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Resistance to Zillow’s new agent websites mounting

Zillow’s Premier Agent Websites launched to mixed reviews, leaving some questioning their Zestimates and Zillow links on every listing on agents’ new sites.

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Zillow agent sites launch to mixed reviews

Just one day ago, Zillow announced “Premier Agent Websites,” a WordPress solution powered by Diverse Solution’s IDX, at $10 per month for non-Premier Realtors, and free for Zillow Premier Agent program subscribers.

The launch has seen mixed reviews, with some noting that it is a good place to start, while others question Zillow’s methods and motives. Zillow is not the first company to offer websites to agents, in fact, templated sites have been around for decades, but with the integration with Diverse Solution’s IDX and use of the WordPress platform, the offering is in most aspects more high quality, and setup is simple and streamlined, easy for any agent to understand.

[ba-pullquote align=”right”]”You see one template site, you’ve seen them all whether it’s Z-57, Advanced Access, Superlative or now Zillow.” -Jonathan Dalton, Realtor[/ba-pullquote]Jonathan Dalton, Realtor at Thompson’s Realty in Arizona weighed in, noting that “These websites can serve as useful tools at an affordable price for real estate agents looking for a rather quick and easy IDX and internet solution. It’s not one I believe more experienced online agents would prefer as most of us learned long ago that template sites tend to brand the template creator nearly equally as the agent. You see one template site, you’ve seen them all whether it’s Z-57, Advanced Access, Superlative or now Zillow.”

“Template-driven monotony aside,” he added, “I see two potential drawbacks. The IDX listings come with an inherent headache with the inclusion of Zestimates whose inaccuracy buyers’ agents have had to explain to unsuspecting buyers since they first created – that Zillow remains so married to its own flawed Zestimates to this degree even as it branches out beyond them is surprising given the known issues with the numbers.”

Dalton continued, “Secondly, if these IDX feeds also are being indexed the same as the more robust Diverse Solutions IDX products, I’m not certain why agents would be inclined to pay the much higher price for DS. More customization is possible, but if SEO is the end goal, I would question whether the means are justified at the significantly higher price.”

Issue one: exporting and importing content

The fine print is not obvious yet, but what was immediately obvious is that the company had turned off the default WordPress settings that allow agents to export all of their content from blog posts to comments, in the event they wish to move to their own hosting scenario, or to another platform.

[ba-pullquote align=”right”]”We didn’t launch Premier Agent Websites with export functionality for simplicity sake.” -Zillow[/ba-pullquote]Zillow told AGBeat, “We didn’t launch Premier Agent Websites with export functionality for simplicity sake. However, we received a lot of requests for this feature, so the beauty of an online service and a stellar, fast-paced team allowed us to make it happen very quickly. We’ll continue to add more functionality over time based on customer feedback. Now agents can chose to export posts, pages, community pages or all content, which includes posts, pages, comments, custom fields, terms, navigation menus and custom posts.”

The company will also soon add an import feature, but it is suspicious that the export function was turned off in the first place. One source told us that because of such a major oversight or choice to exclude the option to give agents an escape button, the fine print should be analyzed by all agents prior to giving any controls to a third party, particularly one that some see as competitive with the Realtor brand.

Issue two: Zestimates on all search results

Also receiving mixed reviews is the fact that each listing on an agent’s site is data presented through the IDX, thus directly from the original source, but on the same page as the current listing price is a Zestimate, a feature that does not appear to be optional. Professionals with Zillow agent sites will be subject to whatever their consumers think of Zestimates, positive or negative.


Listing details cut out of the image above for brevity, click to visit the original listing.

[ba-pullquote align=”right”]”We also include numbers from a few other automated valuation models, and our own recommendations for gauging the value of the home based on comparables that the user can evaluate for himself.” -Glenn Kelman, Redfin CEO[/ba-pullquote]Redfin CEO, Glenn Kelman told AGBeat, “Redfin has published IDX and VOW data alongside the listing’s Zestimate for five years, so I’m not sure what is new about this? We also include numbers from a few other automated valuation models, and our own recommendations for gauging the value of the home based on comparables that the user can evaluate for himself.”

The major difference between a brokerage like Redfin publishing Zestimates and agents is the awareness level of what the data is, means, and how it is being used and perceived. Grandma Realtor goes to a conference and hears that for $10 per month, she can have the sexiest Realtor website alive, and she is the least likely to understand the history and ramifications of Zestimates, in fact, may not even know what that is, or do more than click “buy” and let the site do its thing.

The level of understanding of risk differs between Redfin, or brokers who choose to implement the Zestimates alongside every single listing, and independent agents who can barely check email and are just looking to get a web presence because the gurus have told them they’re dead in the water without it.

Issue three: links to Zillow on all search results

What was immediately obvious to us was that every listing in search results on an agent’s new website not only has a Zestimate, but next to the Zestimate is a link to the listing on Zillow, also a feature that does not appear to be optional.

It is brilliant on Zillow’s part to do widespread link building a thousand times over, but unsuspecting agents may not be aware that every listing on their site points to Zillow and gives users a reason to leave, rather than keeping them on the site.

Austin Realtor and Co-Founder of Displet, Eric Bramlett said, “The new Zillow sites are completely decent. They’re obviously a loss leader for the company, so you have to ask yourself what the motive is. In this case, I think it’s increasing their Premier Agent subscriber numbers & increasing exposure of Zillow through badges, logos, and links. It looks like a good move for Zillow and a good, cheap product for agents, if they’re okay with entire value proposition.”

Do agent sites put Zillow one step closer to becoming a brokerage?

[ba-pullquote align=”right”]”The question the agents would surely tire of answering is why on earth do they prominently feature the obviously ludicrous Zestimate?” -Jeff Brown, Investment Broker[/ba-pullquote]Investment Broker, Jeff Brown shared his suspicions with AGBeat, noting that “This is a huge win, at least not a loss, for Zillow. The agent either wins new clients, or is made to look silly, which could indeed drive the customer to Zillow’s future real estate brokerage? The question the agents would surely tire of answering is why on earth do they prominently feature the obviously ludicrous Zestimate? Or, why are they listing the property so far under market value? If I was still on the house side of the business, I’d be disappointed in anyone whose thinking I’d previously respected, opting to participate. Somebody, anybody, please show me what I’m missing.”

Brown added, “Furthermore, if I ran Zillow, when I opened my brokerages around the country in the best markets, I’d never join any MLS. Almost immediately we’d be known as the company ‘with all the listings’. Contrary to the opinion of those born after the ice age, buyers don’t give a tinker’s damn about who has the inventory. They care only about finding THEIR new home. Zillow Real Estate will make it exceedingly easy for them to find. The ‘post ice agers’ will think this is something new under the sun, when instead it’ll be a real life, real time real estate sequel to Back to the Future. This can happen, and a whole lot easier than most may think.”

Zillow says they have no intention of acting as a broker to any real estate deal. Despite statements like this in the present and the past, some still believe the company could change their mind.

Update: Zillow said on May 4, 2012 to AGBeat, “We dropped all licenses in 2008, except for Washington and Texas. Since then we dropped Washington and retain Texas. We decided to keep the license in Texas because it is a non-disclosure state so having the brokerage license allows us to access certain data which helps us produce Zestimates.”

A fast moving company

As Zillow alluded to, they are a fast moving company, so they’ll pivot to address user concerns, and they have already addressed the first issue, but it remains unseen as to whether the remaining two dilemmas are features the company is willing (or able?) to alter, which could potentially hurt adoption rates of their website feature, despite that ridiculously great price tag, and some are asking who benefits the most when agents set up their sites – agents or Zillow?

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96 Comments

96 Comments

  1. Jay Thompson

    June 1, 2012 at 1:25 am

    Howdy, Jay T. from Zillow here.
     
    The Zestimate (as well as many other items in the listing display), and corresponding links can be easily turned off by the site owner by going to the site dashboard –> IDX –> More Options and selecting / deselecting what features that they want displayed.
     
    Show Zestimate, Show Walkscore: Show Features: Show Schedule a Showing button: Show Ask a Question button: Show Schools: Show Map: Show Google Street View: Show Contact Form can all be chosen for display, or not.

    • JonathanDalton

      June 1, 2012 at 11:48 am

       @Jay Thompson Good to know.

    • JosetteSkilling

      June 1, 2012 at 5:09 pm

       @Jay Thompson I’ve filled out contact forms, registered myself and so far no notification back to me.  This will be fairly useless if the leads just sit in the Zillow queue and don’t get pushed out to email or text like regular inquiries.  A bug, maybe?

  2. ckolmar

    June 1, 2012 at 2:44 am

    Why does everyone hate on the accuracy of the Zestimate? Its a starting point and a conversation starter. If you are actually using it to value your house, you’re crazy, but its great for an “at a glance” understanding of potential value.

  3. kenbrand

    June 1, 2012 at 8:42 am

    In a rebounding market, understanding which tools to use and how to use them is a good idea.  
     
    The really BIG deal, and where success will be earned is in-person and on-purpose contact and conversation with the people you know and who know you.  IMO when I’m spending more than 20% of my time focused on non contact broadcast marketing, I’m losing out to competitors who are actually talking with, sharing and solving with real people.  Relevant personal contact, conversation, sharing and solving leads to earning trust and top of mind awareness – which leads to being chosen or referred.  If you want more business and success, talk to more people about what’s going on in their lives and be helpful.  It’s that simple. There are no $10 a month shortcuts.

    • karriflatla

      June 1, 2012 at 10:52 am

       @kenbrand You’re so right Ken. Moreover … do customers (realtors/other professionals) not yet understand what a heeeyuge *relationship liability* these proprietary systems are if not executed VERY VERY well? 
       

  4. MoCoRealEstate

    June 1, 2012 at 9:03 am

    It seems clear to me that Zillow is moving aggressively to become the premier service provider to real estate agents.  They want to make money selling stuff to us.  If their master plan was to become a national brokerage and consume all its path, then they would be quietly setting up brokerages, which they aren’t doing.
     
    Zestimates on listings.  So you’re on the Zillow-Agent-Wordpress  development team working through design details in a conference room. There’s an IDX option available: Show Zestimate, Don’t Show Zestimate.  “Which should we choose?”.  Remember, everyone in the room works for Zillow.  Duh – there’s only one choice, isn’t there? There’s nothing more to it than that.
     
    What fascinates me is the scope of the hate and distrust for Zillow by the RE industry.  It seems to know no bounds.  For them to be successful selling services to agents, they will have to turn that perception around.  It’s a tall order.  Good luck Jay.

    • kenbrand

      June 1, 2012 at 10:58 am

       @MoCoRealEstate When I reflect on where my mistrust and unease began I would have to say it started with the Zestimate.  Knowing it was (as is) woefully inaccurate but great bait to drive up viewership and perceived value, Zillow plowed forward.  The result, consumers across the country believed in them, using the incorrect Zestimate data to cling to hope that in a depressed market their property was worth more than the market would bare and what an informed professional agent reported in their realtime market analysis.  This deception misleads and harms (by mismarketing their properties) consumers and has created years of consistent confrontation and conflict between stressed out sellers and their real estate agents.  Now Zillow has a class on how to explain that the Zestimate is wrong.  If it’s wrong and damaging, why not kill it?  Because it attracts views I guess, consumers (civillians, brokers and agents) be damned.  I think that’s where Zillow’s behavior revealed and continues to reveal it core values.  It’s all about monitizing our data, which is smart business I guess.  I just don’t happen to respect it or appreciate it. 

      • corleybrooklyn

        June 1, 2012 at 11:08 am

        @kenbrand @MoCoRealEstate I’m with you Ken … And to add to it, brokers operating agencies have for too long mastered short thinking on issues that have long term implications … here is another example of believing what on the surface being proposed actually represents the full intent of a profit making entity … Zillow, after all, is a business who makes money from selling eye balls to advertisers using FREE content … and being a publicly traded company, they have an imperative to identify new revenue streams … being naive about this is too costly for Agents.

      • JonathanDalton

        June 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm

         @kenbrand Come on, Ken … that’s a great class. It’s like the Flat Earth Society offering a class on better ways to use a globe for travel.@MoCoRealEstate I also think some of the problem was Zillow didn’t debut as a company designed to provide products to agents. When Spencer opens his mouth and explains that it’s borderline negligent for listing agents not to give his company free data, as he did in January, it’s not working as an industry partner or whatever buzzword-laden phrase is used. It’s more of blackmail than partnership.Maybe Jay can work on his CEO a little bit … might help. 🙂 

      • nealcabage

        June 1, 2012 at 1:01 pm

         @kenbrand Ken – step back from the Realtor perspective and the value of the Zestimate is obvious.  As a consumer, I have no point of reference to understand how much a property is objectively worth.  And particularly in the last five years, the amount a home can appraise for is WILDY different than what it gets listed for in many neighborhoods.  Moreover, everyone wants to get a good deal and not overpay, right?  Its not a perfect metric, but it helps get started.  That’s the value to the consumer.  As for why Zillow continues it – are you kidding?  Why would they kill a feature that is a huge hit for them, and a major differentiator that keeps visitors coming back to their site instead of going to Trulia?   Sure its not perfect, but they keep tweaking it and it keeps getting a little better.  But you have to keep in mind their prerogative as media site is entirely different than yours as Realtor.

        • JonathanDalton

          June 1, 2012 at 4:27 pm

           @nealcabage  @kenbrand As someone who’s a consumer in every walk of life other than real estate, being told a value that more often than not is off by at least 10 percent and often by 20 percent or more is of zero benefit to me. If I want to purchase something online from Best Buy, I’d like the price not the price within 20% of what it really might be.

        • nealcabage

          June 1, 2012 at 8:11 pm

           @JonathanDalton  @kenbrand With BestBuy, you’re talking about electronic commodities that you can instantly price compare accurately online, down to the penny. Every house is different, every neighborhood, and its difficult to price amenities.  While you may be an expert in your neighborhood, your client is not, and needs at least a point of reference to begin getting their head in the game.  Besides, 20% off is probably an extreme scenario that you don’t see very often.  More often than not its a lot better than that!    Besides, as a consumer, I wouldn’t rely solely on one metric like a Zestimate anyway – but I would probably use it as one of three to trinagulate as I start to get into more detailed analysis.

        • JonathanDalton

          June 1, 2012 at 9:06 pm

           @nealcabage  @kenbrand According to Zillow’s own statistics, the Zestimates in Phoenix are off by at least 10 percent just under half the time, and at least 20 percent off a just under 25% of the time. You may triangulate. I can assure you, as someone who deals with consumers on a daily basis, the vast majority take the figure at face value.
           
          https://allphoenixrealestate.com/explain-this-to-me-public-consumer-type-people/

      • MoCoRealEstate

        June 1, 2012 at 2:10 pm

         @kenbrand You’re right – if Zillow really, truly wanted to be a trusted service provider and change their standing with agents, then killing Zestimates would be a bold step in that direction. Having cheap eyeball bait and being a true partner with RE agents don’t co-exist very well.  Zillow will need to make some choices – don’t think they can have it both ways.
         
        I do think they could reasonably provide a “Ze-value range” (doesn’t exactly roll off of the lips) with a call to action -“contact a local real estate professional to learn more”.  A value range could actually be useful to consumers and RE.

        • drewmeyers

          June 1, 2012 at 2:14 pm

           @MoCoRealEstate  @kenbrand They already show a value range.
           
          I think we can all agree buyers/sellers/homeowners (anyone that’s NOT a re agent) wants Zestimates.

        • MoCoRealEstate

          June 1, 2012 at 2:30 pm

           @drewmeyers  @kenbrand Don’t agree. At all.  It’s cheap eye-ball bait that too often sets a false expectation with a buyer or seller who doesn’t understand how the real estate market works.  Your argument is that buyers/sellers/homeowners want a number that far too often has nothing to do with a home’s value? Sorry.

        • JosetteSkilling

          June 1, 2012 at 4:32 pm

           @drewmeyers I don’t agree with this.  Most of the folks I talk to now have realized that Zillow is incorrect more often than not and that lack of authority is what will bite them in the end.  They use the site as a home search tool and that is the single biggest frustration they have – incorrect listings and no trust in the authority of the data, which most of them believe is the actual MLS. 

        • drewmeyers

          June 1, 2012 at 4:38 pm

           @JosetteSkilling Regardless of the accuracy/specifics/etc – they do want to be able to get some sort of estimate for houses without talking to a real estate agent and giving up their contact info.

        • JosetteSkilling

          June 1, 2012 at 4:46 pm

           @drewmeyers Nah.  I have never actually talked to anyone who thought it was more than a gimmick.  For the whining about their zestimates we do as an industry I give consumers, especially in my data saturated market, a lot of credit for realizing their valuations are wrong.  Wish we could get the buyers to figure this out sooner on the listings side.

        • drewmeyers

          June 1, 2012 at 4:48 pm

           @JosetteSkilling There are 30 million people who disagree with you. Or maybe 20 million (not sure what % of monthly Zillow traffic looks at zestimates, but I’d bet it’s pretty darn high).

        • JosetteSkilling

          June 1, 2012 at 5:00 pm

           @drewmeyers Some of those same 30M also go to sports pages and read those.  They play on Facebook and they surf other fun sites.  But they end up with folks who know the local market when it comes time to sell their home and move on in life.  And to be honest, I’ve never, ever had a conversation with a buyer or seller about a zestimate.  Never.   Even with my buyers right off the Zillow site, there is never a discussion about the estimated value for any home they are looking at, and I’ve closed millions and millions from those buyers. 
           
          I’m not saying people don’t surf there, just that I’m not seeing anyone put much emphasis on it or treat the zestimate as more than a gimmick.  

    • nealcabage

      June 1, 2012 at 1:31 pm

       @MoCoRealEstate It would be impossible for Zillow to become a brokerage right now.  Zillow necessarily requires the cooperation of the MLS for it’s survival.  The only option if they want to expand beyond being a media site, is to sell marketing and productivity solutions to Realtors. 
       
      That said, syndication is moving fast to interrupt the lock MLS has on listings. Everyone is starting to get use to the idea of posting their listings to ListHub and having them propagate out across the Internet, so its quickly becoming a viable alternative to the MLS.   And the NAR recently launched RPR which is a viable technology backbone alternative to the MLS, though similar to ListHub, is not being positioned as such, since no one seems quite ready to ‘go there’. 
       
      The political climate isn’t ready for an alternative to the MLS (yet) but the technology is there. When the timing is right, I would expect that any of these large national brands could be well positioned to offer services as an online brokerage.  In fact, like a war, once one major competitor goes there, the others must follow suit in order to stay competitive, unless there is some moral high ground advantage to the contrary.
       
      I wouldn’t focus too much on Zillow per se, too much in this regard.

      • JonathanDalton

        June 1, 2012 at 2:09 pm

        @nealcabage re: syndication as an alternative to the MLS. So, do you believe a home will sell as quickly solely through syndication as it would in the MLS? And when you’re working with a buyer, are you okay using the syndicated sites knowing there is no Conroe attached?

        • nealcabage

          June 1, 2012 at 4:19 pm

          @JonathanDalton – Metcalfe’s Law:  a network is the value of the nodes in that network, squared.   Or put another way, once everyone migrates to an alternative such as syndication or RPR, by definition, yes it will be as good. 

        • JonathanDalton

          June 1, 2012 at 4:25 pm

           @nealcabage  @JonathanDalton God, I love auto-correct. Was supposed to read co-broke. So, you’re good with no co-brokes being offered?

  5. tinainvirginia

    June 1, 2012 at 10:46 am

    As usual, Jay is ALWAYS listening.  Thanks, Jay for chiming in and setting everyone straight.  My problem with all of this is that Zillow and Trulia seem to assume that all agents are equal.  The products offered aren’t customized for those who specialize in luxury homes, vacation homes, affordable homes, investments, etc.  Almost every RE Brokerage out there offers their agents a free website with IDX.  I would love to see something different….

    • jonbowen

      June 5, 2012 at 4:42 pm

       @tinainvirginia You do understand that Jay works for Zillow now, right?

      • tinainvirginia

        June 5, 2012 at 4:51 pm

         @jonbowen Of course I do.  And Jay is always awesome about listening to my opinion; especially if there’s a beer in his hand 😉

  6. corleybrooklyn

    June 1, 2012 at 11:03 am

    I’m glad Jay is listening. he’s been a great advocate on behalf of Zillow in explaining Z’s intent … albeit initial.

    Unfortunately, i’m still given to my initial impression about Zillow’s business initiative overall …. to create a one stop residential real estate brokerage firm serving up inventory from every neighborhood in the United States.

    Giving up licenses in the states previoulsy held doesn’t mean they would’t apply in the future for an ‘Agency” presence in any states … especially since they have every Agent (i.e. independent contractors) plugged into their Premiere Agent product.

    Scale and Reach is the new real estate business of the 21st century … however, being local and deep is the advantage every agent should exercise to build and maintain their LOCAL franchise.

    As business owners, brokers can’t afford to trade lower cost premium product for standing in the neighborhoods they have an established presence.

    The “Zestimate” appearing on every premiere agent site is the real clue here.

    • Jay Thompson

      June 3, 2012 at 12:59 am

       @corleybrooklyn Hey Corely, thanks. The site owner has the ability to chose whether to dispaly the Zestimate or not.

  7. DonReedy

    June 1, 2012 at 11:03 am

    You didn’t hear it here first, but I’m telling you now, Zillow’s one smart enterprise, getting smarter all the time.  They’ve discovered that agents itch, and they seem to know right where to scratch.  We have given them, through syndication, the axle that turns the real estate world….data.  Now they are simply adding spokes to that axle, making things shiny, adding value to the periphery, all while steadfastly showing an unwillingness to kill the Zestimate until it’s done right.  
     
    Here’s the deal, though.  All of you who are giving yourselves over to Zillow are…well, giving yourselves over to Zillow.  Do the damn hard work, the local inventory work, the community work, the selling work…..yourselves for goodness sakes.  If you’re too lazy to do, and instead delegate to an outsider, you’re going to be owned one day, and that day commeth sooner than you think.  Yes, Jeff Brown  gets it.  Yes, Jonathan Dalton gets it.  
     
    You see, ultimately Zillow will either become the baddest broker on the planet, control enough information as to “look” like the baddest broker on the planet, or simply die.  
     
    Looks like they’re not going to die, since everyone (that means you Real Estate Brokers of American), aren’t willing to do for your agents what Zillow is willing to do.  
     
    For me personally, I’d like to issue Zillow a pink slip.  Take back the data we are giving away for free.  Or, here’s an idea, what if we started charging Zillow a fee (legal now, you know) to use our data….and when I say “we”, I mean each and every listing agent.
     
    Lots to talk about Lani Rosales , but I’m off to do a listing, taking the time to create an opportunity for a local family to have a local, well informed agent serve their best interest.  I’m not giving my data to Zillow.  But I will negotiate my fee to provide that data to Zillow.

    • JonathanDalton

      June 1, 2012 at 11:52 am

       @DonReedy Here’s where I am … if people want to buy the websites and can make money off it, go ahead. If you want to advertise on Zillow and you see a return, do it. In my more drunken moments I’ve considered the same.All I humbly suggest is to keep your listings data and not hand it to a for-profit advertising company for free. It’s a very small, very specific portion of the Zillow debate that gets lost.I don’t fear Zillow – I can talk around their Zestimates and poor data all day, and if buyers still choose to believe what they see rather than the reality I peddle, I don’t want to work with them anyway.These websites are cute. They’re cheap. And there’s a huge segment of agents who barely can work Google for whom they will be attractive.

    • nealcabage

      June 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm

       @DonReedy This topic reminds me a lot of a documentary I once watched about Walmart.  They documented how the company went to a small town and at first everything was great.  Consumers won because prices were so much lower. Eventually however, that meant less sales at the other stores in town.  Those other small stores started to close.  Eventually those people who were making $7.50 per hour at the other small towns were now working at Walmart for $5.00 and no health care.  Eventually, everyone was slightly worse off, relative to the cost of living, compared to pre-Walmart.  More importantly, all the other charming stores and character of the neighborhood, had been liquidated.
       
      Everyone thinks in short term about saving a few bucks. Human nature.  Make no mistake though – programs like this will have an absolute crushing effect on the viability of mid-priced competitors to offer semi custom solutions for Realtors.  A consolidated market will mean 80% of vendors will move on and no longer offer websites for Realtors.  You’ll probably have one or two other large competitors in the space (Realtor, Homes.com, etc), and a handful of poeple at the very high end doing fully custom work for $5-10k.  But all of those $50-70 per month options will cease to exist.

  8. RussBergeronMRED

    June 1, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Why does everyone think they know what Zillow’s business model is? You don’t know. You don’t sit in their board room. So why continue the non-stop paranoid rants that Realtors love to get themselves all lathered up about.
     
    Zillow does not want to become a broker. Why? Because there is no money in it. If they are going to take over someone’s business it would be lending.  But they don’t have to do any of that.  They have all the properties. They have the eyeballs. They are an advertising juggernaut. As long as they have the eyeballs they will have the listings.  
     
    They have already allowed consumers to update their own property info. Why not expand on that. When it is ready to sell why not ask the consumer for a couple hundred bucks to mark it for sale and immediately advertise to millions of visitors.  If it is listed with a broker they can advertise that as well. They can even show the commission being offered – after all it is just advertising.
     
    That’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.

    • kenbrand

      June 1, 2012 at 11:04 pm

       @RussBergeronMRED  It’s not paranoid if it’s true Russ;-)  
       
      I don’t see myself so much as “lathered up” and having  conversation, speculation and a point of view.  I enjoy hearing your perspective as well. As I reread it, I think you prove my point and further clarify my thinking as to why I believe that Zillow is not a friend, colleague or support system that I would want to rely (become dependent) on.  
       
      I could be wrong as well, but I’m not in doubt.

      • kenbrand

        June 3, 2012 at 8:44 am

         This reads right now – I don’t see myself so much as “lathered up” as having  conversation, speculation and a point of view.

  9. RussBergeronMRED

    June 1, 2012 at 11:16 am

    As to Lani’s original question regarding Zestimates.  As long as they follow the MRED IDX/VOW rules that prohibits the showing of AVMs and comments when a broker chooses to not allow those on their listing then we are OK with it.

  10. RussBergeronMRED

    June 1, 2012 at 11:19 am

    And while I am on a rant I feel the headline of this article is misleading and inflammatory.  We received no calls from agents/brokers complaining about the new $10 site, but we DID receive lots of calls asking how do I get one of those and why should I spend more than $10 a month on a web site. 

    • Roland Estrada

      June 3, 2012 at 1:36 am

       @RussBergeronMRED 10 bucks huh. Well you get what you pay for. Crap, crap and ultra-crap. 

  11. Jack Cassedy

    June 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Let’s be honest here. It’s a great product for the cost. If you tried to set up a real estate wordpress site on your own, it would cost at least $40/mo ($10ish for hosting, $30 for a month for IDXpress feed (plus $100 IDXpress setup fee)) and at least $35-$200 up front for the wordpress theme…
     
    Now, do you want the red pill or the blue pill?
     
    From an SEO perspective, if you do go with a Zillow agent site, you will be feeding the beast. That is to say, you will be helping to funnel SEO traffic into Zillow’s gaping mouth. By creating unique content on Zillowpress, you are increasing the size of the overall site, probably getting inbound links to your own zillowpress site via social media or agent profile sites (which count as links to the top level zillowpress.com domain too, which will make the site more credible in Google’s algorithm), and possibly allow more pages with more link juice to link back to Zillow with whatever anchor text Zillowpress/Zillow chooses (possibly in the footer; you can turn off some links according to Jay, but I’m not sure that you can turn off all of them). In the end, Zillowpress will link to Zillow which will increase the amount of quality inbound links with specific anchor text that Zillow chooses, which will benefit Zillow. This is a fantastic side benefit on top of, hopefully, making a profit from people who sign up. It’s a pretty genius idea. 
     
    *Too long; didn’t read — Zillowpress will unimaginably strengthen Zillow’s SEO. 
     
     

    • nealcabage

      June 1, 2012 at 2:17 pm

       @Ann Arbor Real Estate You hit an important point regarding the costs.  Regardless of how you feel about Zillow – the amount of value, at the price they’re giving it, is substantial.  Previously, the options to get a site of this quality would have been around $500 setup and $50-100 per month.  Now its $10 .. or FREE if you buy ads from them. 
       
      As soon as everyone is off their Zillow high horse, the value will begin to sink in.  Expect to see MANY fewer website vendors at the next NAR show.  And frankly, you can thank the MLS for the lack of competitive options at that point.  The amount of $$$ they charge for vendor IDX fees is outrageous and is a principal reason why website vendor prices are so high; some are in the tens of thousands of dollars per year, just for the privilege of servicing Realtors … per MLS!. 
       
      So one of two things has to give: (a) MLS need to concede these vendor fees, or (b) Zillow will have successfully killed off the majority of vendors servicing Realtors, in relatively short order.

      • drewmeyers

        June 3, 2012 at 12:29 am

         @nealcabage  @Ann Arbor Real Estate Fewer website vendors is a good thing in my mind. There is a lot of crap floating out there that doesn’t deserve to continue to see the light of day.

        • Roland Estrada

          June 5, 2012 at 1:06 am

           @drewmeyers  @nealcabage  @Ann Arbor Real Estate Ditto. 

      • Roland Estrada

        June 5, 2012 at 1:05 am

         @nealcabage  @Ann Arbor Real Estate Quality???? Seriously??? Wow you guys are easily impressed. What’s the cost of having a lousy looking site for $120 per year. I would rather give it to Listingbook.

        • nealcabage

          June 5, 2012 at 3:23 am

           @Roland Estrada  @Ann Arbor Real Estate Roland – have you looked closely at what Zillow is offering?  Have you looked closely a the competition that’s out there?  This is easily on par with solutions that have previously cost $500 setup and $70 per month.  Perhaps you don’t love the 3 templates?/  They’re not bad … certainly prettier that ListingBook though. 😉  What’s significant here though, and missing from your LB site – is the included IDX search listings and community stats data.  Integrating a solution like IDXBroker or DiverseSolutions would have previously cost you $40-100 per month for that alone, aside from your website shell.  So yeah, there is signficant value being provided here.  Particularly if you know the cost of those IDX feeds, you’d realize they’re operating at a LOSS in order to provide this package like this.

        • Roland Estrada

          June 5, 2012 at 2:43 pm

           @nealcabage  @Ann Arbor Real Estate I’ve looked at their three templates. They are pretty basic fair. And for ten bucks, god bless. But to make it like these are the second coming or some fabulous new tech is ridiculous. Second, they are not that much better looking than Listingbook. Also, Listingbook is tied directly to our MLS, so the info as current as I get as an agent. You can also check actual closed comps based on you own neighborhood, map search, the whole bit. You even get Community Info. Check the link blow. 
           
          In terms of the competition, if you look around you will find vendors that offer websites starting at $25 with IDX included. And in some cases you can get them to waive the setup. All you have to do is a little research. As far the “LOSS” goes… well let’s not be so innocent. Very few if any organizations do anything for cheap or nothing without getting something on the backend. Google doesn’t give you all those freebees out of the goodness of their heart and neither does Zillow. 
           
          https://roland.listingbook.com/?node=17-0-email_listings,1966950365.26459ac5&mlno=98250707:SOCAL

        • cherieyoung

          June 5, 2012 at 3:36 pm

           @Roland Estrada  @nealcabage  @Ann Arbor Real Estate  Listingbook is using old technology to display their sites, in FF, it is on the far left hand side of the page and looks dated.  No one said that Zillow’s Word Press sites are the  second coming, it is merely a tool for agents that need to conserve their marketing dollars and the power of Word Press.  Listingbook is not Word Press.  Word Press gives the user more flexibility in creating unlimited pages and a slideshow for their listings or area, should they desire.  The ability to use widgets is common for Word Press and also gives the agent more flexibility in what they can display on their sites.  Word Press will also allow Zillow to build these themes out easily per customer demand.  Also, using a good IDX is always a must and ihomefinder.com, diversesolutions.com and others utilize the power of the Word Press plugins for IDX.  This means dynamic data and gives the agent more power to use this plugin throughout the site and in their blog.  The money you will save on a $10 template allows you a ton of freedom in using up-to-date technology, including the mobile browser that instantly pulls up with ihomefinder.com for example.There is a deep understanding within the real estate community on why Word Press is superior.  The flexibility alone, plus the power of the IDX plugins make these sites rock.

        • nealcabage

          June 5, 2012 at 5:50 pm

           @Roland Estrada  @Ann Arbor Real Estate Roland, can you please provide a couple examples of real estate websites, INCLUDING IDX, for $25 per month and no setup fee?  I’m not aware of any and assume you must be talking about broker or MLS subsidized bulk purchase agreements on behalf of associated Realtors, not retail individual website plans.  Correct?

        • Roland Estrada

          June 5, 2012 at 9:11 pm

           @nealcabage  @Ann Arbor Real Estate Sure. No problem. Here you go. These are agent sights not broker sites INCLUDING IDX :-). As I said, In some cases you might be able to get them waive setup fees. In the case of UltraAgent, there are no setup fees. You live in a major metro area. There are always deals for those willing to do the work and seek them out. Especially given that many Los Angeles area agents are part of the CRMLS umbrella.  
           
          https://cp.realtysoft.com
          https://www.ultraagent.com/

    • Jay Thompson

      June 3, 2012 at 12:56 am

       @Ann Arbor Real Estate Some widgets have links back to the source of the data displayed (as with virtually any widget out there that pulls in proprietary data). The user has total control over whether or not to display any widget.
       
      Segments of the listing display that contain links to sites providing data (Zillow, WalkScore, Great Schools, etc) can be turned on/off by the user.
       
      The link in the footer can also be turned off.

    • Paul Cormier

      September 24, 2012 at 10:20 am

       @Jack Cassedy Thanks Jack, I was about to post the same thing. It looks like Zillow provides those websites as a loss leader to increase inbound links to zillow.com to ultimately benefit the Premiere Agent subscribers as well as themselves. Unfortunately the on-page SEO for these sites is pretty pathetic. Woorank scores them at 50/100:https://www.woorank.com/en/www/eastsidebuyeragent.com

  12. drewmeyers

    June 1, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    I honestly think it’s pretty dang funny so many agents and brokers spend so much of their time debating/thinking/complaining about things outside their control related to Zillow.
     
    What would happen if all that mental capacity was directed at building your own business? You’d be amazed.

    • JonathanDalton

      June 1, 2012 at 4:18 pm

       @drewmeyers Some are capable of doing both, Drew. Got to have someone keeping honest all those real estate thought leaders who don’t actually sell homes for a living. 🙂

    • kenbrand

      June 1, 2012 at 10:52 pm

       @drewmeyers Some of us can do both Drew, no problem:-) 

    • Roland Estrada

      June 2, 2012 at 10:57 pm

       @drewmeyers I think Realtors as a group tend to be lemmings. That doesn’t mean we can’t be productive but we should be more selective and not run towards the latest shiny new object. We also tend to often settle for crap vendor products and snake oil. It’s an uncomfortable thing to day but it’s true. How do I know? I’ve been there and know a lot of other agent who have been there. 

  13. cherieyoung

    June 1, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    I think it is awesome that Zillow is providing this technology.  There are some drawbacks, but geez it’s is $10 a month!!!  Of course this creates some cross competition for my work, but can also be an advantage for all of us.
     
    Many years ago when I worked at Z57, they taught us to turn any objection into a Q & A.  Z57 is amazing at knowing how to train sales people and many left to start their own businesses.  My point is that you can use the Zestimate as a platform to pull your own comps.  It gives you dialog for the client, and shows that  you are willing to do the groundwork to show exactly what the comparables are.  We don’t need to shoot the messenger “Zillow”, it is simply a tool that can give you the edge to provide value to your client.
     
    We have provided custom sites on Word Press for several years now and I can’t think of a better product.  We now provide templates to and I’m sure my competitors are wagging one of their fingers at me as well :)!
     
    Kind regards,
     
    Cherie Young

  14. RealtorTed

    June 1, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    I disagree with this statement:  ” if I ran Zillow, when I opened my brokerages around the country in the best markets, I’d never join any MLS. Almost immediately we’d be known as the company ‘with all the listings’”  The MLS has all the listings and Zillow cannot display the listings without being a broker member of the MLS.  They can be an IDX provider to the agents who want to display IDX on their own sites, but those agents have to be a member of the MLS that the IDX feed is coming from.  Zillow is going to have a complex situation on their hands as they cannot lump all the IDX feeds together and serve them up to any agent who wants them.

    • drewmeyers

      June 3, 2012 at 12:32 am

       @RealtorTed I really wish everyone would put this Zillow Realty idea to rest. It’s not their grand vision.

      • RealtorTed

        June 5, 2012 at 12:21 am

         @drewmeyers Even if Zillow Realty becomes an entity at some point in the future, there is room for them, they will displace those in the business who have not evolved, but as far as dominating,…  Sales People and I mean real sales people have always dominated the business and that is always the issue with any new models that enter the industry.

    • Jay Thompson

      June 3, 2012 at 12:49 am

       @RealtorTed Jay T from Zillow here. Ted, you said, “Zillow is going to have a complex situation on their hands as they cannot lump all the IDX feeds together and serve them up to any agent who wants them.” We aren’t trying to lump all the IDX feeds together and serve them up to any agent who wants them. Diverse Solutions (the IDX provider) enters into agreements with each MLS separately. Just as it’s always been.

      • RealtorTed

        June 5, 2012 at 12:18 am

         @Jay Thompson Jay if an agent is not a member of the MLS, then that agent cannot get an IDX feed with or without Diverse Solution.  The statement made was “I’d never join any MLS. Almost immediately we’d be known as the company ‘with all the listings’”  This is false on it’s face as I stated you can’t get a DS IDX without being a member of the MLS providing the IDX feed.

        • Jay Thompson

          June 5, 2012 at 1:40 am

           @RealtorTed I’m fully aware of that Ted. I misunderstood what you were saying. Sorry ’bout that!
           

  15. GlennTremain

    June 2, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Resistance Mounting?  Hehehehehe….it just came online less than 24hours ago and this is stirring the pot. Funny how people are already taking a stance before they even tried it. If we screen all of those commenting against the requirement to actually have one and use it? It would be us and 2 other people yet everyone is running at the mouth on something they haven’t logged into and seen. Furthermore how about all the people here that are on active rain, real estate marbles or something like it? If you are on those sites and cryng about this you a moron because YOU are feeding THEIR site and from your ignorance in seeing this is just the same thing but better our clients in your market (Find NailSoupMedia on facebook) are happily staking claim to another new frontier AND get a different platform with an additional (and free) IDX resource and to generate business. $10 a month people with full IDX and great tools.

  16. Roland Estrada

    June 2, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    I’m very tech savvy. I went to Zillow’s site to find samples of the sites or something that even mentions them. Nothing. I shouldn’t have to drill around looking for something you are trying to sell me. I rarely go to Zillow. Man that one hell of a cheesy, Microsoft looking site. How could I possibly trust them with an agent site. I’m judgmental you say? Absofrigginlutely!!!

    • Jay Thompson

      June 3, 2012 at 12:51 am

       @Roland Estrada Jay T from ZIllow here. Roland, example sites are two clicks from the home page. Click the image/link on the home page and then click “example sites”.

      • Roland Estrada

        June 3, 2012 at 1:47 am

         @Jay Thompson Okay. I was wrong about how easy it is the find to the link. But OMG!!!! I’m sorry I found the link. The sites look like they were made by a twelve year old. I could do a better job with iWeb. I guess for ten bucks you can’t expect much. 

        • Jay Thompson

          June 3, 2012 at 1:52 am

           @Roland Estrada Everyone is entitled to their own opinion Roland.

        • Roland Estrada

          June 3, 2012 at 2:07 am

           @Jay Thompson Sorry man. When I see beautifully executed tech, I applaud it. When I see crap, I nail it. Nobody in this business should have to put up with mediocrity masquerading as excellence. We’ve put up with it for years from real estate vendors. Must be the Steve Jobs in me. And If I come off looking like an Ahole, well then I wear that mantle proudly.   

        • GlennTremain

          June 3, 2012 at 5:59 am

          like your ochomebase is better? OH MY….if you have a steve jobs in you he is screaming to get out. You started on this rant without being able to find it (while saying how tech savvy and steve jobs you are yet a newbie could find it). You didnt buy one and didnt dig into the guts of the product its obvious to all by your comments. Those that are tech savvy and more like steve jobs will make these make more money for clients than an ochomebase website any day. Take your medication and go back to sleep as your comments only show your ignorance to what this product does and will do. Or continue and continue to look like an idiot.

        • InnaHardison

          June 4, 2012 at 5:57 pm

           @Roland Estrada ->>are you comparing these sites to something that happens to be yours, but better?  All I could find with your name attached was your listingbook page/site whatever you call it.  Care to point me in the direction of something that you have built that kicks ZillowPress butt?  I’m sincerely all ears, Roland.

        • Roland Estrada

          June 4, 2012 at 8:18 pm

           @InnaHardison I’ve had template sites over the years. I never really liked any of them so I gave them up. I also don’t care much for Windermere’s offings though I did consider it. In the meantime I figure most people are looking to search for homes so I redirect ochomebase.com to Listingbook and ocdwell.com to our local MLS IDX solution. I don’t any Google juice out of it of course. I’m not a coder so if I wanted to do it myself, I would have to do it in iWeb or some other Mac WYSIWYG program. I just get fed up with vendors trying to pass off mediocre attempts and expecting agents to shell out for it. If you see a really great solution please pass it on. 
           
          AG has featured these two sites and I love them both although admittedly I prefer Ryan’s best. Ryan’s site if really fresh and different. Style House is redesigning their site so they definitely get it. 
           
          https://www.ryansellsedmonton.com
          https://stylehouserealty.com
           
          I think there is a niche for some company to come up with with a way for agents to create their own sites with drag and drop features like iWeb. All it takes is the right coders/engineers to put forth the effort. Squarespace comes close with their upcoming Version 6 due out sometime soon. I’ve been using the beta of it and it’s promising. I know Squarespace has had requests for Realtor support but as yet they haven’t stepped up. 

        • Roland Estrada

          June 4, 2012 at 8:21 pm

           @InnaHardison Oh yeah two more things – no Flash and extensive use of HTML5. Am I asking too much? 😉

        • cherieyoung

          June 4, 2012 at 10:04 pm

           @Jay Thompson  @Roland Estrada Hi Jay, can you post the link that is directly to the samples?  I would assume that the sites are built in hmtl5 and most of us have not used Flash on Word Press for quite some time.

        • Jay Thompson

          June 5, 2012 at 1:39 am

           @cherieyoung  I can’t figure out how to link to those example sites directly. Here are two links to two live sites in the process of being built out by agents.
           
          No flash is used in the sites. 
           
          https://www.eastsidebuyeragent.com/
          https://www.homesbycoco.com/

        • cherieyoung

          June 5, 2012 at 2:19 pm

           @Jay Thompson Hi Jay, there is nothing wrong with these designs at all!  You know yourself that custom sites take a tremendous amount of work.  For $10 a month, this is a steal and gives you all the tools you need to get started.  If I was just starting in real estate and didn’t have the money for a site, I would definitely use this to help my marketing.  I would like to help create templates for Zillow, put in a good word for me 🙂

        • cherieyoung

          June 5, 2012 at 2:21 pm

           @Roland Estrada  @Jay Thompson What would your suggestions be to improve the designs?

        • Roland Estrada

          June 5, 2012 at 2:51 pm

           @cherieyoung  @Jay Thompson Sure, get away from the tired designs of ten years ago. Something along the lines of this – https://www.ryansellsedmonton.com/
           
          You are correct with regard to new agents. You can’t beat the $10 price. It’s just nothing revolutionary beyond that. There is also no blog feature. That would be nice. 

        • InnaHardison

          June 5, 2012 at 10:47 pm

           @Roland Estrada ->>i’ve no idea what you assumed was Flash, but you are mistaken. There is no Flash in those sites, Roland.

        • Roland Estrada

          June 5, 2012 at 11:21 pm

           @InnaHardison I didn’t assume that at all. I was merely making a general statement about two elements in agent sites I would like to see excluded and included. 

        • WillCollins

          August 2, 2012 at 4:49 am

           @Roland Estrada Roland what’s with the use of Flash on your https://ochomebase.com/ website if you are acting like such an expert on real estate website design.

    • GlennTremain

      June 3, 2012 at 6:03 am

       @Roland Estrada
       
      tech savvy? Not judgemental…..just clueless seeing you haven’t tried it, set up IDX and could make it work. like your ochomebase is better? OH MY….if you have a steve jobs in you he is screaming to get out. You started on this rant without being able to find it (while saying how tech savvy and steve jobs you are yet a newbie could find it). You didnt buy one and didnt dig into the guts of the product its obvious to all by your comments. Those that are tech savvy and more like steve jobs will make these make more money for clients than an ochomebase website any day. Take your medication and go back to sleep as your comments only show your ignorance to what this product does and will do. Or continue and continue to look like an idiot.

  17. Roland Estrada

    June 3, 2012 at 1:54 am

    Man I’m more and more salty as dig into this. Is there nobody to just blatantly stand up and say the emperor has no clothes!!
    Who cares about he IDX issues. Have you seen the sites? They are crap. Which is an insult to crap. Come on people we need to be more discerning than this when putting ourselves out in public.  

    • GlennTremain

      June 3, 2012 at 6:01 am

       @Roland Estrada
       
      like your ochomebase is better? OH MY….if you have a steve jobs in you he is screaming to get out. You started on this rant without being able to find it (while saying how tech savvy and steve jobs you are yet a newbie could find it). You didnt buy one and didnt dig into the guts of the product its obvious to all by your comments. Those that are tech savvy and more like steve jobs will make these make more money for clients than an ochomebase website any day. Take your medication and go back to sleep as your comments only show your ignorance to what this product does and will do. Or continue and continue to look like an idiot.

  18. nealcabage

    June 5, 2012 at 3:47 am

    I guess the big question in my mind at this point – is how much is a premium website solution worth now?   Naturally you can point to ZillowPress as non-premium but it has all the basic features for free/$10…oh yeah, and that includes a CRM too.  Up until now the price for a decent customized template site have been around $500 setup and $70-100 per month (including IDX). If you want a fully custom site its around $3k+ plus the standard $70+ per month to support hosting, IDX, etc.  So 2 questions:
     
    a) How much would you pay as a Realtor for a more premium option such as RealEstateWebmasters now?  Will you still pay $2k setup and $80 per month, or is the cost differential too high now? I’m not asking how much should cost, I’m asking what is the perceived *value*, with ZillowPress now being free?
     
    b) How much would cost would you tolerate simply to use a non-Zillow alternative?  It seems many just don’t want to give in to Zillow – so how much is that worth as a monthly cost premium?  Or is it just soapbox rhetoric?  🙂
     
    c) What is missing that Zillow is not offering that would make it premium?  Are we just talking about design quality, or is there a specific feature set that would make it worth spending the extra money?
     
     
    … my assumption has been that a typical Realtor will only pay maybe $30 per month and perhaps $300 setup maximum for a premium option, above whatever the base rate for a “decent” solution would be.  And a company like RealEstateWebmasters would effectively need to slash their prices in 1/2 to remain competitive, if this takes off like I think it will. Problem is, will they still be profitable after cutting their rates by 50%?  

  19. nealcabage

    June 5, 2012 at 3:49 am

    I guess the big question in my mind at this point – is how much is a premium website solution worth now?   Naturally you can point to ZillowPress as non-premium but it has all the basic features for free/$10…oh yeah, and that includes a CRM too.  Up until now the price for a decent customized template site have been around $500 setup and $70-100 per month (including IDX). If you want a fully custom site its around $3k+ plus the standard $70+ per month to support hosting, IDX, etc.  So 2 questions:
     
    a) How much would you pay as a Realtor for a more premium option (top of line design/tools)?  Will you still pay $2k setup and $80 per month, or is the cost differential too high now? I’m not asking how much should cost, I’m asking what is the perceived *value*, with ZillowPress now being free?
     
    b) How much would cost would you tolerate simply to use a non-Zillow alternative?  It seems many just don’t want to give in to Zillow – so how much is that worth as a monthly cost premium?  Or is it just soapbox rhetoric?  🙂
     
    c) What is missing that Zillow is not offering that would make it premium?  Are we just talking about design quality, or is there a specific feature set that would make it worth spending the extra money?
     
     
    … my assumption has been that a typical Realtor will only pay maybe $30 per month and perhaps $300 setup maximum for a premium option, above whatever the base rate for a “decent” solution would be.  And a premium website company would effectively need to slash their prices in 1/2 to remain competitive, if this takes off like I think it will. Problem is, will they still be profitable after cutting their rates by 50%? 

  20. nealcabage

    June 5, 2012 at 3:50 am

    I guess the big question in my mind at this point – is how much is a premium website solution worth now?   Naturally you can point to ZillowPress as non-premium but it has all the basic features for free/$10…oh yeah, and that includes a CRM too.  Up until now the price for a decent customized template site have been around $500 setup and $70-100 per month (including IDX). If you want a fully custom site its around $3k+ plus the standard $70+ per month to support hosting, IDX, etc.  So 2 questions:
     
    a) How much would you pay as a Realtor for a more premium option (top of line design/tools)?  Will you still pay $2k setup and $80 per month, or is the cost differential too high now? I’m not asking how much should cost, I’m asking what is the incremental *value*, with ZillowPress now being free?
     
    b) How much would cost would you tolerate simply to use a non-Zillow alternative?  It seems many just don’t want to give in to Zillow – so how much is that worth as a monthly cost premium?  Or is it just soapbox rhetoric?  🙂
     
    c) What is missing that Zillow is not offering that would make it premium?  Are we just talking about design quality, or is there a specific feature set that would make it worth spending the extra money?
     
     
    … my assumption has been that a typical Realtor will only pay maybe $30 per month and perhaps $300 setup maximum for a premium option, above whatever the base rate for a “decent” solution would be.  And a premium website company would effectively need to slash their prices in 1/2 to remain competitive, if this takes off like I think it will. Problem is, will they still be profitable after cutting their rates by 50%?

  21. nealcabage

    June 5, 2012 at 3:53 am

    I guess the big question in my mind at this point – is how much is a premium website solution worth now?   Naturally you can point to ZillowPress as non-premium but it has all the basic features for free/$10…oh yeah, and that includes a CRM too.  Up until now the price for a decent customized template site have been around $500 setup and $70-100 per month (including IDX). If you want a fully custom site its around $3k+ plus the standard $70+ per month to support hosting, IDX, etc.  So 2 questions:
     
    a) How much would you pay as a Realtor for a more premium option (top of line design/tools)?  Will you still pay $2k setup and $80 per month, or is the cost differential too high now? I’m not asking how much should cost, I’m asking what is the incremental *value*, with ZillowPress now being free?
     
    b) How much would cost would you tolerate simply to use a non-Zillow alternative?  It seems many just don’t want to give in to Zillow – so how much is that worth as a monthly cost premium – $10-12 per/mo perhaps?  Or is it just soapbox rhetoric when its time to pull out the wallet?  🙂
     
    c) What is missing that Zillow is not offering, that would differentiate a premium offering?  Are we just talking about design quality, or is there a specific feature set that would make it worth spending the extra money?
     
    … my assumption has been that a typical Realtor will only pay maybe $30 per month and perhaps $3-400 setup or $1-2k for a truly custom design, above whatever market rate for a “standard” site is.  And a premium website company would effectively need to slash their prices in 1/2 to remain competitive, if this takes off like I think it will. Problem is, will they still be profitable after cutting their rates by 50%?

  22. nealcabage

    June 5, 2012 at 4:00 am

    I guess the big question (for me) at this point is – how much is a premium website solution worth now?   Naturally you can point to ZillowPress as non-premium but it has all the basic features for free/$10…oh yeah, and that includes a CRM too.  Up until now the price for a decent customized template site have been around $500 setup and $70-100 per month (including IDX). If you want a fully custom site its around $3k+ plus the standard $70+ per month to support hosting, IDX, etc.  So 3 questions:
     
    a) How much would you pay as a Realtor for a more premium option (top of line design/tools)?  Will you still pay $2k setup and $80 per month, or is the cost differential too high now? I’m not asking how much should cost, I’m asking what is the incremental *value*, with ZillowPress now being free?
     
    b) How much would cost would you tolerate simply to use a non-Zillow alternative?  It seems many just don’t want to give in to Zillow – so how much is that worth as a monthly cost premium – $10-12 per/mo perhaps?  Or is it just soapbox rhetoric when its time to pull out the wallet?  🙂
     
    c) What is missing that Zillow is not offering, that would differentiate a premium offering?  Are we just talking about design quality, or is there a specific feature set that would make it worth spending the extra money?
     
    … my assumption is that the market will tolerate maybe $30 per month and perhaps $200-300 setup above whatever market rate for a “standard” site is, for a premium solution.  So $40 and $200 setup for a hosted IDX website/lead mgmt solution now?   Does that mean that premium companies like RealEstateWebmasters effectively need to cut their rate in 1/2 now to remain relevant?  And are they even able to do so, and still turn a profit? 
     
     

  23. nealcabage

    June 5, 2012 at 4:02 am

    I guess the big question (for me) at this point is – how much is a premium website solution worth now?   Naturally you can point to ZillowPress as non-premium but it has all the basic features for free/$10…oh yeah, and that includes a CRM too.  Up until now the price for a decent customized template site have been around $500 setup and $70-100 per month (including IDX). If you want a fully custom site its around $3k+ plus the standard $70+ per month to support hosting, IDX, etc.  So 3 questions: a) Market Value – How much would you pay as a Realtor for a more premium option (top of line design/tools) now?  Will you still pay for setup and $70-100 per month, or is the cost differential too high now, with ZillowPress essentially available for free? b) Zillow Alternative Value – How much would cost would you tolerate simply to use a non-Zillow alternative?  It seems many just don’t want to give in to Zillow – so how much is that worth as a monthly cost premium – $10-12 per/mo perhaps?  Or is it just soapbox rhetoric when its time to pull out the wallet?  🙂 c) Premium Features – What is missing that Zillow is not offering, that would differentiate a premium offering?  Are we just talking about design quality, or is there a specific feature set that would make it worth spending the extra money? … my assumption is that the market will tolerate maybe $30 per month and perhaps $200-300 setup above whatever market rate for a “standard” site is, for a premium solution.  So $40 and $200 setup for a hosted IDX website/lead mgmt solution now?   Does that mean that premium companies like RealEstateWebmasters effectively need to cut their rate in 1/2 now to remain relevant?  And are they even able to do so, and still turn a profit?

  24. nealcabage

    June 5, 2012 at 4:03 am

    I guess the big question (for me) at this point is – how much is a premium website solution worth now?   Naturally you can point to ZillowPress as non-premium but it has all the basic features for free/$10…oh yeah, and that includes a CRM too.  Up until now the price for a decent customized template site have been around $500 setup and $70-100 per month (including IDX). If you want a fully custom site its around $3k+ plus the standard $70+ per month to support hosting, IDX, etc.  So 3 questions:
     
    a) Market Value – How much would you pay as a Realtor for a more premium option (top of line design/tools) now?  Will you still pay for setup and $70-100 per month, or is the cost differential too high now, with ZillowPress essentially available for free?
     
    b) Zillow Alternative Value – How much would cost would you tolerate simply to use a non-Zillow alternative?  It seems many just don’t want to give in to Zillow – so how much is that worth as a monthly cost premium – $10-12 per/mo perhaps?  Or is it just soapbox rhetoric when its time to pull out the wallet?  🙂
     
    c) Premium Features – What is missing that Zillow is not offering, that would differentiate a premium offering?  Are we just talking about design quality, or is there a specific feature set that would make it worth spending the extra money?
     
    … my assumption is that the market will tolerate maybe $30 per month and perhaps $200-300 setup above whatever market rate for a “standard” site is, for a premium solution.  So $40 and $200 setup for a hosted IDX website/lead mgmt solution now?   Does that mean that premium companies like RealEstateWebmasters effectively need to cut their rate in 1/2 now to remain relevant?  And are they even able to do so, and still turn a profit?

  25. SteveOlsonAZ

    August 8, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    All the above features look to have been removed. You can disable zestimate and any links to zillow.com. You can also import/export blogs to this at any time. The idx could be a little more stickier for lead caputre but over all, I think it is a great way to drum up business. Often times, REALTORS are too concerend about being “perfect” they never do any business….

  26. cherieyoung

    August 8, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    No offense to the old timers that have had sites since dirt, but agents have demanded for as long as I knew about real estate sites, CHEAP!  And they bought CHEAP, yet spent hundred if not thousands of dollars on useless park benches, etc.
     
    One guy here in San Diego  had his mug plastered on so many park benches, I felt like I knew the guy personally.  Oh, he was charged with fraudulent loan deals, money laundering, on and on, so now I think of him in a criminal way 🙂  I guess his branding worked.  Must have cost alot of money to pay for the butt warming on his face, now he’s probably in jail.  Sorry off topic, spending money on park benches gets me going.  https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Mira-Mesa-Real-Estate-Agent-Arrest-Eric-Elegado-139868483.html  
     
    I’m still amazed that someone would expect to do as little as possible, spend even less and expect stellar results.  I have been watching the debates on Zillow sites.  Point2 made a killing selling templates :: many agents made their P2A sites work for them and made a killing as well.  We now have Word Press, without a doubt the best product to work with.
     
    Zillow doesn’t have to provide a $10 a month Word Press site with IDX.  You don’t have to buy it either.
     
    Treat your website as a business.  If you are just starting this is a magnificent way to get your feet wet.  Every week I talk with an agent who thinks they can use a basic Word Press site, hire their local bartender and work with RETZ.  The intentions are good, but the technology behind all this is extremely sophisticated.
     
    If  you hate Zillow stats then provide information on your site.    It’s not intended as a replacement for market analysis and a face-to-face conversation about the true value of the seller’s home.  The new Diverse Solutions modules give you “recent status”, already done for you.  This is a luxury that many of us have not had, point and click recent status. 
     
    I have lost count how long I have been in real estate, more than 25 years for sure.  I love the technology side of this business.  Not sure, but wonder how many agents that have been around for a long time are griping about tools that were non-existent.
     
    There is always a learning curve when you get your first site, I can’t think of a better way to get started if you love real estate and rubbing nickels together to make things work.

  27. rochester minnesota

    November 3, 2013 at 12:46 am

    This paragraph is truly a fastidious one it helps new net visitors, who are
    wishing in favor of blogging.

  28. Dan Gustafson

    November 5, 2017 at 11:49 am

    They are harvesting your keywords and search engine optimization. You are actually paying to educate them with your market knowledge. Multiple Google Analytics codes embedded, they are monitoring when a client registers on your site. Too many registrations for your Zillow Press site tells them they do not have the right seo for any terms you build, and they proceed to appropriate your market knowledge. I ranked #1, #2, #3 for a bundle of terms related to a school district I specialized in, that lasted for about 4 months. Stay away!!!!!

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Business News

Fake news? Well, what about fake reviews?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Amazon is swamped with fake reviews, making it harder than ever to trust whether or not a product is legit. How can you spot them and avoid falling victim to this shady practice?

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Person shopping online with credit card, but are they reading fake reviews?

These days, most of us have turned to online shopping in lieu of brick-and-mortar establishments to get our favorite items shipped directly to our front door. With many retailers still closed, and many more of us understandably wary of exposing ourselves to the risk of COVID-19, it’s easier to just click “buy” and then spend the next two days with our noses pressed to our windows in anticipation of the arrival of our new toy or garment. But are we at risk of being tricked by fake reviews?

If you’re like most people, you probably depend on product reviews to make a purchasing decision. Honestly, it’s perfectly reasonable to see what others thought of the item before you buy it. These online reviews are almost like your neighbor, who whipped out his lawnmower and bragged how it goes from 0 to 4 mph in less than thirty seconds. Obviously — obviously — you had to run out to your nearest garden center to pick up one of your own after his glowing review of it, right?

That’s kinda like online reviews, too. You can’t just knock on the purchaser’s door and ask them what they thought of it, which is why you carefully peruse those reviews and weigh those pros and cons. Okay, this shirt fits loose. Fine, these kitchen shears broke after three uses. Whoa, this brand of potato chips puts hair on your chest…? Sweet! And you also probably looked at those 3-star reviews, too, to see what was merely “meh” about the product. With this assortment of mixed reviews, you can be confident that you’re making a rock-solid choice.

Uh, sadly, nope.

Unfortunately, Amazon (as well as other major retailers, such as Walmart) are often fraught with a glut of fake reviews. In fact, there are numerous Facebook pages dedicated to the purchase of these reviews, and many of the reviewers are compensated with a monetary reward (usually the cost of the item, plus a few extra dollars for their work) for posting the glowing 5-star rave.

So what can you do to help protect yourself for falling for these seemingly harmless lies?

Well, first and foremost — a fake review isn’t necessarily harmless. If a defective or dangerous product is boosted by a false review, it can seriously harm you. Sure, there’s a good chance the fake reviews are benign, and the worst you’ll be in for it is losing a few bucks on a crap item. But if something is using counterfeit or unsafe ingredients (such as minoxidil in potato chips because, real talk, chips aren’t supposed to put hair on your chest), then yes, you need to be informed of it so you can make an educated decision about whether or not that item is coming home with you.

So, the question remains: How can you, intrepid shopper extraordinaire, avoid purchasing a lemon? (Unless, of course, your goal was to buy an actual lemon in the first place. Margaritas, anyone?) The good news is that there are a couple things you can do. For starters, common sense goes a long way. Do the reviews offer any context, or is it just line after line of, “Loved it!” without any actual feedback on the item? That’s why those 3-star reviews are so priceless. Usually the reviewer actually used the item and had a valid reason for their tepid review, allowing you to make an educated decision about it.

Finally, there are a couple of websites you can use to help you out. First, there’s Fakespot. This web extension will cull out all the fake reviews, allowing you to see at-a-glance the remaining genuine reviews. It then reviews the item for its credibility, letting you know if the seller was trying to pull a fast one on you. Then there’s ReviewMeta. Unlike Fakespot, this website goes through the views and instead of grading the seller, it actually grades the item based on the average score of the remaining real reviews. And by using both of these websites together to check those reviews? You’ve now got yourself a pretty decent idea if the product is actually worth your hard-earned dollars.

It’s far too easy to get scammed these days. However, by staying alert and remaining mindful about your online purchases (and avoiding the temptation to give into those stress-motivated impulse buys), you can avoid being bilked, too. And hey, instead of looking at online reviews, maybe you should go back to the old-fashioned way of doing it: By asking your neighbor for their opinions of items. Just, y’know, do it from at least six feet away, while wearing a face mask.

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Business News

Manufacturing is bouncing back, but supply of materials is struggling

(BUSINESS NEWS) As manufacturing demands surge, so do material costs. The pandemic has shifted where we’re putting our money, but supply is struggling to keep up.

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Manufacturing worker sealing a large pipe together.

As the United States’ manufacturing process comes back up to speed, a surge in demand is creating a shortage of the one thing manufacturers need in order to do their jobs: Supply.

Fox Business reports that, due to a much quicker return to normalcy for manufacturing than some expected, a price hike for materials is affecting everyone from the bottom up: “Prices for steel, aluminum, lumber and other materials are rising in response to higher order volumes. Commodity supply chains are now clogged with orders, causing some producers to add weekend hours and overtime for employees.”

The fast manufacturing rebound seems to be a harbinger of better days ahead, but this supply bottleneck could dampen producers’ resolve.

It should be noted that the spike in demand for goods which use the materials in question isn’t an entire surprise. As Fox notes, much less of consumer money has been going toward travel and dining out. This has resulted in more money flowing into things like appliances, vehicles, and entertainment commodities.

But the toll is hitting producers coming and going as things like depressed oil and the paper used in packaging undergo substantial price hikes, leading some companies to stockpile resources in hopes of having an edge in the future.

Others find themselves in the uncomfortable position of having to choose between lower profit margins or higher prices on manufactured productsa choice that is sure to impact consumers, if not the rate of consumption.

Indeed, some companies, such as Northwest Hardwoods, have an upper limit on the price they can charge on a finished product regardless of rising material costs.

It’s not all bad, of course. Global prices for materials like aluminum and scrap steel have gone up, which means people like Brad Serlinthe president of United Scrap Metalcan make a killing. “We can sell everything we have,” says Serlin, referencing “big orders” from recently busy steel mills.

As the pandemic wears on, though, one thing is crystal clear: The high demand for domestic goods coupled with rising global prices for materials is going to make for some severe price hikes in the coming months.

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Business News

Jeff Bezos steps down as Amazon CEO, moves into space travel

(BUSINESS NEWS) Jeff Bezos is stepping down as Amazon’s CEO in order to focus on other passions, such as his space company, Blue Origin.

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Jeff Bezos standing in front of very large Blue Moon spacecraft.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will no longer be Amazon’s CEO starting in the third quarter of 2021. On Tuesday, Bezos announced he is resigning and will hand the job over to Andy Jassy, Amazon Web Services’ CEO. Bezos will transition to the role of Executive Chair on Amazon’s board.

“I’m excited about this transition. Millions of customers depend on us for our services, and more than a million employees depend on us for their livelihoods. Being the CEO of Amazon is a deep responsibility, and it’s consuming,” said Bezos to employees in an email. “When you have a responsibility like that, it’s hard to put attention on anything else,” he said.

By stepping down, Bezos says he will have more “time and energy” to focus on “other passions” like Blue Origin, his space company. In 2000, the billionaire started the rocket company to make space travel affordable and easily accessible by using reusable launch vehicles.

Since the company was founded, it has yet to reach orbit and is lagging behind Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX). SpaceX, which began two-years after Blue Origin, has already achieved some huge milestones.

In September 2008, Falcon 1 became the first privately developed liquid-fuel rocket to reach Earth orbit. In May 2020, SpaceX launched two NASA astronauts to space.

Blue Origin has a lot of catching up to do, but, with more free time, Bezos might make sure the company moves full-speed ahead.

I mean, look at what he did with Amazon. In 1994, Bezos founded the multinational technology company. Since then, the e-commerce giant has grown into a trillion-dollar company. It has more than 1 million employees and millions of customers.

“This journey began some 27 years ago. Amazon was only an idea, and it had no name,” Bezos said. “Today, we employ 1.3 million talented, dedicated people, serve hundreds of millions of customers and businesses, and are widely recognized as one of the most successful companies in the world.”

There is no word about how much more involved Bezos will be with Blue Origin, but the company already has things to look forward to.

Last December, NASA selected Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket to “launch planetary, Earth observation, exploration, and scientific satellites for the agency.” This contract will allow the company to “compete for missions through Launch Service Task Orders issued by NASA.”

Last month, it conducted a successful flight test of its New Shepard capsule, and many more tests are, without a doubt, in the company’s future.

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