Friday Flash: Rocking the VOW, creative deal-spinning and Pinterest nostalgia

Redfin continues to rock the VOW. Yesterday, the company released what amounts to a consumer-facing CMA app. You enter the subject property, choose comps using MLS data, and get a value range. Familiar stuff.

CEO Glenn Kelman positioned this against the Zestimate, which I understand. But he also suggested this tool would let consumers do more or less what Realtors do to price properties, which I do not buy.

Agents who live and breathe a neighborhood (The type of agent Redfin generally does notemploy at this time) go much deeper, factoring variables that escape the magic of software.

This is the gap Redfin must bridge. The gap most other brokers must bridge lies between the notion that doing this sort of thing themselves would somehow undermine their value, and the reality that building truly compelling consumer experiences, no matter how “transparent”, is always the smart long-term play.

This makes me think that a group like Leading RE or the Realty Alliance representing “traditional” brokers ought to pool some significant member money and set up a dev shop that could create Redfin-quality software.

Recruit developers, pay them above market salaries (you’d have too), get a serious geek to run it, and get out of the way.


Trulia announced a “partnership” with California brokerage Alain Pinel. This is their response to the deals Zillow and announced last month with Howard Hanna.

The thing that’s interesting here is that these are, basically, the same kind of ad deals the online guys have been cutting for years. It’s just that now, amid the syndication heat, they are positioned in somewhat outsized terms.

Perception is reality, right?

A group of folks announced an open data standard for food at the SXSW event this week.  It will now be easier to create food apps.

They started on this project a few months ago. I think I was still in high school when the notion of an open standard for real estate data was hatched.

Pinterest is already a mess. I miss those happy golden days of February, 2012.

Facebook updated its Open Graph API to show the location of updates posted into the platform from third party apps.

An interesting real estate possibility: A buyer or agent could throw up posts along the lines of “Toured 5311 Golden Gate Avenue” with a geotag.

The distributive power of such “actions” is immense. Seems like someone should do this, if listing rules permit.

There’s some interesting stuff going on in the online rental search space. Check out Place of Mine and Lovely. Really nice search experiences. But it’s the collaborative tools these sites offer that are worth a close look.

Searching together is the norm offline, but that reality has never been truly nailed online.

These sites provide some good cues.

Check out Think about the typical points of interest/amenities display found on real estate websites.

The latter answers the “what’s around here?” question. The former answers that too, but also tells you what’s happening now.

Cool stuff.

Have a great weekend.