Trulia’s Integrity Called Into Question

Galen from Estately writeson Bloodhound about Trulia’s practice of running listing links through a temporary (302) redirect, which essentially stops Google from following the link and making Trulia the original source of the content (in Google’s eyes), which boosts Trulia’s search engine ranking for the addresses instead of the actual content provider (the listing partner who gave them the listing information to begin with).

Sneaky… but is it really so surprising that Trulia is bullying brokers out of top search positions? Trulia’s model is built around using broker information to position itself above brokers, hence becoming valuable enough that brokers want to use the site instead of relying on their own websites to get business. If a broker or agent is getting enough business branding themselves they will not need to pay these companies for their leads or advertise on them or give them their listings.

So Trulia (and other listing aggregation websites) need to make themselves better then the brokers and agents so those people will need them.

Hmmm, a company taking broker information and using it for it’s own gain, even when it hurts the broker AND even charging those same brokers who want to use that information to get business… but putting the brokers into a position where they are now so reliant on the company that they feel like they have no choice but to continue the relationship…?

Sounds a little familiar…. almost like… an MLS!

Real estate brokers and agents are hurting themselves by using third-party listing aggregation websites (like Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com, Homegain, Craigslist, Frontdoor, and on and on and freakin’ on) but cannot stop because some are getting leads from them.

I’m not saying that nobody should use these services, but it’s important for agents and brokers to brand themselvesonline and not simply use these companies as their online business strategy. Brokers and agents are the ones with the data, the information, and most importantly, the knowledge, that is fueling these other companies. Make sure you fuel your own success, too.

 

 

RE Bar Camp at Inman Connect

Anyone planning to attend the Inman Connect convention in San Francisco this July should also plan on coming a day early and attending the Re Bar Camp. What is the Bar Camp? No, it’s not a meet-up to discuss your favorite alcoholic drinks (Damn!), but rather;

“RE Bar Camp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from attendees.”

These Inman Connect events, for those who haven’t been, are not only a fantastic way to learn about new technology in real estate and what’s coming up, but they are a fantastic place to meet and socialize with leaders of organizations, innovative companies, and fun people in the real estate industry.

 

 

 

 

Redfin Becoming What They Hate… Traditional

Redfin becoming traditional real estate brokerage

Redfin today announced that they are taking yet another step toward becoming that one thing that they so desperately are trying to position themselves as NOT being… a traditional brokerage.

They began as an online-only brokerage, touting themselves as the first online brokerage and making a lot of noise about their unique value proposition. Buyers found the home they wanted to buy, made the offer on redfin’s website, and got a cut of the commission check.

Then…

Redfin began offering property tours for a fee.

Then…

They began offering more tours.

Now…

They’re offering tours through homes the way traditional agents do, with no set amount of homes or fees (other than they’ll only take you twice per week) and you get less of a cut of the commission.

Redfin becoming traditional

They already ditched their industry-best map and search capability and replaced it with Microsoft’s api, replaced their logo with a worse one, and have given the metaphorical finger to traditional agents every chance they get, shouting how “different” they are, being an online broker. 

Making bad decisions, playing catch-up to others in the industry, spin-selling… sounds like they are more traditional than they think.

Next…

They will probably offer traditional agent services in a menu-driven model, where buyers can choose which level of service they want (full service, some service, no service). Just like everyone else, Redfin is adjusting to the industry, not the other way around. They are learning something I learned quite a while ago (I’m a faster learner), having a kick-ass website only gets you the introduction- you still gotta earn the business. And when people invest $700,000 on anything, they want an expert who knows their stuff and who can give the very best advice and share their knowledge, not just someone to fax your documents and schedule your inspection for you.

There is a difference between information and knowledge. Redfin is learning this, albeit very slowly…