like Jesse Berst's recent article eloquently articulates
> HomeAdvisor: A Killer Concept
> Jesse Berst, Editorial Director
> ZDNet AnchorDesk
> Remember when you were back in junior high school, ready to move on to
> high school?
> Everybody told you how much more homework you'd have. How much tougher
> the teachers would be. How rotten the seniors would treat you. Pretty
> intimidating stuff.
> Ecommerce vendors are about to experience that same sensation. They're
> going to be dumped into the honors program. And without the vision, the
> persistence and the finances to keep up, they're going to struggle to
> make the grade.
> This is another in my occasional series about Natural Born Killers
> (NBKs) -- products, services or sites with the genetic potential to
> become a "killer application." This time, I am nominating Microsoft
> HomeAdvisor, a Web site devoted to buying real estate.
> Even though HomeAdvisor is just in beta, even though it has lots of
> problems, it's not too soon to study this site. If you're a consumer,
> HomeAdvisor is what you should be expecting from ecommerce. If you're a
> Web publisher, this is what you should be doing for your customers.
> First a reminder. My NBK series is not about reviews or lab tests. It is
> about discoveries and new ideas -- ideas that will be important whether
> or not the particular product succeeds in the marketplace.
> You're going to read plenty of reviews of HomeAdvisor. Bad reviews, in
> many cases. (See the San Francisco Chronicle story in the sidebar for an
> example.) Reviews complaining about its technical glitches. (There are
> many.) About its sluggishness. (It plods.) About its shortage of
> listings. (Microsoft has a long ways to go before it contains pictures
> of all the houses for sale in the entire country.)
> The reviews are correct.
> But that's not the point.
> The reviews talk about execution. I'm talking about concept. And
> Microsoft HomeAdvisor is full of concepts that will become essential to
> successful ecommerce. For instance:
> One stop does it all. HomeAdvisor pulls together vast amounts of
> information from many different sources. Demographic information so you
> can see what kind of people live in the community. Educational
> information so you can judge what kind of schools it has. Mortgage
> information so you can check the latest rates. Crime statistics. And, of
> course, descriptions and photos of houses for sale. (Most information is
> free. Some detailed reports cost extra.)
> Services, not just static content. Sure, HomeAdvisor has descriptions of
> houses. But it also has some powerful services. A planning calculator. A
> loan finder. An advisor. A neighborhood finder.
> The computer does the hard work. HomeAdvisor does all the searching,
> sorting and sifting for you. Want houses in a certain price range? With
> a certain number of bedrooms or features? A certain down payment? In
> seconds, you can zero in. Isn't that how it's supposed to work? So why
> are we still scrolling and staring and guessing on most other sites?
> Just-enough design. Graphics add just enough highlights and color to
> lead you around. But not too much to distract you, confuse you or make
> you wait for long downloads.
> Do you agree? Take a look at the site then use the TalkBack button to
> let me know what you think. I'll post responses under this story. Or
> join my Berst Alerts forum and talk it over with other AnchorDesk
> P.S. And yes, I know about the other home-buying sites. My purpose is
> not to rate the real estate category, rather to highlight innovative new
> features that will become important to Web sites in many categories.
What's with this rumor of IBM thinking of buying Sun?