This is a quick email interview I did with Rudy Bachraty from Trulia to clarify Trulia’s position on some of the issues recently brought to light regarding Trulia widgets:
So what’s all the hubbub about Trulia widgets?
Widgets, like API’s, are a big part of the web2.0 marketing mix, think youtube, flickr, meebo – Trulia has it’s widgets as well and they’re pretty popular. Some agents, SEO consultants and referral companies are saying that we have a malicious campaign to hurt our partners with our widgets, which is absolutely, totally false. Basically they’re saying that installing these widgets might make it harder for them to rank high up in search engines. That’s absolutely not our intention with our widgets. If you think they add value for your site and your users, then you may want to consider using them. If not, don’t use them.
How do you feel about being called a Trojan horse?
We’ve been called lots of names recently and it’s a pretty funny visual, but totally inaccurate. There is nothing malicious or secretive about the Trulia widgets. It’s 100% standard for widgets to have attribution back to the sites that created them – your users should double check this with any widgets that they use! I have to reiterate again that Trulia is an extremely effective online marketing tool for the real estate industry. We are not here to compete with Agents, we are here to help them build their business. If they are successful, we are successful. We value our relationships and continually look for ways to enhance them.
Is your intent to outrank agents in search?
No, absolutely not. It is our intent to be the most effective online marketing tool for the real estate industry. It’s about providing them with the best possible ROI. We have over 70,000 registered agents on Trulia and we’re constantly integrating their feedback into the site.
If you are an agent and want a steady stream of active home buyers and sellers then you should work with Trulia. We drive interested home buyers directly to your listings on your website for free. In addition, by participating on Trulia Voices, you can connect directly with home buyers and sellers, for free.
So why the heck should I bother creating a profile on Trulia?
Good question. Think of it as a free billboard to promote yourself directly to consumers. Having a detailed profile on Trulia will help consumers learn more about you. It’s best to include as much contact information as possible. As you contribute to our Trulia Voices Q&A community, all your answers will appear on your profile. This creates a repository of your knowledge which can help a consumer learn more about you. An additional benefit for having a detailed profile is SEO related. You can choose what (naked) links you want to add on your profile and choose the anchor text for the blogs or websites of your choice.
What do you say to those agents that aren’t sure they should remove their widget or not?
It’s totally up to the agent and if they want to remove links to Trulia or add “nofollows” then we’re cool with that. If you think it adds value to your site, then by all means, use it. If not, then don’t. The choice is yours.
Sami points out that a no-follow is a best practice, but will this widget coding change?
Widget coding is not going to change, but widgets are added to a site by the site owner who can do what they wish.
Do you feel that there is a motive behind this flurry of hype against the widget?
I dunno, it seems that some agents, SEO consultants and referral companies might be concerned about Trulia’s growing popularity overall on the web and in search engines. I can confidentially say that at every level within the company we are focused on being a great long term partner for the real estate industry and empowering agents, brokers and consumers with tools and information. Today, we are a huge driver of new business and traffic to our partners. We’re still a young company and we never stop listening and learning.
Not to get too far off the subject but to get on to another question that’s been asked a lot lately…… there’s been a lot of controversy regarding Zillow forums but more recently Trulia Voices in regards to the quality of answers given to local home seekers and sellers. Would Trulia be willing to be the first to work with agents on a viable solution to benefit not only the consumer but the agent that wishes to seek out and assist buyers?
We’re been working with agents on fine tuning Trulia Voices since the beginning and continue to do so. As always, we would love to hear all your suggestions. Trulia Voices is a unique platform and it’s a balance between building a system to help consumers and agents. We’re all ears to hearing your suggestions. The platform is only as good as it’s contributors and we’d love to see a few of the Agent Genius team head over there and lead by example.