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My Thoughts on NAREP

There’s been tons of debate on the NAREP announcement a few weeks ago, with the latest being Rob’s opinion piece on Inman.

Let me just say a few things…

On the NAREP site, it states…

We’ll launch a new national listings site free of all these shenanigans.

To which, I respond – show me a team of people who are going to execute on that statement. Is Ben Caballero willing and committed to spending the next 5-10 years of his life battling Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com? Is he going to hire a team of technologists to build this out and focus 100% on building the best consumer real estate website on the planet, even if that means the need to raise and spend millions and millions of dollars every year on technology? If not, then this initiative is already doomed.

Anyone can throw up a portal site that links a bunch of IDX sites in different markets together. Heck, if I had two full time developers and a designer focused on it, I could get that up in a week (the portal linking to various IDX sites, not building dozens of IDX sites in addition to linking them together). Until NAREP has a site with 10, 20, 30 million uniques a month — they are in no position to compete with Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com. Marketing and building a real audience is the most expensive component to building a website — and building an audience is where almost EVERY SINGLE website falls flat on its face. Without an audience, any NAREP website site is just another neglected site taking up worthless virtual real estate.

Do people really think a non profit entity is going to take out the three largest sites in the real estate vertical? Really? Umm….good luck.

To Rob’s quote…

I agree with NAREP that sending potential buyers to agents who don’t know jack about the property or the neighborhood is bad juju. What I have never understood, however, is why syndication is taken to the woodshed here, while IDX is lauded with praise and blessings.

100% agreed. How IDX gets passed over in this whole pro-consumer argument, I don’t get either. And what I find really funny is that the whole NAREP initiative is building a portal site to compete with Z/T/R.com….based on IDX which is equally as prone to connecting buyers with agents who have no clue about the hyper local market of a given listing. Go figure.

You want to know how Zillow got to where they are with 35 million unique visitors a month? They focused on creating a superior experience and giving buyers, sellers, and home owners information they wanted, and could not find elsewhere — and made it simple and intuitive. It’s a pretty simple equation, but execution is everything.

If reaching millions of buyers (& home owners) was easy, then you (as an industry) would have done it already. But it’s not, and you haven’t. If you don’t like what Z/T/R.com are doing, go beat them in your local hood — it can be done. But you’ve got to be a doer. You can’t half-ass it by being lazy. If you want to beat them, you’d be doing what Dominic Morrocco is doing at M Squared – working his ass off and creating an amazing client experience while selling their homes. Not bitching about others in the industry.

Dream big, but know what it takes to win — and be committed to doing it. Get to work.

Now, I’m going back to my hole to work on Oh Hey World.

Disclosure: for those that don’t already know — I am a ex Zillow employee and current shareholder.

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About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog. He is a Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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  • Bob Wilson

    Predatory linking practices on their part has certainly played a big part of their success as well. If Zillow and Trulia shut down tomorrow, buyers and sellers would still list and sell their homes.

    • http://ohheyworld.com/ Drew Meyers

      You’re right – homes would still be bought and sold. But their experience doing so would be worse. Entrepreneurs build products to make something in their life easier — if the home buyers/selling process was perfect, there would be no need for anyone to enter the real estate vertical. Z and T both knew they could do better than the existing solutions — and they were right. 35 million uniques a month by Z (I don’t know what T gets off top of my head) agree with them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alex.cortez.750 Alex Cortez

    You’re right. Zillow is so far ahead of the curve, no competitor will ever be able to provide as superior an user-experience as Z or T.

    • http://ohheyworld.com/ Drew Meyers

      Never say never :)

  • Ben Koshkin Nurseryman

    Hi Drew, Very good post, and yes Zillow, Trulia and Realtor .com are grand master in the real estate industry, It will make a huge difference if these websites will shut down it would make an impact in buying and selling home experience.

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