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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

7 ways Instagram Stories can get people pumped about your brand

(MARKETING) Instagram stories are widely used, so why shouldn’t marketers get in on the Insta-story action?

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Instagram Stories long ago surpassed Snapchat at it’s photo-sharing joy, and has found to be a great place to build brand awareness and build your customer base.

Here are a few ways that you can use stories to get people excited about your brand, products, and service.

1. Share the story of your business

Showcase the creation of a product or service, or share something (legal and fun) that your team is working on. These behind the scenes productions humanize your brand and can really get people excited about it. Check out what Union Fare does!

2. Preview live broadcasts

Are you doing a Facebook Live or WebEx demonstration? Use Instagram Stories to tease and generate some excitement or pull attendees from one social media platform to the other.

3. Showcase your stuff in action

Whether it’s demonstrating an application, showing off a recipe, or showcasing an outfit, you can use stories to show what the end result of a product is and help them generate ideas on how to use that stuff! Because Instagram Live can be done spontaneously, you can show authentic, non-scripted demonstrations easily.

4. Brag time

When you support a brand, you get excited that you are a part of their wins. Share relevant milestones (subscriber counts, new products, new revenue, new contracts, new products, etc.) with your base. This helps build connection with your base.

5. Countdowns and giveaways

You can use stories to facilitate ways to get people excited about upcoming giveaways or new launches. Unlike static marketing, the use of countdowns can really get people emotionally excited and build anticipation for new products or services. You could also use stories to give special sales or unique giveaways that give a more “exclusive” feeling.

6. “Takeovers” from influencers or partnerships

If you are working with a promoter or influencer, you can have them generate content to send them over to you to use their voice to target your audience. The influencer can send you pictures and videos that you upload yourself, rather than handing over your account username or password (like with Snapchat). This is a great way to work with someone who already has a following that can help you expand your service or product reach.

7. Create unique content

Odds are, especially for smaller businesses and new entrepreneurs, you don’t have a lot of time to invest in production value for other advertising. Instagram Stories with the use of stickers, paintbrush, and text can be a great place for raw, but still polished content that has a one of a kind feel. Familiarize yourself with the tools, and don’t be afraid to get artsy.

Make Instagram work for you

Instagram is constantly adding new features, so make sure you stay tuned for updates and play around with those features often. For example – Instagram stories can rewind or being hashtagged. Or use the eraser brush to do slow teases or product reveals.

Given that users can now bookmark content as well, you can create demonstrations or examples and give your audience a quick reference to your content. Get learning, check out stories, and start building those unique, intimate, and creative engagements with your consumers.

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Business Marketing

It’s okay to rebrand: 10 major brands you wouldn’t recognize by their original name

(BUSINESS NEWS) These 10 top brands underwent a major rebrand to become the household names you know today.

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For a struggling company, sometimes a redesigned logo or the introduction of a new product does the trick. Other times, an entire new brand identity may be the best bet. Of course, it’s important to work to make sure you’ve found the right name for your brand before putting time and resources into making your brand take off and rebranding can be scare.

But if the following list shows us anything, it’s that even some of the biggest players out there realized their name was a roadblock on their path to success.

Here are 10 household name companies that definitely made the right choice in rebranding.

1. Backrub to Google (1997)

You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who isn’t familiar with the Google name and iconic multicolored logo, but for almost a year the search engine was called BackRub. When founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin needed to expand beyond their original Stanford University servers, the chose to swap out the name too. You may know that the name was inspired by the number “googol,” but it was actually a spelling mistake when registering the domain, not a creative choice, that led to its current name.

2. Lucky Goldstar to LG (1995)

The LG name has a long history beginning with the merge of two South Korean companies, Lucky and GoldStar in 1958. The two companies produced hygiene products and consumer electronics, respectively, and operated as Lucky-Goldstar for over thirty years. In order to better compete in the Western market, the company name was shortened to LG, leading to the “Life’s Good” tagline and clever smiling face logo.

3. Brad’s Drink to Pepsi (1898)

For a short five years, the popular soda went by the less catchy name Brad’s Drink. The original name came from inventor Caleb Bradham’s last name, and the current name comes from “pepsin,” the enzyme that helps digest proteins in food. The switch was definitely a good move, but Pepsi sounds a lot cooler when you don’t know where the name comes from.

4. Sound of Music to Best Buy (1983)

In 1983, Sound of Music was a humble chain of seven electronics stores specializing in high fidelity stereos. Today, there are over 1,000 locations nationwide, and stereos are just one of a long list of electronics for sale. As the company grew and their merchandise offered expanded, the switch to Best Buy was a great, necessary transition.

5. Blue Ribbon Sports to Nike (1971)

In one of their first ad campaigns after adopting the new name after the Greek goddess of victory, Nike stated “There is no finish line.” In a direct response to their old name, Nike suggested their bright future ahead and prospective goals. Today, the name and swoosh logo are one of the most recognizable brand identities around the world.

6. Pete’s Super Submarines to Subway (1968)

In 1965, Subway founder Fred DeLuca borrowed $1,000 from his friend Peter Buck. To show his gratitude, DeLuca named his first sandwich shop after Peter. The pair went on to run the shop together, but changed the name after finding little success under the original moniker. Now, Subway is the the largest restaurant operator in the world, with 44,852 restaurants in 112 countries.

7. AuctionWeb to eBay (1997)

This name change came from outside forces, when founder Pierre Omidyar realized media coverage of his auction site frequently referred to it as eBay, the name of his umbrella company. The original eBay Internet housed four sites: AuctionWeb, a travel site, a personal shipper site, and a site about the Ebola virus. Only the first had much success. As a result, Omidyar officially changed the name to the one people already were starting to call it.

8. Phoenix to Firebird to Firefox (2004)

The free, open-source browser went through a series of subtle name changes before finally hitting the jackpot with Firefox. When it first appeared for public testing in September 2002, the name was Phoenix, but less than half a year later a trademark dispute began with BIOS manufacturer Phoenix Technologies. The name was then tweaked slightly to Firebird, another name for the mythical phoenix. More naming disputes took place over the next year, and in February 2004, the name Firefox was finally chosen.

9. Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web to Yahoo (1994)

Another search engine that started at Stanford, co-founders Jerry Yang and David Filo were still PhD students when they started what we now know as Yahoo. The root of the original name is obvious, while the current one stands for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.”

10. Research in Motion to Blackberry (2013)

Research In Motion was already a success when the name was switched to Blackberry in 2013. Although the first first device to carry the BlackBerry name was the BlackBerry 850, an email pager introduced in 1999, the company didn’t officially the name of its best-known product until 2013 as part of a larger comeback plan. Unfortunately, this case shows that sometimes more than a new name is needed to bring a struggling company back to action.

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Business Marketing

Half of all Instagram users buy immediately after seeing an ad

(MARKETING) If you’re advertising on Instagram and yielding no results, read on – it’s a gold mine for *some* types of brands.

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If you’ve been on Instagram you’ve likely fallen victim to the algorithm’s knack for showing you advertisements for something that seems exactly suited to your tastes. Or, someone you follow on the app tags their post with the name of the brands that make up their cute outfit and you decide to see what else they might offer. I’ve ended up with more than one pair of sneakers this way.

Instagram’s popularity and effectiveness have made it a marketing powerhouse. Over 130 million people look at product tags on the app each month.

Recently, Facebook commissioned a study asking users to explain what their interaction with companies and brands on Instagram was like. A whopping 66% of people said that the used Instagram to interact directly with brands — and 54% of users said they purchased something immediately after seeing an ad in their Instagram feed. Ads that are in the “stories” feature, independent of users’ feeds are especially effective.

After it was acquired by Facebook, Instagram has grown to account for over 19% of the tech-giant’s advertising spending — nearly double what it was in 2018.

Facebook is planning on continuing to capitalize on Instagram. They announced that soon users won’t need to navigate out of their feed to the retailer’s website purchase items, but rather have the ability to buy things in-app.

Instagram will take a cut of these in-app purchases and partner with PayPal to process payments, adding a new revenue stream to the growing platform.

As part of expanding its foray into shopping, Instagram is also partnering with its most popular influencers.

These people will be able to directly sell the products that their sponsors are offering through their accounts, rather than direct them to their sponsor’s account. At the beginning, only major accounts belonging to celebs like Kylie Jenner or Gigi Hadid will have this option, but it seems like after its initial launch more sellers will be to take advantage of the feature.

So, be prepared to have even more sneakers in your future, friends. It looks like those Instagram ads are going to get even more powerful.

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