Content marketing success, interest-only mortgages, and the 5 laws of twitter
The New York Times had an interesting article this week on content marketing (also covered by 1000watt blog), interviewing a fiberglass pool maker who turned his business around by simply answering his customers’ questions honestly on his blog. With a little SEO optimization, he became the go-to source for information on his industry and his sales took off. It’s a good article on the dos and don’ts of marketing through blogs and websites.
Thought the financial downturn spelled the end of the interest-only mortgage? Think again. The Wall Street Journal reports that interest-only mortgages make up about 14% of all private mortgages (i.e. not sold to Fannie or Freddie) originated in the first 10 months of last year according to some sources. Mostly limited to the super-wealthy and jumbo mortgage markets, they are not as easy to come by as they were before the crash – and still pose some serious risks.
Chicago Agent Magazine discusses the five “laws” of Twitter. Be #sure you #don’t #break #them!
We all watch too much television—The Food Network, The Golf Channel, Animal Planet, The History Channel, to name a few. Why not get something from that time spent? Viggle can help you. This free app identifies the show you are watching, lets you check in and build up points to earn a Starbucks card or an Amazon gift card. I’m going to download this right now and see what happens!
The biggest mobile telecom trade show just wrapped up in Barcelona. What new gadgets will we see on the market in the coming year?
First it was smart phones, then tablet computers, and now windows 8 pcs allow for touch screens. Why not in Macs? Are they coming anytime soon? Slate looks at the question of whether a touch-screen enabled MacBook is coming and says: “Don’t hold your breath…”
Buying to rent, asteroids, Google Glasses, and why the Harlem Shake matters
Global investors have been active in the US for several years, but recently they’ve moved into a new arena: buying to rent. The Wall Street Journal explores how overseas firms are slicing into an arena usually dominated by local mom and pop investors.
We were all shocked by the asteroid that caused havoc in Siberia last Friday. While no one died (and local collectors are profitting), if the angle had been slightly different we might be writing a different story. MSNBC‘s cosmic blog explains the difference between asteroid, meteorode, meteorite, and a whole range of other terms – in short it comes down to size, mass and how bright the thing burns. And Wired looks at how scientist around the world are working to protect the Earth from future impacts.
It’s been a YouTube sensation for less than a month, but the latest internet meme of dancing to the song Harlem Shake has exploded around the world. While fan-uploaded videos basically show people dancing to a goofy song, the trend is important and widespread enough that the powers that be are taking notice. Several brands, including Pepsi, Nintendo, Puma and others have all uploaded videos. And more than that, the meme is a good measure of how music is being consumed these day. Record companies, once reluctant to let their songs appear for free on YouTube, are now capitalizing on the publicity (and earning some $$ via YouTube’s profit sharing mechanism). And the venerable Billboard recently announced that it’s now incorporating YouTube streams into its chart rankings. The little known song, released last May, is now the number 1 download on iTunes in several countries.
The U.S. Marine Corps introduced their new mascot this week. Chesty the bulldog will assume his duties at the end of March after some rigorous obedience training. At this point, the adorable 9-week old pup is to ‘cute’ what regular marines are to ‘tough’.
The end of EveryBlock, Monopoly’s new token, and Florida foreclosures
If you were an EveryBlock fan, you know that the hyper-local news site is no more. It abruptly shut down this week as owner NBC decided it just wasn’t paying the bills. Hyper-local news was going to be the next big thing. News about your community, your street and your block. What happened?
Facebook’s latest ‘new feature’ – have we been crying out for any of these? – is Graph Search, giving a basic search functionality to you or your friends’ profiles. Now you can find out if cousin Martha really did wish you a happy birthday in 2010. But what it also does is open up your profile from the beginning, those wild days of yesteryear when maybe you weren’t so picky about your privacy settings. Well if that gives you the shudders, the Wall Street Journal has a nice blog post on How to Prepare Your Facebook Profile’s Privacy for Graph Search.
Being in real estate, we of course keep track of changes to the greatest real estate game of them all – Monopoly. This week the venerable board game threw out the dreaded iron token, replacing it with a cat.
Instagram started on the iPhone, came to Android, and now is available on the web.
NPR had an interesting story this week on the ongoing pain foreclosures are giving to the Florida real estate market.
More often than not, the headphones you see on the young punk sitting next to you on the train will sport the distinctive ‘b’ of the brand Beats by Dr. Dre. While some say the brand is overpriced and the sound not that great, if there’s any headphones to counter Apple’s white earbuds, these are the ones. The story of their start, a tech company in way over its head, and how Dre and his backers managed to take control of the brand, makes for an interesting read this week on Gizmodo.
For those in need of a little humor to bust those winter blues, we recommend checking out the reviews for The Mountain Three Wolf Moon Short Sleeve Tee (click the link for “2,365 customer reviews”).
Post-Millennial trends, CES, and the home in Les Miz.
Millennials are the young buyers of today, and REALTORS are stretching their social media skills in order to reach them. But what about the next round? While not scientific, Josh Miller’s examination of his tenth grade sister’s social media world is eye-opening. While teenagers use a lot of the same social media channels as adults (though I bet not many REALTORS use Snapchat like they do), how they are used can be different. Will the young embrace twitter as they grow older? Facebook? Or are they both just MySpaces-to-be?
Although there’s no sunken living room, there is a sauna and granite countertops in the kitchen. The house in the opening credits of the ‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’ is for sale for $2.8 million.
This week is the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. Although several of the big boys dont’ attend anymore, you can still find some interesting gadgets there. The Pebble smartwatch has been in the news for a few years. It’s Kickstarter campaign was one of the most wildly successful ever. At this year’s CES, the firm once again demo’d the watch and announced that shipments would start to backers later this month. While it’s pretty cool, I wonder if people who now use their smartphones as their watches will actually go back to a watch…? Or maybe the market is those that still use a watch but also have a smart phone? Anyway, it’s better than the fork that nags you to slow down eating.
You’ve sobbed your way through Anne Hathaway singing “I Dreamed a Dream” in Les Miserables. After you dry your tears, Coldwell Banker points out the importance of home to the characters and the plot in this movie:
You may think the relation to home in some of the songs might be a stretch, but consider the multiple story lines. The entire book/play/movies is about the French Revolution where the people are fighting for the place they call home and what their idea of that place should be. Valjean is constantly seeking a place to call home and desires to provide that place for Cosette. In fact, Valjean’s last request to Javier is to allow him to return home before he turns himself in. You also have the home of Marius, Bishop Myriel and of course the residence of the corrupt Thénardiers which are all central places in the story.
The flu is rampaging around the country, resulting in crowded emergency rooms and lost days of work. Find out how to prevent and deal with the flu here.
Fiscal cliff, Facebook fakes, and Thanksgiving travel tips
Now that the election is over, the nation can prepare for the next crisis: the Fiscal Cliff. But what is it and why should we be concerned? Forbes gives a nice summary of the one-two punch that’s coming at the start of the new year: end of tax cuts and slashed government spending. And the New York Post explains that one of the Bush Era tax cuts ending is the tax on forgiveness of debt from a short sale.
According to an internal study by the social media behemoth, almost 9% of Facebook profiles are fake or duplicates. And real users can suffer when fakes pop up and start causing social media problems. And according to experts it’s a problem that is expected to grow. The New York Times reports on how Facebook is trying to combat the issue.
A lot of people are going to be moving through airports next week during Thanksgiving. A lot. If you haven’t been in awhile or just want to make sure you make it out alive, check out this Thanksgiving Air Travel Survival Guide.
Couponing gives me the hives, but if you’ve ever wanted to get in the game but don’t know how to get started, TLC lays out 10 tips for extreme couponing.
Housing is not a debate, short sales on the rise, and Halloween ideas
Wednesday night saw the first of three Presidential debates and housing garnered hardly a mention. Jed Kolko at Trulia says housing is not a winning issue for either candidate:
As the incumbent, Obama needs major housing policy successes to point to; as the challenger, Romney needs compelling fresh new housing ideas to put forward. Unfortunately, neither candidate has what he needs to make housing a winning issue for him.
National Real Estate Investor asked 16 market experts what impact the 2012 Presidential election would have on commercial real estate. Their answers ranged from ‘none immediately’ to extreme: less uncertainty on tax reform or policy changes, finally addressing the fiscal cliff, and a change in business philosophy. As one person said: ‘fasten your seat belts.’
Short sales have been on the rise recently. Statistics show that short sales actually surpassed sales of foreclosed properties last spring. And with a pipeline of over 5 million delinquent mortgages to get through, it seems like they will be a popular vehicle for awhile. However, part of the appeal of short sales is Bush-era tax cuts made the debt forgiveness portion of the sale tax free. And with those tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year, short sales may be on their way out.
Facebook passes a billion registered users and launches its first ad campaign.
Three smartphone apps that could save you or your child’s life.
Looking for a Halloween costume idea? How about decorations for your (grave)yard? And do you know American’s are expected to spend $370 million on pet costumes this year?! That’s a lot of hot dog and devil outfits.
Maps, carmageddon, and job hunting by generation
Everyone’s freaking out about Apple’s new Maps application for iOS6. David Pogue of the New York Times called it an appalling first release and perhaps Apple’s least usable piece of software. CEO Tim Cook went so far as to apologize today, saying with use it would get better. The website All Things D says dropping Google Maps came down to Apple wanting voice turn-by-turn directions and Google wanting to keep that for the android platform exclusively.
A major freeway in Los Angeles is closed this weekend and the whole state is warned. Carmageddon!
Do millenials approach the job hunt differently than their older counterparts in Gen X or the Baby Boom generation? It turns out that they do, sometimes in surprising ways.
The new iPhone that came out last week has a slightly different shape than it’s predecessor, but if you have an older model there still are some wacky covers available.
iPhone tips, how to find fake followers in twitter, and a tumblr of repentent pooches
The Wall Street Journal gives ten tips and tricks every iPhone and iPad user should know, including shortcuts to access apps, a quick way to take screenshots, and how to make you iPad into a digital frame for a slideshow. In a similar vein, Yahoo! gives you 10 hidden controls on you iPhone headphones.
Your Twitter account is firing on all cylinders—providing information, commentary and your thoughts to your many followers. How many of them actually exist? Fake Follower Check scans your Twitter account to reveal which followers are fake, active or inactive. “OK, so how do the people behind StatusPeople arrive at their results? The group says it looks at a sample of your followers, up to 500 accounts, depending on how popular you are. It then determines which ones may be spam accounts based on certain criteria. Accounts that have few or no followers and few or no tweets are suspect. Spammers also tend to follow a huge number of other accounts.”
Has access to information not only expanded our lives, but contracted them? Sure we can talk to friends around the world virtually for free, but in trying to keep up with our wide range of contacts via email, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. are we more and more tethered to not really getting beyond the surface? Fortune argues that the information economy is reaching maximum overload.
The Augusta National Golf Club is now admitting women members—former Secretary of State Condolezza Rice and financier Darla Moore. The private club finally admitted women as members after years of protest by women’s groups. In the past, the Masters was shown without commercials to deflect pressure from sponsors. “[T]he club’s membership procedures have always been secretive. No one applies directly for membership. They are nominated and considered by existing members, often with no idea they are under review. The process can take years.”
Selling the New York dream from Afghanistan, Pinterest for all, and killer cats
New York is a tough real estate market. But selling New York real estate from Afghanistan is even tougher. Navy Reserve Lieutenant Commander Rachel Martin is selling million-dollar condos from her base in Afghanistan, with the help of a stateside co-worker. “In June, Martin, with the help of a colleague, “worked the deal at 200 Riverside Boulevard while I was deployed here,” she wrote in an e-mail from Kandahar, of a $1.9 million three-bedroom, three-bathroom luxury pad at Trump Place on West 70th Street. Her commission was about $114,000 — double the $65,000 she earns in the Reserve.”
One of the big stories this week was the recent hack into a Wired writer’s online life through a breach in Amazon and Apple. He lost his gmail account, twitter and over a year of photos of his daughter. The sad part: all the hackers really wanted was his twitter account. Are you vulnerable?
The social media image site Pinterest is now open to all. You do not need an invitation from a member to start pinning. REALTORS® use Pinterest to provide home care tips, information about homes for sale, general information about real estate and homeownership and much more. Start pinning! ps from dave: and while setting up this post I clicked into pinterest to get the URL and found a chocolate layer cake I just have to make!
We’re constantly asked here about the coming 3.8% tax on some capital gains. People still think it’s a broad tax on real estate sales when actually it’s a tax limited to a very small percentage of people. And now some high end sellers are worried about the end of the Bush era capital gains tax cuts. Inman reports on how some high end homeowners are rushing to sell their homes to beat the increase.
Starbucks is embracing the next step to a post-credit card world. Starting this fall you can use Square, an app for both iPhone and Android phones. You don’t even have to take your phone out of your purse or pocket; you can have Square automatically launch when the phone geolocates you inside a store. The cashier just matches your photo and name to you as you order. Sound secure?
Have you seen Coke’s new Freestyle automatic fountain drink dispensers? You can create over 120 combos, some better than others. I’ve tried it at a nearby restaurant and I like it, though if the syrup runs out, you’re left with a cup of club soda…
Sweet sweet Tabby is a ruthless hunter. That mouse carcass Kitty presents you with is just the tip of a very bloody iceberg. When researchers attached kittycams to house cats, they found a secret world of slaughter.
Facebook changes, meat and bugs
Facebook just changed your default email to one you probably don’t use. It can be fixed. It appears that email going to your new @facebook.com address will just appear in your Messages tab on the social network.
And in other Facebook news, earlier in the week it rolled out a trial “Find Friends Nearby” feature to help people meet Facebook users around them who were on the same page. Facebook quickly pulled it back in for more testing, but perhaps someday soon you can find out if that guy sitting next to you on the train is also a Barry Manilow fan.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Mac users are considered ritzy through the lens of covert travel websites as the Internet continues on a path of profiling and personalization.
It’s not often we turn to the politically-charged, but NPR released an interesting story about meat consumption and the environment this week. To put it into context, discover your Ecological Footprint. It takes us 4.2 earths to maintain our lifestyle.
How to Keep Your Home Bug-free in the Summer
Social media is more than words—now it includes pictures too. AgBeat discusses the importance of visual social media sites such as Pinterest and Instagram. Making these sites more personal will make you more successful. You can add things like mini-videos, infographics and charts, interesting things you see daily and promoting businesses you have a relationship.