Zillow/Diverse and the jabbing of sleeping dogs


Zillow bought Diverse Solutions this week, a great company that offers refreshingly usable IDX products.

What does it mean?

Well, first, there’s nothing clandestine here. No Zillow sleeper cells in MLS-land. No end-run around IDX rules. There’s a Chinese wall between IDX and syndication that Zillow’s not going to breach.

But the thing here that some will view as hostile – in effect if not in intent – is that Zillow is now poised to chop another limb off the broker value proposition.

Let me explain:

Right now, Zillow provides marketing and advertising services to agents. They put them in front of consumers and help them grow their business.

Now, they offer a search solution – the linchpin of an agent’s online presence.

These are things many brokers view as their role. Their value proposition to agents.

OK, whatever – that’s just competition…  unless your business is built upon the listings brokers own.

Then that’s a problem.

Because if the value you take from brokers is greater than the value you make for brokers, you have some explaining to do.

At a minimum, the optics are bad.

Bottom line: Zillow bought Diverse because it’s a great product they can sell all day long to agents and small brokers.

But they’ve also jabbed a sleeping dog right under the ribs.