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Trulia to help consumers rate Realtors and shop commissions? – buzz

Big announcement from Trulia?

In December, Zillow announced they added Realtor ratings to their site, followed by the launch of Mountain of Agents in February 2011, followed by the beta launch of AgentLeaf.com in Spring 2011 after being founded in October 2010, according to CrunchBase.com where it is specifically listed under the description “Realtor Ratings and Commission Rebates.”

AgentLeaf.com offers rankings of real estate agents based on MLS data of their actual sales stats and gives a commission rebate option when consumers use participating agents. The reaction to the commission rebate portion of the site was received negatively by the AGBeat readers and stirred up some controversy. When we interviewed AgentLeaf.com CEO and Founder, Matthew Holder, he was relatively evasive about his plans and claimed his reason was that they were still in beta.

A budding startup

Prior to March, Holder was on a hiring spree with job listings online ranging from a CTO/VP to an Online Marketing Guru, showing all the makings of a budding startup. According to CrunchBase.com, there are five employees and one member of the Board of Directors.

Against the backdrop of competitive sites like MountainofAgents.com and Zillow’s Realtor Ratings system, AgentLeaf.com is no more. The site and all backpages have been redirected to Google.com with no announcement as to why. AgentLeaf.Blogspot.com’s last entry was on March 28, 2011 as was their last Facebook Page entry, and the company’s last tweet was on April 5, 2011. None of these social networks offered any explanation as to why all operations ceased.

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The exit of a CEO

Meanwhile, Holder was hired this spring as a Product Manager at Trulia and although no announcement was made on the Trulia Blog of his hiring and his Twitter account doesn’t claim ties to Trulia, Holder didn’t mention Trulia once on Twitter from March 1st to March 30th, but in the 113 days since, 196 references to Trulia have been made on his Twitter account ranging from postings of open Trulia jobs to Foursquare check-ins to Trulia headquarters as well as retweets of various Trulia employees, with Trulia being his primary topic of conversation.

Holder’s Linked-In profile as well as AgentLeaf’s Board of Directors member Alexandre Linares list AgentLeaf’s end date as March 2011 despite that being the time period Holder informed us that they would be launching in various cities shortly.

Speculation of Trulia’s big announcement

The timing of all of these events tied together and how a budding company went silent overnight are quite intriguing. Speculation is that the big announcement Trulia has planned for next week is that Trulia has acquired the technology or at least the talent behind AgentLeaf.com to rate Realtors and reveal their sales stats through the MLS, as well as offer the option for consumers to shop for agents that are willing to offer competitive commission rebates. At a minimum, it appears to be a talent acquisition, but it could be Trulia’s foray into the ratings offering they currently lack. We suspect that Trulia will add Realtor ratings in the near future and it remains unseen as to whether or not they will publicly tie that feature to AgentLeaf.com or to Holder.

We have no confirmation as to whether or not the controversial commission rebates portion of the Realtor ranking product would be included, nor what their announcement is for July 28th, and Trulia indicated that they would respond to our request for comment at a later date. What Trulia did tell us, however, is that today, they will be launching agent recommendations but indicated they didn’t anticipate any controversy attached to the soft launch.

UPDATE: Click here to see what Trulia said about commission rebate shopping.

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Rudy

    July 22, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Hi Lani!

    We just launched recommendations. I think agents will enjoy the ability to get recommended by their clients, peers and social graph on Trulia and Facebook.

    More info can be found here: pro.truliablog.com/grow-business/digitize-word-of-mouth-referrals-get-recommended-on-trulia/

    Best,

    Rudy

  2. Marc Girolimetti

    July 25, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Why are you even writing about Trulia here when we all know Redfin is the greatest online real estate application of all time? Full disclosure. I don't know a single soul over there. I just happen to use Redfin all the time and every person I turn onto it never looks back. I used to use Trulia religiously, but Redfin is so on point with everything they do. Too bad they aren't nationwide yet, but I can respect the slow growth, perfect the model, approach.

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