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Rich Barton CEO of Zillow Risks Certain Criticism- does it anyway…

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zillowcom-on-realtorgeniuscom.jpgOne thing is absolutely certain- I can truly respect anyone the stands behind their product, knowing the world might criticize the outcome. Rich Barton, CEO of Zillow.com risked it all by placing his own home on Zillow with a Zestimate that even he didn’t fully agree with. Facing certain criticism, the Z.E.O. did it anyway. As a Tech Celeb, he could have hidden behind privacy or any number of excuses, but he chose to stand behind his product. Whatever one wants to say about Zestimates, you certainly have to respect him. Cheers to you, it says a lot about your personal character… The home is now pending.

Read the full article by Rich Barton:

“I’m sure thousands of you have been following the saga of my attempts to sell my house in Seattle (OK, maybe not thousands, but it certainly feels that way). Even the Wall Street Journalgot involved in ribbing me, highlighting the fact that even the CEO of Zillow can’t seem to price and sell his own house with an article recently entitled, “The Boss’s Product Test.”

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Sock Puppet

    May 23, 2007 at 1:50 am

    Don’t miss the all important point. He used a realtor too. It’s not Zillow vs Realtor, it’s Realtor vs Realtor + Zillow.

    -Athol

  2. B. R.

    May 23, 2007 at 7:43 am

    No doubt, excellent point…

  3. Louis Cammarosano

    May 23, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    As I see it, Rich Barton had no choice but to stand by his product as accurate or inaccurate as it may be.

    Afterall Zillow has gone to great public lengths to convince people that somehow their web site can accurately value homes for sale. Zillow has gone as far as claiming that they are the “Kelly’s blue book of homevaluations” (a foolish analogy as cars are fungible depreciating assets while home are unique and generally appreciating assets)

    Zillow lives on hype and having Barton’s home for sale on Zillow is just another example of it.

    Zillow is doing nothing new or innovative by providing their “Zestimates” based on publically available data. HomeGain, the company at which I am the General Manager had an instant homevaluation tool on our site seven years ago!

    We recently relaunched our instant home valuation tool and will add upgrades to it tomorrow night.

    You can check it out at https://www.homegain.com

    Unlike Zillow, we do not claim that it will provide pinpoint accuracy but rather an estimate (a real word, not a sale pitch).

    HomeGain also provides a range instead of an exact number to drive home the point.

    For some real differences between HomeGain and Zillow see blog thread “Why HomeGain Beats Zillow” at https://www.futureofrealestatemarketing.com/why-homegain-beats-zillow

  4. Sock Puppet

    May 23, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    So just how accurate is the HomeGain AVM then? How close to actual sales prices does it get?

    Which AVM gets closest to actual sales figures?

    -Athol

  5. louis cammarosano

    May 23, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    It depends. Both HomeGain and Zillow use publically available information to come up with their estimates.

    The difference is that HomeGain believes that Realtors play an important role in not only assessing how much your home is worth but going out and actually getting that value for you.

    For that reason, HomeGain’s Homevalation tool does not strive to give an exact valuation – we provide a range- as we believe that its nearly impossible to provide such precise valuations.

    A house is only worth what you can get for it and a Realtor helps you get your price. Trying to value homes precisely through market data is not the same as the minute by minute market values provided by Nasdaq with respect to heavily traded stocks.

    Because of the transparency of the stock market you don’t need a stock broker to get you a better deal on Yahoo or Microsoft stock.

    But often to get the best deal on your home you need a Realtor.

    HomeGain’s service is designed to help consumers who are interested in working with Realtors find one.
    But why not do a side by side comparision of Homegain and Zillow? (just for fun) https://www.homegain.com

  6. Sock Puppet

    May 23, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    Oh I’m tempted to side by side them believe me.

    I’m a newer agent and my split isn’t that great just yet, so I’m kind of concerned that your 30% on my gross commission will eat 80% of my profit though. At least the money gets removed from me at the sale rather than with that HouseValues monthly [not my blog so not using this word].

    I think I’d have to do 4.5 times the volume to break even with what I make now. That sounds drastic I know, but I’m crunching the numbers to see how that affects earnings over the long run.

    Assuming HomeGain can actually supply me with leads that actually result in a transaction, I’d view these transactions as a strategy of nothing but break even sales in order to seek market share, a higher split and a higher profile.

    On the other hand, the average home price in my town is just over $200,000. I figure HomeGain’s slice would be $1800 on a 6% commission. I could get 180,000 Zillow impressions for that much. Basically have my face on every Zillow viewed page in my area for the next 12 months.

    Please advise.

  7. louis cammarosano

    May 23, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    Sock puppet. Sounds like our agent evaluator program may not be for you.

    We have other products that may suit your needs.

    Our buyerlink product allows you to pay per visitor to your own web site on a cost per visit basis.

    Our Source For Seller product allow you to be the featured agent on each hval we deliver and to receive some leads, emails and phone calls from the exposure.

    Try this for a complete description of all our products
    https://www.homegain.com/agent/realestateagent?ht=hp_rnav_agent_enter

    If you have further questions, let’s take this discussion of this thread. You can email me at louis@homegain.com

  8. Sock Puppet

    May 23, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    Um all those pages seem to do is ask for my personal information.

    If I’m to have my name and face beside the AVM, I kind of need to know how accurate it is…

    If people are looking for a realtor online, can’t they just Google search for one? I’m so confused why you charge 30% of a gross commission to get someone introduced to a realtor.

    -Athol

  9. Louis Cammarosano

    May 24, 2007 at 8:01 am

    Hi Athol

    I’d love to answer your questions here, but this is a blog about Rich Barton and Zestimates and we need to respect the topic.

    Please contact me and I can give you more information about HomeGain’s products.
    Regards
    Louis

  10. HomeGain Hype

    October 22, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    Why is Louis Cammarosano so hell bent on attacking Zillow every chance he gets? He is always disparaging the Zillow tool yet he trumpets his own tool on HomeGain which is even more inaccurate than Zillow’s. I think it is just a bad case of envy because of the attention Zillow is garnering. BTW anyone who thinks a computer generated program can substitute the services of an appraisser or real estate agent deserves the ill-effects of their lack of common sense.

  11. Barry Preusz

    October 18, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    I admire anyone who exhibits true character. Zillow could be a more valuable tool to consumers and Realtors if the fake FSBOs were cleaned up. Somehow a validation tool needs to be implemented to screen out the homes for sale that do not even exist.

    Barry Preusz

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Business Marketing

Bite-sized retail: Macy’s plans to move out of malls

(BUSINESS MARKETING) While Macy’s shares have recently climbed, the department store chain is making a change in regards to big retail shopping malls.

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Macy's retail storefront, which may look different as they scale to smaller stores.

I was recently listening to a podcast on Barstool Sports, and was surprised to hear that their presenting sponsor was Macy’s. This struck me as odd considering the demographic for the show is women in their twenties to thirties, and Macy’s typically doesn’t cater to that crowd. Furthermore, department retail stores are becoming a bit antiquated as is.

The sponsorship made more sense once I learned that Macy’s is restructuring their operation, and now allowing their brand to go the way of the ghost. They feel that while malls will remain in operation, only the best (AKA the malls with the most foot traffic) will stand the test of changes in the shopping experience.

As we’ve seen a gigantic rise this year in online shopping, stores like Macy’s and JC Penney are working hard to keep themselves afloat. There is so much changing in brick and mortar retail that major shifts need to be made.

So, what is Macy’s proposing to do?

The upscale department store chain is going to be testing smaller stores in locations outside of major shopping malls. Bloomingdale’s stores will be doing the same. “We continue to believe that the best malls in the country will thrive,” CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC analysts. “However, we also know that Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have high potential [off]-mall and in smaller formats.”

While the pandemic assuredly plays a role in this, the need for change came even before the hit in March. Macy’s had announced in February their plans to close 125 stores in the next three years. This is in conjunction with Macy’s expansion of Macy’s Backstage, which offers more affordable options.

Gennette also stated that while those original plans are still in place, Macy’s has been closely monitoring the competition in the event that they need to adjust the store closure timeline. At the end of the second quarter, Macy’s had 771 stores, including Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury.

Last week, Macy’s shares climbed 3 percent, after the retailer reported a more narrow loss than originally expected, along with stronger sales due to an uptick in their online business. So they’re already doing well in that regard. But will smaller stores be the change they need to survive?

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Business Marketing

Why you must nix MLM experience from your resume

(BUSINESS MARKETING) MLMs prey on people without much choice, but once you try to switch to something more stable, don’t use the MLM as experience.

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Discussing including MLM experience on a resume.

MLM experience… Is it worth keeping on your resume?

Are you or someone you know looking for a job after a stint in an MLM? Well, first off, congratulations for pursuing a real job that will provide a steady salary! But I also know that transition can be hard. The job market is already tight and if you don’t have much other work experience on your resume, is it worth trying to leverage your MLM experience?

The short answer? Heck no.

As Ask the Manager puts it, there’s a “strong stigma against [MLMs],” meaning your work experience might very well put a bad taste in the mouth of anyone looking through resumes. And looking past the sketchy products many offer, when nearly half of people in MLMs lose money and another quarter barely break even, it sure doesn’t paint you in a good light to be involved.

(Not to mention, many who do turn a profit only do so by recruiting more people, not actually by selling many products.)

“But I wouldn’t say I worked for an MLM,” you or your friend might say, “I was a small business owner!”

It’s a common selling point for MLMs, that often throw around pseudo-feminist feel good slang like “Boss Babe” or a “Momtrepreneur,” to tell women joining that they’re now business women! Except, as you might have guessed, that’s not actually the case, unless by “Boss Babe” you mean “Babe Who Goes Bankrupt or Tries to Bankrupt Her Friends.”

A more accurate title for the job you did at an MLM would be Sales Rep, because you have no stake in the creation of the product, or setting the prices, or any of the myriad of tasks that a real entrepreneur has to face.

Okay, that doesn’t sound nearly as impressive as “small business owner.” And I know it’s tempting to talk up your experience on a resume, but that can fall apart pretty quickly if you can’t actually speak to actual entrepreneur experience. It makes you look like you don’t know what you’re talking about…which is also not a good look for the job hunt.

That said… Depending on your situation, it might be difficult to leave any potential work experience off your resume. I get it. MLMs often target people who don’t have options for other work opportunities – and it’s possible you’re one of the unlucky ones who doesn’t have much else to put on paper.

In this case, you’ll want to do it carefully. Use the sales representative title (or something similar) and, if you’re like the roughly 50% of people who lose money from MLMs, highlight your soft skills. Did you do cold calls? Tailor events to the people who would be attending? Get creative, just make sure to do it within reason.

It’s not ideal to use your MLM experience on a resume, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. Still, congratulations to you, or anyone you know, who has decided to pursue something that will actually help pay the bills.

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Business Marketing

This smart card manages employee spending with ease

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Clever credit cards make it easier for companies to set spending policies and help alleviate expense problems for both them and their employees.

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Spendesk showing off its company credit cards.

Company credit cards are a wonderful solution to managing business expenses. They work almost exactly like debit cards, which we all know how to use, am I right? It is the twenty-first century after all. Simply swipe, dip, or tap, and a transaction is complete.

However, keeping up with invoices and receipts is a nightmare. I know I’ve had my fair share of hunting down wrinkled pieces of paper after organizing work events. Filling out endless expense reports is tedious. Plus, the back and forth communication with the finance team to justify purchases can cause a headache on both ends.

Company credit cards make it easier for companies to keep track of who’s spending money and how much. However, they aren’t able to see final numbers until expense reports are submitted. This makes monitoring spending a challenge. Also, reviewing all the paperwork to reimburse employees is time-consuming.

But Spendesk is here to combat those downsides! This all-in-one corporate expense and spend management service provides a promising alternative to internal management. The French startup “combines spend approvals, company cards, and automated accounting into one refreshingly easy spend management solution.”

Their clever company cards are what companies and employees have all been waiting for! With increasing remote workforces, this new form of payment comes at just the right moment to help companies simplify their expenditures.

These smart cards remove limitations regular company cards have today. Spendesk’s employee debit cards offer companies options to monitor budgets, customize settings, and set specific authorizations. For instance, companies can set predefined budgets and spending category limitations on flights, hotels, restaurants, etc. Then they don’t have to worry about an employee taking advantage of their card by booking a first-class flight or eating at a high-end steakhouse.

All transactions are tracked in real time so finance and accounting can see purchases right as they happen. Increasing visibility is important, especially when your employee is working remotely.

And for employees, this new form of payment is more convenient and easier on the pocket. “These are smart employee company cards with built-in spending policies. Employees can pay for business expenses when they need to without ever having to spend their own money,” the company demonstrated in a company video.

Not having to dip into your checking account is a plus in my book! And for remote employees who just need to make a single purchase, Spendesk has single-use virtual debit cards, too.

Now, that’s a smart card!

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