Portal Report Card: Updates, innovators and a big win

A flurry of announcements leading up to and through July means there was lots to digest in the real estate portal world. So, time once again to wade through some needless celebrity home porn to get to the interesting stuff.

But again, the  disclaimer: The grades I assign have absolutely no mathematical or scientific basis to them. The rules I have for myself in this exercise are simple: no two companies can have the same grade.

Let’s get started.


All-in-all, it was a pretty stellar month for the Z team. The biggest splash has to be the launch of AgentFolio, their rebadged product brought to market through their acquisition of Buyfolio. They also rolled out an aggressive new ad campaign and added some splashy new flair to their Zillow Digs iPad app. Oh, and their stock has been on a tear.

Grade: A-

Last month, I wrote that Zillow was overdue for a big product move, so the launch of AgentFolio was a nice surprise. I have always been a big fan of what Susan and Matt built with Buyfolio and I still think these “micro-networks” have the potential to be hugely disruptive. Stay tuned…

Zillow’s ad, on the other hand, had me changing the channel.


After some huge moves last month, Trulia hasn’t stepped off the gas. They launched a new broker program that bundles up a bunch of their advertising products and services and fired their shot into the busy agent-finding category with their new agent directory. To cap it all off, Trulia’s co-founder and CEO Pete Flint was named Inman’s 2013 Innovator of the Year.

Grade: A

Pete is one of the nicest guys in online real estate, and well deserving of the award. I still remember meeting him for the first time at the very first Beer with Bloggers meetup in 2007 at the Hudson Hotel bar in New York. Trulia had just launched out of their Stanford dorm room. Today they have a market cap of nearly $1.2 billion. Pretty amazing stuff.


Move [see disclosure below] had a good month too. They launched a neat new promotion featuring an Airstream trailer. They also rolled out a nice incremental update to their iOS and Android apps. The big news, however,  has to be that NAR approved most of the proposed amendments to their operating agreement.

Grade: A+

Huge win. ‘Nuff said.

Plus, they get bonus points for parking their Airstream in Portland.


A solid showing from Redfin last month. They too walked out of Inman with some silverware and the title as the Most Innovative Brokerage. They also released a long overdue update to their iOS app to match their new branding.

Grade: B+

I’ve received some emails questioning Redfin’s inclusion on my portal list. And their win as Most Innovative Brokerage really doesn’t help my case, but I’ve always believed Redfin sees itself as a portal that has just chosen to monetize its business through real estate sales not advertising or products.

Besides, nearly everyone I talk to outside of the industry, uses and loves their apps or their website over the other portals. That keeps them  a legitimate contender in my books.

[Disclosure: 1000WATT has provided services for Move, which operates Realtor.com]