Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

Zillow making progress with MLS direct feeds.

Word on the street is that Zillow is making progress with getting MLS direct feeds. I expect a big announcement next week. Getting some of these larger MLS Providers are key.

What is less clear is the adoption rate of how many of these MLS providers will use/implemet the much touted Zillow Data Dashboard.

Another thing that did strike me is what it must be like at Zillow’s HQ with the end of ListHub agreement coming to an end so soon. Which prompted this tweet:

Good times.

#FREEERROL

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 3.15.19 PM

#FREEERROL

CMLS 2014 afterglow and hangover

It was the biggest CMLS conference by attendance and sponsorship. I remember when it was a small group (Northwest Council of MLS), say less than 90, for the whole conference. Compare that to today, where FBS took out over 90 of their customers to dinner on Thursday night. Things have changed. I may be biased but I also have to say it was the best location as well. The weather was perfect. The hotel was fantastic. The food was amazing. You have to give it up to Art Carter, Patty Connor and the rest of the CRMLS staff for pulling off such and incredible event.

Before the event I heard a few people complaining about the agenda. They were wondering why all the “non-industry” speakers. Art Carter made it clear from the beginning, he wanted to craft an event, “I would like to see”. As it turns out the outside speakers were a huge hit. So much so, I bet future conferences you’ll see more of them than less.

Then there were the parties. My company held an “Open House” at our W&R Studios headquarters down on Main Street on Tuesday night. It was a huge hit, even if it required you to go big on the first night. Trulia and Zillow held separate events, one at Red O restaurant in Newport Beach (very che’che’). And of course there was Mini-Kiss event at Hurricanes on Wednesday night (I heard the band was spotted later and a local I-Hop around 1:30am, can you imagine the stares?)

Again, I may be biased, and I think I say this every year, but CMLS 2014 was best CMLS conference ever.

And then Craig Cheatham took the stage.

It was about 4:15PM on Friday afternoon and Art had a big smile on his face. He even commented, “If you are wondering why I have a big smile on my face its because I see so many of out there.” Having Craig Cheatham, the CEO of The Realty Alliance, as the last presenter was no coicendence. It was a master stroke from Art and did exactly what he hoped, keep people in their seats for the entire conference.

It’s hard to blame Mr. Cheatham for what happen next. And I have to give him credit for showing up, the expectations were pretty high. But he seems to be just a messenger, and a poor one at that, to the whims of The Realty Alliance masters he serves. Kind of like a Roger Goddell, with much less pay and prestige.

The Realty Alliance had gotten the MLS industry’s attention with Mr. Cheatham’s declaration last year, of “You’ve got 10 days”. One year later they had nothing to show or really talk about. Mr. Cheatham’s responses were, at best, oblique. I think John Mosey, CEO of Northstar MLS, put it best in a follow up question, Mr. Cheatham’s statements were “clear as mud”.

The subsequent interview was, at best, awkward, at worst insulting and a waste of everyone’s time. It’s a shame because the audience was full of MLS professionals who truly wanted to help make things better. It reminds me of the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.”

But lets move on, and not waste anymore time on these Keystone Cops.

My thanks again to everyone at CRMLS, the CMLS board of directors (you too Sarah), for putting together a truly spectacular event. And see you next year in Kansas City!

THE MLS/CLAW sign direct licensing agreement with Trulia

BH-sign-CropTrulia:

“The direct agreement with The MLS™/CLAW demonstrates the value MLS/Trulia partnerships can deliver to solve challenges around data distribution and display, helping brokers build their brand and support the success of their agents,” said Alon Chaver, Vice President Industry Services at Trulia. “By working with The MLS™/CLAW’s forward thinking leadership, Trulia can now provide The MLS™/CLAW members the freshest listings displays, increasing the volume and quality of leads they generate, and improving conversion rates to power the growth of their businesses and their brands.”

Nice win (for both sides). Annie is a tough cookie. For Alon and his team to turn these guys around is truly (pardon the almost pun) impressive.

This further cements my view that Trulia “gets it”, and is far more the industry friendly portal. For starters they have had a team focused on this longer, they are willing to make compromises to get better data, (where Zillow is not) and Alon’s team has shown a certain finesse getting these deals done.

Perhaps now that Zillow and Trulia are part of the same team maybe these types of deals will open some eyes at Zillow.

TAR says no to HAR

shoot in footAndrea V. Brambila for Inman News

Texas Realtors won’t provide member info to competing statewide Realtor site, HAR.com

“Last week, in a 23-to-16 vote, TAR’s executive board rejected a motion from HAR that would have had TAR send HAR a data feed, updated daily, of TAR’s membership roster, complete with names and contact information. In the motion HAR said it would have paid any costs associated with providing the feed and promised not to use the list to solicit TAR members to join HAR or its MLS.”

HAR is asking for membership information, not listing data. And they’ll pay all implementation costs. Seems like a no-brainer. Especially cause…

“Nationally, HAR.com was the 19th most visited real estate site in June with 1.32 million unique visitors in June, according to comScore. By contrast, comScore does not track TexasRealEstate.com’s traffic because the site doesn’t meet a threshold of around 50,000 unique visitors per month.”

emphasis mine.

“TAR suggested that, instead of a data feed, TAR could offer HAR a widget that would pull in profile information from TexasRealEstate.com when consumers search for Realtors on HAR.com. The information would appear in framed results, giving TexasRealEstate.com a traffic boost. TAR has not yet developed the suggested widget.”

LOL, “a widget”. The guys at Zillow and Trulia are laughing there asses off right now.

They made it!

Huge congrats out to Sami and Meredith Inkinen. They have successfully rowed from San Francisco Monterey to Honolulu!

During that time Trulia, the company Sami co-founded, was sold to Zillow for 3.5 billion.

You can see some great pics and there final blog post here.

Here’s what I’d imagine was the first words out of Sami’s mouth (besides “Someone get me a Snickers Bar hard boiled egg!”).

Sami makes it

Row Sami Row!!

Sami

Arms don’t fail me now!

Zillow acquires Trulia

Zillow Announces Acquisition of Trulia for $3.5 Billion in Stock:

“The combined company will maintain both the Zillow and Trulia consumer brands, offering buyers, sellers, homeowners and renters access to vital information about homes and real estate for free, and providing advertising and software solutions that help real estate professionals grow their business. At closing, Trulia CEO Pete Flint will remain as CEO of Trulia reporting to Zillow CEO, Spencer Rascoff, and will join the Board of Directors of the combined company. In addition, at closing, a second member of Trulia’s Board of Directors will join the board of the combined company. Further operational and organizational details will be announced at closing.”

Holy shit.

Regarding the rumor of Zillow acquiring Trulia

A few thoughts on this.

“Blue horseshoe loves….”

This could all be just Wall Street trickery. Remember how much MOVE stock bounced when it was rumored they were going to be bought by Trulia? It was significant. So maybe someone got the idea to make a bigger play by spreading a Zillow buying Trulia rumor.

Seattle vs. San Francisco

Executive leadership at both companies couldn’t be more different. Think Frank Underwood and Mr. Chips (you make a guess of which CEO fits the part) It’s really hard for me to imagine both teams being on the same page of anything, besides all money they will be making.

A deal could be a good for MOVE.
A Zillow and Trulia merger could be a good thing for MOVE, Inc. Such a large acquisition would be a huge distraction for Zillow, something MOVE could act upon. Plus they immediately bump from the #3 listing site to the #2 listing site. : )

LinkedIn ripple
If you start getting LinkedIn requests from anyone at Trulia then you know the deal is real.

Is it a good or bad thing?
Personally I think it would be bad for the industry. Competition is a good, and with less of it the industry will suffer.

The biggest loser.
Another thought occurred to me. Dominion Enterprises (a privately held company) owns Homes.com. Zillow and Trulia’s market cap is about 8 Billion. Hindsight is 20/20 but you gotta wonder if back in the day Dominion spun off Homes.com and did an IPO what that asset would be worth. Is it too late? Or is the Batten Family too fat and happy? There is big money in this space, without proper investment it will be harder and harder to take them seriously.

28 Billion Dollars?
In an article yesterday the CFO of Trulia was quoted:

““Long-term, we see this as a two-player market and evolving much like e-commerce” with EBay Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., Sean Aggarwal, chief financial officer at Trulia, said at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Technology Conference in June.

He also described online real estate as a “very large category,” with real estate professionals spending about $28 billion a year on marketing. Trulia and Zillow collectively are doing about $500 million to $600 million a year in revenue, he said, leaving $27 billion plus of “potential money” that could come into that realm over the next several years.

Does anyone else think that number is crazy?

Will a deal happen?
No comment from either side. Typically where there’s smoke there’s fire, but I say no.

UPDATE: 7/28/2014 Looks like I got this wrong. Zillow is acquiring Trulia for 3.5 Billion in an all stock deal.

See you at Inman’s Real Estate Connect SF next week

I’m looking forward to attending Real Estate Connect in San Francisco next week. I’m participating on a couple things that I think are worth sharing.

CEO Summit
This is being held on Tuesday the 15th (a “pre-conference” event) I’ve been before and its a good mix of people. I’m scheduled to give 3 live interviews.

David Charron, CEO of MRIS
Pete Flint, CEO of Trulia
Steve Berkowitz, CEO of MOVE, Inc.

I did something similar at NAR Midyear that was a lot of fun. Brad has asked me to ask each of these guys some really “tough questions”. I’ve got a few, and really looking forward to mixing it up. (And if you have a few tough questions of your own hit me up via email or leave something in the comments.)

Marketing Track – “How to Create, Build and Launch Things People Want.”

Dan Woolley and I will also be co-presenting on the Marketing Track Thursday, “How to Create, Build and Launch Things People Want.” We will be joined by the super talented Michele Serro of Doorsteps (Swipe), Winston Welborn of Hawaii Life Real Estate. Marc Davison from 1000watt Consulting will be moderating.

Getting Dan on stage is like pulling teeth, so I’m really psyched to be able to show off the brains of our operation and share our creative process.

Looking forward to seeing everyone. Just email or DM me if you want to hook up.

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