...and friends of Mashery get a discount (see the end of the post, below)!
I recently heard about a real estate conference in San Francisco next week called Connect, being produced by Inman. The conference has been around for awhile, but what is new and interesting this year is the "ConnectTECH" program that is built around geo-services, map mashups, video, blogging and other real estate-based online services. Given the substantial attendance at the recent Where 2.0 event, this looks like it will be a similarly significant event, so I contacted Inman to learn more.
Inman has managed to attract an excellent slate of speakers, including Craig Newmark from craigslist, Paul Rademacher of HousingMaps.com fame who's now with Google, CmdrTaco himself (Rob Malda), Mike Arrington, Dany Levy from Daily Candy, and loads of people from Trulia, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo!, AOL, etc. Not to mention a bunch of Real Estate types.
Which is what makes the conference so interesting. Coming out of Mashup Camp, where everyone was talking about the when and how of commercial mashups, we have one vertical (and its version of the "mainstream media") going full speed ahead.
According to Mindy Hull, Inman's VP Marketing, the whole point of the conference is to bring real estate professionals together with technology/API providers and the developers who can build the applications the real estate market needs.
This is an interesting data point to come on the heels of Phil Wainewright's thought-provoking article called Google Maps, the fool's gold of mashups in which he points out that Programmable Web lists 815 mashups, of which 513 are in the mapping realm. The reason for this, he argues, is that address or lat/long information is easily defined and communicated in a way that is not yet possible for the vast majority of other types of data. He goes on to say that "If Web 2.0 really is a gold rush, this will be the first in history when the people pushing the maps are the ones who've had their fingers burned. Mapping mashups are the fool's gold of Web 2.0 not merely because they produce no revenue, but far more crucially because they add no new semantic value to the integrations they perform."
I'll address the data issues in a subsequent post - I don't disagree with Wainewright on that point, but I am more optimistic than he appears to be that the issue will be solved.
But given the huge interest in this space on the part of the real estate vertical, and the amounts companies like Google, Yahoo! and AOL are paying to attend and sponsor this event, I'd say that the people making the maps are not having their fingers burned, and that revenue from map mashups is not far off. And in the meantime, of course, the real estate folks are gaining indirect revenue - more deals, new clients, etc. - from innovative usage of these mashups.
If you want to check it out for yourself, Inman has offered a "friends of Mashery" discount to the ConnectTech event on 7/26 ($199, reduced from $299; click here) or to the full conference from 7/26 to 7/28 ($399, reduced from $1048; click here).
(Disclosure - Inman has invited me to attend the event as their guest, though I had originally planned to register as a paid attendee for the ConnectTech sessions on 7/26)