Friday Flash: Harmony, understanding and wanton waste

For all the talk, angst and conference panel discussions surrounding the big online real estate sites, there is precious little understanding.

So I’d suggest taking an hour (yes, I know, an hour!) to read the investor day transcripts from Zillow and Move:

Move transcript

Zillow transcript

Sure, these are sales pitches. But they are much deeper expositions of these businesses than we get inside the industry.

I could try to break these down for you, but that would miss the point. The idea is for you – as an agent, a broker, an MLS or a franchisor – to absorb information that can guide your own thinking and strategy.

I want this to go away once and for all:


Real estate’s newspaper ad spend has fallen dramatically in recent years, but it still sucks up way too much budget from agents and brokers who can’t quite call it quits.

From a real estate perspective, the thud of a Sunday newspaper hitting a driveway is the sound of wanton waste.

I am thinking of developing some “open source” scripts for listing agents to use to squash the false imperatives sustaining this:

  1. Seller belief that newspaper advertising demonstrates an agent’s commitment to marketing their home.

  2. Competitive parity – i.e, Company X still buys print ads, so I’ve got to too.

Let me know if you’re interested in something like this, ‘cause I can’t take it anymore.

On a related note, Yelp and Google both released tools for helping businesses assess the value of their services.

Yelp’s Revenue Estimation Tool gives businesses advertising on the site a sense for both the prospective and actual value of that investment. It’s biased, of course, coming from the publisher, but it’s more than almost all real estate-related publishers or media companies provide – and certainly more than was ever provided by newspapers.

Google’s Full Value of Mobile site provides content and calculators that enable businesses to understand and quantify what “mobile” means for their business. Most in real estate still have no grip on this. They just know that they need to “do mobile” just like they need to “do social”.

Who’s going to build a “Real Estate Marketing ROI” dashboard?

When I try to explain the real estate business to investors or entrepreneurs looking at it from the outside, I often say this: “First, understand that everyone resents everyone else.”

The enmity between many brokers and their MLS is top of mind when I say this.

Brokers, particularly large ones with lots of listings, often recoil when they see their MLS cut syndication deals, provision technology to their agents, or airlift “parasitic” buy-side brokers who use MLS data to capture business.

So it’s good to see something like this: MRIS, the big Mid-Atlantic MLS, is powering a suite of mobile apps for Avery-Hess, one of the brokerage companies it serves.

A moment of harmony.

Enjoy the weekend.