Friday Flash: Privacy, the IDX headlock and a VOW that wows

First, a couple things that went down while I was at Inman last week, lost in a blur of meetings, cab rides and pastrami…

Trulia launched Trulia Insight, a product that delivers behavioral data on leads to agents. It’s an add-on to their main Trulia Pro subscription ad product.

This sort of lead scoring is not new (Point2 released a similar product years ago, and many IDX solutions offer a window into user actions), but the execution is excellent here and the product is national from day one.

Anyway, a few observations:

  • If I were a broker, I’d be on the phone now asking my tech vendor why I didn’t have this in 2002.
  • This is just the tip of the iceberg. Trulia is mining its own data here, but imagine when user behavior on other sites (yes, that’s trackable), Facebook actions and other signals from the wider web are in the mix…
  • Which leads to questions of privacy, a big issue that has yet to generate significant heat within real estate. The folks over at Buyfolio have something to say about that.

Move, Inc. launched the Real Estate Network (REN).

Bottom line:

Brokers can now choose to syndicate their listings to big franchise sites through ListHub. Or they can choose not to.

I think Greg’s take is right on, but don’t think REN alone is going to be a game changer.

The larger and still-evolving struggle to escape the IDX headlock without destroying its cooperative underpinnings will be, over time.

Stay tuned.

Facebook announced 60 new apps that integrate with its new Timeline layout. They record events in your life – from what you gave to charity to how far you jogged today.

Who will be in the mix first with the “Bought my home” play? What will be done with the resulting data?

Did I mention privacy and listings policy?

TheRedPin, a Toronto-based brokerage that launched in 2010 with a focus on the condo and new construction markets, released a full-on VOW.

Forget for a moment that they offer a buyer rebate, have agents on salary and even have a name pretty close to Redfin. Go to school on this VOW implementation. It’s the best I’ve seen.

A friend pointed me to TrunkClub this week. This company provides men with personal shopping at a distance. You submit a profile and your sizes and TrunkClub delivers a hand-selected “trunk” of clothing to your doorstep. You pay for what you keep and send back the rest. Shipping is free.

Services in this vein are sprouting up all over the place, and it makes me think both of Marc’s post describing the rise of consumer-to-consumer commerce and Joel’s write-up of Louis CK’s obliteration of the media value chain.

Are we headed, after 15 years, to a reality where consumers do their own deals and agents are reduced to something like a hotel concierge/notary hybrid? Will the slumbering beast of disintermediation finally rise?

I don’t know, of course. But the ground under the real estate business model as we have known it is feeling more unsettled to me right now than it has at any point in my 15 years around this industry.

We tend to work with brokerages – all of them quite “traditional” – that feel this too and are working to account for it. Their foresight secures their future. But most remain unattuned to this reality.

That’s scary.

Zillow released Neighborhood Advice, a Facebook integration that shows home shoppers which of their friends (if any) live within, or have checked-in around, the area in which they are searching. The idea being that those local connections can provide trusted advice.

It’s a good idea, and one I expect to see pop up on other sites soon.

I look at everything above and am struck by how it ties together. Listings policy, data, privacy, social commerce, challenges to incumbent business models… it’s a powerful mix of forces that will make 2012 a year to remember.

Thanks for reading!

[Disclosure: Move, Inc. is a 1000watt Consulting client]

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