The most-innovative little map-search in Seattle, ShackPrices.com, today relaunches as Estately.com, a name perhaps more fitting for a town where you can still get a decent fixer for less than a million dollars.
The site is also launching its monetization model with this release: A fee-based referral system for users who ask to be introduced to an agent, paid by the agent. From company co-founder Galen Ward:
Agent Match lets consumers get personalized recommendations for the best real estate agents in their area, hear personal introductions from the recommended agents, and see feedback from previous clients. Where most brokerages assign potential clients in a haphazard fashion, Estately recommends three prescreened, high quality agents from local brokerages to consumers.[...] [W]e already have a few happy beta-testers and a “rock-star” team of agents from a bunch of local brokerages.
We’re selective and we’re keeping the referral fee low enough (12%) that we have been able to recruit great agents who do most of their business from referrals.
Under the name ShackPrices.com, the company pioneered a number of great ideas in map-search technology, including showing nearby parks, schools, restaurants, access to public transportation, etc. The AgentMatch idea is also an innovation, sort of an eHarmony for Realtors:
Estately’s Agent Match algorithm uses consumer answers from a brief questionnaire to match them with highly qualified, individually recruited agents who meet their needs. Consumers and agents are matched geographically, based on consumer’s needs and based on agent feedback from past clients. Consumers are shown all the feedback for each agent recommended to them. Home buyers and sellers can choose to remain anonymous until they are ready to work with an agent.
This is smart enough to be truly scary.