Real estate agents are among the last of the professionals we need to do business or close a sale. There are so many things that we can do on our own "self service style" now that we couldn't do 5 or 10 years ago - we can book our own travel, buy our own cars, purchase just about anything online. But, buying or selling a house just isn't one of them.

Sure, there are For Sale Buy Owner people, but 95% of people in the United States use a professional real estate agent when they're faced with buying or selling. There's too much at stake - too much cash involved, life savings, the risk of lawsuits - that most people don't want to take this on themselves. And its such a complex transaction, that exactly what they should do - trust a professional.

But how do you determine who's a good real estate agent vs. a great one? You wouldn't randomly select a doctor or a lawyer or a dentist. Those are the other professionals we must use to navigate special transactions, and you don't make light decisions when it comes to your health. But, there's a lot of mixed information about real estate agents, and nothing as stringent as medical school, internships, or the Bar exam to really prove that you have the chops as a real estate agent to do a great job.

So we turn to technology to help us figure out who might serve us as the best agent.  Just like you'd choose a back specialist if you had back problems, you should find a real estate agent who has experience with the type of house and neighborhood you're looking for, and that price range.  Real estate agents specialize, too.  The top specialists tend to be experts in a specific neighborhood or school district, a specific price range, and a specific home type.  Someone who's an expert in lofts and apartments in the Mission district isn't going to be an expert in single-family residences in Palo Alto. Someone who lives in Newport Beach is just going to know the Laguna Beach area better than a great real estate agent who lives and works in Laguna Beach.

And every state has it's own special form of real estate transaction. A great realtor in Rockville, Maryland won't be able to help right over the border in Arlington, Virginia. The laws, zoning, transaction requirements and escrow regulations are all different, not to mention agents usually aren't licensed in multiple states. There are more than 72,000 real estate agents in California, and large numbers in the Florida, Georgia and New York. Evaluating them all is virtually impossible, but that's what you need to do to figure out who's got the most experience with the house you care about.

When you're buying or selling a home, you need to find a professional real estate agent that is experienced in the exact neighborhood you care about. They need to have a proven track record helping others just like you, and the best way to know whether they're good or great at their job is to look at their past sales history. A new company, Agent Ace, helps you do just that. You really can find the best agent now, regardless of where you're looking and what your price range is.
Mobile video advertising, and short-form video advertising in general, is and will continue to be more effective than most TV ad spots.  This is true for online video and mobile video.  And when I say most, it I mean everything except live events, especially sports.

Here's why: a captive audience.  

The video ad viewing results shared today by TapJoy go a long way to proving this.  While TapJoy ads aren't representative of most video ad networks, they are predicting where the market is going: 
For a telecom campaign, for instance, the Tapjoy videos produced a 48% higher recall, vs. 22% for TV, and the mobile campaign generated 25% brand likeability vs. 11% for the TV spots. Source: MediaPost
If a viewer wants to watch a video badly enough and they are forced to watch pre-roll, they will. And because they know the length, they know there's only one ad, and they know the won't be bothered again, they'll do it.  They've actually been doing it, and watching pre-roll video ads will continue to outpace TV for engagement, ad recall and brand recognition simply because they can't skip through it, and it's short enough where they won't try to multi-task to something else.  The format, the form, and the length make these ads truly make users watch them.
Now, not all videos are of equal consumer value, and the views on a single average video are nowhere near the volume of a single TV show.  But this is clearly quality over quantity right now.  But, equal quantity is just a matter of time as the walls breakdown between interent-based and cable-based video distribution.

Consumers implicitly understand this ad tradeoff now - "I watch a video ad (which I might even be interested in), I get the content I want to see".  

As long as publishers / advertisers don't start loading more than one 20-30 second clip, and the video ads are contextually or personally relevant to me, this tradeoff really works out.  Video ads are only going to get more engaging, and that's better for consumers and brands alike.

Dear Paypay / Ebay:

Your decision to make me opt-out of class action lawsuits by POSTAL MAIL is simply insane, and you should be ashamed of the way you're going about notifying hundreds of millions of people.  You are clearly trying to make it as difficult as possible to like you as a company.

The average person couldn't even find a reference to understand how to opt-out because you've buried it so well.  It's a scavenger hunt to even find out HOW to opt out - it's buried deep in a legal document not even available externally on your site.  

You are one of of the largest internet companies in the world, and you are requiring a transaction to be handled offline via MAIL, when you are happy managing BILLIONS of secure transactions and requiring the what could be the world's most secure buyer and seller authentication.  That is disgraceful.  Be ashamed, you've earned it.

The fact that you don't even have a complaints or "other" selection in your "email us" section of your website supports the fact that you don't want to listen to your customers.    You are behaving like a huge oil company with little disregard for your customers, the customers that helped you build such a huge pig of a company in the first place.  A long long time ago.

Get off your Bain Consulting high horses, extract the law firm that recommended this binding arbitration nonsense out of your arsehole, and actually try and connect with your users and find out what will make them happier.  You'll make more money in the long run.

AND, consider this my formal request to opt-out of your binding arbitration, no class action lawsuit nonsense.  

I DO NOT AGREE TO THIS AGREEMENT TO ARBITRATE.  Name, addres, phone #, email address.

If you do not opt me out using this form, I will sue you along with millions of others.