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Maps Issue Resolved At Last!

Well, it’s probably past time I update you on something that isn’t related to COVID-19. We have been experiencing an issue with our use of Google Maps. More specifically, users without registered accounts were seeing “development mode” or “problem loading maps” issues when searching properties on the home page or looking at a specific property’s location on the homepage.

We have been working very hard on attempting to resolve this with Google, our developers, and our even our web host. In the end, the web hosting company came to the rescue with a backup from December this morning. So if you logged in today, you may briefly have seen some Christmas wishes. ’tis the season! We were able to painstakingly re-create every update, tweak and change to Anikio since December until finally we reproduced the issue. Or at least we thought that we had. Then we realized that the browser had just auto-logged us back in. Oops! However, after more searching, it appears the problem was related to the way the website loads. We attempted to make a speed improvement that affected the loading of the map, but only in cases where the user wasn’t logged in. Crazy!

The problem is solved! This is such a relief! It made it impossible for me to try to recruit new landlords and property managers. Which meant less properties available than usual for browsing. The worst part is that I don’t know how long this was going on. Because I’m always logged in, it wasn’t until a user reported a different issue last weekend that we first realized there was a problem at all. So please, if you see something that isn’t working right, let me know! And I’ll do my best to log out once in a while and look around, too! 🙂

Have a great Greek/Orthodox Easter whether you celebrate or not. I know that I will!

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Fall 2019 Updates

Example of New Email Notification

Today is election day and we just got back in from a nice stroll through one of the linear parks in Evergreen to our voting station at the Sylvia Fedoruk school. If you haven’t yet, stop reading this and go vote! We’ll still be here when you get back.

In the spirit of election giveaways (or maybe as an early Halloween treat), we have some exciting updates and new features on the site that we want to share with you. Maybe you’ve noticed them already? Either way, we’re always looking at ways to improve so keep that feedback coming!

What’s New

1) Recently Rented Property – Starting more or less now, we’re recording the date that property is marked as rented. That way, we can show you what properties have recently gone off the market and are no longer available (in case you’re wondering where that beautiful 4-bedroom house you were looking at has gone). Once there’s been enough time passed to populate the recently rented properties page (i.e. new and current property has been rented out) then you’ll see this appear on the home page next to the For You section. Don’t worry landlords, once the property is rented, anyone looking at the listing will see a big red banner letting them know that this listing is no longer available… and we take off the contact section (just don’t put the contact info in your listing description).

2) Apply Preferred Search Filters – You may have noticed that the main page search box allows you to instantly enable your preferred search filters so you can see the places that match your criteria on the map. If you haven’t done so yet, go ahead and Register and then, under your Profile, you can modify your Preferred Search to only show properties that would meet your needs. Still too many? Maybe not yet, but when there are, then go ahead and start adding your wants in, too.  Once you’ve done that, then number three on this list gets a lot more useful:

3) Improved “For You” Section – On the main page there is a section where you can see our Featured listings, the Newest listings, and a section called “For You.” Up until now, it wasn’t all that helpful but if you’ve created a Preferred Search in your profile, this will show you the best matches based on what you’re looking for. Eventually we will be applying some algorithms to make even better recommendations for places that we think you’ll like based on your criteria.

4) Photo Sorting – It’s now possible to rearrange your photos and caption them from mobile. We’re still working out a few kinks with the way the ordering is saving, but this is really close to completion.

5) Improved Renewal Emails – Our basic email notifying landlords that their property has expired has been beefed up! First, we send a preliminary notice 5 days before the listing expires with an option to early renew and maintain continuity right from the email. Don’t worry, we’ll add another month past your previous expiry date so renewing early doesn’t cost you any time. If the property has been rented, you can also mark it as rented right from your inbox. Nice! If you missed the chance to renew your listing then we’ll still send a second email after the listing has expired. Again, you’ll be able to renew or mark the property rented right from the email.

What’s Next 

1) Photo Sorting – While the functionality has improved from a month ago, there’s still more work to do making this as seamless as possible. A few more bugs to squish, if we’re being totally upfront about it. But hopefully that will be finished soon.

2) Virtual Tour Link – The way that we’re including virtual tours with our listings is changing. Previously, when a landlord made an edit to change a property, we would have to go and add the virtual tour back in to the property again. Once this is done, that issue will go away and landlords will be able to edit their property without fear of losing their virtual tour.

3) Standardized Introduction Form – While we have several levels of spam prevention built in to our contact forms, our goal is to help make the rental process better for everyone. With that in mind, we will be working towards a standardized ‘greeting’ or introduction form. This will allow our tenants to send some key basic information about who they are and what they’re looking for to landlords instead of writing and re-writing. A standardized introduction will help everyone save time, tenants don’t need to write and re-write introductions, and landlords get a better first impression of potential tenants than a message saying “Is this available?” So much time is wasted waiting between a basic message like that and a reply saying, “Yes, can you tell me about yourself? Question question?” and then the tenant writing another reply. Tip to tenants – if the property is listed, assume it’s available even though we know that landlords and property managers sometimes miss taking properties down. And if you DO contact a landlord that says the property isn’t available, let us know so we can get it taken down!

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Major Update to Social Login

Hi all, Dean here! Some time ago, Google announced that it was ending its Google Plus social media platform. That wasn’t supposed to affect us, even though we did use it to make logging in quick. Unfortunately, in the last couple weeks, a few new users reported that they were seeing a warning message when they tried to register. It turns out that it did affect us and we had to completely redo the way that login works.

So the good news is that we have just deployed and tested, and as far as we can tell, everything is working great! There is no longer an issue for new users and existing users won’t even notice a difference. Furthermore, changes did affect Facebook login but you shouldn’t notice anything on your end either except faster login. Woohoo! The only bad news is that we no longer receive an email address when signing in with Yahoo, so Yahoo users will need to manually enter their email address when they register. Once registered, everything will work quickly and painlessly.

Concluding, everything should be running great for our existing users and new users alike. Users creating an account with Yahoo just have to enter their email address. So why the post? Because if there are ANY issues you encounter with logging in, registering, or creating an account, please send us feedback asap! It will be much appreciated.

Happy renting!

Dean

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3 Tips: Getting Started on Anikio

Hi there, thanks for checking out Anikio.com – we hope to make renting a much better experience for landlords and tenants! While you’re getting started, here are some power-user moves that can really help you make the most of the website. Hopefully you found some of these features yourself, but if not, here are some of the most important ones:

Secrets of the Search Box

You might not have realized it, but that search box on the homepage actually let’s you get pretty specific about things like location. Have you seen those little arrows by the cities? You don’t have to search only properties in Saskatoon, for example, but you can actually click on them to filter down to specific neighbourhoods. The hierarchy is City -> Planning Area / Region -> Neighbourhood. Looking for somewhere near Confederation Mall (but maybe not as far up as Dundonald)? No problem! Not interested in apartments or absolutely need a place that is non-smoking? The more options you select, the better tailored your results will be for you! Oh, and don’t miss the section below on how to REALLY tweak your search using the Preferred Search setting. That’s where you can choose to only show places that will consider letting you move in with Fluffy, your hairless cat!

Update Your Profile

When you sign up with a Google or Facebook account, we don’t take much information from them. We get your name, your email address (so that people can contact or reply to you) and, if you have one, a profile picture. Take a second to open up your profile and add some information to help people get to know a bit about who they’re talking to. Maybe you want to use a different profile photo than what is on your Facebook page. Or the email you signed up for Facebook with isn’t one you use anymore. Other items you may want to add:

  • Phone Number – some people prefer texting or voice calls.
  • Description – Aside from telling people a bit about yourself, you may want to include information like your preferred means of contact, information that should be included in an inquiry, and so on. Think of this as a small resume combined with a space for any information you want to share before you’re contacted.
  • Website – This is a good place to link to your social media profile (we don’t put that link in by default, at least not at the moment).

Preferred Search and the “For You” Section of the Homepage

While you’re in the profile page, you may have noticed on the right (or at the bottom for those on mobile) a section called Preferred Search. This lets you create a custom search with all sorts of filters (cat/dog/other pet friendly, properties with fenced backyards, you name it!) beyond what you can search for on the homepage. Even better, this search will follow you around on the site. On the homepage, the For You section will now show properties that meet the criteria you’ve selected and the search/map will automatically filter to show your settings. It really takes a lot of the work out of sifting through properties that don’t meet your criteria. And if you’re a landlord with a single rental property looking for comparables, it will help you quickly look at similar properties to yours… just make sure not to make the criteria too specific or you may not find all the really close ones.