Blogs Burst With Real Estate Buzz

House for sale, home CBS/The Early Show

With millions of sites floating through the blogosphere, who really has time to peek at even a fraction of them? Blogophile reads them for you and presents a weekly roundup of the buzz on must-read blogs. Blogophile appears new each Wednesday, and is written by CBSNews.com's Melissa P. McNamara.

Are housing bloggers prematurely crying, "The sky is falling"? One blogger thinks so. Also, chatter heats up over ads on a new science blogging network, and a young entrepreneur blogs his fall from grace.

Sorry To Burst Your Bubble…

If you follow real estate news – or track real estate blogs – trying to read the housing market tea leaves may appear to be about as useful as asking a Magic 8-Ball to predict whether the bubble will burst.

Does anyone really know?

Many bloggers think they do. For example, Bubble Meter, "a blog dedicated to the premise that there's a housing a bubble in many locales in the USA," features a photo from Northern Virginia with for-sale signs lining the street outside a condo conversion that sold in 2004. Wende Feller's ominous Making a Killing in Real Estate blog tracks her progress as she writes a novel incorporating the housing bubble into the great American murder mystery. And numerous sites like The Bursting Bubble and Housing Panic are devoted solely to guessing when the housing bubble will burst.

But this week, bubble bloggers are being taken to task for their irrational exuberance ... or, "blogbooberance," over the housing market.

Longorshortcapital bemoans "the emerging bubble in housing bubble blogs. These blogs, devoted to detailing the demise of the housing and refi boom, have begun to proliferate more quickly than Freedom Loans or all those anacondas I let loose in the Everglades in the 80's."

The blogger pleads, "Please, the Fed, raise the blogging interest rates or constrict the blog money supply now. The Irrational Blogbooberance must stop now."

It might be a losing battle.

Blogging, Off The Meter

Have you ever wondered what cab drivers actually experience behind the wheel? Blogging taxi driver Melissa Plaut offers some insight, and it's no "Taxicab Confessions."

Sounding at times like a humdrum, disgruntled New Yorker, Plaut's blog topics range from road rage, to her passengers, to simply being tired. She describes one typical night: "Tonight's shift was pretty boring …I had one girl in my cab who was crying hysterically into her boyfriend's shoulder, but that was pretty much the only thing out of the ordinary. She was talking too low, so I couldn't hear what the problem was."

And if you live in New York, watch out: the site features lots of photos of drivers "who don't know how to drive."

If Only Einstein Blogged

A few weeks ago, CBS News' Public Eye examined the "vitriol that so often accompanies" the mention of the mainstream media to bloggers. But, the feeling isn't always mutual.

Some mainstream media see blogs as potential revenue streams, as The New York Times notes. Established media companies and advertisers are increasingly interested in using new media to sell. On Monday, the science-oriented Seed Media Group began selling ads on its new network of science blogs, aptly named Scienceblogs.com. Reaching an estimated one million users each month, Seed aims to attract ads from marketers wanting "influential consumers."

Smart marketing, but do science bloggers feel betrayed at finding their sites used to feed corporate America? Not exactly.

"Ah, so that's what this scienceblogs.com thing is all about: we're a vehicle for upscale ads," blogs Pharyngula, part of scienceblog.com's network. "It feels a bit strange to be viewed as a "vehicle." I see this as more of a virus, with the corporate world as the host vehicle, and I'm exploiting them in order to get fast free network hosting."

But some are more conflicted by the marriage of blogs and ads, however resolute they are that they will remain independent.

Uncertain Principles, also part of scienceblog's network, writes: "...While there will be ads (eventually), they will have no impact on the content of the site. The contract I signed explicitly states that there will be no editorial oversight of what I write, and in the unlikely event that I get any pressure to say nice things about the advertisers, I'm gone. Of course, that leaves open the question of self-censorship, which is an interesting problem..."

Pharyngula also sings his independence. "Fortunately, I am isolated from the business end of all this, and don't worry—if some 30 year old guy in a business suit with an MBA tries to tell me what content to put here, I'll be gone."

Others took issue with the assertion that potential scienceblog.com readers could be characterized as an appealing demographic. JimBOB posts, "As someone who works in the periphery of marketing, I can tell you that all these oddball demographic descriptions are really just overpaid consultants trying to justify their salaries by imposing fanciful categories onto raw data. It's suits talking to other suits."

Suits talking to suits. . . hm, so maybe bloggers are typing away in their pajamas?

Can You Blog In Jail?

Takafumi Horie, chief executive of the Japanese Internet startup Livedoor, was arrested on Monday on charges of spreading false information to inflate stock prices.

Aside from wreaking havoc on the Japanese stock market, it was also an amazing defeat for the flamboyant entrepreneur known as much for his fashion sense as for his business savvy.

So, what does a trail-blazing Internet blogger do when facing arrest? Why, he blogged his defense, of course. (The site is in Japanese so I'm relying on translations.)

"I have no recollection on any of the allegations. And I don't even know how to comment because I have no idea what kind of investigation the media reports are coming from. That's the situation," Horie wrote in his blog over the weekend.

The Asia Pacific Headhunter fills us in on another entry in which Horie responded to an email from a 25-year-old woman wanting to start her own business. Horie's advice: "Just borrow some money and start as a corporation from the beginning. He has never met anyone who started a successful business as a one-man band and to do so is the "way of the chicken". Anyone who can't borrow money shouldn't be starting a business anyway because in his opinion borrowing money is the same as sales."

As Asia Pacific Headhunter blogs, "I guess he doesn't feel that pressure to pull punches."

But, I'm not sure Horie will be giving corporate advice any time soon.

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