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Introducing Ascende.me, an eye-candy-view of some of the most breathtaking homes for sale in Metropolitan Phoenix.

I am introducing Ascende.me today at BloodhoundRealty.com. I’ve been working on this, in my spare time, since Steve Jobs announced tabbed browsing in the iPad version of Safari, and it’s time to draw further inspiration from Mr. Jobs: “Real artists ship.”

There is added functionality still to come in this software — and for something that looks like a web site, there is a ton of software under the hood.

Even so, the essential algorithm comes down to software-encoded art. That is a hint to Realtors in Phoenix: Your dipshit vendors can’t copy this. They’ll tell you they can, but they can’t.

If you are a Realtor in any other town, we can talk about licensing the underlying technology.

Meanwhile, here is my release announcement:

 
Here’s a screen shot from Ascende.me, a new web site we are launching today:

Ascende is a wish book, not a full-blown search tool. We already run the best real estate search site in Greater Phoenix. Instead of bombarding you with everything, Ascende gives you a small subset of available homes, an artistically-chosen selection of the best homes, the most stunning homes, the most impressively-marketed homes.

The purpose? To dream, to plan, to hope — and to capture. The homes featured in Ascende may not be for you, but they sure will give you ideas…

Got an iPad? Ascende will work on any normal browser, but it’s orientation-sensitive on the iPad. There will be more iPad integration to come.

Play with it and let me know what you think. I like looking at big pictures of gorgeous homes. I think you will, too.

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  • 17 comments

    17 Comments so far

    1. Dylan Darling September 12th, 2011 11:05 am

      I just read another blog post about how 90% of high end buyers and sellers are using the iPad to browse real estate sites. I think your new project looks great on a PC, and probably better on the iPad. Are you pulling other companies listings from MLS, or only using your own listings?

      Great idea!

    2. Greg Swann September 12th, 2011 11:10 am

      Bless you. Thank you.

      > Are you pulling other companies listings from MLS, or only using your own listings?

      We’re starting from the full ARMLS database, then winnowing down from there. The listing featured in the screen shot is from one of the great names in luxury real estate in Paradise Valley, Walt Danley.

    3. Dylan Darling September 12th, 2011 11:18 am

      I was wondering, because some of the agents around here are getting all fired up when someone posts their listings on specialty sites like this. They’re fine with a full MLS stream, but not a custom site that only pulls certain listings or features one of their listings. I don’t get it… more exposure for them and their clients property.

    4. Tim Riggins September 12th, 2011 11:44 am

      I’m really impressed with the visual display of iPad, the pictures really is clear and it pops out.

    5. Greg Swann September 12th, 2011 11:50 am

      > some of the agents around here are getting all fired up when someone posts their listings on specialty sites like this

      I have a bunch of target-marketed IDX sites already. My belief is that all of my web sites are in compliance with our local IDX rules. This particular site essentially turns the IDX into an old-fashioned supermarket real estate magazine — the big, thick, richly-printed one. My expectation is that it will sell houses. Good for the sellers, in any case. In due course, I’ll add a FAQ that, in part, will tell sellers how to get even better exposure for their homes — in Ascende and everywhere. That should make me some friends. ;)

      I love the photos on your web site.

    6. Don Reedy September 12th, 2011 1:32 pm

      This idea almost makes me want to become a vendorslut. :)

      Distinctive Homes, which showcases high end homes, wouldn’t hold a candle next to the potential you have here…and I don’t own an I-Pad. I’m just extrapolating from my laptop and Tim’s comments.

      Love the name, by the way.

    7. Greg Swann September 12th, 2011 1:43 pm

      You’re Sandicor, yes? Is the IDX feed in RETS? Get me access to a feed and we can talk about building you one like this.

      Coming soon: Swiping the photo slide-show on the iPad, smart-phone integration, social-media and email sharing, build your own Ascende dataset via IDX search, lots more. If I can get people to use it, it should throw off a lot of motivated buyers at all price points.

      > Love the name, by the way.

      Rise! — singular imperative in linguam Latinam.

    8. Greg Swann September 12th, 2011 1:53 pm

      Also, here’s some Ascende fun:

      Find a house you like and See more photos. Take your time in the slide show and count the hi-definition video monitors. You are seeing your future, and it will come on you sooner than you think.

      Also: Credit where it’s due: The overall look of Ascende and the verb-oriented user interface schema are gifts of genius from the mind of Richard Riccelli.

    9. Don Reedy September 12th, 2011 2:00 pm

      Greg, just contacted Sandicor. They have an IDX feed in RETS. Let me know what/how/ to do/ask.

    10. Greg Swann September 12th, 2011 2:25 pm

      > Let me know what/how/ to do/ask.

      Is an IDX feed available to you? May only be to your broker, so you may have to negotiate that. In Phoenix, brokers get two free IDX feeds — anticipating sharing them with vendors. A VOW feed, which I don’t need, costs extra.

      Next, can you point me to the pages documenting Sandicor’s IDX and its rules?

    11. Mark Madsen September 12th, 2011 7:17 pm

      Beautiful, Greg. I just linked you up from one of our strongest sites using “Phoenix Luxury Homes” as the anchor. Let me know if you want that changed. Would love to participate in Vegas if we can.

    12. Greg Swann September 12th, 2011 11:10 pm

      > I just linked you up from one of our strongest sites using “Phoenix Luxury Homes” as the anchor.

      Bless you, sir. Thank you.

      > Would love to participate in Vegas if we can.

      I’ll be in touch tomorrow.

    13. Roger Bintner September 13th, 2011 12:21 am

      Greg, don’t you work with Redfin? Don’t they have the IPAD app for Phoenix that is GPS linked like they do here in Seattle??

    14. Greg Swann September 13th, 2011 8:34 am

      > Greg, don’t you work with Redfin?

      No, sir. We were referral partners with them for a while, but they didn’t take to me.

    15. Al Lorenz September 14th, 2011 10:31 am

      Greg, I love this site. It looks and works wonderfully even from a droid phone.

      I sit here and think about stuff like this for our little market. I just looked, and there are only 34 homes in total for over $1 million. Many of them have such poor photography that I would not want them on the site.

      Can you filter by photography? With only 34 listings, I could do it manually.

      I’m very interested in this type of site.
      Al

    16. Greg Swann September 14th, 2011 11:02 am

      > It looks and works wonderfully even from a droid phone.

      Serendipity. It stinks on the iPhone, for now. Shortly I will write a CSS for smaller screens.

      > I just looked, and there are only 34 homes in total for over $1 million. Many of them have such poor photography that I would not want them on the site.

      The cutoff for true luxury will depend on your local market. In reality, in Phoenix, we lose most of the turkeys at $1.3 million, so I may bump my bottom number eventually.

      But: No need to sweat luxury. Think niche. Where you are, the two categories that jump out are lakefront homes and mountain retreats, yes? If you build a search for exactly the kind of high-end homes you want to sell, that’s the roadmap to an Ascende dataset.

      > Can you filter by photography?

      The software does this. If a listing has no photos at least 720 pixels wide, it gets dumped no matter how nice it might be. (You would not believe how many seven-figure homes are promoted with cell-phone snapshots.) Larger photos are reduced to conserve bandwidth.

      > With only 34 listings, I could do it manually.

      There will be an editor mode with a zap button for hand-pruning false positives.

      > I’m very interested in this type of site.

      You’re NWMLS, right? If you want to talk, give me a call.

    17. Mark Ciochon October 7th, 2011 5:36 pm

      That looks really nice. I just went back and looked at the most expensive home I have on my site in O-maha! and it looks kind of pathetic with such small photos. I don’t know anyone in my market using such large photos…yet! Great concept!