Real estate search site, Trulia.com has for the last ten months been less than truthful in their monthly price reduction reports as released on their site. In all monthly press releases distributed since Trulia began offering the ability to search by price reductions, they have claimed, “Trulia is the first and only national real estate site to provide consumers with the ability to use price reductions as a search filter.”
Our investigation shows that Better Homes & Gardens, Keller Williams, RE/MAX, Century 21 and Coldwell Banker’s national search portals do not offer a price reduction search parameter, so perhaps the statement that has been made ten times is partially true.
No, unfortunately, Trulia has been less than truthful, given that Zillow.com has offered the ability to search by price reductions since August of this year and Realtor.com has offered this feature since January of 2010. Popular IDX provider Diverse Solutions offers the ability to search by price reductions as well, so most anyone with a real estate website can offer this search parameter. In addition, individual Realtors have been able to report price reductions from their very own MLS since before the internet was conceived.
So why is Trulia fudging the details and trumping up reality?
On the heels of Trulia being named the only real estate company in the top five “fastest growing” in “buyer interest” according to alternative asset site SecondMarket.com, we began looking more closely at Trulia’s press releases. We noticed multiple questionable claims with the particular claim that they are the “only national real estate site to provide consumers with the ability to use price reductions as a search filter” immediately standing out. It could be sloppy PR, or it could be hype- either way, it’s inaccurate.
Trulia is threatened by the success of their competitors and according to Alexa.com, when compared to Zillow and Realtor.com, Trulia performs the worst in daily website reach, daily traffic rank, daily page views, bounce rate and time on site as outlined in the charts below, however traffic from search engines in part to their SEO gaming is doing well. Trulia is losing out to Zillow most likely because of the Zillow Mortgage Marketplace bringing in additional traffic and to Realtor.com due to their unmatched size and accuracy (not to mention name recognition and longevity).
Take a moment to review the site comparison below to see Trulia’s website performance against the other big two (Realtor.com and Zillow):
In a recent private study conducted by New Media Lab, Realtor.com ranked the highest in trust of data accuracy and usability when compared to Zillow and Trulia (although Trulia did rank highest for the aesthetics of their landing page).
The bottom line is that real estate search sites can have all the fancy tools and search paramaters possible, but accuracy not only in data (which even Zillow.com struggles with) but in press releases is critical. Home seekers, home sellers and Realtors place high importance on data accuracy and SecondMarket.com’s investors along with Trulia’s investors likely place high importance on the accuracy of how Trulia portrays itself.
Correction: original story noted Zillow’s price reduction search beginning in May. It has been updated to August although users have been able to see price history on individual listings since May 2010.