Friday Flash: Zillow vs. Trulia, simple signing and Apple envy

This week the iPhone got taller, thinner and faster. I did not.

Amid the largely ecstatic coverage of this event, I found two pieces critical of Apple that felt pretty on-target:

Am I an outlier, or are Apple products no longer easier to use?  (John Battelle)

Will Apple’s tacky design philosophy cause a revolt? (Co.Design)

This made me think: No one, no company, no industry – no matter how entrenched or excellent – is invulnerable.

Zillow sued Trulia for patent infringement, claiming that “Trulia Estimates,” launched about a year ago, are a knock-off of the Zesitmate.

I know nothing about patent law, and I loathe the patent troll shitshow playing out in tech land right now, but I do kind of have to give props to Zillow for some crafty competitive moves.

First, they issue a secondary stock offering that sucks up about $140 million in online real estate investor interest on the eve of Trulia’s initial offering.

Now they drop a suit that jabs the soft underbelly of Trulia’s pitch to investors – their less-than-sharp differentiation.

I don’t know if this will materially harm Trulia’s IPO, but it certainly does suggest that the battle to win online real estate is only going to get rougher.

TechCrunch reports that Docracy, a site that offers free legal document templates, has added collaborative editing and signing.

It is worth a very close look.

DocuSign is the dominant player in digital signatures. It’s an excellent product used by a lot of real estate pros and integrated with a lot of real estate software products.

But Docracy has two things going for it.

First, it has a library of documents built in. This isn’t going to help Realtors a lot right now because they rely largely on proprietary legal forms, but this could change.

Second, it’s really, really simple. Clean. Easy. DocuSign, for all its greatness, feels a lot noisier.

MRIS, the big MLS in the Mid-Atlantic region, released an iPhone app. It’s nicely done, but the interesting thing here is that they’ve made it possible for agents and brokers to brand the app and control lead routing.

This comes on the heels of’s announcement of an agent-branded version of their mobile app.

The “agent website” as we have known it inches closer and closer to irrelevance.

If you can get comfortable with the fact that a dude downloaded an app for pregnant women, please take my suggestion to check out Knocked Up.

This is an iOS app that helps a woman navigate her pregnancy with greater confidence. It’s essentially What to expect when you’re expecting for the mobile age. Users get health and planning checklists for each trimester, directories of health care providers (e.g., acupuncturists, midwives) in their area and a ton of tips.

It’s pretty slick.

When is someone going to build this for the real estate transaction?

Enjoy the weekend!

[Dislosure: MRIS and are 1000WATT clients]