Free Information for sale…

Posted on February 4, 2008


Working with Altos Research over the past six months, it’s been fascinating to not just have a front row seat in the theater, but be up on stage as one of the main cast members. Sales and subscribers and growing every month, and the use cases of the residential real estate market data that we collect and provide to our subscribers are becoming more and more diverse.

The Altos Market Reports and AltosCharts compose the crux of our product line for real estate professionals (agents, mortgage lenders, title reps, etc.). The reports are updated weekly, providing our subscribers with local market information to share with their clients about the constantly changing real market dynamics.

Our CEO, Mike Simonsen, passed along a link to a blog post by Kevin Kelly from Wired Magazine titled “Better Than Free” that discusses how free data on the Internet is valuable and can be sold if packaged correctly. It’s a striking post and motivated me to do a quick analysis of the Altos Market Reports and AltosCharts to see if we meet the criteria in Kevin’s article. Turned out to be a remarkably pleasant experience. Seems we’re doing things pretty well here at Altos Research….

Immediacy – Check! The Altos Market Reports are updated every week and available for download on Monday of each week, reflecting market data collected from the Friday before.

Personalization – Check! Market Reports include the contact information, photo, and logo of each subscriber. This enables our clients to utilize the reports for outbound marketing and impress the heck out of their clients and potential clients in listing and update meetings.

Interpretation – Check! Subscribers receive a training session over the phone regarding the market stats in our reports and how to use them effectively with their clients. In addition, we’re launching a User Forum this week where subscribers will be able to collaborate on use cases.

Authenticity – Check! There is a branding aspect to the Altos Market Report and the AltosCharts. The reports are copyrighted to Altos Research, and our clients like that we’re a third-party, objective source data. Being able to rely on our data collection reliability and accuracy enables clients to support their argument with their clients.

Accessibility – Check! All subscriber reports are hosted at Altos Research – just log in, download the report(s) needed, and off you go. Additionally, we’re launching a CRM application that enables real estate professionals to auto-send copies of the market reports directly to their clients are part of their drip marketing campaigns.

Embodiment – Check! All of the market data/stats published in the Market Reports is available for display using AltosCharts – a “widget” that is posted to a website, updates itself automatically every week with new data, and can be utilized as a web conversion tool.

Patronage – Check! From the early days of availability, our clients have been enthusiastic subsribers. With a retention rate over 90%, there’s no doubt the Altos Research clients see the value for their subscription fee.

Findability – Check! Clients continuously share stories about how our Market Reports and specific data within has helped them with their clients and getting the next listing. This is often the same data found in alternative sources, but not with the clear packaging and presentation necessary to communicate the key ideas.

Fun stuff – sometimes its okay to give yourself a little pat on the back….