Well, I would surmise by my own appraisal of Redfin.com that you can easily do more than Redfin is doing, and probably are already. With the transparency debate exposed all over the blogosphere, I look at Redfin and wonder, where exactly is the transparency? They’re counting on momentum from sensationalism, name recognition and a liberal cause to carry them forward, and any business head knows that will only go so far. What any 2.o service based industry must provide is information and Redfin offers none. It does offer a 13 step pdf on the how they work and the basic steps to their process, but there’s no meat in it that would teach a buyer or seller, only information to pacify a consumer and a lot more of the “why we’re better” mixed in.
Look at their website https://www.redfin.com, on the main page you get the infamous map. I personally think it is pretty neat- you can make an offer, you can save your searches, you can even talk to an agent- great! What is so new about that? This functionality has been around for years. There must be something more! Click on Buyers and what do you get? Tons of information on how to buy a home? NO! Click on Sellers and you get more of the same nothing–just more clean 2.o white space. It lacks the Why? What? When? How? All of that is missing on Redfin.com; why? They’re not a teaching company, they’re a profit company just like any other major corporation. The only difference being that they aren’t profitable– not in the slightest. What would happen if they actually gave the consumers the transparency they preached? Consumers would actually take the knowledge and cut Redfin.com out all together because Redfin offers the same Where? that most Realtors already offer freely.
As Web2.o sites go, Redfin.com falls flat and appears guilty of their own arguments against the status quo. The only information a consumer will get on Redfin.com is about Redfin- they just cannot stop their verbal diarrhea about themselves. Realtor Non-2.o sites in general offer more in their informational teases than you’ll get on Redfin.com.
Now, I do not like to point out a bunch of negatives and not offer any positives- Redfin.com is definitely web2.o looking, and feeling; you can search homes, they do a decent job of marketing homes in their local areas via their blog, but they always end up talking about their most favorite subject-themselves. But there’s just no heart or soul on the redfin.com site itself with the only exception being the picture of the random agent on each page. It is just another search site that actually charges thousands of dollars. You could do that on almost any Realtors site and never once talk to the agent, learn how to buy and even sell on some sites, and never spend a single penny. If you listen to those who proclaim Redfin as the end all be all, even they say they can write their own contracts- what does Redfin really do that is any different that has not already been done-to death? Not much. Unfortunately, there’s nothing really 2.o about redfin.com under the surface- as it completely lacks in the social networking department. A blog, and the Sweet Digs idea are not really innovating the industry any further than it was.
Now, if you really want to give consumers what Web2.o is really about- Realtors, if you really want to know what Web2.o really looks like- Realtors, if you really want a constructive model of how to orchestrate your own site- try this . I am by no means saying you should or should not finance Zillow by advertising with them, nor am I saying a Zestimate is good or bad. What I am saying is you can have a Web2.o looking and sounding site all day long, but if you’re missing the information and social networking element- you’re missing the point altogether. Zillow.com IS real estate 2.o- too bad they didn’t trademark it.
- Information & lots of it
- Look & Feel (green is the new gray, lots of clean open white space)
- Social Networking
- Easily Relatable Professional Copy
- Free (as in there’s no need to give up anything including your personal information)
Again, as a closing note, this is not about commissions or whether I like Redfin or not- honestly, I really don’t care. What I am looking for (as are all Realtors) is the way forward. Redfin.com isn’t it- but it is a start.