Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

Industry Relations Episode 8: Upstream, Millennial Branding and Other Hot Topics in Real Estate Tech

If you ask Wiktionary, to swim upstream means ‘to opt for a difficult course of action when a simpler alternative is available.’ And if you ask Rob and Greg, real estate’s Upstream venture is a prime example of doing things the hard way.

Today Rob and Greg discuss the MLS response to the brokerage community’s push for data sharing and the probability of Upstream’s success. They also cover other hot topics in real estate technology news, including Zillow’s new Millennial consumer brand announcement, the extraordinary capital raised by Placester, and Realogy’s recent changes in management.

Listen in as Greg explains how to think about the ‘real estate ecosystem,’ and Rob outlines the inevitable development of a new brokerage model.

What’s Discussed:

Zillow’s recent announcement regarding its launch of new consumer brand

Why Zillow is likely adding RealEstate.com as a search portal

The real estate industry’s ‘Millennial worship’

-Half of new home buyers under 36

The stereotypes associated with Millennials vs. the reality

What a site designed for Millennials might look like

The staggering capital being poured into the industry

-Placester raised $50M in March, bringing its total to $100M

Placester’s recognition of the aspirational nature of real estate

-Willingness to take any agent

Why Zillow focuses on ‘super agents’ and teams

Placester’s role in the ‘real estate ecosystem’

Realogy’s recent changes in management

How technology undermines the idea of a ‘real estate ecosystem’

The necessity for transformation of the current brokerage model

The mammoth undertaking that is Upstream

The feasibility of Upstream clearing all the hurdles it faces

How MLSs have responded to the brokerage community’s call for consolidation

Rob’s suggestion to add representatives from the broker community to the CMLS Board


“Zillow Group to Launch New Consumer Brand” on RISMedia

“Placester Continues Growth with $50 Million Capital Raise” in HousingWire Magazine

Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website

  1. Good morning Gentlemen (Yes, I know I am using that term, loosely). I’ve Been wanting to catch an episode of the podcast for a while, and as I suspected, you guys are producing a heck of a product =)

    RealEstate.com was an interesting topic for me, and why I tuned in, because I have been wondering for years what the “Play” was going to be with that URL? It has always been my belief, that the purchase of Trulia, was not just to acquire their #1 Competitor, but to quietly take possession of Market Leader & That URL. Zillow knew that “Upstream” was coming. They didn’t know what it was going to look like or what it would be called, but they knew, the Brokers would revolt. They needed those Brokerage licenses to get the Data Feeds and that URL would someday make an appearance as a destination to transact.

    Zillow needs revenue. I know you 2 keep saying, you believe Spencer, when he says “Zillow has no intention of becoming a Brokerage”, but many CEO’s (and I mean a fricken ton of them) “have buried the lead” for years before unleashing it. It’s a Billion Dollar opportunity, hat only Zillow can pull off, currently. Why would any Company not explore it?

    The Placster thing is “Blowing my MInd”, but I feel like, we haven’t seen their real “Play” yet, and should stay tuned for an announcement. Why else would smart people put $100m into it?

    Upstream! Fricken Upstream! Don’t get me started! Too late, I’m already started … That BS has been the biggest “Bluff” ever played. They never had any intention of producing an Internal Ecosystem. All they wanted to do was create a stronger negotiating position. Just like the 2 of you, I have been around this Industry, for close to 15 years. IT’S NOT THAT HARD to build. They have had every tool they needed, and the funding, to produce it some time ago. Why didn’t they? Because they didn’t want to! Why would anyone want to take on that responsibility, especially when they don’t have anyone capable, of doing it right!

    NAR, Brands, The Brokerage Model, all DINOSAURS. They are IBM, Hewlett Packard, and Dell in an evolving Industry. They are the Titanic, just waiting to hit an Iceberg … Good News: They have time to “Save Themselves”, because the Boomers and Generation X, will continue to transact archaically and fund their futility. Bad News: As far as I can see, there is No One in a position of power with any real “Visionary” skill.

    Besides, interview 100 Agents randomly, and you will come up with “Who Cares” about Upstream …

    Anything short of a true Nationwide MLS doesn’t matter

    So far, the Old White Guys, are still in charge and that sucks for the Agents who truly want a Career in RE.

    Ok, I’ll shut up now =) Going to go back and visit Episodes 1 – 7, so you never know what further comments, may come 😉


  2. Pingback: What if IDX Becomes Irrelevant? - GeekEstate Blog

  3. Pingback: Real talk: Zillow Group’s new brand, ‘millennial worship’ and Upstream | 101 News

  4. Thanks for this interesting podcast. Just a few thoughts, from a small independent broker in Maine. No matter how much they deny it now, Zillow will make a play as a brokerage. It is just amazing that large franchise companies have “given up” their market influence so easily by cooperating with Zillow. Name another industry where the top companies basically just gave up.

    It is hard to understand what is unique about Placester. Their websites are nothing special and the CRM is average at best. They are playing to the masses – just check out the “Academy”.

    Marketing differently to Millennials is a real estate media “thing” that is way overblown.

Sponsored By Lone Wolf