This week we had a friend stay with us who is originally from Hungary, but is currently spending a year in China. He is very well traveled, mostly because of his job and also because of personal interests- so he is a fascinating person to talk to as he has a worldly take on things. He is also totally dependent the Internet, especially skype, for communication because of time differences and calling costs.
We were at dinner last night, as most dinner conversations do with me and my husband, we started talking about websites and particularly social networking. While we were talking up how much we use Facebook, he was saying how much he uses Hi5.com. I wasn't that familiar with the site, here a description of it, it is basically an international Facebook.
Hi5 is a social networking website targeted at a general audience. It became one of the most popular social networks through a huge growth spurt during 2007 with much of that popularity coming from Central America. While it is often found in the top 10 most visited websites in the world, it often fails to make the top 50 in the U.S.
Later the conversation turned to real estate. Our friend had just spent a few days in the LA area and absolutely fell in love with it. He was intrigued by what was happening with the real estate market there and wanted to know more about the "deals" that were available. Also, he is on the euro, which makes it even more affordable for him. As I don't know much about the areas he was asking about, the question came up "do you know anyone who could help me?". He doesn't know anything about the American process of buying a home, financing a home, and property management- but he thinks he wants to.
These two conversation topics got me thinking about how they could become one. I know I have heard from a number of agents around the country that foriegn money is what is keeping their business going. Many companies are now looking at how they can market to these folks. Most of the efforts I have heard about have been pretty traditional, with the possible exception of blogging.
I am wondering if any agents concentrating on attracting foriegn investors have looked to international social networking sites, like Hi5, to reach this next generation of international home buyers who are eager to take advantage of what their euros can buy in the US today?
Other top international social networking sites:
Badoo - Based in London, Badoo is one of the top social networking sites in Europe.
Bebo - Based in California, Bebo has gained popularity across the world, especially Ireland and the UK.
Cyworld - A South Korean social networking site similar to MySpace.
Faceparty - A United Kingdom social networking site founded in 2000, it differs from the norm by charging a fee for features normally found for free in other social networking sites.
Migente - A social networking site targeted at Latin America.
Orkut - Originally created by Google to compete with MySpace and Facebook, it has mainly caught hold in Brazil.
Piczo - A social networking site aimed at teens with a strong following in Canada and the United Kingdom.
Studivz - A German version of Facebook with a strong audience in students.
Passado - A European social networking site with strong audiences in France, Spain and Germany.