Zillow’s Obi-Wan Kenobi moment
Something I started to think about over the weekend in regard to this move by Zillow (or so it seems) of deciding not to re-sign with ListHub. I guess because I’m a geek I tend to think of things as scenes in Star Wars. To me this move by Zillow reminded me when Obi-Wan and Vader dueled towards the end of Episode 4, “A New Hope” -The original Star Wars movie. In that scene Obi-Wan warned Vader, “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” When Obi-Wan saw that Luke and the rest were safe he closed his eyes and let Vader “strike him down”.
Obi had a plan. In Zillow’s case, they were prepared. The very same day they announced they were not re-signing with ListHub they also announced their Zillow Data Dashboard.
But what’s not clear is what’s MOVE’s plan? To me the scenario could play out that for a set period of time realtor.com will have a crapload of more listings than Zillow. This of course depends on if and when you think Zillow will be able to make up the delta of listings on their site by signing direct data agreements with MLS providers. Even if you assume they will make up the difference of listings, it still will take some time.
That time period is a HUGE opportunity for MOVE.
If I were MOVE (realtor.com) I would be getting ready to launch a huge marketing push, the day the ListHub agreement expires, to take advantage of a weak Zillow. The goal of this campaign would be to get in to consumers heads that Zillow does not have all the listings, but realtor.com does. Kind of a “Inventory Matters” campaign, rather than a “Accuracy Matters” campaign.
Maybe this is all underway, maybe not. Maybe they have another plan. But Zillow seems very confident, and that should be worrisome.