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By Barry Hurd

RISMEDIA, Oct.1, 2007-Do you remember five years ago when you saw the local television station crew taking video of a hot story in your neighborhood? Do you remember how they had shoulder-mounted cameras and telescoping microphones that filled a van and weighed 100 pounds? What about the van-sized system that sent a signal to a techie back at the station who compressed the format and uploaded it to the broadcast station?

The youth of America would say, “that was so last year.”

Video used to cost a lot. Those days came to an end this year.

In just the blink of an eye, the technology and acceptance of video in our daily lives has evolved in many ways. The equipment cost and size, technical skills, and everything related to the process of broadcasting video has been streamlined. The evolution of video is now in the latest “phase” of mobile video blogging. Professional and amateur videographers can now broadcast video straight to the Web using handheld equipment, have it pre-keyed to selected keywords for an audience to find, and have the material available to a worldwide audience in minutes.

Why does this matter to the real estate industry?

Just as video broadcasting has evolved, Web sites have evolved even more. In the 1990s, Web sites were simple textual pages. As the years went on, images came into being. Years later, Flash programming animated our screens with amazing visuals. Eventually, e-mail transformed our daily social lives. The latest period in this evolution has been social media-the personal usage of technology to form community and share experience with things like blogging, podcasting, wireless texting, instant messaging, online communities and video.

As each of these technical changes occurs, the early adopters of the technology are the ones that receive the most impact from the change.

Our own company site at is a case example. Since recently adding video to our site, the length of our users visit has increased by four minutes, our page views have significantly increased and our conversion has increased as well. We may not be amazing videographers waiting for the perfect scene, but in fact we are just a human team of business professionals leveraging the latest technology available to us.

In an online world of text and images, this online video stands out to both the human eye and to the robotic patterns of the search engines sorting them. In our case example, four additional minutes of viewing our page is a lifetime of brand impact, a chance to convey more of our product value and an opportunity to present sometimes-boring textual information in an entertaining and personal way.

From a worldwide perspective, the buzz around online video is so prolific that dozens of online video services have appeared in the past six months. Companies like YouTube are being absorbed by giants such as Google and smaller players like BuddyTV have been bought by industry players like Comcast. The online video marketplace is quickly being broken up, fought over, won and monetized by companies of all sizes.

How do I leverage online video for real estate?

The evolution of online video is not about perfection; it is about sharing your vision with the community. It does not require huge amounts of effort to think of every single moment or to prepare just the right shot. Just like family videos of the past-some of the best and most memorable moments ever caught on video were unplanned and accidental.

The material created by video blogging currently “stands out.” In a year, that may not be the case. Those looking to leverage technology changes must adapt to the latest trends and utilize them before the market is oversaturated with a million other copycat users with the same idea. The problem isn’t whether you pick up a digital camcorder and convert material to the Web or if you use the latest in handheld mobile video blogging technology, the problem is making the decision to do something about the changing technology and keep ahead of the competition.

To learn more about video blogging, see 3net Search Engine Marketing Blog

About the author:
Barry Hurd is president of Social Media Systems, an online marketing and advertising consultant group working with search engine marketing and leveraging social media communities. He has over 15 years of entrepreneurial Internet and online marketing experience. As an author and prolific blogger, he has reached online audiences around the world. Since the mid-1990s, Barry has been involved in numerous efforts to bring forth technical innovation through online business models. Past projects have included NIKE, REI, TMP Worldwide,, Verizon Superpages, Intuit, and RISMedia.

For more information, visit