Zillow recently launched a new brand, Out East. It’s a portal for the Hamptons, joining Street Easy as a Zillow Group consumer brand on the East coast. It’s the result of their acquisition of Hamptons Real Estate Online (see here), which turned out to be an “SEO juice” acquisition (that shouldn’t surprise anyone). I wrote an article with my thoughts on their last consumer consumer brand launch, RealEstate.com — and thought I’d write a few thoughts on Out East.
What exactly is Out East?
Out East is the ultimate online destination for Hamptons real estate. Insider tips and locally penned guides complement a hyper-customized shopping experience that lets buyers and renters search by town or view and see a home’s proximity to beaches, farmers markets, transportation options, and other local points of interest. With the most comprehensive and up-to-date listings covering for-sale homes, short and long-term rentals, and land for sale across the Hamptons, the North Fork and Shelter Island, Out East is the perfect way to discover your dream home in the Hamptons.
After spending a bit of time clicking through the website, product wise — I’m disappointed. The one part of RealEstate.com I thought was different was their “All-In Monthly Pricing” module. Out East has no such unique feature, at least that I discovered. It has cool visuals under the “key features” module on their individual listing pages, but do I really need to see visuals to know the property has a pool, waterfront, and is south of the highway? They add to the brand, but aren’t a functional value add. Thee local guides include a few great photos, but don’t blow me away in terms of uniqueness, content depth, or visual appeal.
If we’re being honest, this is yet another bare bones IDX site. Sure, it has a cool “Out East” brand focused exclusively on the Hamptons. Yes, it has rentals, which make the portal more compelling (but so does Zillow and many other websites).
What’s different? What’s differentiated? Please, someone tell me how and why this isn’t simply another SEO play to control one of the top 10 slots for “Hamptons Real Estate”. What is Out East providing buyers they can’t get anywhere else?
If you have answers, I’m all ears.