Zillow, Trulia and you

In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.

– Lee Iacocca

Every so often, the ground shakes beneath our industry.

Online listings. Banks. “Discounters”.

Now the latest tremor: the rumored Zillow acquisition of Trulia.

This past week, Wall Street rallied. Analysts riddled the airwaves. Bloggers and social medialites pelted predictions. The wave of distraction so common in our industry reared up…again.

I don’t know what’s coming next. But if this deal happens, I’ll watch and observe. Then I’ll put my head down and help our clients pivot, sway, think progressively and flourish.

I’ll avail myself of the endless possibilities open to those who want to capitalize on the situation.

I’ll base my perspective on what I know for sure:

Zillow gets a ton of traffic. Check. They want more. Check. They will continue to use that traffic to sell tools and opportunities to agents and brokers. Check.

This already occurs and will continue to.

With these facts in hand, I believe brokers can do one of two things should a Zillow/Trulia deal happen:

1. Play out the doomsday scenarios, dive head first into rage, and spend time and resources they don’t have building defenses.

2. View the opportunities that exist, think creatively and positively, and take an offensive position.

You can guess which one I like.

Silver linings

Zillow acquires Trulia.

Silver lining #1

Two companies combining their traffic into one mega portal. More people in, more people out.

The more traffic this mega portal absorbs, the more liberated brokers can become from big, clunky IDX search sites, which require a wad of investment to build and run.

Those dollars could be better put toward building a new type of digital experience focused on hyperlocal content that helps people find a place to live – something most brokers have yet to do even though they are uniquely positioned to do so.

Silver lining #2

With the dollars saved trying to outrank the top 10 real estate sites and hundreds of local competitors in search engines and in the app stores, brokers could be freed up to ignite their ingenuity and creative teams and focus on brand marketing, content marketing, data-driven advertising and other more intelligent means of engaging homebuyers and sellers.

Silver Lining #3

Imagine viewing the events that may take place with eyes wide open. What opportunities await the legacy broker Website vendor? What new products could they build for brokers no longer wedded to IDX?

Think about how Tesla went about building a vehicle no longer wedded to gasoline.

These new sites could roar with power. They’d be nimble. Clean. Beautiful. They would acknowledge the existence of portals, rather than try to replicate them. Such sites would provide brokers new ways to position content, tell local stories, promote their agents and sell their ancillary services.

We hinted at one such concept in our Website makeover exercise at the Inman conference, but there’s so much more to mine in this vein.


It would be easy for me to write the words real estate typically feeds upon – to play into your worst fears and predict your demise.

I don’t see a single point in being party to that.

Investing a moment to dwell on doom, gloom, fear and devastation would be a glorious waste of your time.

Whatever happens, know that you are going to be fine if you can break out some new moves.

Should these rumors be true, let the new reality test your mettle. But don’t get lost in the uproar or sucked down the rabbit hole of fear based on someone’s negatively skewed predictions.

Nothing is ever written in stone. Especially not your future.

Exercise your creativity. Flex your skills. Ignite your business savvy. Pivot. Proceed with agility and determination. Flow like water. And keep going downstream.

Nothing is softer than water, yet it can overcome rock. It does not fight. It flows around its opponent. Formless.

— The Forbidden Kingdom