Industry

Friday Flash: Money moves, content flows and pleasure is shaken

Author
Brian Boero
No.
729
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If you think the big online real estate players have been making a lot of noise the past couple years, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

The stakes are getting a lot higher.

Inman.com reported today that Trulia expects to net $78 million from its upcoming IPO. Zillow’s bagging more than $140 million in its secondary offering. And Move dropped $22 million this week to buy TigerLead, an agent lead generation and management company.

That’s a lot of money moving around.

Cash balances look (very roughly) like this:

Trulia (if the IPO goes off reasonably well): $85 million

Zillow (after yesterday’s offering and including short-term investments): $190 million

Move (post TigerLead acquisition): $25 million

That’s 300 million for more products, more ads, more innovation, more competition and – yes – more controversy.

Bring it!

Bing continues to do interesting, underdog-type things. Check out this latest Facebook integration: pulling all your friend’s photos onto one page within the search engine.

Relevant content, shared and shareable, aggregated elegantly.

Would be cool to see more of this in real estate, eh?

Homes.com is now letting newspapers co-brand its site. Where Realtor.com has partnered with AOL and MSN and Zillow has locked up Yahoo!, Homes seems to be taking a shotgun approach.

I think this is a perfectly fine move, but I wonder how broker or MLS permissioning for what is effectively re-syndication will work. I hope it’s clear. Otherwise I worry about more grist for the angst mill.

This article from GigaOm awhile back, “What happens to advertising in a world of streams?” is worth a read.

Digital advertising is becoming more intrinsic to apps and experiences, more native. Think Facebook’s Sponsored Stories or Twitter’s Promoted Tweets. Display ads get more obnoxious – and less effective – every day.

Right now, most online real estate advertising isn’t elegant. The block ad, the directory listing, the lead-gen form placement – they all sit somewhat outside the user experience, and don’t add value to it.

They also won’t translate into a world where, IDX rules be damned, listings will flow to users in a hundred different ways and real estate search, with all of its ad impressions, collapses.

People will get just the listing they want when and how they want it. Maybe it’s a push notification triggered by a geo-fence. Or a property photo flung from an magazine-style tablet app onto a television using Apple TV.

So, what’s the real estate ad of the future? Who knows? I don’t. But I think it has something to do with content. A contribution from the agent advertiser, not a distraction.

There’s a touch of this baked into our Nudge app, but someone smart is going to get this right in a pure ad context. I hope.

You become numb to stats about mobile usage after a while, but this is nuts: 1.3 million Android devices are activated every day.

The “Web page” is so 2010.

Forget Steve Jobs. The person who created this is a design virtuoso.

Enjoy the weekend!

 

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