Actively developed websites

Sep 18, 2003

I write this sitting on the bench, half watching television with my girlfriend. Thinking of something to write, my thoughts stumbled over how you can notice a good development team behind a product. One sign of is the roll-out of new features. For example, take Funda, a site where most houses end up when they go up for sale (in the Netherlands that is).

Because we are looking for a house, I visit this site regularly. What I notice is that new features are implemented all the time. That feels nice for a user, you get the idea you’re not looking at some boring old system that somehow forgot to brake down. Also, the UI design is pretty good (in particular, I like the “Add this house to your favorites” feature pretty well). It feels like they have this plan, containing all new features that they have planned out, waiting to go live!

But, as with every actively developed product, someone is writing it. That someone is probably not alone (believe me, I know what it takes to run a large scale website) and a development team costs money. And this is where competition VBO could cut in. For example (I’m going out on a limb here, guesswork!), to pay for the development they charge for having 360 degree pictures and visitor statistics for your house. That last feature is pretty easy to implement, possibly needs an extra database server in that database cluster, but that’s all it takes. Charging people more that 10 euros’ for the stats feature alone, seems like a real cash cow to me.

But overall, I think Funda is doing a very good job, at least feature- and UI-wise. (Might be I give it another close look, see if I can come up with a follow-up.)

It is funny how you change your thoughts about a field (commercial websites) when you move into it yourself.

PS: One small thing about this site is how many pictures of the houses they post on their site. If some local company has 8 or 9 pictures on their site (for a particular house), Funda might only publish 3 or 4 pictures. And with houses, just as with Classifieds, you can never have enough pictures!.

Update: And they are hiring, which tells something about how good they are doing! (maybe)