The basic problem is that the data wasn’t accurate, first because of bugs then ultimately because of problems with the source data in MLSs.
I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting they’d take the whole thing down. I thought they’d iterate, change the interface a bit, fix some data challenges, etc — not take the whole thing offline for good. Granted, I haven’t looked at the underlying data to know how bad it is. And my hunch is if Redfin took the whole Scouting Report feature down as a result of the data, it’s probably worst than I was expecting in terms of quality.
So, now what?
Consumers want the data; that much is apparent. I think Glenn is right:
If we don’t do it, media sites will, and they’ll charge you to advertise there.
We’ll just have to wait for the Zillow’s of the world to try their hand at this and see if we see just as much of an industry backlash. And if they don’t do it? I’m willing to bet a few lesser known media sites will do it if for no other reason than the publicity (and SEO) that it will bring them.
Finally, I have to applaud Glenn and the entire team at Redfin for taking a stab at this. It was a big risk, and a gutsy strategic move on their part. On the plus side for them, they got a massive number of links and publicity for the feature — so all their efforts weren’t in vain.
Like I said, I think the concept of open performance statistics is here to stay — even if it’s not Redfin bringing it to you.
What do you think? Should they have pulled the plug?