Realtor.com [see disclosures below] has pulled back from Agent Match.
Agent performance data is online real estate’s third rail, so props to them for innovating in a controversial area, even if there were issues with the product.
Realtor.com has company in this position. Others within the industry have gone big here, been lit up by a million volts of negative realtor energy, and retrenched.
On the surface, there are some pretty obvious problems with quantitative assessments of real estate professionals. But the deeper issue – the one that really gets everyone fired up – is this fact, long bemoaned here on this blog:
There are at least half a million Realtors with a capital R that aren’t really doing much.
These folks don’t like it when this reality becomes clear on a website. Neither do the realtor associations who survive on their dues dollars. And, truth be told, it puts many brokers in a bad spot too.
At the tense Christmas dinner table around which the Realtor Family sits, this stuff is best left undiscussed. Just pass the string beans and talk about facebook.
The path forward? I am not really sure. But I think it’s something like what some brokers are already doing on their own. Show each agent’s current listings and transaction history (including buy sides), and let the consumer draw their own conclusions. Take this example from Michael Saunders & Company.
Pretty simple, really.
Just when I think home search is fully baked, another wrinkle appears.
Maponics announced neighborhood level weather data this week. In Oakland, where I live, it’s consistently colder in Rockridge than it is in Redwood Heights, even though they are really close. Now home shoppers can know that before they move in.
Trulia floated $200 million in debt this week. Move raised $85 million in debt in August. Zillow had $318 million in cash at the end of the third quarter.
This money is the fuel of innovation. Not only for these companies, but for the myriad startups, developers and hustlers hoping to build something they will someday acquire.
So looked at one way, this is a good thing. It’s forward energy. More software for agents and brokers. Better choices for everyone.
But then there’s the other way to look at this. From here, the future looks like a place where brokers simply can’t compete online, where they are forced to play on a field unfairly leveled and find it increasingly difficult to grab hold of competitive advantages.
2014 will be fun.
The Inman show is coming up right after the holiday. It’s looking strong, and I hear the crowd’s going to be huge. The Property Portal Watch event also runs during this week. Both are good reasons to go to New York next month.
If you’re a marketer, watch this video. It’ll make you laugh, then feel a little bad, then you’ll forget about it and laugh again.
Enjoy the weekend.
[Disclosures: Move, Inc, which operates Realtor.com, is a 1000watt client, though were were not involved with the Agent Match Product. So is Michael Saunders & Company. And I used to be President of Inman News].