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Zillow Offers Mortgage Rate Comparison Shopping

Real estate site Zillow is empowering people once again. They’ve added a news service to complement their property valuations – mortgage rate quotes. Their Mortgage Marketplace connects lenders and people shopping for a mortgage or refinance.

Here’s how Zillow‘s Mortgage Marketplace works:

  • You anonymously submit a request for a loan, along with other details like your credit, amount needed, value of property, etc.
  • Certified lenders give estimates based on that information so you can compare rates.
  • Lenders don’t contact you, you contact the lender you want to work with (this is a huge advantage)
  • You can leave comments and rate the lenders based on your experience

Mortgage rates have been in my daily thoughts for several weeks. I’m refinancing my 5 year ARM to a fixed rate mortgage (I never expected to be in the same place longer than 5 years).

Pilgrim’s Picks for April 3 – Executive Shuffle Edition

I don’t know about you, but I’m glad we get to put April Fools day behind us for another year. At one point, I was so skeptical about the legitimacy of the news, I wouldn’t even believe what I published myself! :-)

A sense of order has return to the world. Unless of course you happen to be an employee at DoubleClick.

  • Yahoo’s VP of video and music applications Ian Rogers is leaving the company to launch Topspin Media.
  • RWW has study on the platforms we use for sending messages on Twitter. 56% use the web page, 8% instant messenger, and 7% Twhirl (my favorite). Missing from the data? How long each user has been on Twitter. I suspect new users start with the web interface before migrating to a third-part app.

Six Reputation Management Stats to Make You Shudder

If you’re not yet convinced why you need to worry about your online reputation, I have some stats to help wake you up.

Sparked by a new Pollara study, I decided to dig into the many startling stats we share in Radically Transparent: Monitoring and Managing Reputations Online.

Here’s a selection of reputation management stats for you to dwell on.

  • ~80% of adults are "very" or "somewhat" more likely to consider buying products recommended by real-world friends and family. (source: Pollara)
  • 78% of executive recruiters routinely use search engines to learn more about candidates, and 35% have eliminated candidates based on the information they found. (ExecuNet)
  • 52% of survey respondents from developed nations said they find “a person like yourself” to provide the most credible information. (Edelman)

Google Buying Expedia?

I guess it’s not enough to have a rumor that Google might want to take Skype off of eBay’s hands. Now comes a rumor that Google might have an interest in buying travel company Expedia.

Why in the world would Google want to buy Expedia?

I’m serious. An online travel site is probably the furthest thing from Google’s core business, and doesn’t even get close to some of the more experimental Google products. At least the Skype rumor has some merit–Google could combine with Google Talk and Grand Central.

Of all the rumors circulating the web, Google buying Expedia is probably the most unlikely. Still, it has resulted in a nice bump to Expedia’s–up 9%–which makes you think that someone at Expedia started the rumor.

Is Social Media an Impediment to Problem Solving?

As I was roaming through the blogsphere, catching up on some of the news and notes I have missed in recent weeks, I read one of Jeremy Zawondy’s recent blog posts addressing a very similar topic. He poses the question does the convenience of having access to someone with answers inhibit people from thinking about and solving their own problems, when they know a quick email, twit, or IM will get them the answer without them having to make any real effort?

Many of the new Social Media websites seem to encourage this type of behavior. More specifically I am starting to see this type of behavior a lot on Twitter. I am not sure whether or not it is the law of averages or maybe even just the company I keep on the service? Maybe I interact with too many online marketers?

Google to Sell Off SEM Division of DoubleClick

When Google decided to buy DoubleClick, it sent some shock through the search marketing industry. DoubleClick has owned Performics, the third largest affiliate network, since 2004. Performics not only provided affiliate marketing services, but also search-engine marketing (SEM) and search-engine optimization (SEO) services.

Suddenly it looked like agencies would be competing against Google – a serious conflict of interest. Agencies were suddenly worried that Google would give away the services that they sold to clients. And Performics may get unfair advantages, such as insight into Google’s algorithms (more details from InfoWorld).

Clients of SEM and SEO companies likely wouldn’t like the conflict of interest either. Clients want to save money, Google wants those same clients to spend it on more advertising.