A small news item in the papers this week was a real eye-opener: the Chicago Tribune has partnered with TiVo which will automatically record all the program recommendations of the Chicago Tribune's well-known television critic and make them immediately available to TiVo subscribers who participate in the service.
Think about the implications of this. We've been big boosters of what we call 3R systems (ratings, ranking and recommendations) for a long time. But here's another layer of value being added to a 3R system, in this case, television reviews. One of the main benefits of 3R systems is that they save users valuable time by filtering, synthesizing and suggesting courses of action. In this case, here's an application where users don't even have to review the reviews: they are immediately translated into a tangible result for the user. More time savings, more efficiency.
Spend a few quiet minutes pondering if there are value-added 3R opportunities in the markets you serve. I bet there are more than a few, and there is nothing inherently B2C about this concept.
Another news item worthy of note is that the U.S. Department of Justice has reached a settlement with the National Association of Realtors (NAR). As part of the agreement, NAR has agreed to discontinue a number of anti-competitive practices designed to discourage the growth of online real estate brokerage services. Key among these practices was restricting online brokers from accessing all the listings in the local Multiple Listing Service databases controlled by the NAR.This is a game-changer for sites such as Zillow and Trulia, where the Champagne must still be flowing. Until now, these sites have had to employ all sorts of contorted techniques to get access to home listings. And when it comes to online real estate listings, success is all about having everything in one place. This settlement is probably not generating equal enthusiasm at Move, Inc., which has long operated the realtor.com site along with the NAR, and has, quite coincidentally I am sure, never faced any difficulty getting access to local Multiple Listing Service databases. Expect frenzied activity in the residential real estate data market as a result of this settlement.