Real Estate Technology Glossary

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address book
A facility in most e-mail client software that allows users to store address information for their contacts, recalling and using the addresses as needed.

Companies that combine and offer for distribution a number of services or suite of products, usually from a variety of partners. In this context, aggregators are those companies that combine listing information from a number of sources (mostly MLSs).

Almost everything in the world can be described or represented in one of two forms: analog or digital. The principal feature of analog representations is that they are continuous. In contrast, digital representations consist of values measured at discrete intervals.

application program
An executable; that is a program file that performs an ‘execution’ of code when activated, without requiring another application’s intervention. Once an executable is activated, it will take action on its own. This is in opposition to data files which require application programs to open them.

Text Also called Plain Text; text without formatting characters.

associated application
The application that Windows® uses to open a specific file type, based on default settings or the settings entered.

The process of identifying an individual, usually based on a user name and password.

When the user begins to type and the software recognizes a letter pattern, using it to fill in the rest of the word or phrase.

An e-mail facility that allows you to respond automatically to incoming messages with a predetermined reply. This facility is useful when you wish to make the same information available to all who want it.

auto reply
An e-mail client function that automatically sends a reply message to people who send messages to it (as in a vacation message).

A text file appended automatically to an e-mail message.


backup device
Any device that enables the user to create restorable copies of hard disk contents.

The amount of data that can be transmitted in a given amount of time (usually stated in bits per second [bps]).

Transporting digital information from one device to another by means of infrared beam technology.

A bit map (often spelled “bitmap”) which defines a display space and the color for each pixel or “bit” in the display space.

Nearly all Web browsers support a bookmarking feature that lets you save the address (URL) of a Web page (as a Favorite) so that you can easily revisit the page at a later time.

Maximized data transmission by use of several channels on a single wire or medium.

Software built on the Mosaic model that allows for translation of http, html, and other Web technologies . The software that allows a user to view and surf Web sites.


CD-ROM (Compact Disc, Read-Only Memory)
A compact disc used to store and play back computer data instead of digital audio.

A form of interactive online communication in which users have real-time conversations with other people who are also online.

A place in Windows where information that you have cut or copied resides. That information is stored there so you can paste it in the same document, or in another document.

Community (Used in tandem with “virtual communities”)
Offers people with similar experiences and interests the opportunity to come together, freed from the restraints of time and space, to form meaningful relationships.

In this context, certain parameters that an e-mail message must meet before it is acted on by a rule.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
CRM entails all aspects of interaction a company has with its customer, whether it be sales-related or service-related.

In this context, the cursor is the icon that identifies the location on the screen or in the document your system is focused on. Any action taken (e.g., typing over) will take place at the cursor location.

Making changes to the settings for a software system so that it behaves the way you want it to in the new default mode you define.


Technology that allows you to store and retrieve related records and data items. In this context, database refers to the ability to store contact information, including names and e-mail addresses.

deep linking
Linking to any location within a Web site other than the home page.

A setting established by the manufacturer that, if you do nothing to change it, will be part of the software.

desktop computer
Your main computer; usually not a portable.

dial up
Internet access that requires the use of POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) lines and relatively slow modems (usually equal to or less than 56kbps).

digital data
Anything (including data) that has been converted from its native form (text as an example) into digital form (machine-readable).

DNS servers
An Internet service that translates domain names into IP addresses. Because domain names are alphabetic, they’re easier to remember. The Internet is however, really based on IP addresses.

docking station
A peripheral device that allows the user to slip a notebook computer into a preconfigured slot that instantly attaches full keyboard, monitor, printer, mouse, and more to make the notebook more desktop-like.

domain name
The text name corresponding to the numeric IP address of a computer on the Internet. The address or URL of a particular Web site.

domain name servers
The servers where your domain is located on the Internet; a primary and a secondary server for locating your domain.

To transfer a file or files from one computer to another, for example, from a server to your desktop computer.

drag and drop
Technology that enables the user to click the mouse over an item, drag the item to a new location, and drop it into that location.


e-commerce (electronic commerce)
A term referring to the movement of traditional financial transactions from their physical bounds to an electronic platform, such as the Internet and the Web.

e-mail client
The user-level program that allows users to access SMTP and POP functions in the virtual post offices of their ISPs or other email services.

e-mail forwarding
The ability to automatically forward incoming messages from your permanent e-mail address to your current ISP for retrieval.

e-mail presence
The total marketing effort, including and emphasizing branding, created using e-mail techniques including opt-in newsletters, Listserv participation, e-mail signatures, and auto-responders.

e-mail signatures
Most e-mail systems allow the user to store one or more text files that can be appended to each outgoing message. This is commonly used for personal information, including name, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses. It can also be used for sending routine responses.

emoticons (smileys)
Emoticons are text-graphical combinations that can add certain emotional inflections to an otherwise flat e-mail message.

When all participants in a transaction communicate, pass documents, and share schedules and approvals totally through Internet communications—effectively speeding up the process.

executable files
Program files that perform an ‘execution’ of code when they are activated, without requiring another application’s intervention. Once an executable is activated, it will take action on its own. This is in opposition to data files, which require application programs to open them.


Web pages that you have saved a link to within the facilities of your Web browser for rapid retrieval.

A specially programmed computer system used by many companies as a security measure to prevent hackers and other unauthorized users from accessing internal networks.

An e-mail message sent to the Listserv that is especially harsh in its treatment of another member or members of the Listserv community.

Bringing content from an outside Web document into your site within a sub window of the browser. Dividing the browser display area into separate sections, each of which is really a different Web page. The net effect is to link your site to the content of another site while still keeping a part of your site on the screen.

ftp (File Transfer Protocol)
A method and protocol for transferring files from one point to another; typically used to upload files to a server.


gif (Graphics Interchange Format)
A bit-mapped graphics file format used by web designers.

GPS (Global Positioning System)
A satellite navigation system used to determine terrestrial position, velocity, and time. Once exclusively used by the U.S. military, the GPS is now available to the general public worldwide. The GPS system relays satellite signals that can be processed by a GPS receiver.

Lists of e-mail contacts and addresses you have determined belong grouped together for mass mailing purposes.


hard drive
An important data storage medium that houses all of the electronic information and software programs on your computer.

A unit of information that precedes a piece of data; in this context, a packet. E-mail headers are used to identify source, destination, and other important information about a packet so that it can become reassembled as a message at the recipient location.

home page
The first page of a Web site that the visitor lands on.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language)
The programming format that creates hyperlinks and hypermedia on web pages.

A link embedded in a message or in a document that will, when clicked, transport the user to another location or activate a program.


A small picture or image that represents an object, a folder, or a program.

Internet Data Exchange, aka Broker Reciprocity.

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol)
An Internet e-mail protocol which allows access of your e-mail from any IMAP compatible browser. Your mail resides on the server level while working with it, versus POP mail which is downloaded into your mail program.

Instant Messenger (IM)
Technology that enables users to instantly communicate with other connected users in an interactive message format.

Internet Service Provider (ISP)
The company or entity that provides a path to the Internet (Internet access) for its users. See ISP.

A restricted access network that operates on Web technology, usually on a closed corporate network.

IP address
A numeric address that is assigned to servers and users connected to the Internet.


jpeg (jpg)
Short for Joint Photographic Experts Group, and pronounced “jay-peg”. Jpeg is a compression technique for color images. Although it can reduce file sizes to about 5 percent of their normal size, some detail is lost in the compression.


license period
The length of time a particular domain name is licensed to a domain name holder (registrant).

A link embedded in a message or in a document that will, when clicked, transport the user to another location or will activate a program. AKA hyperlink, hotlink.


mail list
Generic term meant to describe a list of names and addresses (in this case, e-mail addresses) used for bulk mailing purposes.

Megabyte (1 MB) represents 1,000 “K” bytes, or one million bytes. (A byte is 8 bits of information.)

memory card
Recently developed, very small digital storage devices that allow for large amounts of digital storage.

A special HTML tag that provides information about a Web page.

Short for: MOdulator, DEModulator. A hardware device you connect to your computer and to a phone lilne. It enables the computer to talk to other computers through the phone system. The three types of modem are external, PC card, and internal.

Movie/Video file

My Documents
A default folder available in Windows® that is usually used for storage of data files.


An intermediate processing location on a network. Nodes are usually created to group users on a network for resource sharing.

NRDS (National REALTORS® Database System)
A searchable database system with information on all members of NAR.


Happening or taking place without being connected to the Internet.

online community
Used in tandem with “virtual communities”; gives people with similar experiences and interests the opportunity to come together online, freed from the restraints of time and space, to form meaningful relationships.

Operating System
The software that communicates with the computer processor in machine-readable code; the instruction set and rules under which all application software operates.

Offering users a way to subscribe to a mailing list.

Offering the recipients of an e-mail marketing message an easy way to unsubscribe.


A piece of a message transmitted over a packet-switching network.

The common set of beliefs, theories, and examples that define how subscribers view a specific topic or dogma.

Temporarily locating your domain name on a server until you decide where it will ultimately reside.

password protected
A site that restricts entry to those who have the correct password.

permanent e-mail address
An e-mail address that is derived by owning and controlling your own domain name. You can use the e-mail services of the domain host to point mail to and from this domain regardless of your actual ISP. By doing this, you no longer need to change e-mail.

permission marketing
Marketing to those who have given their permission, usually through an opt-in message or a field on a form.

photo editing
Software that enables the user to make often sophisticated changes to digital images, such as sharpening, resizing, recoloring, and much more.

PIN (Personal Identification Number)
Your unique identifying number for security purposes, as used in banking and other applications.

ping (Packet Internet Groper)
A utility that determines whether a specific IP address is accessible. Ping is used to check Internet connections by sending a packet to a server several times, testing the connection and response times.

Plain Text
ASCII standard text; nonformatted text.

User interface in which a user typically points to an object on the screen and then clicks a button on the mouse to take an action or to move to another location (as in hypertext).

pointer domains
In this context, a pointer domain is a domain name that is used to point to the main domain. Many organizations have registered multiple variations of their domain name (including misspellings), which they then point to their base domain name through the use of pointers or redirects.

POP Account
Post Office Protocol account, which enables the user to receive e-mail.

pop-up window
A window that appears within another window and provides information or advertising.

A “door” or entry point to a wide-ranging variety of Web sites. Used in the real estate context, a real estate portal offers a repository of industry-related Web links that provide single-click access to many real estate Web sites.

To compose an e-mail message and send it to a Listserv for distribution to the group.

privacy statement
The written stated practices of a Web site or Web company that specifies the degree of privacy and confidentiality the company or site owners will apply to the protection of the private and personal information of its users and visitors .

A predetermined and common format for transmitting data from one point (computer, network, user, device) to another.

Internet terminology used to refer to the act of putting information in front of the user, often through automated electronic communications, including e-mail newsletters, HTML-based e-mail, and Web clipping.


real time
When something is happening on an interactive basis (action now, result now) it is often called real-time.

The company or entity requesting the registration of a particular domain name.

The company or entity granted the rights to register domain names.

RETS (Real Estate Transaction Standard)
The new open standard for exchanging real estate transaction information. Consists of a transaction specification and a standard Extensible Markup Language (XML) Document Type Definition (DTD); RETS is being implemented by many real estate industry leaders in their next generation of real estate information systems.

Rich Text Format (RTF)
The Rich Text Format standard is a method of encoding formatted text and graphics for easy transfer between MSDOS, Windows®, Windows® 95, OS/2, and Apple Macintosh applications.

On the Internet, a device (or, in some cases, software in a computer) that determines the next network point to which a packet should be forwarded toward its destination. A router maintains a table of the available routes and their conditions and uses this information— along with distance and cost algorithms—to determine the best route for a given packet. Typically, a packet may travel through a number of network points with routers before arriving at its destination.

Those standards established in the e-mail client for automatic handling of incoming messages based on predetermined conditions.


Short for Internet over Satellite; IoS technology allows a user to access the Internet via a satellite that orbits the Earth.

screen capture
Use of technologies designed to make a photo-like image of the computer screen’s contents.

The act of moving the scroll bar in a program’s active display window.

search engines
A program that searches documents for specified keywords and returns a list of the documents where the keywords were found.

Second Level Domains
That unique name (domain name) that identifies a particular computer or network on the Internet. It is the unique name assigned within a domain (I.e. and is
registered with the Domain Registry.

A computer or device on a network that manages network resources.

A text file that you append to your messages; contains static information, including name, e-mail address, telephone information, etc.

SMTP server (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol server)
The server software that manages all outgoing e-mail from users.

snail mail
Traditional paper mail via the U.S. postal service.

source code
The code that defines a Web page: HTML, dhtml, asp, others. Program instructions in their original form.

Internet junk mail; unsolicited e-mail.

streaming video
A method of making large-file video available via the Internet in which the video starts to play while the rest of it downloads in a continuous stream.


TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol)
TCP enables two hosts to establish a connection and exchange streams of data. TCP guarantees delivery of data and also guarantees that packets will be delivered in the same order in which they were sent.

Third Level Domains
The owner of an SLD (domain name) has the ability to assign specific groupings within that domain name for categorical purposes. This can apply as in the case of e-mail addresses ( with JohnSmith being the third-level) or in Web page groupings (as in, where the community pages can be segmented to allow tighter access control and for other reasons.

An electronic discussion that takes the form of “Message-Reply-Reply” in a threaded conversational manner.

TLD (Top Level Domain)
Identifies the most general part of the domain name in an Internet address. A TLD is either a generic top-level domain, such as “com” for “commercial,” “edu” for “educational,” and so forth, or a country code top-level domain , such as “fr” for France.

Interactive learning tools allowing the student to learn by example.


Occurring in many disparate locations at the same time. Seeming to be everywhere at once.

To copy a file from your local computer to a server or host system; the reverse process of download.

URL (Uniform [or Universal] Resource Locator)
The URL is the Internet equivalent of an address. Your Web site’s location on the Internet is found through the use of your URL.

user name
The unique name that identifies a specific user within a certain domain/site.


virtual tours
Recent advance in digital photography where one digital picture is “stitched” to one or more other digital pictures at common points to create a continuous 360 degree view.

Virtual Office Website.


Web interface
An interface to a program or programs that offers the user point-and-click actions, usually through hypertext.

Web presence
The total marketing effort, including and emphasizing branding, invested using the World Wide Web, including Web sites, reciprocal linking, and more.

Web response forms
Fill-in-the-blanks forms on Web pages that automatically e-mail the user input to the page owner/manager.

A unique database search facility that enables one to look up a domain registration record to determine ownership.


Zip files
Files that have been compressed by removing nonessential bits, such as zeros and blanks. Further compression is attained through a “sampling” algorithm that strips bits on a predetermined frequency.


Blog – Web Log

An internet journal publishing model that is easy to design, manage, and update. Blogs are ideal for increasing audience retention by frequently posting comments.

CSV – Comma Separated Values

CSV files are commonly used to transfer data between spreadsheets, databases, and contact management programs. Each piece of data (a cell in Excel, a field in a database, a field in Outlook) is separated by a comma. Each set of data (a row in Excel, a record in a database, a contact in Outlook) appears on a single line.

POP3 Server – Post Office Protocol 3 Server

The server that receives and stores incoming email messages until they are downloaded to a computer. Users have the option of leaving messages on their POP3 server so that those messages can be accessed from several different computers.

RSS – Really Simple Syndication

RSS is a standard for publishing information (blog posts, podcasts, vidcasts, and website updates) so that it can be displayed in customizable internet portals like iGoogle and Yahoo! as well as feed readers like NewsGator and Microsoft Outlook.

SEM – Search Engine Marketing

Buying advertising space on search engines based on the keywords used in the search. Search engine advertisers may appear in different locations on the search engine results page. Research suggests that users are learning to ignore internet advertising, so publishers sometimes mix advertisements in with “organic” results which were found based on keywords and content rather than having paid for placement.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization

Designing a website or blog around keywords and content to achieve a higher ranking when users search for those keywords using search engines like Google and Yahoo!

SERP – Search Engine Results Page

The pages of links generated by searching keywords using search engines like Google and Yahoo!