Blog - Announcements


 

We are pleased to announce that DumboNYC is now operating under the ownership of BlankSlate, a Dumbo-based media company and publisher of Brooklyn’s leading online publication, Brownstoner.

With BlankSlate at the helm, DumboNYC will continue to provide opportunities for locals and tourists to dive into the delights of this thriving neighborhood.

“This is a natural evolution for DumboNYC,” said the site’s founder Hide Harashima. “BlankSlate has been our partner since 2011 and they will continue to provide coverage, with more resources to do so. I’m happy to see the neighborhood’s footprint grow and know the site is in great hands.”

Founded in 2006, DumboNYC has published more than 3,000 articles about local life and culture.

Under BlankSlate, the site will continue to explore Dumbo’s unique history, cover evolving stories like the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and keep abreast of the day to day news surrounding the neighborhood’s cultural events, education, retail, and residential and office development.

Already, BlankSlate has started adding new features to the site, including showcases where local businesses can connect and interact directly with the site’s visitors.

“We are committed to further building DumboNYC and carrying its legacy,” said Kael Goodman, BlankSlate’s CEO, “and we look forward to sharing DumboNYC with you.”

#DumboNYC


 

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Jonathan Butler of the Brooklyn real estate blog Brownstoner and Kael Goodman of BlankSlate have been working together since 2010.

The business relationship started simply, Brownstoner partnering with BlankSlate to create a directory of home service providers such as contractors and architects. Only five years later, BlankSlate was handling all of Brownstoner’s advertising and content marketing business, in addition to having added robust features such as real estate listings to the site.

Over the last three years, one topic of conversation came up from time to time: Would Butler consider selling Brownstoner to BlankSlate?

Goodman eventually got his answer. As of this week, Brownstoner is now owned by BlankSlate.

Brownstoner, launched in 2004 to chronicle his home renovation, has occupied ten years of Jonathan Butler’s life. With over 42,000 posts under its belt, the site has served as a chronicle of Brooklyn’s explosion as one of America’s hottest real estate markets and cultural destinations.

The site has been featured numerous times in publications like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker and New York Magazine. It was honored in 2008 by the Historic Districts Council for its role in preservation. Since 2012, Brownstoner has also offered coverage and listings of the Upstate New York market, and in May 2013, Butler launched the sister site Brownstoner Queens to offer coverage of Queens real estate.

BlankSlate has been the driving force behind many of Brownstoner’s expansions over the years. The agency handled Brownstoner’s advertising and content marketing efforts, and revamped its website, its property listings, and Local Home Pros, a place where readers can compare home professionals from real estate agents to carpenters to architects. Even Brownstoner Queens started out as a BlankSlate site called QueensNYC, before BlankSlate sold it to Brownstoner.

But Goodman had other ideas about how Brownstoner could make the transition from Brooklyn’s leading real estate blog to a destination for anyone interested in living in Brooklyn or Queens, or for New Yorkers thinking of moving Upstate.

A little over a week ago, Butler and Goodman met up for a periodic check-in, and once again fell into discuss the possibility of Butler selling Brownstoner to BlankSlate. The next day they had a deal. A few days later, the documents were drafted and signed.

Many things about Brownstoner will remain the same. Brooklyn real estate, renovation, history, and culture. Brownstoner will stay true to its mission of being the go-to site for people obsessed with Brooklyn real estate, renovation, history and culture.

The new ownership, however, will be bringing some exciting changes to Brownstoner. You can expect to see more coverage of interior decoration, renovation, and living in Brooklyn. This acquisition will give Brownstoner the resources to expand and refine its editorial scope, and connect readers with each other, experts, and brands they care about.

“Brownstoner is the go-to site for the impassioned Brooklynite,” said Goodman. “The editors and their audience love Brooklyn. They love where it’s come from, and they love where it’s going. And this is exactly the type of person that a brand wants to address when they introduce themselves into the Brooklyn marketplace.”

As for Jonathan Butler, he is optimistic about the future for the site he founded.

“Starting Brownstoner in 2005,” said Butler, “I could not have imagined what an incredible community would coalesce around the site and all the exciting opportunities it would lead to for me personally. After ten years, though, it’s time for this old-school blogger to hand off the baton to a company that is perfectly positioned to make the most of the site in the current media environment. Meanwhile, I look forward to continuing to devote myself to my other businesses — Brooklyn Flea, Smorgasburg, Berg’n and 1000 Dean — watching with interest as Kael and his team execute upon their vision for Brownstoner.”



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We are very excited to announce the launch of the SIBOR Marketplace.

You may recall that we completely redesigned SIBOR.com, making it the go-to resource for real estate listings in Staten Island. Our partnership has now reached a new level with the development of the SIBOR Marketplace — a complete source of information about Staten Island home improvement and related services.

Residents of Staten Island can use the Marketplace as a one-stop shop for home improvement services. As they prepare for the leaves to begin falling, the snow to pile up, and the grass to start growing next spring, the Marketplace can help them find service providers to assist them through all of their seasonal woes. The simple, intuitive layout allows residents to easily navigate through the different types of home improvement services and find the exact business they need.

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PoPville founder and editor Dan Silverman | ep_jhu via flickr

Once again, congratulations are in order for PoPville‘s Dan Silverman. For the third year in a row, Washington City Paper named PoPville.com the Best Community Blog in Washington, D.C.

As happy as we are for Dan, this comes as no surprise to us. PoPville has been a key member of our publisher network, bringing peerless coverage of local events to the D.C. area. Since 2006, Dan, a Rockville Centre native, has been covering such topics as quality of life, real estate, restaurants, bars, retail, architecture, gardening, pets, transit, and crime. The Washington Post  once wrote that Silverman “probably knows more about the District than some beat cops.”

Neither will the people of D.C. be surprised by this honor. PoPville is often quoted as a source in The Washington Post, and this commitment to local reporting results in ever-growing traffic to the site: 1.75 million page views and over 480,000 unique visitors in March 2014 alone. It’s no wonder that Washingtonian magazine called PoPville the “King of Neighborhood Blogs.”

So raise a glass (or two) to PoPville! Long live the king! We look forward to you winning again in 2015.

 

#Best Community Blog#Dan Silverman#PoPville


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We’ve been excited about this for months. Now it’s everyone else’s turn.

Ever since the Daily News broke the story about the upcoming launch of ExploreBK.com (“Booming Brooklyn is about to get its own tourism website,” April 2, 2014), the story has been picked up all over the place, including the New York Observer, Crain’s, Brownstoner, Technical.ly, and Brooklyn Magazine.

From the Daily News piece:

The “it borough” is about to get a tourism website of its own, courtesy of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and Brooklyn tech company BlankSlate, officials told the Daily News.

Set to launch on May 9, ExploreBK.com will seek to amp up Brooklyn’s reputation as a tourist must-see for travelers locally and around the world.

“ExploreBK.com is going to take all of the great things in the coolest place in America, from shopping to dining to events, and put it into a one-stop shop website for all things Brooklyn,” Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce president Carlo Scissura told the Daily News.

The Observer added:

The website, ExploreBK, will feature information on major attractions and events in the borough, along with information about restaurants, business and hotels. BlankSlate, which also runs the Brooklyn real estate blog Brownstoner, will create content, sell ads and sponsorships, and take some of the revenue generated by the site.

New York already has an official tourism website, NYCgo.com, and there’s even a Kings-County specific site run by the borough president’s office, which features super-hip graffiti designs. But Brooklyn is just so cool that it needed one more.

If, in a couple months, you find your favorite Brooklyn street swarming with tourists, we hope you won’t be too mad at us.

#Explore Brooklyn#ExploreBK.com


Please help us welcome the compulsively readable Candy’s DirtSecondShelters, and Red Brick Town to our continually expanding publisher network. With the addition of Candy’s Dirt and SecondShelters we jump headlong into the Dallas/Fort Worth real estate scene while Red Brick Town cements our dedication to everything that’s great about the Washington D.C. metroplex. 

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Candy’s Dirt and SecondShelters are the creations of Candy Evans, one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters. Candy was a longtime contributing editor to Dallas’ D Magazine and its sister publications, and in 2007 founded the wildly successful Dallas real estate blog, DallasDirt, where she broke the news on the location of President George W. Bush’s Dallas home. She also blogs for Realtor.com and Haute Living.

Candy’s Dirt focuses on general Dallas/Fort Worth real estate news while SecondShelters casts its eye on second homes. Her apt description of Candy’s Dirt easily applies to both sites:

CandysDirt.com offers readers house porn, celebrity real estate, neighborhood profiles, what’s hot (and what’s not), sales insight, REALTOR profiles, new developments, the “f” word (um, foreclosures, what were you thinking?), builder talk, real estate news, and consumer Q&A’s. We showcase great listings, helping them to break away from the noise. We cover those neighborhood homeowner association meetings that make everyone’s blood pressure rise. Come tax appraisal time, we have The Tax Doctor right here. We even have a real estate attorney on staff for the really tough questions. We do it all from our base in Dallas/Fort Worth, where we love to report the Dallas and Fort Worth Dirt.

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Red Brick Town is the brainchild of Lee Hernly, a dedicated enthusiast of the D.C. suburb of Alexandria, Virginia. As Lee explains:

The Red Brick Town blog is a news, information, and community affairs site focused on living in Alexandria, Virginia, working in the D.C. area, and enjoying all that our Washington, D.C. offers. The blog was born out of a desire to keep my fellow residents informed on the happenings in and around our neighborhood and to promote a safe, interesting and fun community. Topics to be covered include: quality of life, real estate, things to do, business, retail, architecture, pets, transportation, crime and more!

Upon joining the BlankSlate publisher network, all three sites received a makeover using BlankSlate’s design templates and were added to our advertising networks. We’re looking forward to helping the latest members of the BlankSlate family continue to flourish and bring you everything you’ve always expected from them…and more!



BlankSlate Real Estate now includes real time local market trends for sale and rental listings. Market trends can help buyers and sellers and owners and renters make informed pricing decisions by seeing how prices are changing over time (e.g. ‘where are we in a seasonal or macro-economic cycle?’) and also by comparing prices in one place versus another place (e.g. ‘how does pricing here compare to there?’).  BlankSlate Real Estate Market Trends is also a valuable tool for real estate brokers, who can gain greater insight into the communities they serve and share them with their customers.

Here’s how BlankSlate Real Estate Market Trends works:

We receive feeds from listings sources throughout the day. Listings are checked to ensure they have complete and valid addresses and can be placed on a map. If they don’t have complete information, we try to complete it using various web services.

We analyze the location data and pass the listings thru map boundaries to aggregate listings by geography. The map boundaries are developed in conjunction with BlankSlate’s publisher partners, to really define the neighborhoods in the way locals understand them. For example, here is the neighborhood map of DC that listings for Popville are passed thru.

BlankSlate-Real-Estate-Washington-DC-Neighborhood-Boundaries

Next, we generate statistics — like average and median price, and price per square foot —  based on the compiled location data.

For urban environments, the outcome is detailed pricing information by neighborhood.

Here is Washington DC’s sale pricing by neighborhood for today.

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#Real Estate Market Trends#Real time real estate trends


If you really want to give voice to your business and tell your story, you should consider sponsored content. A sponsored post is one that is written and created specifically for an advertiser. It is displayed right in the main editorial column of a publisher’s site. The posts are treated like any other post you’d see on a website: they are uploaded, published, and tracked through a site’s analytics. Since they take the shape of a regular post and can fit seamlessly into a blog, they are a great choice for delivering the exact message that an advertiser wants in long form, supported by text, photos, video, or other forms of media.

Traditional advertising can certainly be effective – for example, take a look at the celebrity endorsements for Pepsi and Coke shown here. But these advertisements explicitly “sell” a product, and that’s not what our team is after when we create a sponsored post.

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When they are done well, sponsored posts do not sell or even have an advertorial sound (unlike the celebrity endorsements above). After all, readers are smart and can sense when content isn’t genuine; people prefer to read posts that are interesting and hopefully entertaining — but most of all, people prefer posts that are not directly selling something to them. By writing quality sponsored posts, an advertiser has the opportunity to leverage the voice and trust of the site to its maximum benefit. If an audience already trusts the blog, the sponsored post will fit right in. Sites that serve a community and often feature what to do in the neighborhood – such as Brooklyn Based for Brooklyn or PoPville for Washington DC – are natural fits for these kinds of posts.

Sponsored posts are unique in content, but have a particular form: they contain a native ad unit under the lead image for the advertiser’s logo, link and byline, as well as multiple target links in the body of the post itself. The posts contain social media buttons that are built in, which enable readers to easily share the content. The posts are optimized for desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. It is of utmost importance that it can reach an audience, regardless of where the content is viewed.

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#native advertising#sponsored posts


BlankSlate just completed the new Red Hook Waterfront site and the results look great.

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This is not your typical commercial real estate site. The website belongs to The O’Connell Organization, a family owned and operated real estate development company that is behind many of the large Red Hook warehouses. The company has a substantial presence in the community, participating in many civic and economic development activities. Their marketing approach mirrors their business approach: accentuate the neighborhood’s unique attributes and focusing on the community while also promoting the role they play. The website has a key role in this strategy, acting as a place to display available commercial listings, while also serving as a blog for the community.

Red Hook Winery - Unique and Distinct

BlankSlate was engaged to create the site and on-going content for the site’s blog, as well as to promote listings and raise awareness of Red Hook by placing in-blog ads and syndicating the site’s blog content on other well trafficked Brooklyn sites.

The listings on the site are comprised of retail spaces, offices and warehouses that can range from $1,000 to $25,000 per month. The listings pages are filled with photos and include all the expected property information. All of the fields are customizable in the site’s admin, enabling listings to be showcased as needed.

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#Commercial real estate#O'Connell Organization#Red Hook#Red Hook Waterfront#Website design#Wordpress


Swamplot is the newest site to join the BlankSlate network, leveraging BlankSlate’s inContext WordPress Theme and ad sales capabilities.

Swamplot, founded by Gus Allen, is an uncompromising blog about Houston real estate.

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From the site’s about page:

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED in Houston real estate, buy Houston real estate, sell Houston real estate, invest in Houston real estate, dream about Houston real estate, or simply live in Houston real estate, . . . well, here you go. You’ll find informative and entertaining stories about Houston real estate here at Swamplot.

Swamplot dredges up and spills out news, leads, and information about Houston homes and commercial property for sale, home design, home renovation, architecture, landscape, and Houston neighborhoods. The site covers the entire Houston real-estate pyramid, from the con men who founded this city to the newcomers you’re hoping will buy your home for far more than it’s worth.

Swamplot uses BlankSlate’s inContext WordPress theme. One of the advantages of using inContext is the ability to customize and style everything from the header to the colors to the fonts in the WordPress admin without coding — and when we say ‘everything’ we mean a site gets automatically formatted for desktop, tablet, and mobile. That being said, if custom features are needed, inContext can be easily modified. Swamplot had some features that  it wanted to carry over from its previous site, and a Wordpress developer was able to make these features in a couple of days work.

Follow Swamplot on Facebook and Twitter for news and updates to the site. To learn more about advertising on Swamplot thru BlankSlate, click here.

#Houston#Swamplot

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