Trulia plays games with new iPhone app for agents

Trulia has released an iPhone app for agents.

It’s pretty simple, really. Agents can check-in to properties, receive push notifications for new leads from Trulia, organize contacts and search for property.

It’s a good idea. Agents are Trulia’s customers, after all, so why wouldn’t they want to engage them in this way?

But what is most interesting here is that agents earn badges and points – those potent bits of ego-tickling ephemera – for doing things within the app. Trulia then creates a “Leaderboard” ranking agents by these accumulations.

This is going to be an interesting experiment in “gamification” within real estate.

Turning apps into games where users earn points, badges, rewards and recognition as they check-in, level up, or connect with others has been engagement catnip for apps like Foursquare, Get Glue, Scvngrand others. It’s also been over-hyped and applied in ways that are pretty silly.

But I think game mechanics can be potent in real estate. ActiveRain was early on this, offering points for activity within the network. They grew like a weed. But there hasn’t been a large-scale play in this vein since.

Picture the festive army of Realtors at the NAR show wearing ribbons, badges, blinking lights and other tokens of status. Consider the affinity for designations and their display that marks our industry, or the competitive drive that makes a real estate office buzz.

Now look at the visuals for the Trulia app below. Points. Badges. Faces of other agents staring back at the user. It’s a brilliant taunt.

Now politically… this could be a little touchy. Because agents are the customers of someone else: their broker. And brokers provide the listings that make Trulia possible. To the extent that brokers perceive this as diminishing their gravitational pull over agents, it’s going to raise some hackles.

But hackles or no hackles, we should keep an eye on how this plays out.

Here are the screen caps:

Trulia agent app


Trulia app


Trulia app