we can make the world work better.

The less social media, the more effective

Gary Getto:

While the social media treatment was likely chosen to appeal to Millennials, creative effectiveness data for that demographic group showed no significant differences from other groups.
 As you can see below, the highest scoring ad with an ABX Index of 133 (almost 33% above average) made effective use of food beauty shots, while the least effective ad at 110 emphasized the use of social media graphics and did not emphasize the food.

How Mad Men Lost the Plot

Ian Leslie:

An industry that used to compete with Hollywood is starting to wonder if it has become a colonial outpost of Silicon Valley. The prime spots on the Cannes beachfront this year belonged to Facebook and Google. A recent report from Accenture said that “marketing is so inextricably linked to technology that, by 2017, chief marketing officers are projected to spend more on information technology and analytics than chief information officers.”
 Ten years ago, ad agencies thought they had hit on a new formula for success: move on from the blunt instruments of conventional advertising and embrace the laser-sharp selling tools of digital media. The industry’s about-turn was made partly out of an instinct for self-preservation, but also from a yearning to be aligned with the zeitgeist, in a world where glamour has migrated from Madison Avenue to Palo Alto. To some, however, it feels as if they have given up the ghost.
 Goodby’s cri de coeur echoed the anxieties of others. In April this year, Giles Hedger, chief of strategy for Leo Burnett Worldwide, wrote a polemic for the industry’s UK trade journal, Campaign, bemoaning the domination of advertising by technology: “The belief that [the] marketing contract can be stripped of all its joyful subjectivity until all that remains between consumer and brand is transaction . . . is the fallacy of our time.” Hedger described his views as “heresy” but said he believed “the voices of sanity are growing around us”.

Atom Bank founder: we will be the world’s first telepathic brand

Sara Spary:

 Anthony Thomson the founder of online-only bank Atom said the brand will be “telepathic” in its prediction of customer needs, offering up solutions to problems before they are even considered.
 Speaking at the Marketing Society annual conference in London, Thomson, who announced yesterday start-up bank Atom had won £135m in funding, said he wanted Atom to be so close to customers’ needs it almost read minds.
 The former marketer, who founded Atom with the mission of being the Uber of the banking sector, said the concept of Atom tapped into the proliferation of mobile and how embedded tech has become in daily life.

On Manipulating Search Results

Max Slater-Robins:

Executives at Yelp and TripAdvisor are angry at Google for burying their search results well below its own offerings — an issue the search giant says was caused by a “bug” — Re/code reports.
 Users who searched for queries that contained the company names — e.g. “yelp ozumo” or “TripAdvisor Hilton” — found that a Google-related result was the top option, which takes up the whole page on a mobile device. This would, according to Re/code, direct traffic away from Yelp and TripAdvisor.

Google Says Local Search Result That Buried Rivals Yelp, TripAdvisor Is Just a Bug

Mark Bergen:

Over the weekend, executives from public Internet companies Yelp and TripAdvisor noted a disturbing trend: Google searches on smartphones for their businesses had suddenly buried their results beneath Google’s own. It looked like a flagrant reversal of Google’s stated position on search, and a move to edge out rivals.
 Nope, it’s a bug, claims Google. “The issues cited were caused by a recent code push, which we’re working quickly to fix,” a Google spokeswoman said.
 In the meantime, the “issues” may be diverting tons of traffic from Google’s competitors. Some, particularly Google’s longtime rival Yelp, are not pleased. “Far from a glitch, this is a pattern of behavior by Google,” said its CEO Jeremy Stoppelman.

Google Launches Mortgage Shopping Tool In California, More States Coming Soon

Frederic Lardinois:

Google is now a licensed mortgage broker in California. The company today launched a mortgage comparison tool for home shoppers in California, with support for more states coming soon.
 Today’s announcement doesn’t come as a major surprise, given that the company already signaled its intentions to launch this product earlier this year.
 It’s worth noting that this isn’t just a public service for consumers. This is a commercial product and as Google notes, “participation in Google Compare is based on a flexible cost-per-lead (CPL) model.” The company says that payment doesn’t factor into the ranking or eligibility to participate, though.
 Google is launching this product under its ‘Compare’ brand, which already includes an auto insurance comparison tool. It’s worth noting that Google already offered a similar mortgage service in the UK.

Chrome Extensions – AKA Total Absence of Privacy

Detectify Labs:

The Detectify team has identified how they are doing it and what options you have to avoid being affected by it.
 The problem
 Google, claiming that Chrome is the safest web browser out there, is actually making it very simple for extensions to hide how aggressively they are tracking their users. We have also discovered exactly how intrusive this sort of tracking actually is and how these tracking companies actually do a lot of things trying to hide it. Due to the fact that the gathering of data is made inside an extension, all other extensions created to prevent tracking (such as Ghostery) are completely bypassed.
 About a month ago, SourceDNA posted an advisory around private data shared by an advertising SDK used in the iOS App Store. Similar companies are doing the same thing in Google Chrome Web Store using Chrome extensions – and they are getting away with it.

Teens can’t tell the difference between Google ads and search results

James Vincent:

familiar narrative of teens and technology is one of natural proficiency — that young people just get technology in a way that older generations don’t. But research suggests that just because children feel at home using smartphones, it doesn’t mean they’re more aware of the nuances of how the web works. In a new report published by the UK’s telecoms watchdog Ofcom, researchers found that only a third of young people aged 12 to 15 knew which search results on Google were adverts, while this figure was even lower — less than one in five — for children aged 8 to 11.
 “The internet allows children to learn, discover different points of view and stay connected with friends and family,” Ofcom’s director of research, James Thickett, told the Financial Times. “But these digital natives still need help to develop the knowhow they need to navigate the online world.”

Analyzing 1.1 Billion NYC Taxi and Uber Trips, with a Vengeance

Todd Schneider:

The New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission has released a staggeringly detailed historical dataset covering over 1.1 billion individual taxi trips in the city from January 2009 through June 2015. Taken as a whole, the detailed trip-level data is more than just a vast list of taxi pickup and drop off coordinates: it’s a story of New York. How bad is the rush hour traffic from Midtown to JFK? Where does the Bridge and Tunnel crowd hang out on Saturday nights? What time do investment bankers get to work? How has Uber changed the landscape for taxis? And could Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson have made it from 72nd and Broadway to Wall Street in less than 30 minutes? The dataset addresses all of these questions and many more.

Products as art and the manager as an artist

Esko Kilipi:

The Internet era has proven that we are capable of working together competitively/cooperatively and building beautiful social communities that some time ago many would have dismissed as impossible dreams. It was evident at the event that we don’t yet have a good idea of what can or cannot be done by connected people. The search is on and the dialogue continues!
 According to some speakers, changes in existing organizations and the evolution of new ones will have characteristics in common. Just as natural systems like the human body are not vertical hierarchies with each part superior to another in ascending linear order, neither will the organizations of the future be structured that way. Jeff Immelt assured us that this is not to say that all present industrial organizations are doomed, but the models we use to describe the world around us may well be.

Google Releases The Full Version Of Their Search Quality Rating Guideline

Barry Schwartz:

Google’s Mimi Underwood said that “ratings from evaluators do not determine individual site rankings, but are used help us understand our experiments.” She added, “The evaluators base their ratings on guidelines we give them; the guidelines reflect what Google thinks search users want.”
 Underwood implied Google will keep the document updated over time, as they are constantly refreshing it “as search, and how people use it, changes.”

A Botnet Has Been Stealing Billions Through Digital Ads Aimed at Fake Audiences

Aaron Miles:

Until now. According to a recent report from ad-fraud prevention firm Pixalate, a sophisticated botnet has been leeching money from digital advertisers by serving up real ads to faked, highly-prized audiences. The botnet, nicknamed Xindi after some Star Trek bad guys, has, by Pixalate’s calculations, rung up something like 78 billion ad impressions so far. According to George Slefo of Adweek, Xindi “could cost advertisers nearly $3 billion by the end of 2016.” The ingenious thing about the Xindi botnet is who it targeted. The infection was aimed at Fortune 500 companies, university computer networks, and other groups whose users are usually very sought-after by advertisers. Because the advertisers thought that they were reaching such a valuable audience, they were willing to pay much more, $200 per thousand impressions for some, which compounded the cost of the fraud and made things much more lucrative for the fraudsters.

Holiday shopping trends 2015

Matt Lawson:

In fact, 54% of all holiday shoppers say that they plan to shop on their smartphones in spare moments throughout the day, like walking or commuting.1 These shorter mobile sessions that occur throughout the day are visible in the data: shoppers now spend 7% less time in each mobile session, yet smartphones’ share of online purchases has gone up 64% over the last year. The days of “look on mobile but buy on the laptop” are changing: 30% of all online shopping purchases now happen on mobile phones.2

The New App: A Brief Introduction or Let’s Bring Back Flashing Web Pages…

Now in its 6th generation (!), we’ve completely re-written our public app. It’s faster than ever. We worked very hard to make it elegant and to incorporate obvious lead generation opportunities when using the app.

We’ve also added more agent and broker branding opportunities, in a very elegant way.

This 2 minute video introduces you to the new app and compares our approach to Zillow’s “flashing web page” experience.

Tap to view.

There’s much to learn. Call 1 608 468 6013 or email for a quick look.

I Turned Off JavaScript for a Whole Week and It Was Glorious

Klint Finley:

THERE’S ANOTHER WEB out there, a better web hiding just below the surface of the one we surf from our phones and tablets and laptops every day. A web with no ads, no endlessly scrolling pages, and no annoying modal windows begging you to share the site on social media or sign up for a newsletter. The best part is that you don’t need a special browser extension or an invite-only app to access this alternate reality. All you need to do is change one little setting in your browser of choice. Just un-tick the checkbox “JavaScript” and away you go, to a simpler, cleaner web.

Manager Tip 11 – Talking Bots. Why is Blocking Traffic?

A recent experience, illustrated above, when following a link to

The majority of today’s web traffic (61% in 2013 – and growing) is bots, not humans [1, 4]. That fact leads to all sorts of strange behaviors, from brokers designing websites for machines, not humans via SEO tactics [2] to Google leveraging their paid advertising placements [3] over “organic” results.

Google, too, blocks certain traffic, as the screen shot above notes (another example).

Bots [1, 4], cause many difficulties, including:

  1. Inflated traffic observations may drive poor spending and marketing choices.
  2. Uncontrolled cost. Many web enhancement services are priced based on activity. This is why so few brokerage websites prominently feature mapping services. The more traffic – bots – the more one pays.
  3. Managing, supporting and in some cases negating bot traffic increases costs without benefit.

[1] Bots now running the Internet with 61 percent (2013!) of Web traffic by Dara Kerr.

[2] Several years ago, I ran a simple program to review brokerage home pages. I found that broker websites required visitors navigate 17 to 773 links and action items on the their home pages. The larger counts represented SEO tactics, which largely destroyed the website for human users.

[3] Google’s Efforts To Monetize Mobile Pay Off, But Sites See A Hit To Organic Visits by Andy Taylor.

[4] How much of your audience is fake? by Ben Elgin, Michael Riley, David Kocieniewski, and Joshua Brustein. Related: “I turned off javascript for a whole week and it was glorious” by Klint Finley. Note that Google’s proposed “accelerated mobile pages” kills javascript, a tool that is currently used everywhere on the web.

It is useful to compare human app activity with bot dominated web traffic. App time dominates America’s days.

How This Teen Uses an iPhone To Manage His Diabetes

Christina Farr:

Blake Atkins receives regular messages from his mom when he’s at school. But unlike most teenagers, he doesn’t seem to mind.
 That’s because Atkins, 15, who lives in San Carlos, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes four years ago. His mom, Lori, sends him a text whenever his blood sugar levels are out of the normal range.
 “I do like that my mom can look at my numbers,” Atkins says. “It keeps me sane. It helps keep her sane.”
 While enlisting caregivers might seem like a logical way to manage diabetes, it’s only recently that such tools have been available. Health experts say sophisticated devices to monitor blood sugar have been around for years, but it’s been a challenge to share health data securely with a smartphone — and from there, add it to a patient’s medical record.

Google Gets Surprise Ally in Mobile-App Search Push: Facebook


Google’s effort to keep its search engine relevant in a world of mobile apps just got a boost from a big rival.
 Facebook Inc., operator of the world’s largest social network, on Friday began allowing Google to crawl and index its mobile app, a spokeswoman for Google parent Alphabet Inc. said.
 The agreement means that results from Google searches on smartphones will display some content from Facebook’s app, including public profile information. The listings will appear as “deep links” that will take users to the relevant part of the Facebook app, the spokeswoman said.
 That largely mirrors how Google indexes information from public Facebook profiles on the Web. It also has access to content such as business listings called Pages, Groups and Events.

The Advertising Bubble

idle words:

 A few days ago VentureBeat published an article called The 7 martech buying trends shaping sales & marketing strategies in 2016, a piece of sponsored prose remarkable not for its content, but for being at least four layers of advertising removed from any kind of productive economic activity.
 This is an article-length ad (1) targeted at companies selling software (2) to advertising startups (3) sellling their own ads (4) God knows where, possibly to some publishing startup burning through your grandmother’s pension fund (5,6,7,8).
 There’s an ad bubble. It’s gonna blow.

Beware of ads that use inaudible sound to link your phone, TV, tablet, and PC

Dan Goodin:

Privacy advocates are warning federal authorities of a new threat that uses inaudible, high-frequency sounds to surreptitiously track a person’s online behavior across a range of devices, including phones, TVs, tablets, and computers.
 The ultrasonic pitches are embedded into TV commercials or are played when a user encounters an ad displayed in a computer browser. While the sound can’t be heard by the human ear, nearby tablets and smartphones can detect it. When they do, browser cookies can now pair a single user to multiple devices and keep track of what TV commercials the person sees, how long the person watches the ads, and whether the person acts on the ads by doing a Web search or buying a product.

Optimal Marketing Strategies over Social Networks

Jason Hartline, Vahab S. Mirrokni and Mukund Sundararajan:

We discuss the use of social networks in implementing vi- ral marketing strategies. While influence maximization has been studied in this context (see Chapter 24 of [10]), we study revenue maximization, arguably, a more natural ob- jective. In our model, a buyer’s decision to buy an item is influenced by the set of other buyers that own the item and the price at which the item is offered.
We focus on algorithmic question of finding revenue max- imizing marketing strategies. When the buyers are com- pletely symmetric, we can find the optimal marketing strat- egy in polynomial time. In the general case, motivated by hardness results, we investigate approximation algorithms for this problem. We identify a family of strategies called influence-and-exploit strategies that are based on the fol- lowing idea: Initially influence the population by giving the item for free to carefully a chosen set of buyers. Then extract revenue from the remaining buyers using a ‘greedy’ pricing strategy. We first argue why such strategies are reasonable and then show how to use recently developed set-function maximization techniques to find the right set of buyers to influence.

Google’s Efforts To Monetize Mobile Pay Off, But Sites See A Hit To Organic Visits

Andy Taylor:

Google has made some of the biggest changes we’ve ever seen to the way it serves mobile ads over the past four months, helping to drive ad click growth up while at the same time limiting organic search visit growth.
 Taken together, these updates have produced perhaps the biggest gains to Google’s mobile revenue stream ever. That’s not hyperbole — let me prove it to you.

Remember, the mobile web occupies just 10% of smartphone and tablet user’s time. Apps are 90%.

Facebook and the Media Have an Increasingly Landlord-Tenant Style Relationship

Mathew Ingram:

Some publishers have seen traffic from Facebook plummet by 40%, which reinforces the risks of handing control over your audience to the social network.

A growing number of online publishers including giants like BuzzFeed have come to rely on Facebook for a significant part of their traffic—in some cases as much as 60% of it. Mostly, it’s a win-win relationship with Facebook FB providing reach and a share of advertising revenue in exchange for a supply of engaging material. But every now and then, we get a glimpse behind the curtain at just how much power that relationship gives Facebook, and the consequences if it changes its mind.

Facebook’s notification as a service iOS app

Julian Gutman:

Notifications are becoming one of the primary ways people first learn about things wherever they are. Today we are introducing Notify, a new app from Facebook that delivers timely notifications about the things that matter to you, from the sources you love, all in one place.
 Everyone has different interests, so whether you’re into sports, celebrities, news, movies, music or shopping, Notify makes it easy to find notifications you’re into with a broad selection of great “stations” across a variety of categories. Some examples of stations include:

Manager Tip 10: Competing (and winning) Against the Zillow Agent App, or what’s in it for your agents?

Brokers wishing to add value to their recruiting and retention efforts have a unique opportunity with Zillow’s imminent agent app introduction.

  1. Why is Zillow introducing an Agent App at this time?

    America’s digital time is dominated by smartphones, where 90% of their time is in apps and just 10% on the mobile web [1].

    Further, most real estate software was written for the rapidly declining PC era [2].

    Finally, Zillow is well aware that agent (and perhaps many broker) contacts are on iPhones, iPads and Android devices. “Integrating” device contacts with Zillow systems is important to their advertising and revenue models. Brokers with mortgage, insurance and title services might consider where their contact opportunities are going.

  2. How might this release compare with your Agent App (iPhone, iPad and Google Android) by Virtual Properties?
    • Virtual Properties Agent and Public Apps feature your brand only.
    • One tap interactive CMA.
    • Modern search and listing sharing via text, email and social networks.
    • One tap saved searches with notifications for any contact. Searches and favorites are integrated with the public app for a seamless client experience.
    • Agents can quickly review all contact activity, including saved searches, CMA’s, documents, contact plans, notes, calendar events and listings on one contact screen!
    • SocialG: One tap to recon your contacts’ social network activity.
    • Hotsheet market updates via notifications.
    • Clients see broker and agent branded notifications on the public app.
    • Contacts and favorites are integrated with your (broker and agent) website and intranet.
    • The agent app is ONLY available from your brokerage.
    • Open house lead generation along with a simple swipe to manage showings.
    • Documents. Present an interactive CMA and sign the listing agreements within the Agent App. Nothing else comes close.
    • Branding yourself as the preferred agent tells clients that you are on top of the rapidly changing market dynamics. You will be featured prominently on all listings – unlike Zillow!
    • The fastest on boarding in the business. One tap loads all device contacts, with duplicate checks into the brokerage CRM for plans, campaigns, newsletters, e-cards, saved searches and core services such as mortgage, insurance and relocation. Sync services are available as well.
    • Accurate and complete. Your agent app includes all listings, statuses and media.
    • Simple for all. Agents need login just once. Compare this to the many lost passwords your organization deals with.

Give your agents and managers the apps they need today. Dial +1 608 468 6013 or email for a quick look or to schedule a manager demonstration.

[1] The largest market, ever..

[2] Mobile eco-systems and the death of PC’s.

Facebook’s traffic to top publishers fell 32 percent since January

Lucia Moses:

While Facebook makes headlines for cooking up new initiatives with publishers, the actual traffic it’s sending those publishers has fallen sharply.

Referral traffic (desktop + mobile) to the top 30 Facebook publishers (as defined by their reliance on Facebook) plunged 32 percent from January to October, according to SimpleReach, a distribution analytics company. The more reliant the publisher on Facebook, the bigger the hit: Among the top 10, the drop was a steeper 42.7 percent.

Those results line up with those from social traffic tracker SimilarWeb, which looked at the 50 biggest publishers in Facebook from January to September. It found that The Huffington Post’s Facebook traffic fell 60.1 percent, to 16 million. Fox News’ dropped 48.2 percent to 4.3 million. BuzzFeed’s Facebook visits fell 40.8 percent to 23.7 million. Across all 50, the biggest drop in traffic in the period took place from January to February, when publishers’ Facebook traffic fell an average of 75 percent. There was a smaller but also significant drop from March to April.

(The SimilarWeb figures are desktop only, which doesn’t tell the full story as many publishers are getting upwards of 50 percent of their traffic on mobile devices. However, desktop is significant because it’s still where most publishers make the lion’s share of their revenue.)

There were a few exceptions: Refinery29’s visits from Facebook rose 27.3 percent to 4.2 from January to September. Vice’s rose 8.3 percent to 6.5 million in the same period.

Roboadvisers are here. What’s a human financial planner to do?

Todd Frankel:

That’s obviously a derogatory term,” says Adam Nash, president of Wealthfront.
 He prefers the term automated investment services. So does Betterment and SigFig, two other leading wealth management firms that use algorithms instead of humans to manage billions of dollars in individual portfolios. With software running the show, the tech startups can charge clients drastically lower fees.

“He shared that the average American spends more time on tech and media then sleeping, and predicts that messaging will blow past social networking.”

Nathan McAlone and Tess Danielson:

He shared that the average American spends more time on tech and media then sleeping, and predicts that messaging will blow past social networking.

But if you are all prepped for the cord-cutting revolution, you’ll have to wait a little longer — though streaming music is going to be the next big winner.

Facebook Prods Users to Share a Bit More: Amount of new content posted has slipped, leading social network to try to prompt conversation

Deepa Seetharaman:

Surveys show users post less often on the social network, which relies on users for an overwhelming majority of its content. In the third quarter, market researcher GlobalWebIndex said 34% of Facebook users updated their status, and 37% shared their own photos, down from 50% and 59%, respectively, in the same period a year earlier.


The company offered some details in its early days, but stopped after its 2012 initial public offering. In August 2011, for example, Facebook said the average user created 90 pieces of content a month, including news stories and photo albums. It has never updated the figure.

Last week, Facebook said that in 2014, users shared 50 billion pieces of content from other apps and websites. That works out to roughly three pieces of content a month per user. Facebook declined to say how much content was shared on Facebook overall.

Broker Tip 41: Digital Assistants and Winning the Battle for Your Agents

Digital assistants, or perhaps “virtual assistants” can be a tremendous asset to your brokerage, managers, agents and clients.

Your modern broker value equation, with one real time system:


1. Hotsheet Notifications.

Receive real time listing, price, status change and open house notifications on your iPhone, iPad or Android device. Our notifications include broker and agent branding.

2. Auto-fill documents.

Contacts, listings, agent, transaction and company information autofills your purchase and listing documents. Save time and improve quality. Simpler and faster than generic form services.

3. Stay connected with your clients.

One tap saved search keeps your clients updated with the latest market changes, trends and statistics, automatically with your brand front and center.

4. Date Reminders.

Our digital assistants keep you connected with clients on important dates including birthdays, anniversaries and holidays.

5. Activity Reminders.

Elegant surveys collect buyer, seller and showing agent feedback. This information auto-populates other CRM activities for your digital assistant.

6. Transaction milestones.

Remind agents when critical information is past due.

7. Mine listing activity.

Remind showing agents when price or status changes occur. Deliver listing activity information to your sellers with personal and broker branding.

8. Digital Sharing

Shared searches and favorites can be viewed in your public and agent apps or on the web, via one smart link.

Your brokerage

1. Mortgage, Insurance and Relocation opportunities.

Notify key partners when lead/crm events occur. Automatically followup with them based on events or lack of activity.

2. Onboard new agents quickly.

One tap bulk contact import and duplicate check via our Agent Apps. Assign stay connected plans to those contacts. New agents are up and running in minutes. [1]

3. Awards.

Notify agents when events or an anniversary occurs.

4. Lead assignment and notification.

Apply your business rules to all lead types. Stay connected with automated followup campaigns including market trends, statistics and tips.

5. Recruiting.

Mine market activity and add prospect agents to the Main Street CRM Cloud. Apply recruiting plans and campaigns to stay connected. You likely know more about their business than most brokers.

6. Risk management.

Implement electronic consent services.

7. Brand marketing.

Generate buyer and seller surveys and communications on behalf of your agents and core services.

8. Save money & staff.

Move information to your accounting system. Focus on a single entry system that avoids digital spaghetti. One broker I recently spoke with has 21 different systems. Confused agents and distracted ownership leaves a rather large opening for new entrants [2].


1. Notifications.

Receive real time listing, price, status change and open house notifications. Our notifications include broker and agent branding.

2. Account.

Save searches, favorites and Price Trackers via an Account. Agents can interact with clients and save searches and CMA’s for them. The Account is available on broker and agent websites along with the public and Agent Apps [3].

Brokerages with many, disparate systems face a large challenge in our always connected, one or two tap era.

3. Digital Sharing

Shared searches and favorites can be viewed in your public and agent apps or on the web, via one link. This service is ideal for clients and their friends/families.

In production today and available via our public and agent apps, websites and intranet Main Street CRM services.

Learn more: Jim Zellmer +1 608 468 6013 or

[1] Social networks know where contacts are (Mostly iPhone/iPad in the US, Android as well). Our Agent Apps make it simple to bulk upload contacts from devices.

Onboarding has never been easier.

[2] Broker Tip 40: Winning the Battle for Your Agents.

[3] We sell homes to people, not bots. Related “Digital Experiences are Marketing“.

Nine Out of Ten of the Internet’s Top Websites Are Leaking Your Data

Brian Merchant:

The vast majority of websites you visit are sending your data to third-party sources, usually without your permission or knowledge. That’s not exactly breaking news, but the sheer scale and ubiquity of that leakage might be.
 Tim Libert, a privacy researcher with the University of Pennsylvania, has published new peer-reviewed research that sought to quantify all the “privacy compromising mechanisms” on the one million most popular websites worldwide. His conclusion? “Findings indicate that nearly 9 in 10 websites leak user data to parties of which the user is likely unaware.”
 Libert used his own open source software called webXray—the same program he’s used in the past to analyze trackers installed on health and porn websites—and he found that not only were most siphoning user data, they were sharing it all over the place.

How our housing choices make adult friends

David Roberts:

I do think, however, that Beck left out an interesting piece of the puzzle. Our ability to form and maintain friendships is shaped in crucial ways by the physical spaces in which we live. “Land use,” as it’s rather aridly known, shapes behavior and sociality. And in America we have settled on patterns of land use that might as well have been designed to prevent spontaneous encounters, the kind out of which rich social ties are built.

Land, Capital, Attention: This Time it Is the Same

Albert Wenger:

There have been two fundamental scarcities in human history and we are now moving on to the third. Each time the scarcity shifted, due to a new technology, we had a massive dislocation. So yes, this time is the same, scarcity is shifting again and with it we are experiencing another such massive dislocation.
 The first scarcity to emerge was land. We started out as hunter gatherers and eventually developed planting and harvesting and domesticated animals. Agriculture is the first massive technological change. We were horrendously bad at agriculture at first — no surprise it was a brand new technology. If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend reading Sapiens by Yuval Harari. He has a terrific set of chapters on the agricultural revolution that makes clear just how bad we were and how much worse people in early agrarian societies were off compared to their hunter gatherer ancestors.

More shoes dropping: Google to Fold Chrome Operating System Into Android

Alistair Bair:

“At Google, Android’s ascent and Chrome’s demise represent a big shift. The company was born on the Web and its services still thrive there. Chrome was conceived as a way to bring that Web-centric world to more connected devices. Android, by contrast, built an operating system from scratch that focused on apps that are downloaded on to devices. After internal debates, Google pursued both approaches. But as mobile devices and app usage soared, Android prevailed.”

An earlier version of the article appears on reddit.

Overstating the Effectiveness of Sponsored Search Campaigns

Benjamin Edelman

A first manifestation of the problem arises in sponsored search. Suppose a user goes to Google and searches for eBay. Historically, the top-most link to eBay would be a paid advertisement, requiring eBay to pay Google each time the ad was clicked. These eBay ads had excellent measured performance in that many users clicked such an ad, then went on to bid or buy with high probability. But step back a bit. A user has already searched for “eBay.” That user is likely to buy from eBay whether or not eBay advertises with Google. In a remarkable experiment, economist Steve Tadelis and coauthors turned off eBay’s trademark-triggered advertising in about half the cities in the U.S. They found that sales in those regions stayed the same even as eBay’s advertising expenditure dropped. eBay’s measure of ad effectiveness was totally off-base and had led to millions of dollars of overspending.

Paying for Affiliate Sales That Would Have Happened Anyway

Affiliate marketing is supposed to align incentives perfectly, paying only for success — like a 10% commission if a user actually buys a given product, but zero for impressions and clicks. Is fraud “impossible,” as some have claimed? Not at all.

Consider a sneaky affiliate who “stuffs” a cookie on every user’s computer as the user browses an unrelated web site. With a moderately popular site (or a banner or widget on someone else’s site), this “cookie-stuffer” might claim to have referred millions of users to a given merchant. Some of those users are bound to make purchases, and the merchant will pay the affiliate a commission as if it truly caused the user’s sale. Worse, the merchant is unlikely to suspect the problem; with real sales, merchants are often slow to realize that some customers’ decisions are uninfluenced by any affiliate marketing activity.

For the first time, Americans will do most of their holiday e-shopping on mobile devices

Mark Sullivan:

As an interesting side note, Adobe projects that, once again, far more sales will take place on iOS devices than on Android. This stat shows up every year, and the speculation runs a couple of different ways. It could be that Apple owners are just more affluent. It could be that the shopping process feels more streamlined on iOS devices. It’s probably some mix of the two.

“If we don’t get the best information and technologies…we won’t be able to survive.”


“Cars are becoming increasingly high-tech and multifunctional,” said Satoshi Ogiso, president of Toyota brake supplier Advics, who was a managing officer at Toyota until April and was one of several senior executives of Toyota and its leading suppliers who were summoned by Mr. Toyoda about two years ago to study the problem.

“If we [Toyota and its keiretsu members] don’t get the best information and technologies and remain closed off to external influence, we won’t be able to survive.”

Why Tech Driven Mortgage Lending Will Eliminate The Traditional Mortgage Getting Process

Mark Greene:

Right now the mortgaging process uses a menu of technologies to perform the various tasks necessary to create a successful and salable loan, but the master technology needed to integrate this symphony without help from humans, is yet to come online.
 Even the technology heavy online lenders have yet to get this instantaneous integration thing figured out yet, although I suspect one or two of them are getting close. The institutional structure of most traditional mortgage lenders is focused on streamlining the “we-have-always-done-it-this-way process.” It is not a nurturing environment for the kind of dramatic refocus and change to be at the forefront of what is coming. The great big household name lenders are too management heavy to effect the kind of revolutionary change to make instantaneous technology integration happen. They certainly have the resources and the wherewithal, just maybe not the D-Day-esque vision to effectively deploy.

“Apps can do now what managers used to do”

Tim O’Reilly:

In many ways, Uber and Airbnb represent a 21st century update of the franchising model. In franchising, the parent company brands and markets the product, sets standards for producing it, and charges a licensing fee and receives a percentage of revenue from each of its franchisees.
 The difference is that technology radically lowers the barriers to being a franchisee. In many ways, you can call the modern trend “the franchise of one.” The smallest unit of franchising in the past was a small business, with all the overhead that implies: real estate, equipment, uniforms, employees (including managers), and so on. Today, the franchise can be a single individual, and that individual can work only part time, so it’s really “the franchise of one or even less!”
 Branding and advertising are much less necessary because the app itself becomes a customer habit that delivers business. There are little or no capital requirements, workers can schedule their own time, and turn their own under-utilized personal assets (a car, a house, or other equipment) into business assets. In her book Peers Inc, Robin Chase refers to this as “excess capacity.”
 Internet era networks don’t just seek to eliminate workers, they seek to augment them. Invest in software that empowers your workers, allowing them to multiply their effectiveness and to create magical new user experiences for customers.

Can The 21st Century Corporation (Brokerage) Operate Without Agile?

Steve Denning:

It’s the different management mindset.
 Trying to exploit digital technology or the Internet with the management practices of hierarchical bureaucracy that is pervasive in big corporations today is like driving a horse and buggy on the freeway. To get beyond this horse-and-buggy management, and into something more relevant, managers need Agile.
 Thus the article lists six main features of “the frictionless corporation”:l

“People don’t buy stuff in actual stores”—the future of retail, as explained by Gen Z

Shelly Banjo:

Every business is trying to crack the coveted market of shoppers in their 20s and teens. A recent panel at the “Fashion Digital” conference in New York City featuring young entrepreneurs ages 17 to 23 tried to provide a glimpse into how. What they said should strike some degree of fear in every retail executive.
 Here are the highlights:

Offense and defense, a b2b insight

Seth Godin:

Selling change to organizations is difficult. One reason is that change represents a threat, a chance for things to go wrong. It’s no wonder that many people avoid anything that smells of change.
 Another reason is that different people in the organization have different worldviews, different narratives.
 Consider the difference between “offense” and “defense” when confronting a new idea.
 The person who is playing offense wants to get ahead. Grow market share. Get promoted. She wants to bring in new ideas, help more customers, teach the people around her. Change is an opportunity to further the agenda, change is a chance to reshuffle the deck.
 The person who is playing defense, though, wants to be sure not to disappoint the boss. Not to drop a ball, break what’s working or be on the spot for something that didn’t happen.

Is this the end of traditional doctors? A third of over 65s use technology to manage their health

Saffron Alexander:

We’re living in the age of digital health according to new research.

In 2014, a study revealed that 65 per cent of people actively avoid going to their GP, with a further two thirds admitting they preferred to research health information online. Now new research has revealed more than half of all Brits use gadgets or technology to manage their health and wellbeing.

Research from Push Doctor, published in the UK Digital Health Report, found that checking medical symptoms, monitoring exercise levels, establishing individual BMI scores, monitoring heart rates and checking blood pressure are the top five most common ways we are now using technology to understand and manage our wellbeing.

Half of all adults now use a gadget or some form of technology to manage their health, with a third of over 65s doing the same.

People are even forgoing a trip to the opticians, now preferring to test their vision with apps. Dispensing optician for Essilor, Andy Hepworth, says while apps can be useful, they should not be a replacement for your regular check-up: “They’re a smart way of flagging up when you need to get scheduled.

Is Advertising Morally Justifiable? The Importance of Protecting Our Attention

Thomas Wells:

Advertising is a natural resource extraction industry, like a fishery. Its business is the harvest and sale of human attention. We are the fish and we are not consulted.

Two problems result from this. The solution to both requires legal recognition of the property rights of human beings over our attention.

First, advertising imposes costs on individuals without permission or compensation. It extracts our precious attention and emits toxic by-products, such as the sale of our personal information to dodgy third parties.

Second, you may have noticed that the world’s fisheries are not in great shape. They are a standard example for explaining the theoretical concept of a tragedy of the commons, where rational maximising behaviour by individual harvesters leads to the unsustainable overexploitation of a resource.

Expensively trained human attention is the fuel of twenty-first century capitalism. We are allowing a single industry to slash and burn vast amounts of this productive resource in search of a quick buck.

“Clients must take more responsibility for creativity. It’s not the kind of thing that you should offshore.”

ad age:

Disruption has been an early theme at the conference. Marketers presenting on the stage so far appear to be taking less time showcasing big campaigns and TV ads, as in years past, and more time talking about how they need to rethink their organizations and approaches from the ground up.

Mr. Richer — whose presentation was called “Fake Fight: Millennials vs. Boomers” — sought to dispel the popular notion that growth comes solely from marketing to young adults. “Youth does not own cool. Youth does not own growth. Youth does not own innovation or disruption.” he said. “Old people are a growth market, too

Google’s growing problem: 50% of people do zero searches per day on mobile Google’s growing problem: 50% of people do zero searches per day on mobile

Charles Arthur:

However on mobile, things are different. People do not, in general, type “Facebook” or “Gmail” into their mobile browser’s search bar. They go to the relevant app – Facebook or email. This behaviour is surely a big reason why mobile searches have been behind desktop for a long time, even though smartphones’ use has rocketed, and time spent on them is greater than for PCs, and they’ve been nudging a comparable installed base for some time.

Thus where someone using a desktop/laptop might fulfil their “average” one or two searches per day by typing “Facebook” when they open their browser, on mobile that doesn’t happen because it doesn’t need to happen; they just open the app.

For Google, that means it’s losing out, even though Google search is front and centre on every Android phone (as per Google’s instructions as part of its Mobile Application Device Agreement, MADA). People don’t, on average, search very much on mobile. The miracle of Google, in retrospect, is building a multi-billion dollar business by accreting millions of rare actions – people doing searches and then clicking on ads. Of course, Google has helped that latter activity by filling the top of its search results page with ads, and making them harder to distinguish from search results. But it’s still a hell of an achievement.

“What is more interesting in the Sloan article is the fascinating anthropological picture that it provides of (1) how managers think and act; and (2) what business schools teach.”

Steve Denning:

Choosing To Die
 As to how managers think and act, it appears that when faced with a serious competitive threat, a common reaction of managers is simply to give up.
 Thus “in 30 cases (39% of the total), our experts disputed Christensen’s contention that incumbent businesses were capable of responding to the disruptive innovation.” In other words, two-fifths of the firms just gave up and in effect decided to die.
 Even more telling is that the business school authors believe that the firms were right to do so. Thus they write: “A professor at a leading engineering school told us it was unreasonable to assume that companies with skills in silviculture and sawmill technology had the capability to compete effectively against ‘disrupting’ producers of plastics.”
 The Sloan authors comment: “Several of the companies had to navigate fundamental transitions in technology… These technological shifts can be treacherous, because they involve different engineering skills, new product designs, and new production facilities.”

How Useful Is the Theory of Disruptive Innovation?