A real estate searcher’s dream, Dwellicious allows it’s users to bookmark links from popular real estate sites and compare different features between them. Similar to other social bookmarking sites like Delicious, users can add tags to their bookmarks to separate their different properties into categories.
Members can even leave comments on others bookmarks, and share between lists! Dwellicious is changing the way we work with real estate, and makes organizing properties you’re interested in much easier. Below is a video demonstration of how Dwellicious works, and also my interview with the site’s creator Greg Robertson.
How did you come up with the idea for Dwellicious? Were there any major influences you can think of?
My business partner Dan Woolley came up with the idea. We knew that nowadays most people started the search for their next home online. We also knew that there were tons of real estate sites. A bookmarking site seemed a natural solution.
Dwellicious has a name very similar to that of Delicious, a popular social bookmarking site for bookmarks around the web. Was there a reason you decided to name the site so close in pronunciation between Dwellicious and Delicious?
Exactly, like a lot of Web 2.0 companies. The name is a mash-up of the word Dwelling and Delicious.
How many users are currently signed up with Dwellicious? Can you estimate about what percentage of those users are active?
We just launched the site in January of this year. We have about 2,500 users. Most of them are pretty active.
Where do you see Dwellicious advancing in the near future?
I really think it would be interesting if Dwellicious became a new way for searching for real estate online. I liken it to “crowd sourcing” real estate search. Of course this would require some level of critical mass, but imagine searching upon homes that other people have bookmarked in your area. You would be able to see the most popular 5 bedrooms homes, or the most popular homes priced between $500K and $600K, etc. This would be a whole different search experience from what sites like Google give you, which is what either their proprietary computer algorithm came up with or what the highest bidding advertiser paid for.
What backend language is Dwellicious built on (PHP, ASP.NET) and why was that chosen as the platform?
The application was developed using Ruby on Rails. We were really interested in using the latest in agile programming tools.
The Dwellicious layout is very clear and straightforward, an easy-to-use interface. How was the design idea conceived and brought to life onto the site?
Thanks. We worked together with a design company called Wake Interactive. They really helped us visualize what we wanted. Unlike other social bookmarking sites our bookmarks are “smart”, meaning they have to have visual cues telling you information had changed (such as price, on or off the market, new photos) and an easy way to get other decision making tools. That’s a lot going on, keeping it simple was difficult.
What was the time frame from first coming up with the idea to actually launching the site, and what were the major steps taken towards completion?
Developing it on a platform like Ruby on Rails really helped. We basically decided on the product in July 2008 and had a beta site up in late September. From there we really focused on the “pro” version of the product we sell to real estate professionals on a subscription basis.
Can you explain some of the most popular Cool Tools features and how users can work with them?
Cool Tools are a set of decision making tools you can apply towards any of your bookmarked properties. These include property price valuations, financing scenarios, maps, street views, plus a whole lot more. One of the most popular of these is the “Walk Score”. This tells a buyer how “walkable” (close to stores, parks, public transportation, etc.) their neighborhood may be.
What was one major setback you can think of when building the site, and how was that overcome?
I think we had a clear vision from the beginning. At the core Dwellicious is just a bookmarking site with a few tweaks geared towards real estate. It was just a matter of making sure we didn’t do too much.
What are some of your favorite social networking / social bookmarking sites and why?
I use Twitter a lot. It’s a great way to keep in touch with what’s going on in the industry and notify others when you have something to say. Facebook is also a favorite. I use Facebook like Tivo. It lets me catch up on what my friends are doing and get back to them on my own schedule.
If you had any advice to give to someone starting their own web 2.0 service, what would it be?
That’s easy. Love what you do!