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Ownership, and The Death of IDX?

I’m not going to write an essay, but I wanted to briefly follow up to Joel’s post, and Matthew’s response about the future of IDX.

From Matthew:

Agents need to own their success online, not rent it. To do that, they’ll need mobile technology that’s widely available, affordable and easy to build. In short, they’ll need commoditization — and IDX provides a model for how that can happen.

I agree — in a perfect world, everyone would own their success online. In all major aspects of life, owning is preferable to renting. I’m on record saying you should own your brand, not rent is. But the fact of the matter is that owning is expensive. The fact is mobile technology is extremely expensive to build — and even more expensive to market it to customers.

In my mind, the questions to ask yourselves are:

  1. What will it cost to own your success online in the mobile world we live in today (dominated by Zillow, Trulia,, Redfin)?
  2. Do you actually have the skills to execute on technology/lead generation ownership?
  3. Is focusing on technology a good use of your time? Is it a differentiator you can build a brand on?

My guess:

  1. A hell of a lot more than pretty much any agent or broker can afford.
  2. The vast majority…no.
  3. No, and no.

That said, I still think there is a play to be made making the agent the center of the search process (I may be wrong). But even then, how will buyers ever hear about an app offered by one agent or one brokerage (the only way they could “own” that channel)?

Happy thanksgiving.

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog / Geek Estate Labs. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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