Overall, it was a great recap of the history of Move.com (formerly Homestore) and an interesting question to ponder. Ms. Evans does a good job laying out the facts, as only she can.
However, there were one quote in the article that I specifically wanted to address, as I found it to be quite infuriating. It was quote by Steve Cook, former Vice President of Public Affairs of the National Association of Realtors and today working with Alan Dalton on a top-secret project at Move.
Steve says, "Zillow is private, so you don't how well they are doing. Their plan was to disintermediate the Realtor. Now their plan seems to be to build listings and traffic and become an advertising portal, and now they're getting into the mortgage business. Our model is different from theirs. We sell enhancement and marketing tools to Realtors, not advertising."
Let examine the pieces of this statement.
Zillow is private, so you don't how well they are doing - True. And this is a benefit of being a private company.
Their plan was to disintermediate the Realtor. - It NEVER was the plan. And it NEVER will be the plan. Buying real estate is not like buying an airplane ticket. It is not something that can become a commodity, easily bought and sold by computers online.
Now their plan seems to be to build listings and traffic and become an advertising portal- Selling advertising was always the plan. We are a media company. We have always intended to have listings on the site, however the way we have gone about has shifted over the past 12 months, based on Realtor and Broker feedback. When we initially launched the ability upload listings for free on Zillow, it was a manual one-by-one process. Of course Brokers that have a large number of listings said this was an unacceptable way for them to use Zillow as a marketing platform. So in response to this we built a bulk upload tool, which is being launched next week. Prominent brokerages such as ERA Real Estate, Remax Allegiance and United Country are a few of the first Brokerage listings you will see online.
and now they're getting into the mortgage business- This is the only statement we have ever released about our intent to work with Mortgage Professionals. While I can't divulge a lot information about a soon-to-be-released opportunity for mortgage professionals, I can say that it will be consistent with our goals as a media company.
Our model is different from theirs. We sell enhancement and marketing tools to Realtors - Yes, your model is different than ours. We GIVE AWAY enhancements and marketing tools to Realtors.
not advertising... - Ummmmm.. I wonder what he calls those large rectangles at the top and sides of the pages that read "LaSalle Bank" and "Sheraton"? Come on Steve, those look like ads to me. And I have seen ads Realtor ads on the site as well.
What is infuriating about this statement is that various leaders at Zillow have said time and time again that it is in no way our intention to disintermediate the Realtor. Steve knows this and yet he chooses to irresponsibly relay this inaccurate information to the Realtor community. A community that used he to represent as a leader at NAR. To perpetuate these inaccuracies about a tool for Realtors to use to make more money and sell and list more real estate is of poor character in my humble opinion.