If by now you haven’t heard the news of Zillow’s new features, you’ve probably been hiding under a rock. Here’s what’s been reported so far (cribbed from Bloodhound, which has four articles of its own)
TechCrunch, Drew Meyers, Jay Thompson, More from me: A screen-shot tour, Joel Burslem at tFoREM, Robbie Paplin at RCG, Webware, ClickZ, Brian Brady: Farming Zilliow, Brian Brady: Zillow for mortage lenders, Brian Brady: “Ask Questions, Share Answers”, Jonathan Dalton, Ardell at RCG, Zillow Blog, Seattle Post Intelligencer, Reuters, Inman Blog, TechMeme, Marlow Harris at 360Digest, FBS Blog, Jim Duncan at Real Central VA, Greg Sterling at Screenwerk, Realty Baron, VentureBeat.
Though I haven’t been hiding under a rock, I’ve had a frightfully busy day and have only now had a chance to sit down and look over the new features.
There are five key new features:
- Home Q&A — users can ask and answer questions about any of the homes in Zillow’s database
- Free profiles — for any type of user
- Tell us it’s for sale — anybody, not just the listing agent or the owner, can identify a home as being for sale; this is undoubtedly the most controversial new feature
- Add unlimited photos — again, anybody can add pictures
- Zillow EZ ads — self-serve easy-to-use ads; this is key to Zillow chasing the long tail of advertising revenue from the hundreds of thousands of individual agents
We’ll tackle each new feature in a separate post, but for now let’s think about what this all means for the real estate industry.
Some have called me naive, but I’ve long taken Zillow at its word that it’s a media company with real estate content, not (yet another) disintermediation play. This new feature release provides fodder for both sides of the argument.
Those who are convinced that Zillow is out to Expedia-ize the industry will look at the above — especially feature 3 — and say, “I told you so! They’re conning us into giving them the listings so that a few months from now they can flip the switch, bring their broker licenses out of cold storage, and begin out-Redfinning Redfin!” They’ll also say features 1 and 4 are further proof, and that 2 and 5 are simply decoys to make us trust them.
The Bloodhound himself seems to have come over to the “media company” camp, where all the above features provide opportunities for creative web-savvy agents to showcase their knowledge and make themselves as ubiquitous online as many successful agents are offline.
More to come on this interesting news…
Tags: Real estate, Zillow
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