Like a lot of folks, I post real estate listings on Craigs List (http://seattle.craigslist.org/). I'm the web-guy for our little team, along with being the commercial agent. I maintain this blog, post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
So, one of my partners asked me about corkin.com the other day. Corkin had sent an email, based on one of our CL posts.
I decided to check on activerain for info, and to do some investigation on my own. On activerain, I didn't find a lot of information, though I did find this blog post by Shane O'Gorman: http://activerain.com/blogsview/875460/Corkin-Social-Craigslist.
The fact that I didn't see a lot of posts makes me think that corkin.com isn't that popular with agents. But, lacking a lot of input, I thought I'd run my own experiment, now "in progress". My main goal with the experiment is to see what kinds of calls, emails, or other contacts I get from my postings on Corkin.
With that goal in mind, here is some information about Corkin and the process, and I'll update this blog post later with results as I get them.
What is Corkin.com?
Corkin bills itself as a virtual corkboard (now you know where the name comes from). I would describe it as Craiglist meets Facebook (or Myspace). As a result, its competing with both. You post your profile, you get friends and invite others to be friends, and you post your 'stuff' for sale. Pretty straight forward.
What have I done so far (and how does it compare)?
So far, I've signed up (for free) and filled in my profile: http://www.corkin.com/Profile/view.cfm?userid=15561. I mostly completed my profile with the same information I provide on LinkedIn and Facebook. I even went a bit further and included more personal info about books, music, etc. This was all pretty standard fair, I think. the process was simple enough, and probably simpler than a lot of sites are.
Next, I posted listings. This was nice and simple, and I would say simpler than Craigslist. The process is pretty similar, in that I copy and paste the HTML from my Postlets page into their page. One of the big differences is that on Corkin, you have a WYSIWYG editor for the HTML that you can use instead. This is something that Craigslist doesn't have and which I think it could use. Corkin had fewer steps in general... though some are probably important. On Craigslist you provide the address for mapping, and there isn't a place to put that in the Corkin ad.
Now that the ads are there, Corkin looks to have some great features. Once you login, you can renew/relist your ads from within the larger ad list, not just from your account. you can also link to just your ads (basically a link to a search results list). For example, here are my ads: http://www.corkin.com/search/search.cfm?userid=15561
From each ad, you (and other users) can see how many views the ad has had. Users can also link to the ad or share it on Windows Live, Twitter, Facebook, and on and on. This is actually a nice feature and a bit like Postlets. And, of course, users can comment on your listings (that could be good or bad).
So, on the whole Corkin isn't bad from a "input a listing" perspective. The ultimate test though is "will I get any customers or sales"? I'll have to report back on that. I'm used to getting at least a couple of calls per week off of craigslist ads (depending on the listings).
What about as a browsing or searching user?
I'm not sure how other users will view Corkin. One of the big issues is advertising. Corkin is just crazy with google ads. On the top, on the sides, on the bottom. I find it only slightly annoying.. but its still there. Other users might be completely turned off. On Craigslist, basically no ads.
But what about search? I have to admit to not using a lot of craiglist search functionality. I can never find stuff with it. I drill-down using the categories and then search. I tried a simple "Monroe 3 bed" search and got 0 results on Craigslist. On Corkin.com, I was pleasantly surprised to see two of my listings were the top results.
It will be interesting to see what happens in the long run with trying to mix the classifieds post and social aspects. Facebook has a Marketplace add-in for posting ads, so is that the same thing? Not sure how mixing personal ads with real estate ads is going to fly.
So, the jury is out. Again, the ultimate test is if there are enough people using Corkin to result in getting contacts/customers. In this area, I think Craigslist is going to be hard to beat, since Seattle was one of its first cities... so its has a long history of use.
I'll try and update this article next week to let folks know if I got any good prospects off Corkin.
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