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Redfin Pulls the Plug on Scouting Report

WOW. Redfin just pulled the plug on their VERY talked about Scouting Report feature just 5 days after releasing it to the world. Why did they take it down? According to their CEO Glenn Kelman:

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?

About Drew Meyers

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

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  • Ken Brand

    That IS surprising.  Wonder what will happen next.  These are some pretty exciting times we’re living in these days.

  • Sam DeBord,

    I’m not sure how a 3rd party like a Zillow will be able to get access to agent sales statistics.  Even for Redfin, a broker, they found they were in violation of MLS rules in a large number of areas for publishing these stats.  They reside on the database of private member organizations, so it would be difficult to truly get an accurate count.  However, an opt-in type of system, maybe even brokerage-by-brokerage, might be possible.

    They should have reviewed it with their MLS orgs first (or at least reviewed their agreements).  They should have tested it more.  They should have put it right back in the box for more testing after the first day when they realized it was highly inaccurate.  Any of these things could’ve prevented at least some of the firestorm that arose.  It’s possible MLSs will create their own guidelines now.  We’ll see.

    • Drew Meyers

      They’ve got actives per agent –

      Not hard to get sales data, they just need to make it a priority internally. They’ve actually been doing this since 2008, just never put much of an emphasis on gathering the data in the right format – 

      • Sam DeBord,

        So the listing agent is credited with the sale, but does the selling agent have to opt in to get buyer-side data? Would each individual buyer’s agent have to update every one of their own sales on Zillow? That seems like a big undertaking.

        • Drew Meyers

          Nothing worth doing is easy :)

          • Sam DeBord,

            So true.

    • Anonymous

      “Even for Redfin, a broker, they found they were in violation of MLS rules in a large number of areas for publishing these stats.”

      Sam – That was ultimately the issue, I believe. More convenient to blame the data.

  • Loren Sanders

    That was a quick U turn. Several things are inevitable. 1. The internet via consumers’s is the big transparency machine. The apatite for data is insatiable & it is not going away. 2. The best thing for any individual agent or company to do is to put out their own data w/ their unique selling proposition. 3. If you are not professional and proficient and/or are willing to get there fast, get ready for some tough, potentially embarrassing times ahead.

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