The future of the commercial real estate industry in one word...

OPEN! If you look at virtually every single business, autos, electronics, hotels, apartments, homes, insurance, financial services, etc... they all now have one thing in common: all of the choices, content and data is open and available online.

You can shop for the best rate, the best hotel, the best home, the best insurance, the best mortgage, all with one touch of your finger. And, even better, there are tons of sites that will actually recommend to you the most favorable deals. How you heard of the site :)

Unfortunately, these "standards" do not hold true in commercial real estate. I honestly think it's the last industry to embrace open sourcing of everything!


I am not really sure but my guess is that it's costly to compile, verify and organize all of the data and so why give it away for free?!?. I  get there are a lot of stakeholders whose business livelihood is based on keeping data and content behind paywalls. But how long can this last with virtually every other industry becoming as transparent as possible? At what point will both industry professionals, and more importantly, their clients, actually insist to be able to shop for everything online?

In my 30-year career, I have never seen an industry so protective of its turf as commercial real estate. Many a companies and sites have failed because they didn't succeed in challenging this status quo.

But with all of the money being invested in CRE tech, will someone finally figure this out? Will there be a Zillow/Trulia of CRE? Will every service be available in one location? Will someone create THE platform for the industry?

Some may argue that Loopnet already does this, and in a sense they do. But, what about the rest of the industry?

I know of several that are trying and some have gained real traction.

I know that my site's, The News Funnel, entire business premise is that news should be completely organized, personalized and curated for each professional individually. We built the largest news search engine in the industry. And we will soon announce that we will be curating other types of content as well.

But what about pricing? Availability? All sorts of data on every aspect of the industry?

Will anyone ever be able to open all of that content up to the industry for everyone to shop, compare and transact?

A part of me says "yes" and it's going to happen sooner than we think. The other part says "no" because the industry has too much at stake to lower the barriers to entry.

I am curious what others think...