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Google’s Mortgage Marketplace Looks a Lot Like Zillow’s

google-mortgage-marketplaceWay back in June 2008, it was reported that Google had begun it’s online version of loan comparison shopping in the U.K. with very little word on when or if it would make a play in the U.S. and in October 2009, it finally launched in the States. Although this is not bleeding edge news, the news is that it’s made it’s way to Texas and was dead on accurate in discovering our location and presenting rates. Any search regarding mortgages will bring up a sponsored result with comparative rates allowing would be refis and buyers to compete and shop rates taking aim directly at Zillows Mortgage Marketplace (ZMM).

Rates are ad sponsored promotions by any and all lenders wishing to participate, however, Google reassures that rates are not teasers, and in fact are the natural rates in the market place. Consumers participating have full control over personal data and can restrict personal data exchange until they’ve fully compared all rates, just like ZMM.

google-mortgage-results

What’s so fascinating about all of this is Google’s incessant need to have its hands in all aspects of business, even Zillow’s, leaving many to wonder when Google will run out of friends.  It seeks no partnerships, but instead to absorb ideas and business models as their own if an ad can be placed beside it or a lead sold from it.

Obviously, ZMM kicks Google’s ass in the realm of buyer education and disintermediation, and is still the leader in relationship building between lender and consumer, but both have point comparison (points are fees borrowers pay to the lender in order to get a lower interest rate. The number of points refers to a percentage of the loan amount. For example, “2 points” means a charge of 2% of the loan amount.) leaving not a whole lot of difference in the physical outcome of results, but where I think Zillow comes out way ahead is experience and trust with the consumer, but let’s face it, Google can virtually answer any real estate related questions using even it’s competitors results- welcome to the information should be free world.

As the housing market heats back up in 2010 Zillow can beat Google in ‘first search’ with a traditional ad blitz, but the big picture I’m seeing from Google is essentially a start to finish search & buy scenario and probably looking heavily at the flat fee title option and comparative homeowner’s insurance to round it all off in an effort to capture more ad dollars.

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[cb type=”company”]Google[/cb]
[cb type=”company”]Zillow[/cb]

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

23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Ken Brand

    December 31, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Unless the US Government/CIA/FBI/DEA/NSA/Homeland Security/Sky Net, etc., has it’s tentacles buried deep inside Google, it won’t be long before there’s a snappy privacy/monopoly backlash from consumers, then Uncle Sam.

    We’ll see?

  2. Morgan Carey

    December 31, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    I am not so sure Zillow has a trust edge when it comes to consumers. Obviously if it was any normal “new” entity, the statement would hold – but Google’s “no evil” persona is well embedded in the consumers mind, thus they should have no problems from a “trust” factor – I wonder when the “of course we trust it, it’s from Google” era will end 🙂

    • Benn Rosales

      December 31, 2009 at 8:40 pm

      It ended for me when it got into the telephone biz., you? 🙂

    • Jim Duncan

      January 1, 2010 at 9:56 am

      I think more and more people are wary of Google’s presence in virtually every facet of their online lives. A question is – is it too late to pull out of Google?

      What happens when their facial recognition tech syncs with a critical mass of webcams …. and the google phone tracks everyone’s location all the time?

      A little bit of paranoia is healthy. 🙂

  3. Bob Wilson

    December 31, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Why is it people dont understand that Google is serious when they talk about organizing the WORLD’S information? The following is the first two sentences on Google’s corporate info page:

    “Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin named the search engine they built “Google,” a play on the word “googol,” the mathematical term for a 1 followed by 100 zeros. The name reflects the immense volume of information that exists, and the scope of Google’s mission: to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

    • Benn Rosales

      December 31, 2009 at 8:41 pm

      interesting that that quote leaves out the monetize part. 😉

    • Jim Duncan

      January 1, 2010 at 9:57 am

      People don’t understand it because they can’t understand it. “The world’s information” is just too big for most to comprehend.

      But …. Google means it. And they clearly intend to fulfill their goal.

  4. Morgan Carey

    December 31, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    They gots ta pay da billz son! 🙂

  5. Jim Duncan

    January 1, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Google is looking to dominate every market there is – whether that’s music, mapping or mortgages.

    From my limited Google-view it seems that if you develop a winning technology you had better either

    1) not let anyone know
    2) sell to google eventually
    3) fail when google runs you out of business.

    Can Zillow compete with Google? For a short while, most likely. Despite Z’s web presence, I’d argue that most people are still going to start their search for mortgages, real estate, realtors at Google.com.

    • Benn Rosales

      January 1, 2010 at 1:24 pm

      that’s it in a nutshell though Jim, you don’t have to sell to Google, they’ll just do it themselves 🙂

  6. daltonsbriefs

    January 3, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    I’m not as fearful as some of the commenters above. Many of my clients come to me having first checked out Lendingtree or other aggregators online, it gives them some comfort that they know what the rates are.

    Seriously thought I can’t remember the last time I lost a deal to an online lender, or even a newspaper listing of faked rate quotes, with lots of disclaimers to keep it legal. Real Estate professionals know better, since rates are unique these days to the specific client situation and asset. They are still for the most part advising their clients to use local experienced loan bankers.

  7. Joe Kramer

    February 5, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    The mortgage industry today is so complicated that the average consumer, even with the amount of information available online does not have neither the time nor the patience to figure out which loan is right for their needs and budget. Also most people understand that there is much more to getting a good deal on a mortgage than just a low rate.
    As for trusting Google? It’s 50/50 – most people associate Google with “paid advertising”, so instinctively they may (hopefully) assume the search results are biased and will not trust them.
    Only time will tell if Google completely takes over the world

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