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Movity bends over to Trulia for mere pennies on the dollar

You heard about Movity.com here first, and today, it was announced that Trulia has acquired the geodata real estate site for an undisclosed amount (although in September, Movity received an unattributed $1.3M and nothing since), adding a new and highly innovative layer to the existing Trulia real estate search. Having launched from the 2010 YCombinator class, Movity aims to show buyers what an area is really like based on criteria such as noise, crime and resident reviews.

Movity launched in San Francisco, founded by Eric Wu (also co-founder of RentWiki.com) and never left private beta. We firmly believe that Movity is one of the only interesting innovations made to the real estate space in nearly two years with their unique approach to visualizing data and never aiming to regurgitate ideas of the other mega real estate search sites. Wu knew that Movity could upset Realtors by answering questions like “how loud is it here?” or “how safe is the neighborhood” or even “what do locals think of the subdivision?”

We’ve spent considerable time over email and on the phone with Eric this year and have first hand knowledge of the product. We learned this summer that part of his motivation was that he wanted to “disrupt” the real estate space (which we were excited to hear, it’s been rather boring). About the acquisition, Wu said, “We are excited to join a leader and innovator in the real estate market and contribute to a world class engineering organization. I’ve been impressed what Trulia has accomplished in the past few years, and together, we want to change the way people discover local information and find a place to live.”

Innovator? We’re not so sure about that… nor was Movity just months ago…

Trulia made a genius move by buying the geodata site Movity to improve their own offering, and got a bargain basement price, as Movity had not reached its full potential as it was envisioned. How disappointing. Earlier this year, Wu told us that the megasites were not innovating and now he is calling Trulia an innovator AND has sold out for so few pennies.

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We are not disappointed in Trulia however, this is easily one the coolest acquisitions they’ll ever make and it will garner a lot of attention their direction. Zillow has obviously bailed on the search game, leaning more practically to mortgages, leaving an opportunity open for Trulia to step in and add more real estate layers to their site.

“Finally, Trulia takes steps to come out of it’s shell as the “me too” company. It will be interesting to see what other YCombinator companies Trulia has their eyes on for 2011,” said AgentGenius.com founder, Benn Rosales. “From the consumer perspective, this will separate Trulia from Zillow and Move, Inc’s Realtor.com.”

Today is a sad day for idealists as Movity has sold out. Given the size and history of Trulia, unless they recognize the level of talent that Movity brings to the table and avoids squandering it, Movity will be held back. Trulia has been known for being cheap and inside sources complain to us of squandered talent and staff being forced to wear multiple hats, so we wonder if this is truly the creative environment that the Eric Wus of the world were hoping for.

On the flip side, it is certainly a day worthy of champagne toasts at Trulia, this will be a major improvement and injection of innovation that will set them apart in the consumers’ eyes (but don’t get too excited, the champagne was probably on sale).

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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.

26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Eric Wu

    December 21, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Thanks Lani.
    Appreciate the passion for Movity. Our team is 100% focused on innovating and changing the consumer experience. But more importantly, our vision is still to bring transparency to data that movers need to make better decisions. Merging with Trulia only allows us to accelerate that goal and reach a larger consumer base.

    Thanks again!

    -Eric Wu
    eric@movity.com

  2. Agent for Movoto

    December 21, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    ha. Well, it’s definitely smart on Trulia’s part. They’re basically buying what brokerages (like, say, Movoto) have been building into their sites from the beginning.

  3. hermanchan.com

    December 21, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    lani, i talked to my trulia amigos who actually echo your sentiments. will be interesting to see how this all pans out

  4. Jim Duncan

    December 22, 2010 at 8:32 am

    Very interesting acquisition. I’m looking forward to seeing how Trulia integrates Movity over the next few months. Having this kind of accurate data would be tremendously useful for me and for my clients.

    Bold statement by the way:

    “Zillow has obviously bailed on the search game, leaning more practically to mortgages …”

    You think so?

    • Benn Rosales

      December 22, 2010 at 11:50 am

      Let’s see… looking back over the past 12 months…. hrm, nope, not much happening in search… Doesn’t mean it won’t, just means it hasn’t. 🙂

    • Drew Meyers - Virtual Results

      December 22, 2010 at 1:45 pm

      I 100% agree – Zillow has not abandoned search at all. There is a ton of work that goes on behind the scenes that goes without much fanfare, but is crucial to improving the overall search experience.

  5. Nest Realty Group

    December 22, 2010 at 10:00 am

    We’ve actually been following Movity also. Anyone that can take all of that data out there and churn it into something useful for agents/buyers/sellers will be successful. It’s needed. The problem is that there is so much data out there that it’s tough to sort through the junk and actually filter it into something that makes sense to the general public. It will be interesting to see what happens here…

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