Clash of the Titans [Friday the 13th Edition]
I was never a fan of the slasher movie genre – more of a C-Span watcher – but recent Zillow-Trulia-Move actions may change that.
Here’s a rough recap:
- News Corp. acquires Move who controls Realtor.com and ListHub
- Zillow merger with Trulia closes but they remain “competitors”
- Ongoing lawsuit between Move and Zillow over the poaching of a key Realtor.com exec.
- ListHub – the listing spigot for many MLS systems says will shut off Trulia data
- Trulia files restraining order against Move
- Move agrees to keep listing flow on until April 7, when Zillow flow is scheduled to turn off
- Zillow announces a number of direct data deals that bypass ListHub
- Move says Zulia clash of cultures will be opportunity for new hires
This is great news.
Before News Corp.’s purchase of Move, the complacency of Move’s handling of Realtor.com provided the key opportunity for Zulia to burst onto the scene and marginalize them despite their head start – Realtor.com’s long time and only real selling point was having “the most up-to-date and accurate for-sale listings of any online real estate company in America.” (if that’s what you call duplicates and stale data). Realtor.com branding harkened back to the days when Realtors were the real estate information “gatekeepers.” While Zillow and Trulia have always had ongoing data quality challenges they were more adapt at marketing and creating a better user experience.
Consumers, including real estate agents, should love the drama because this “clash of the titans” will be to their benefit. As experience has shown us, News Corp. won’t sit still and Zillow never has. Better quality content and more innovation will result in a space with limited competition.
It’s “game on!”
Keep in mind that these firms are really real estate advertising platforms, not actual real estate companies. I learned long ago that if you are paying for an app or for access to a web site, then you are buying a product or service. If an app or web site is free, then you are the product. Hey wait a second, these ‘Housing Notes’ are free…
One final thought on this topic – here’s a clear sign that we are in a real estate tech bubble: Shitty Listings
Until next week,
Jonathan Miller, CRP, CRE
Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants
ps Please feel free to share. If you get tired of all the charts, real estate commentary and articles presented in each weekly note, just opt out. I always appreciate feedback so please email me.
pps I was on the Trulia industry advisory board from just before Trulia.com went live and until the recent merger.
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