Quick history for you about why Zillow revolutionized the real estate industry and why I’m all in on Zillow.
One of the main goals for a real estate agent is to market a property so buyers and other agents come to see it. Simple…promote the heck out of it and then sell it any way you can. When agents get listings the first thing they do is upload it to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and hope other agents call for appointments. It wasn’t long after the web was invented that tons of MLS’s sprang up around the country and started harvested millions of bits of data that agents handed over in hopes of other agents calling for appointments. Consumers had Homes and Land Magazine and the LA Times Real Estate section but for a while, agents were the gate keepers and “old media” controlled the ad revenue from the agents.
Then, not to long ago, some rather smart Silicon Valley types saw this real estate data as a very valuable commodity and they saw how poorly the MLS’s were at getting the data to the consumer. The interface the MLS’s were offering to consumers looked like they were designed on a Commodore 64 and made weak efforts to drive traffic to the listings. Little SEO tricks, like indexing the data and easy to navigate search pages, were not part of any MLS’s business plan. The MLS’s were too busy counting their dues checks from members to notice that the world was changing fast and that consumers wanted transparent, easy to access data.
So enter Zillow and many other players who saw that data as a gold mine. They struck deals with the MLS’s and soon created amazing sites that consumers loved and found easy to use. Soon, the real estate portals found themselves in the number 1,2, and 3 spots in Google search results for the terms (any city) + real estate or homes for sale. The MLS’s were back on page 47 with enough visitors per hour to count on one hand. BOOM! Traffic explodes and now 45,000,000 people were on Zillow last month alone.
You’ve heard this before with sales or marketing..”Go where the eyeballs are at”. And that’s exactly what I’m doing with a major investment in Zillow advertising.
Zillow remains the number one most visited real estate portal on the web with almost a 10% market share and a market valuation of one billion dollars. They are making their money like Google does by selling ad space that gets in front of the audience they created. I don’t know how many of those people are searching for a Malibu home but even if a fraction of one percent is looking, that’s a huge number, and I’m betting this is the place to be right now. Not only to meet buyers who need help, but to promote my own listings too. The traffic reports I get show a staggering amount of eyeballs looking at my listings and my clients appreciate the reports that actually prove I’m doing as much as I can to market their home.
Zillow also has an agent rating and review system similar to what you see with Ebay sellers or the product reviews on Amazon.com. I love this because it filters out all the agents that really have no business being in real estate. To thrive as an agent on the Zillow platform means that you need to actually be good enough in what you do that your clients will leave great reviews online for you. Agents that have 20 reviews with 5 stars in every category will crush the agents that can’t seem to get any of their clients to say something good about them.
Just a few reasons why I’m “All In” on Zillow.
Tags: indexing data, malibu, michael gardner, mls, real estate, Review, Zillow