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Zillow Realty, and a Couple Other Recent Industry Stories

There have been a number of issues going on in the industry recently, and some of them haven’t been covered here on Geek Estate — so thought I’d do a quick recap:

1. Rumors that Zillow will become a Brokerage (AGBeat story)

Zillow Realty has a nice ring to it, and they’d probably even sign up a few agents if they flipped the switch. But honestly? Do you really think a brokerage is Zillow’s grand plan? They make their money selling technology and marketing services to agents and brokers — and yet they’d become a brokerage and essentially compete with every single advertiser they have until those agents/brokers either go out of business or join “Zillow Realty”? That doesn’t sound like a very good way to keep the revenue rolling in. They are a public company now – if they were going to become a broker, it would have happened long ago. Can we please put this rumor to rest already? Please?

2. Zillow launches Agent Hub (Including a CRM) (Press Release)

This was a no brainer for Zillow in an effort to become a more central part of agents daily lives. Brokers worried about being disintermediated by this sort of strategic move by Zillow? Honestly, quit your moaning and figure out a way to build your business. If the industry spent half as much time doing as they do complaining, you’d be in a much better spot. The people that are going to succeed in this industry are the ones that keep their heads down and execute regardless of what others are doing. I hope Zillow takes a few hints from Highrise.

Though the CRM problem didn’t get solved in 2011, I’ve got my fingers crossed 2012 is the year.

3. Trulia Picks JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank to Manage their IPO (Business Week article)

I won’t comment other than to say I’ll be closely watching their IPO as it approaches.

4. The Continued Growth of Mobile (1000watt article by Joel Burslem)

I agree, to a degree. Don’t get me wrong, I believe the world is shifting to a more mobile world. I really do. But I caution you this — don’t half ass your mobile efforts just because everyone says mobile is where it’s at. Mobile is the same as any other investment you make both in business and life. Those that half ass things often spread themselves too thin and succeed at nothing. Jack of all trades, master of none. Unless you can build a better app than Zillow or a completely integrated app with your clients user account (and that gets them to digital docs, saved searches, showings, etc)? Why are you bothering? Don’t you think consumers are going to use the best app out there? Do you truly realize the development and dollar investment it takes to build an app at that level? Sure, the VERY large brokerages should be investing in mobile. But agents? Not so much in my opinion.

Whether you are an agent or broker — before you invest in mobile, do your homework. What percentage of YOUR traffic is coming from mobile devices? And which devices make up the majority of that traffic? If it’s the iPad (which I’m guessing it is), and your site is on WordPress, chances are good your site works just fine as is without any added work (unless you have a crap IDX provider).

Any other stories I’ve missed recently?

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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