Redfin takes down Scouting Report for good (or for now?)

Glen Kelman just published a post announcing that Scouting Report, the controversial agent performance app the company released just four days ago, has been completely disabled.

This follows a storm of data failures, inaccuracies and MLS compliance faceplants.

I’ve excerpted Glenn’s post below, which candidly explains the decision.

A few of my own thoughts, quickly:

  • Redfin is a business, not a social cause. Some people lost track of that the past couple days. Of course they executed this feature in a manner that benefitted their own agents. That’s not evil, it’s competition.
  • Redfin is a real estate brokerage, not an “interloper,” vertical search play or otherwise nefarious outsider. If you are a broker, and you want to start innovating yourself, it probably doesn’t pay to shoot your fellow adventurers. Learn from them.
  • I honestly don’t know how I feel about whether or not MLS data should be used this way in the wide-open public. Surely, it will resurface soon behind the VOW wall. But in any case, this sort of thing will become a fact of real estate life soon. Count on it.
  • It was unavoidably controversial for one brokerage, one MLS participant, to break out solo with this – especially one with the “discount” or “online” broker stain. It’d be less controversial if this were delivered by a somewhat more neutral third party. Bob tried it, bravely, and he too had to pull back. Who’s gonna step up next?

Here, then, is some of what Glen has to say:

Redfin just took down Scouting Report 1.0 for good. Our latest problem was that the data we used for Scouting Report had problems at the source that weren’t easy for us to fix, mostly because agents work informally in teams, or sometimes don’t formally record when an out-of-town agent represented a buyer in a deal.

So we took Scouting Report down. The post I was going to write about this decision apologized a lot. I’m sorry we didn’t get the data right; it was arrogance to think that we had. I’m sorry we showed up in the Google index, too, and wish we hadn’t run any Redfin ads on another agent’s page, though these problems would have been easy to fix.

But I still think the folks most violently opposed to Scouting Report didn’t hate it because it was wrong but because it was right. I know that consumers loved it and now they can’t get it anywhere else. And I still believe that brokers should be the ones to tell regular folks how agents have performed in different neighborhoods, because we’re the only ones with reliable data.

As for the rest of the story, you can read all about it in the note I sent the company. Thanks to everyone who supported us or reasoned with us for your time & kindness.