As a leading provider of website and Internet marketing solutions for the real estate industry, Union Street Meida is excited to announce our partnership with Placester, a Boston, Massachusetts based real estate technology firm. Placester has developed a powerful platform and we’re excited to help build sites on it as one of their first Solution Partners. For current Placester clients, we’re able to offer internet marketing services to ensure your site ranks well in search engines for both organic and paid results. If Placester clients are looking to redesign their site, we can do that too. Our WordPress installation ingrates with Placester’s IDX platform for the hundreds of MLS’s they service nationwide. We’re able to customize Placester sites beyond the core platform too. I sat down with Matt Barba, Placester’s CEO, to talk about their goals and future plans for their partner program.
Interview with Matt Barba, Placester CEO
Matt Barba is the co-founder and CEO of Placester, a real estate technology company based in Boston. Placester makes it inexpensive and simple for real estate professionals, developers, and their partners to create real estate websites. Matt is a 8-year real estate industry veteran; initially an agent and more recently as a technologist and author of the most widely used real estate WordPress plugin (Real Estate Website Builder). 1) Who and what is Placester? Placester is a team of 20 folks who are some of the best and brightest that the world has to offer. Mostly based in Cambridge, Massachusetts (right across the river from Boston), we’re a team that’s dedicated to helping real estate professionals use the web to move their business forward. In terms of the “what,” Placester is a software company and, more importantly, a platform that really takes a stand that real estate technology should be agent-first. It should be built for agents, it should empower them, and it should help make them successful. 2) What has made Placester so successful? When it comes to what has made Placester successful, it’s really about hard work and dedication. We could list out a whole bunch of features that may have made us stand out, but in the end, what makes Placester so successful is our dedication and commitment to a singular idea: empowering agents. We’ve built a complete platform that folks can use and build off of. We give you everything, not just a single component. We don’t just give you the IDX, we don’t just give you the themes, we give everybody everything and it’s all open source so everyone (agents, brokers, brands, developers, and partners) can use it. The second big thing is that we’ve dedicated ourselves to making our technology modular and flexible. Every agent is unique, and everybody who services agents needs to deal with that uniqueness. A platform that isn’t dynamic will fail to meet that vision of empowering an agent: it will always be shoving an agent into a box, and that’s not what makes agents successful. We built the right thing, even though it was harder. 3) Why the partnership with Union Street Media? The thing we look for in all of our partners is excellence. It’s a unified vision and it’s a unified mentality around how we can support agents, brokers, and brands and how we can do it in an excellent way. We saw those ideals in Union Street Media. Getting into specifics, what Placester experiences every day is an onslaught of interest from the community on how to bring their vision to life – how to bring to life an agent’s or a broker’s or even a brand’s vision about what their presence on the Internet looks like. We need dedicated partners to really go that extra mile and really get to know that agent, broker, or brand and help them make that business unique. Union Street Media has had a long history of doing that and we share that common vision. So it was a very straightforward choice for us and we’re very excited to work with them. 4) What new features will Placester be rolling out in 2014 and beyond? Placester will continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible in design and search. Specifically, we’ll continue with our mission of releasing a theme every two weeks, and that’s all about empowerment: it’s about empowering the professionals and it’s about empowering the partners. Our thesis is “the rising tide raises all boats.” If Placester can make it easier for folks to get a hold of more advanced technology, then that’s beneficial for everyone. Placester will also be pushing the boundaries of search. When we think about search today, I think it really hasn’t been innovated on since its inception. We’ve seen this classic modality of dropdowns and text fields and radio buttons and these rather complex search forms. What I really think you’ll see Placester doing is pushing the envelope around how folks are searching for real estate. The goal is to make it much faster and much more efficient to find exactly what you’re looking for as a searcher. Our last big focus will be on our partnerships. As a company, Placester will never be everything to everyone. We’ve taken the philosophy that it’s better to be the absolute best IDX and real estate website platform in the market. That’s what Placester is great at. And there are other people who are really great at other things: building custom websites, building CRMs, building deal management platforms, doing analytics, helping you with social media, helping you with PPC advertising, helping you with SEO…these are all things that other people are excellent at and Placester really wants to get to know those people and work with them. 5) What makes Placester better than other IDX feed providers? I think it really boils down to two things. The first is a dedication to support. That means a lot of things: phone support, quick responses, etc. It’s a dedication to helping you as a partner accomplish what you need. At the end of the day, the person who’s touching the agent directly is always striving to empower that agent. So the big thing that sets Placester apart is that we share that common vision: we know what it’s like to work with agents individually and we’re dedicated to helping them succeed. The second thing that sets Placester’s IDX technology apart is its customizability and ease of use. Our platform, both from a code perspective and from a UI perspective, is really designed to make the job of the developer a joy. It’s well thought-through, it’s well documented, it does all of things you want it to do right out of the box, and there are people behind it to answer questions. From a customizability perspective, if you have a client who has a great idea on how they’re going to set themselves apart in their market, you’ll know that when you use Placester’s IDX you’ll have a platform that’s always going to allow you to say “Yes.” You’re not going to have to wait three weeks to call your IDX provider and ask if you can search off of a particular field or display a particular piece of information: it will all be right there at your fingertips.