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Is Redfin.com a True Web2.o Experience?

018-04.jpgWell, 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 nothingjust 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.

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Web2.o nutshell:

  • 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.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network. Before AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation has received the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular offline events. He does not venture into the spotlight often, rather he believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits and develops, so he gives all credit to those he's empowered.

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. David G from Zillow.

    June 13, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    Love the new look to this blog! What a difference a little white space makes.

    My favorite web2 definition is the simple title Richard McManus chose for his blog namely; “read /write web”. Web 1 was the internet everyone could read. Web 2 is the internet everyone can write.

  2. B. R.

    June 13, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    Awesome point- I absolutely agree. It is very hard to explain to folks that they really need to knock the dust off of their old 1.o and let the folks add the content. That is what makes Zillows Guide so up to speed

    Thanks for the notice, David.

  3. Sock Puppet

    June 13, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    Much better. Looks too wide across the screen in IE7 though.

    -Athol

  4. John Lockwood

    June 13, 2007 at 9:01 pm

    Way more better design. Looks awesome. The brain’s cool too, but if you could stand a suggestion, just a little more bright blue highlights if possible.

  5. Alex Mather

    June 13, 2007 at 9:44 pm

    i agree, but has anyone really said that Redfin is web 2.0? i’ve personally never grouped them with Trulia or Zillow outside of the context of being disruptive, well-funded companies trying to change real estate.

    disruptive != web 2.0.

    i’ve always felt they were simply a traditional company exploiting the fact that a lot of us geeky young’ns are willing to do a lot of the work on our own (using the Internets) to save some money.

  6. B. R.

    June 13, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    Alex, thanks for stopping by, great blog btw… I promise to spend time over there tomorrow.

    Yes, they TMd realestate2.o, the shell is 2.o, and new to 2.oers are looking for the direction to take their sites. They aren’t like zillow, but why not? they argue transparency, that puts them in the running.

  7. B. R.

    June 13, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    read here on the touchy trademark issue:
    https://realestate20.wordpress.com/2006/09/18/cease-and-desist/

  8. B. R.

    June 13, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    John, kiss my brain 😛

  9. Alex Mather

    June 13, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    B.R.

    thanks for the kind words, i look forward to your feedback on my blog!

    wow – i actually read that 2.0 blog back when it was written and for some reason I attributed the C&D to Zillow. Oops.

    Trademarks are silly. Do they really think that, alone, they can create Real Estate 2.0? It reminds me of Ze Frank’s brilliant ‘waves’ episode:

    https://www.zefrank.com/theshow/archives/2007/02/020507.html

    More on this on my blog tomorrow!

  10. John Lockwood

    June 13, 2007 at 11:18 pm

    Now, now, let’s not have any cerebral innuendo or asexual harassment here… 🙂

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