Extinct.  Gone.  Obsolete.  It hit me like a ton of bricks as I passed this section of the hotel where I was attending a meeting.   Know what it is????

It’s the hotel phphonebank 300x225 Zippity Doo Dahone bank.  Where (for those of you under 25 who never saw one), at the break of that unbelievably boring meeting in the hotel ballroom, after sucking down at least eleven 6 oz Diet Cokes just to stay awake, we all run out to make the phone calls that have been pent up inside of us for the two hours we were fidgeting in our seats.  A sort of corporate musical chairs where some unlucky stiff doesn’t get a phone and doesn’t call the boss back in time!  HA!

Well, today, the bank is there, but no phones.  They took the phones (except that one house phone in the photo) but they left the bank????  Why???

This is where I see some real estate websites going.  Not the big national ones like ours…but the smaller ones that just show listings and that’s it, and then, make you work for the listing info at that!

Folks want mobility.  They want data.  They want an experience.  They want listings but they can get them ANYWHERE.  Oodle.com has real estate listings alongside pets and collectibles for sale.  So does overstocked.com, right next to the “Cars” tab.   Agents’ Facebook pages have listings.  YouTube has listings.  We even allow consumers to search for properties on display ads on Yahoo and MSN.

But some people in my industry think you can have the listings, make people register on their website and then give out the info that is available in a million other places.  Why?  Because information is power and they don’t want you to have the power.  So they don’t even try and improve the consumer search experience because they have the info.  That’s crazy.  This world is all about transparency. But some who control the information want to make you sign-up, get emails, etc. so you can see what the house down the street has in terms of amenities, acreage, and bedrooms.  Even though that info is even available on walmart.com of all places for no sign-ups!

We think it’s crazy.  In fact, we have a hard time showing all the listings because of these rules and regulations.  But we won’t make you sign-up for information.  If you want to speak to one of our 100,000 real estate professionals, you can send us your info and we will pass it on to them ASAP.   100%, your call.  If you want to see a video of that property too…be our guest.  Want to look at neighborhood info, knock yourself out!  Want to browse a bit, leave, and come back next week.  Great!  See you then.  That’s the way it should be, right???

Back in the day, the public phones in that phone bank smelled funny, and so do these sites.  I predict the sites that try and hold the info hostage will go extinct.  Bye Bye.  See ya.  Like the phone bank, the sites will be there, just nothing in them worth your time…

Gotta go back to my meeting…and another Diet Coke….