FoxBusiness.com published this article April 3, 2008
Marin County is one of the most expensive specialty real estate markets in the United States. A wealthy suburb of San Francisco, Marin real estate has continued to thrive in today’s tough economy.
Unlike the rest of the Bay Area where Realtor marketing meetings are a weekly opportunity for Realtors to present listings, mingle with affiliates, and network with investors, the only marketing meeting available to agents in Marin is the Independent Brokers Network meeting.
April’s IBN meeting was a discussion about Zillow.com specifically Zillow’s problematic property valuations, the effects this information has on public perception, and how Realtors can deal with consumer perceptions due to this information. Meeting facilitator, Frank Soda of Sunshine Realty, opened the floor to discussion with great results.
Jim Branscombe, President and CEO of Norcal MLS aka Bay Area Real Estate Information Services, Inc, provided the best most accurate information to the audience.
1. The biggest misconception about Zillow by Realtors is that Zillow is attempting to move into the real estate business, compete for property, listings, and open their own brokerage. WRONG
Analysis: Zillow’s business model is built around advertising specifically per click revenues generated through their traffic rankings ( Zillow’s Alexa ranking is #399 in the US and 3,136 Globally). Jim made this point in order to set the record straight.
2. The second biggest misconception about Zillow by Realtors is that Zillow is useless to them. Jim pointed out, and I concur completely, that Zillow provides marketing exposure opportunities for Realtors. Zillow allows Realtors to place their listings on the zillow.com site. This site is more powerful than any Marin Realtor site to date.
Analysis: Marin County is a wide open market for any blogger. There is not one dominant blogger in the county who is a Realtor; therefore keywords and phrases are just waiting to be monopolized. If none of the Marin Realtors are willing to blog, the next best bet (beyond their paid websites for marketing) is to list with Zillow. Utilize Zillow as a marketing tool.
Could Zillow.com “Expedia” The Real Estate Industry?
Due to a lack of cooperation from MLS companies, Zillow is considering the option of establishing a real estate division.
If the real estate industry does not embrace Zillow, and partner with them, they may actually have to face Zillow as a competitor in the near future. Jim’s analogy that Zillow could cut the commissions of Realtors and brokers and change the real estate industry similar to what Expedia.com did to travel agents in the travel business is prophetic.