Rumors abound of a Jerry Springer-like dust-up between Lloyd Frink of Zillow.com and Alan Dalton of Realtor.com on Tuesday at the California Realtor Expo — see here, here, here, and here. Unfortunately, there does not (at least yet) appear to be a transcript or recording of the event — not even at the California Association of Realtors’ web site — and no mention either at the Zillow Blog or at Realtor.com itself. Youtube, where are you?
I’ve heard Dalton speak a few times, and he’s an engaging, if somewhat excitable, character. For somebody so associated with the old guard, he really does, I believe, “get” technology. If you can wade through his somewhat verbose writing, this article in a recent issue of RIS Media highlights his thinking on real estate and the Internet and demonstrates that he’s not just some old fuddy-duddy. Money quotes:
“We are in the information age … and yet our industry’s DNA would seem to suggest that there is a relentless reluctance to give out information.”
“…ill-positioned premise … that the mere “listing” of a property is actually a highly celebrated achievement.”
“My major suggestion on how to take the business back … from the industry-assaulting classified ad extortionist newspapers, is to recognize that nobody is going to outperform the Internet’s ability, appetite and destiny to display listing data in a ubiquitous way. Simply put, as an industry we have to decide which war are we more capable of winning: the Internet Information War or the Real Estate Marketing War?”
So what’s with his apparent assault on Zillow? I don’t believe it has anything to do with being “afraid” of technology or “not getting it.” It’s the exact opposite: because he does, indeed, “get” technology, he understands that Zillow could be a big threat to Realtor.com’s lucrative, if thoroughly mismanaged [prior to Dalton], business. If Zillow continues to take consumer eyeballs away from Realtor.com, surely the Realtor ad revenue will follow…assuming Zillow can convince Realtors it’s not the Antichrist.
Secondly, Dalton was playing to the home crowd — Realtors — and taking shots at Zillow was simply great publicity. He’s used phrases like “Cyberspace Carpetbaggers” before in reference to online real estate companies.
Here’s hoping somebody at the event recorded it and uploads it to Youtube!
Tags: Alan Dalton, California Association of Realtors, Lloyd Frink, National Association of Realtors, Real estate, Real-estate-technology, Realtor.com
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