The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® Website Design Contest for 2008 saw 75 competitive entries from across the state in both the office and individual agent categories. Three winners were chosen from each category based on criteria ranging from the quality and originality of content to the visual design, interactivity, and use of multimedia in the website.
Judging this year’s contest was the distinguished pair of Michael Russer, aka “Mr. Internet”, a nationally renowned speaker and technology educator, and David Friedman, the CEO of the successful and pioneering web design firm Boston Logic, Inc. The winners will be recognized at the 2008 MAR Professional Awards and Recognition Dinner on September 22nd during the 2008 MAR Conference and Tradeshow at the DCU Center in Worcester.
Office Website Category
BowesRE.com - BOWES GMAC Real Estate, Arlington
With top-notch branding and design, excellent use of integrated video, plentiful buyer and seller resources and a comprehensive, user-friendly property search, BowesRE.com is this year’s top site in the office website category. Broker-owner Bob Bowes says of the site, “Prior to building this website we had encountered a problem...our own clients would search for properties on our competitors’ websites. Our objective was to build a first-rate real estate website which: (1) used state-of-the-art property search and mapping technology; (2) would be used as a resource by both buyers and sellers for a multitude of information before, during and after their real estate transaction; while (3) maintaining our user-friendly, neighborhood look and feel.”
SandPiperRealty.com - Sandpiper Realty, Inc., Edgartown
A cleanly-designed site with a wealth of local information helps SandPiperRealty.com sell not only their listings, but the entire island of Martha’s Vineyard. Well-produced video tours of the island’s communities provide a vivid background for the homes on the island.
PineAcresRealty.com - Pine Acres Realty, Chatham
Easy navigation, multiple property search options with Google map integration, and a prominent blog for distributing content with RSS, edges PineAcresRealty.com into the top three office websites in MAR’s contest. Broker-owner Lori Smith points out that “As a smaller, independent office, the web creates a more level playing field. We are able to compete on a larger scale.”
Individual Agent Website Category
DebontheWeb.com – Deb Agliano - ERA Andrew Realty, Medford
With free software from Wordpress, the popular blogging platform, some technical skills and a lot of elbow grease, Deb Agliano takes the top spot in our agent website category. Her homepage welcomes visitors with a video introduction to both her personal real estate philosophy and the important areas of her website. Leveraging new technologies to good effect, Deb maintains a quality blog with frequent posts on her listings, the market and local topics; she produces a podcast that can be listened to live before being archived on her site; and her website updates are available for distribution using RSS, a powerful Web 2.0 technology for sending information to clients and beyond. She also blends marketing savvy with technology skills using tie-ins like an online quiz titled, “Why Didn’t My House Sell?” presented with her podcast on the same topic.
JoeSchutt.com – Joe Schutt - Gibson Sotheby's International Realty, Boston
Using a combination of out-of-the box tools as well as custom content, JoeSchutt.com is a quality site. Joe gives some background on the creation process with, “Trying to stay within the Point 2 Agent template was difficult, but I like the features they offer. We used an outside host to get around that. We have content pages hosted at Blue Gravity and then framed into the P2A site. I get the features and functionality with the look and feel that I want.”
BostonianLofts.com – Mara Tamaroff - Gibson Sotheby's International Realty, Boston
With laser-focus on the loft market, BostonianLofts.com clinches the third spot in the agent website category. Contest judge Mike Russer gave the site high marks for “targeted content” and a layout that’s “smart and consistent.” An extensive catalog of new loft developments in the Boston area separates her site from the competition, according to agent Mara Tamaroff. This unique aggregation of content contributes to the fact that over 75% of her business comes from her website.
The 2009 Website Contest is open for entries on January 1, 2009. Visit the “Technology for REALTORS®” section of marealtor.com for more information.