Bust Out the Chowda! Redfin Stops the The Wheel of Death

Ahoy Redfin friends! Sorry to have been so quiet this month. We’ve been working on a pretty blue site with a pretty new logo, which we just rolled out to our first East Coast market!
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We’ll do whatever it takes to look like we belong out there: start a gang, eat a grinder, drive crazy, tell people off, curse in Yiddish, argue baseball, take the subway, shovel snow, double-bolt the door, “trust nobody,” scurry past weathered graveyards, dream of Florida, read the Sunday Times til noon.
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We hope everybody in Boston likes the new site. We know it couldn’t come soon enough. Just last week in a flatulent Oakland gym, an old friend seized my puny pecs and – almost crouching, shoulders hunched, chin raised in some frenzy of hope – said, “you must stop the wheel of death.”
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“Wheel of death?” I said.
“The little wheel that spins forever while you’re searching for houses.”
“Oh yeah. It sucks.”
“IT SUCKS ***!” he said.

We promised to speed things up a bit. And along the way we made a lot of other improvements, too:
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–> We expanded to Boston, home of Yankee commission-chizzlers and birthplace of Redfin’s founding text, Self-Reliance (“imitation is suicide.”)
–> We dumped the old house-in-a-circle logo to avoid a lawsuit from Move.com, who told us they thought of using a house logo first. Hopefully, the new look will also allow us to sell more Redfin jerseys.
–> We made the map larger, and hid all the search options, so they only show up when you click on the search box.
–> We made the map expandable, so it takes up all the screen you got. There’s also a “centerfold” view (click Change View | Map Only).
–> We made the property photos bigger and moved them off to the side so they don’t slow you down.
–> We got rid of the tabs and frames that were driving everyone crazy and we made the back button work.
–> We raised prices on Redfin Direct for Sellers, from $2,000 to $3,000, which we said all along we’d do once we get a few listings (we now have over 100).
–> We got new signs, which are getting installed on Friday. They look good enough to steal.
–> We didn’t support Safari, because our technology partners don’t support Safari yet. And we still have a long ways to go on performance too. But, as the Beatles would say, it’s getting better all the time…

And we’ve had plenty of adventures in the meantime, too, including:
–> The first day of spring in Boston, which has revolting food, but proud, odd people, who hopefully want to buy homes online
–> A half-meeting with Katie Couric, who seems very nice to everyone around her, and much happier off-camera.
–> A Redfin.com demo with a former pro basketball center and his Great Dane. His reaction: “LOOKS LIKE ZILLOW.”
–> A spread in Wired Magazine about our blogging, and a San Francisco Chronicle caricature of a Redfin crusader lancing houses from a horse.
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Let us know what you think of the logo, the big map, the new site. And thanks to everyone at Redfin who put it all together. You are magnificent.

Discussion

  • http://www.altosresearch.com/blog mike simonsen

    Nice upgrade, Glenn. Looks great!

    Except the home page map with “Chicago (coming soon)” points to a very special Chicago located somewhere about Fort Wayne, Indiana. ;-)

  • kristi

    i love the new look. congrats to the whole redfin team!

    but i do miss the old tabs – opening each property in separate windows makes comparing multiple properties more challenging. i realize the new IE & FF promotes tabs, but a way to quickly browse through listings would be great.

  • Jerry

    Congratulations on the Boston roll-out. Very cool. Now I can find a wicked condo neah Hahvahd….

  • http://www.zillowblog.com David G

    Congratulations on the launch — it’s definitely quicker but I must admit I’m battling to let go of the old site — I actually thought you’d solved the “back” problem very elegantly.

    Very smart to keep the safari users updated and their expectations in check – we have the same issue and frankly, they’re a hostile bunch. :-D

    Enjoy Boston!

  • http://www.redfin.com Glenn Kelman

    Hi everybody, sorry for the delay in being able to accept comments, and thanks for the kind words. We understand Safari users’ reaction to Redfin: extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. We’re doing our best to work with all our partners so we can support Safari by the summer.

    Some folks miss the tabs from the old site, but we just felt in the end that the browsers should provide the tabs, not Redfin. I had a bet with Matt Goyer, our product manager, that no one would miss the tabs (Matt, I owe you dinner).

    If we can get our map to load even faster, we’ll probably open property details in the same window, so the back button always takes you back to where you were before you clicked.

  • http://condoDomain.com/blog Anthony Longo

    Hey I have an off/on topic question! What is stingray?

  • http://www.redfin.com Chris Wilkins

    “stingray” is the internal name of our web application. The name will likely go away in the future, but it has been convenient to keep it around for the time being.

  • http://www.realasave.com Yong Bakos

    Congrats on finishing the new design (personally, I like it!)