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,, 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.




15 thoughts on “Trulia’s Integrity Called Into Question

  1. Greg – Wow excellent take on what is going on. As someone new to real estate, but not exactly new to the web, I was concerned when I saw Trulia, and others like it. I decided to use them, but not as my “branding”.

    Every piece of content we “give” away increases the site we “give” it to above our own sites. While I agree the business that comes from these sites is necessary, it should not be built on the “gift” of Realtor knowledge and time.

    I think most would be wary of a site who ranks above a “local” real estate expert. Really, does Zillow know anything? I’ve chosen to utilize my own blog and Active Rain for blogging and to post listings to the others but no content. Maybe that is not the best solution but posting in Trulia or Zillow (etc) forums or Q&A’s seems to make them stronger and higher ranking. Good for them, probably not so good for the agent/broker.

    My 3.5 cents…

  2. Hello Greg!

    My comment as posted earlier on BHB:

    Yes, we have no follow tags on listings on Trulia. Nothing wrong with that. It’s standard practice online and some of the top sites around the web such as Flickr and Wikipedia use this method as well. That googlygook you see is used for tracking purposes.

    We choose to share the link love/Google juice in a different way – via our detailed profile pages. These profile pages get lots of love from Google and agents can actually “choose” which website or blog they want to share the link love with. I think that’s pretty cool. Web 2.0 is about providing “you” the user or agent with more choices and control. Deciding “where” to send the Google juice to me is priceless.

    Let’s keep our eye on the ball here guys. At the end of the day, when I was active as a real estate agent, my ultimate goal was to find a qualified,ready willing and able buyer for my clients listing in the shortest period of time. I think that still holds true today. The best way to do that is to place your clients home (listing) where the consumers are looking. We have built a strong brand that consumers, agents, brokers and search engines trust. In fact, for many brokers, we are one of the top referrers to their site – and they “love” that. I know this from first hand experience because I’ve actually been in the room a few times when some of our partners said it. Our partner brokers trust us and are quite web savvy. We send more traffic to real estate broker and agents sites in the US than any other real estate media or brokerage company out there and we do it for free. Literally millions and millions of free visitors a month are sent to thousands of different sites. Not too shabby.

    Hey, we can’t please everyone, but make no mistake, we are here to help bring consumers and agents together more efficiently. We value all our relationships and continue to bring some of the latest and greatest innovations to the real estate space.

    Thanks for lending me your ear.

    Social Media Guru at

  3. Rudy, I totally respect your work with Trulia, but please don’t be disingenuous. No one blocks links to the original source – people block links that may be spammy or untrusted. There is no reason to do that except to push agents out of the top results and limit all offsite links to one page.

    What about your broker partners? Do they get any links for the content they provide?

  4. Words to listen to. Agents should recognize that they need to brand themselves first, their brokerage next. But if agents are thinking that Trulia or os going to be their web solution, they are doing their industry and clients a disservice.

  5. I am not a Realtor, but I do work in the real estate technology industry and I am afraid that I agree with Rudy. The no follow tag is standard practice among classified-listing sites like this. Any popular site that that acts as an industry glossary by linking to numerous sources does it, and I don’t blame them. If I had a similar site, or was doing SEO for one- I would do the same thing. With the stock that Google places on “link juice” I am not going to give out any of it except to carefully chosen sites. But the gist is definitely on target, Get Your Own Site! In fact… get one from me.

  6. I am an real estate agent, avid blogger and also utilize a website for my business. I am also a paying member of Trulia… I hate it but I feel that I don’t have a whole lot of choice. I don’t buy leads and Trulia has never done anything for me (yet) but I’m giving it a try. When will Google beat companies that do this???

  7. Pingback: Actually ActiveRain & Trulia both REALLY suck... — Web Real Estate Marketing

  8. OHH Every now and again I find a web site that is a real source of useful information and content. This is one of those. A rare beast indeed. Keep up the good work. Kind regards

  9. These companies rape and pillage our business and then sell it back to us. The one that bothers me the most is, as we realtors paid to develop the site, and now they want us to fight for space at high prices. Get your own site with idx/vow feeds, educate your consumers, and lets put an end to upstream fishermen.

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