Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

What Zillow got right and wrong about the launch of ShowingTime+

From Inman News: Real estate agents weigh in on Zillow’s ShowingTime+ debut

“The brand, dubbed ShowingTime+, is the latest development in Zillow’s ongoing attempts to build a “housing super app.” As it’s name implies, the brand includes popular showing management platform ShowingTime, as well as other offerings such as dotloop and Bridge Interactive. When the company announced the move Monday, it framed ShowingTime+ as an effort to win over agents.

But in the days following the announcement, the response from industry professionals has been mixed at best.”

I’m not sure this “mixed at best” statement is that fair. I mean, how many agents did they really talk to? But I do have some thoughts about what I think Zillow got right and wrong with the launch.

What they got right.

I think it’s super smart to put the teams together. ShowingTime, dotLoop and Bridge Interactive have a ton of smart people so getting them to work together as one makes a ton of sense. I think this move alone was worth the effort.

What they got wrong.

First, I think there was a missed opportunity in the naming. Never mind the lazy addition of a “+” to the end of ShowingTime, which I’ve already joked about. It’s been a minute since the acquisition of ShowingTime and things seem to have settled. But leading with the name “ShowingTime” has seemed to have caused agents to bring out the pitchforks again. Don’t get me wrong, I think ShowingTime is a great company and service, but it now has…baggage. I have to think either renaming ShowingTime or at least giving the umbrella brand (bundle?) a new name with ShowingTime underneath might have been a better option.

The final thing is a head-scratcher for me. Leadership. Why isn’t Errol Samuelson leading this effort? I don’t know Jun Choo. He seemed to have impressed Zillow’s leadership and has some OG creds, all the way back to HouseValues.com. Maybe Errol didn’t want it? But all these products touch MLS in some shape or form and I’ve always thought of Errol as one of the best product guys in the industry. That’s who I would want as my quarterback.

Looking for a new gig?

Technical Solutions Consultant and Enterprise Sales Exec. – Dotloop (Zillow Group)

Technical Solutions Consultant

“This is an important role within dotloop due to the proven impact dotloop Connect partners have on revenue, generating leads and customer retention! As a Solutions Consultant, you will be responsible for driving engagement and usage while working cross-functionally with sales, Partner Success and Partner Experience to influence revenue and lead generation.”

Enterprise Sales Exec.

“The role of the Enterprise Sales Executive is to introduce, educate, and engage potential large real estate brokerage or franchise clients with dotloop. You will be responsible for obtaining new business through prospecting, building relationships and consultative selling that includes meeting with clients at the client’s site, communicating with clients via phone, email, and virtual meetings. You will build proposals, presentations, pricing, contracts and strategic business and technical plans that fit their needs.”

To find out about these jobs, and others or to post a position you are looking to fill please visit the Vendor Alley Job Board.

Joe Kazzoun leaves Remine joins Dotloop as GM

Smart move.

Was dotloop forced to issue new privacy “guarantee”?

From Inman News

Dotloop unveils new data privacy guarantee

“Since our acquisition by Zillow Group, there have been some questions from dotloop customers about how their data would now be used,” said Austin Allison, founder and general manager of dotloop, in a statement.

“Data privacy has always been a top priority for us; that has not changed. We are introducing the Dotloop Data Privacy Guarantee to provide increased transparency on this topic, making it very clear that dotloop customers own their data and that their data will not be used for Zillow Group products or services without their permission.”

From what I’m hearing this is a bunch of hooey. Dotloop never wanted to amend or add to their existing privacy policy but was forced to do so if they wanted to keep licensing forms in certain state.

The death of “peoplework” – Zillow acquires dotloop.

SellingOutSignA few thoughts after the smoke has cleared on the announcement that dotloop will be acquired by Zillow.

Why did Zillow buy dotloop?

I thought the aquistion was odd and said so in a tweet. But the simple answer is Zillow needs to charge more money for what it offers. The industry will collectively shit their pants with conspiracy theories but its all still hooey.

Spencer Rascoff’s response to my tweet summed it up.

How much did Zillow pay for dotloop?

We will find out soon enough (Zillow is a public company) but I would look to Zillow’s previous acquisition of RentJuice for some guidance. RentJuice was a “rental relationship management service for landlords, property managers and rental brokers that helps them market their inventory and client relationships.” Sounds a bit familiar doesn’t it? The acquisition was pre-IPO for Zillow and was for 40 million cash. $40 million seems very high and Zillow now has paper money. But I’m sure Austin will be able to buy a lot more v-neck sweaters t-shirts. BTW, RentJuice’s CEO, David Vivero, left Zillow just 13 months later.

What’s is dotloop’s future?

A lot of their customers are not happy with the deal. I heard one person quip–“Peoplework” is dead (a reference to dotloop’s much marketed mantra of “people work not paperwork”.) Despite many agents making tons of money working with Zillow it still garners a high degree of FUD factor from agents. Facebook has been blowing up with mostly negative comments, and 3 of 4 comments on dotloop’s own blog post announcing the acquisition were negative. Dotloop will have to do a lot of damage control with their agent and enterprise customers. Also my guess is that dotloop’s CEO, Austin Allison, will leave about 12 – 18 months after the acquisition is complete (Austin isn’t going to be a 4th banana).

What to expect next?
A lot of spin control as I previously mentioned. Also, if I were anyone at Instanet Solutions, Ziplogix, Reesio, or any other transaction platform that competes with dotloop I would be launching landing pages courting disgruntled dotloop agents now, with the messaging “Dotloop agents get XXXX free for XX days”, or “Dotloop agents can trust us with their business”.

Interesting times….

dotloop to target more Realogy franchises

dotloop Enhances Relationship With Realogy to Enable Increased Technology Offerings for Franchise Affiliates

“dotloop today announced that it has strengthened its relationship with Realogy, the world’s largest franchisor of real estate brokerages, which will result in an expanded online transaction platform opportunity for Realogy brand franchisees. dotloop’s online transaction platform enables everyone involved in a transaction to come together to close deals faster through a single, seamless online experience. By integrating dotloop capabilities, Realogy will be able to enhance its existing technology offerings for its franchise affiliates.”

I haven’t heard much about dotloop in the past few months. Seems like other players, such as Instanet Solutions and SkySlope, are really making this space competitive. I got a chance to play around with a test account for dotloop and was really impressed with its design. Very thoughtful UI/UX.

The wordplay on this release is interesting. I’m not sure what “strengthened its relationship” means (did dotloop pony up some money for Realogy’s Preferred Alliance program?) That being said this is a nice vote of confidence from Realogy. My bet is that dotloop is seeing success in their model of partnering with franchisors (i.e. KW) and now looking for other partnerships.

Deep dive into Dotloop vs CAR saga

Not sure how I missed this article on Inman News last week. Paul Hagey does an excellent job of reporting. I love the use of video in the article too. It features two interviews, one with Joel Singer, CEO of the California Associaiton of REALTORS (CAR) and Austin Allison, CEO of Dotloop. But the premise of the article remains unclear.

ZipLogix competitors never had a shot at licensing CAR forms

At the beginning the article states:

“Brokers and agents who want to fill out the California Association of Realtors’ (CAR) electronic forms in software other than the solutions offered by its for-profit subsidiary are out of luck, because of a long-term exclusive license the subsidiary granted its own software firm, zipLogix LLC, when it acquired the firm more than a decade ago.”

But later…

“CAR declined to provide details about which “authoritative bodies” approved its agreement with zipLogix to exclusively license its electronic forms, or exactly when they did so.

Although Singer says CAR’s 150,000-plus members have the power to authorize other firms to license the association’s electronic forms, some members say it’s unclear how the decision-making process works.”

My guess is CAR can do anything it wants, and it doesn’t want to play ball with Dotloop.

Dotloop is on the hunt for leaker as another association cancels its service.

Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 3.19.29 PMThe Arizona Association of REALTORS (AAR) has issued DotLoop a “Notice of Cancellation” today with concerns of protections from “improper use” of AAR forms.

This come off the heels of a story on Inman News; Dotloop probes prominent industry player for identity of alleged hacker.

The Inman story is fascinating. On one hand Dotloop is pissed that someone outed them on the use of unlicensed forms. Which they have since corrected. But it doesn’t end there. Now it seems they are looking for the identity of the person/company that hacked (according to the title of the Inman article) their system.

I have to say I agree with Dotloop on this one. While the circumstance are somewhat ironic, it is in Dotloop’s best interest to find out who has behind this attack(?) and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

And here’s where it gets real interesting. Apparently the hacker (leaker?) used the account to demonstrate to the California Association of REALTORS (CAR) and others about the unauthorized use of forms. Which I mentioned earlier Dotloop has since corrected. So you have to ask yourself who would benefit from outing Dotloop? The answer to me is pretty simple, a competitor. If you start going down that rabbit hole then you come up with this scenario. A Dotloop competitor met with CAR and others and as a result of that meeting the competitor forced Dotloop out of the market. Doesn’t sound too pretty from a legal perspective does it?

I hope I’m wrong about this. I hope that it wasn’t a Dotloop competitor that participated in the hacking and distribution of this information. That’s just plain wrong. And two wrongs don’t make a right.

That being said it doesn’t put CAR is good light.

Exhibit A: CAR met with Dotloop competitor
Exhibit B: Due to the results of that meeting CAR forced Dotloop out of market.
Exhibit C: Dotloop begins to lose business (AAR) in part due to these actions.

Sounds like Dotloop might have grounds for a lawsuit against CAR. And if that happens you might have a guess at the settlement.

CAR licenses its forms to Dotloop. Or in other words, “Checkmate.” Dotloop wins.

It makes me think that this was the whole reason for this lawsuit in the first place.

Fucking brilliant.

Blog post raises questions on esign and document security

eight-eleven-logoTracey Weir, former chief marketing and sales officer at Inman News, has started a new consulting company dubbed, Eight11. On her blog she’s been putting out some great content about real estate and marketing. I’m adding her to the Vendor Alley blogroll today.

Recently she did an excellent post entitled:


Along with the post was a great video. The video is well done and helps, even an idiot like me, understand the different types of document security. So if you ever want to learn more about security issues related to e-signatures this is a great place to start.

The video does raise questions on how some companies, most notably dotloop, handles document security.

So show Tracy some love and check out her site, Eight11.com, her past articles are also equally good.

C.A.R. protects its form turf from dotloop

US’s largest Realtor association to dotloop: ‘Hands off our forms’

The California Association of Realtors (CAR), the largest state Realtor association in the U.S. and owner of forms software provider zipLogix, has told the transaction management software provider dotloop that users cannot fill out the association’s copyrighted forms using dotloop’s software. – See more at: http://www.inman.com/2013/06/06/uss-largest-realtor-association-to-dotloop-other-competitors-hands-off-our-forms/#sthash.0vdahjH7.dpuf

A bit of background from a previous post and more good reporting from Paul Hagey at Inman News. This is a massive speed bump for dotloop. As to the question of whether or not this move stifles innovation, obviously it does.

But without massive pressure from their members it seems unlikely C.A.R. will license their forms anytime soon. I’ve heard some suggest that dotloop might take legal action, but at their current burn rate I would seriously doubt it.

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