In what is now very much yesterday’s news may be more talk and rumor than anything else. Early Thursday afternoon www.HousingWire.com reported that www.Zillow.com was attempting to acquire www.Trulia.com. If this becomes reality, any synonym for the word ‘colossus’ is accurate.
A few years ago, the large real estate companies used to tout, “Our website has more clicks…,” “Our website has a map feature…,” “Our is now prettier.” Millions of dollars were spent on real estate websites, and the marketing materials about how many visitors a brand could claim. Enter www.Realtor.com.
Realtor.com was in the online real estate catbird seat for a while. After all, with a URL like ‘www.realtor.com,‘ how could one not succeed? Enter Zillow and Trulia, and Realtor.com is trucked. Fast forward to today, and Zillow and Trulia are the behemoth real estate search sites on earth. (I’ll type more about the famous/infamous ‘zestimate’ in another post).
Many Realtors and MLS boards are utterly against the Zillow and Trulia business model. Think of it: Realtors provide their local MLS with data. The local MLS provides Zillow with that data. Zillow then sells the Realtor back to him/her to claim the same data. What?
Here’s my angle on the situation, and what I told a crowd at a Regional “Gen Blue” seminar; I’m all over Zillow. I embrace it, and my monthly bills show it. They (Zillow/Trulia) are beating us at our online game and there’s not much any Realtor can do about it, and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Breaking it down, Coldwell Banker is a real estate company. Zillow is an internet company. That said, I’m going to have my listings looking as good as I can on Zillow and Trulia. To pay to have listings “enhanced” on Zillow is the new bar these days. As in, the low bar.
Now, that’s very easy for a Realtor with a lot of listings to type, and I realize this. A Realtor new to the business or a part time person may think differently, and I get that. Actually, many Realtors would like to stab me in the temple right now for typing such statements.
I may be wrong, but in my bias, if a seller hires me to market their property, I’m going to maximize that listing to the fullest on sites like Zillow and Trulia (That means pay money). It’s the least I can do. After all, it’s very clear that’s where the people are!.
It’s 3:15AM so I need to sign off. I’ll type more later on the subject, but given the big news today shares of Zillow and Trulia were up sharply. Word is Zillow values Trulia at about two billion.