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Traffic Does Not Equal Leads and Clients

Redfin’s CEO, Glenn Kelman, penned a post today, titled “Real Estate Brokers Can Coexist With National Portals by Changing the Way We Share Data

I wanted to call attention to this paragraph:

Brokerage sites, including Redfin, should drive more traffic to listing brokers

In the Internet Data Exchange (IDX) feeds shared with other brokerage websites, MLSs should include Google-friendly links to source listings. Requiring every MLS subscriber to link to the source listing will ensure that brokers with more listings get much more traffic, from other brokerage sites like Redfin, and from Google.

You see, that is exactly what Zillow did when we (I worked there at the time, but not anymore) first added listings from feeds to the site back in 2007.

We sent a crap load of traffic to brokerage sites.

Everything was great. Brokers had all this traffic they didn’t have before.

They were happy.

Until they realized their websites sucked, and had no idea how to convert traffic to leads…and eventually clients. They were getting buyers left and right, but they were bouncing.

Many of those brokers came back, and told us “We just want leads. Not traffic.”

We, of course, knew a thing or two about getting web visitors to go down a specific funnel. So we did exactly what they asked and built systems to convert buyers to email addresses and phone numbers — which ended up being the very early stages of the Zillow Premiere Agent program.

Obviously, that is the short version and someone at Zillow is more than welcome to fill in the blanks or clarify anything I am not remembering correctly.

In short, I’m not sure Glenn’s plea for better coexistence terms with the portals will help brokers. It will cost the industry plenty of money to ensure their websites (& mobile efforts) actually convert traffic at a decent percentage — and, still not do it as well as the portals do (more volume = more learnings).

What am I missing?

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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