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"Research Tools On the Web"

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Aaron Davenport Photo
6/20/97 Interview with Aaron Davenport

Whittier Partners Group
155 Federal Street
Boston, MA 02110

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Business Connections with the Internet

  1. Whittier Partners is the largest commercial real estate services company in New England; brokerage, appraisal and property management are primary areas.
  2. The company uses the Internet for gathering information (demographics and property research) disseminating information (marketing company services) and for internal and external communication.
  3. Email is used within and without the company for such functions as transferring leases and market studies to clients; beyond email, the Web itself is used as a medium of communication internally and with clients.
  4. Most Whittier employees (99%) use email and the Web daily; sales related personnel use the technology extensively - first-time calls are preceded by research via the Internet, where in-depth information on the client may be more readily available than from someone directly.
The Whittier Web Site

  1. The page is segregated so that visitors can go to the appropriate section - e.g., property listings or market research.
  2. Information is given about what the company does, about specific brokers (with the ability to email to the broker) and about clients (with actual links to them); recent deals and accomplishments are highlighted.
  3. The risk of links is that they take visitors away from the page, but using frame technology is an important strategy to keep them within the site; a Whittier Partners sidebar or top bar keeps the company visible.
  4. Frames technology is an ability to be in two Web pages at the same time; the user is linked into another site while the left or top portion of the screen stays on the previous site; by clicking on the left or top portion, the user returns to the previous site.
Recommended Tools for Real Estate Research

  1. Good sites to use when looking at specific properties include and CRENET - both multiple listing services for commercial properties; Pikenet is a valuable resource to review the wide market before focusing on something specific.
  2. Both Henry Robinson, publisher of Office Buildings Magazine, and REI-NEX are putting up market research as well as individual property sheets for most of the East Coast.
  3. Excellent sources for demographics on the Net are state and federal sites such as; access to state sites is through www.state.[2-letter abbreviation].us.
  4. Internet mapping sites are numerous - Infoseek is quickest, but the $50 printed Rand McNally street finder is better; for deeper demographics consider Maptitude or Map Info ($400 program).
Using the News

  1. Newspaper sites (Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Boston Globe) are excellent tools for market research and business prospecting; pnp. allows you to customize a daily, automatic news search.
  2. Pointcast sends news information to your desktop; PR Newswire and Businesswire, news services that pulls from, can give you information a day ahead.
  3. If you survey classified ads in newspapers to identify growing firms, consider also using and for leads in about 20 major markets; a macro examination can also give you ideas of industries and job categories to look at further.
  4. The Office Buildings Magazine site is outstanding for its effective translation of print information to the Web page.
Networking through GVA Worldwide

  1. To facilitate doing global business, Whittier is affiliated with the network GVA Worldwide, whose Web site will launch a second brand name for Whittier.
  2. The proprietary intranet page of the GVA Web site will provide a bulletin board system of convenient communication among all GVA members with the aim of increasing the deal flow between markets.
  3. The bulletin board system is also a way by which members can share effective marketing tools, e.g., posting a powerful tenet representation pitch as a PowerPoint or Pagemaker document for affiliates to download.
  4. Within the network, GVA Worldwide should be clear as a brand with products and services; however, all the affiliate brands, including Whittier, should be identified and linked to GVA via their own Web page.
Applying Technology Conservatively>
  1. Whittier uses email strictly on an individual basis and in non-annoying manner - not for mass mailing or cold calls; the company questions whether unsolicited email is well-received.
  2. Rather than being technologically aggressive in marketing, Whittier makes clear subtly that its technological capability is ahead of the curve and available to serve the client; the url appears in every ad, and technological tools that are used with clients include the latest advances.
  3. Realtors should also let the public know that they are technologically literate, but in ways that will present the industry as leading the way, not lagging behind the rest of the business world.
Good Non-Real Estate Sites

  1. Once you identify favorite sites that you use frequently, continue to surf in order to stay current with new possibilities.
  2. Favorite sites include for successful models, Microsoft's Expedia for travel service and E-trade for discount brokerage service.
  3. The search engine Magellan's page has a great site for keeping your pulse on the Internet - Search Voyeur at displays real-time searches; clicking on a search brings up the results.
Contact Information for Aaron Davenport:

(v) 617-728-8489
(f) 617-482-5509

Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:
Commercial Real Estate Network (CRENET)
Office Buildings Magazine
REI-NEX (Real Estate Information Connextions)
U.S. Census Bureau
Maptitude (Caliper Home Page)
Magellan Home Page (click on Search Voyeur)