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"Commercial Tool Kits on The Web"

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Peter Pike Photo
10/18/96 Interview with Peter Pike

195 Lagunitas Road
Ross, CA 94957

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Introduction to Pikenet

  1. Pikenet is a directory of commercial real estate sites and related resources on the Web; listed sites get a two to four sentence review and a rating of one to five stars-based two-thirds on content and one-third on design.
  2. Sites are categorized into 32 areas such as REIT, broker, office/industrial, shopping center/retail; they are also assigned to a market area or MSA.
  3. From the Pikenet home page, clicking on the market search icon leads you to a page showing the number of sites in a selected geographic marketplace for each of the 32 categories. 4. Clicking a particular category reveals an alphabetical hit list of sites with descriptions and ratings; the list can be organized with top ratings first by clicking the star hyperlink.
Tool Kit Searches

  1. Tool kits are available for about a dozen cities, including Dallas, Austin, San Francisco, San Jose, Boston, Tampa and Toronto; a tool kit focuses on about six areas of research on the city as a marketplace.
  2. Tool kits also cover service areas such as property management and the Internet; these kits identify resources to make you more productive.
  3. IRED news has many links that are residentially oriented; Becky Swan and Pike cooperate in referring appropriate sites to each other.
Cost of the Service

  1. Pikenet is a free medium to visitors and to the sites listed; through the site links, Web surfers have access to considerable information at no charge.
  2. Banner advertising sold to sponsors subsidizes the service; ads are an effective way to generate traffic for commercial real estate sites on the Net.
  3. Among his sponsors are a national brokerage company, a national training firm and the Building Owners and Managers Association.
  4. Pike lets people know about the service both through traditional ways and through unique Web techniques including a weekly e-mail dispatch.
Steps to a Commercial Real Estate Site

  1. Realtors generally develop a Web site first as a means to promote their service to the outside world; content - a research report, listing information on properties - is often added.
  2. The next advance is use of the site to support their business by including information to expedite access, such as e-mail addresses, tenant newsletters for community associations or tenant forms to request service.
  3. The last step is the transaction phase, through which the common exchange of data information promotes efficient execution of transactions.
Electronic Data Information (EDI)

  1. Fourth-phase sites are now being developed that link such businesses as title companies, lenders, principals, toxic inspection firms, etc; when a toxic inspection is done, the information can be posted once and accessed by all interested parties.
  2. One good example is Gilbert Barnes' Datatrack Systems, which is being promoted by six of the seven largest title companies in the US.
Sites that List Investment Properties

  1. Two listing services with national scope are CRENET and LoopNet; excellent local services include Office Space Online (Seattle), Visual Real Estate (Colorado) and Jamison Research (Dallas, Atlanta).
  2. The national sites tend to be strong for larger investment properties; the local sites are better for the leasing side.
  3. Any of the sites mentioned here can be accessed through Pikenet by entering the name in a textbox.
  4. Eventually, investors and brokers will be able to find specific, local investment and commercial properties via the Internet (at some cost).
  5. The Web will re-mediate the process of real estate transactions; some people will be displaced, but people with high-tech expertise will be needed.
Research Resources

  1. Governmental sources on the Web are numerous; for example, CPI and SEC related information is available online instantaneously.
  2. Information is being expanded tremendously by what is becoming available as content on individually constructed sites; a service such as Pikenet efficiently directs browsers to the market research they seek.
  3. Online services such as Compuserve, America Online and Prodigy are grappling with their roles because online information is available through direct sources for much less cost; Compuserve seems headed to become strictly a Web site, and AOL is also in transition.
  4. Credit information can be obtained electronically on listed companies from Dun & Bradstreet for about $20/report; a form including secure credit card payment can be completed online.
The Impact of Technological Change on Business

  1. Delivery of UPS and Fed Ex packages can already be traced in route through the UPS or Fed Ex sites by referencing the tracking bill number on the label.
  2. Broadly over the next two to three years, the democratization of information will make people less dependent on traditional business services; people have been paying for real estate information that passed from broker to broker, but current information will be available directly.
  3. The speed of transactions will become faster as people have the ability to access more information to make better decisions. 4. People will not be as geographically bound in establishing relationships with others; the world will become smaller and markets will overlap as connections form that are not community based.
The Future for Real Estate

  1. As advances in technology continue to make Internet access easier and faster, more people will participate; brokers who expect cyber techniques to be a fad are candidates to become dis-intermediated.
  2. Brokers will have to adapt some of the technologies, at least indirectly - e.g., by having someone monitoring e-mail; within two to five years serious real estate players will need to be on the Net with a site and e-mail address.
  3. Technology will not sell real estate, but it will make people who do tremendously more effective.
Important Qualities for Dealing with the Web

  1. Intellectual curiosity and a willingness to grow professionally will lead people to the World Wide Web and related technology.
  2. Perseverance and patience are required to deal with the mistakes and broken connections still common to the Web in its infancy.
  3. Willingness to do on-going maintenance is required for a successful Web site; keeping it current must be considered part of your core business.
  4. Be mindful of your own goals, interests and strengths in approaching the Net; don't be fearful of experimenting.
Contact Information for Peter Pike:

(v) 415 485 6700
(f) 415 459 6553

Real Estate Sites & Tools in This Briefing:

Inman News
Datatrack System
Office Space Online
Visual Real Estate Database-ViRED
Jamison Research
SEC database
CPI information
Dun & Bradstreet
Fed Ex Tracking Service