There are countless photo-sharing apps out there for everything from food to dogs. Now, a former Microsoft and Google engineer is trying to do the same for real estate.

It’s called Abodograph, and the idea is to provide an easy way for realtors to post photos of their everyday activities and receive real-time notifications from interested customers.

Derek Cheng founded the Issaquah-based company after he and his wife noticed that realtors liked collecting feedback from prospective buyers who had viewed a home. Initially, he wanted to start a company that allowed realtors to share tips about homes, but that didn’t pan out.

Cheng, who spent nearly eight years working on Windows Update at Microsoft, finally arrived at Abodograph after examining the power of photos.

“Abodograph helps real estate agents market themselves by sharing moments of their professional life through photos — like when they’re showing a home or holding an open house,” says Cheng. “Photos are a great medium because they’re quick to create and consumers love looking at them.”

There are certainly other startups in the real estate space, including Zillow, Trulia and While those sites host mountains of data on homes, Cheng says that they focus on the “nitty gritty” and Abodograph instead gives agents a free and more authentic way to market themselves.

“The photos appeal to a broader set of customers who just want to look at photos without neccessarily digging into the hard data,” Cheng explains. “So while we all compete for the attention of agents and customers, I think Abdograph offers something different on both sides.”

Derek Cheng

Another appeal of Abodograph is that realtors can have their own “resume” of photos and receive real-time push notifications on their cell phone. Cheng notes some data that shows how the odds of contacting a sales lead within five minutes is 100 times greater than if the contact happens after 30 minutes.

In terms of how he plans on making money, Cheng says that the revenue plan is “TBD.” Some ideas include charging agents for premium features, offering brokerage-level products and/or advertising.

Previously on GeekWire: Trulia vs. Zillow: How they stack up after Q3 earnings

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  • derelict

    NWMLS, the Washington State MLS that Realtors belong to has strict rules and heavy fines in the thousands of dollars for “advertising” someone elses listing, so I’m not sure how many brokers here will show pictures of homes they are showing other than their own listings. For example, tweeting about a listing that is not yours is a prohibited activity.

    • derelict

      To be more clear, there are fine lines, Brokers are allowed to have the MLS data feed on their websites, searchable by their clients, but they require a “courtesy of xyz brokerage” tag line, and anything other public activity requires written permission from the brokerage and is considered advertising,including Twitter, blogging etc. There is nothing to stop a member of the general public from doing this but a member Broker of NWMLS has agreed not to do so by the virtue of their membership.

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