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Where in the World is Iggy?

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Buyside Realty & Iggy’s House have Vanished

We’ve been watching for the websites of Iggys and Buyside to reappear over this past week, but I find it odd that no press releases have been issued to explain server problems or outages, much less an adios.

Is this another case of a discounter fading into the night without a word? All we’re left to do is speculate…

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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55 Comments

55 Comments

  1. Bill Lublin

    June 29, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    See – See – See – That’s what I was talking about in my Post! Service Service Service! (DO you think I had too much caffiene today?) 😉

  2. Greg Cremia

    June 30, 2008 at 6:40 am

    and another one bites the dust.

  3. John

    June 30, 2008 at 9:53 am

    hahaha! Greg is right. But honestly caffeine is not good, you better stop drinking any drinks with caffeine.

  4. Paula Henry

    June 30, 2008 at 10:17 am

    R.I.P.

  5. Barry Cunningham | Real Estate Radio USA

    June 30, 2008 at 10:25 am

    This celebration and hoopla seems a bit ironic and sad at the same time. Just what are you happy about.?

  6. Greg Cremia

    June 30, 2008 at 11:27 am

    >This celebration and hoopla seems a bit ironic and sad at the same time. Just what are you happy about.?

    I am not sure who you are addressing here but if there is a glimmer of happiness on my face it is twofold.

    1. In this competitive business 2 less competitors means the market share goes up for the survivors.

    2. New business models appear on a regular basis and the media touts them as changing the face of real estate sales and putting us conventional brokers out of business. When they go under and we survive the onslaught there is nothing wrong with celebration.

    I don’t see the irony here and I save my sadness and pity for the truly unfortunate ( if you need I can provide a list) and not some failed venture capital backed attempt to put me out of business.

  7. Barry Cunningham

    June 30, 2008 at 11:32 am

    Greg..your response was even sadder. If they truly went out of business, then someone lost money. Hopefully nobody you know.

    Would you be as sad if say a few more ReMax or coldwell Banker shops called it a day?

  8. Russell Shaw

    June 30, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Buy Side & Iggys House together were set up a mortgage company to bypass Realtors and drive us out of business. They would list the house for FREE. They received quite a bit of publicity when they started. There were many companies that openly attempted to make nothing of Realtors and what we do.

    Like the others, they too failed. It was predictable that they would fail. I would not be happy if a Re/Max office closed. I am quite pleased that another of the we-do-nothing-for-less crowd has completely failed. Until the market changes to a hot sellers market – years up the road – all of the limited service companies will do poorly. At that time they will appear once again to change the face of real estate.

  9. Michelle B.

    June 30, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Iggy’s was listed in our local MLS directory, but no longer. Adios Iggy’s! Don’t let the door hit ya on the way out.

  10. Greg Cremia

    June 30, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Barry,

    You must be a really unhappy person if it bothers you and makes you sad when an investor looses money in a high risk venture.

    Personally, I save my grief for the less fortunate, the hungry and the homeless of the world.

  11. Barry Cunningham

    June 30, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Careful greg..you don’t want this to get personal..do you? Let me know ..don’t think the guys at AG would like it. But go ahead and let me know if you want to throw down. I’d be more than happy to oblige.

    That being said and the benefit of a doubt being given, I am quite the happy person. My question of irony has nothing to do with my personal happiness. It just goes to the maligned thinking that the demise of someone’s business in this industry of image challenged professionals is good and something to be applauded.

    It only goes to show how little some know about business and the manne that anti-competitive forces works to damage others in the same industry…which you are, and others here are.

    I don’t applaud the demise of competitors, much to the contrary, I rather welcome competition for I know the inherent value of said competition. Do you?

  12. Benn Rosales

    June 30, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    nm I read that wrong.

  13. Barry Cunningham

    June 30, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    @ Benn…????

  14. Benn Rosales

    June 30, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    hey, I’m a fast reader on a ‘phone’, I thought you were throwin at me and I hadn’t even said anything! 😉

  15. Benn Rosales

    June 30, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    and I’m not happy they’re out of business, but the competition was maybe just to sharp for them and the market didn’t help I’m sure. Survival of the fittest. This is one company I can say really had a great climate in which to succeed except for this year.

  16. Greg Cremia

    June 30, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Barry,

    Just exactly where did I applaud their demise? Please don’t put words in my mouth.

    You called it sad that some investors who were trying to put real estate agents out of business instead went out of business themselves. I don’t see this as a sad event. Again, there is too much sadness in the world to grieve when investors make mistakes.

    If I am the next one to bite the dust I don’t expect anyone to eulogize my demise. There are many entities looking to put me out of business. When they fail and I succeed I am not a bad person to smile about it, after all, it is a reflection of my success.

  17. Barry Cunningham

    June 30, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    @ greg….”and another one bites the dust.”…sorry I must have misunderstood. lol

    You said that I said..”You called it sad that some investors who were trying to put real estate agents out of business instead went out of business themselves.”..really???

    What I said was This celebration and hoopla seems a bit ironic and sad at the same time It just goes to the maligned thinking that the demise of someone’s business in this industry of image challenged professionals is good and something to be applauded.

    Said it earlier and now have said it again.

  18. Dan

    June 30, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Looks like it is still down and their poor clients are feeling the pain. Here is a comment from a woman who used the service:

    Talk about perfect timing! I listed my house with Iggy’s. They did actually do a fairly competent job of getting me on MLS …. for free.

    Now the kicker. I have an offer on my house, but we can’t get it finalized until the buyer’s realtor sends the contract thru Iggy’s because Iggy’s is my “broker”. And Iggy’s is not responding to phone, email or FAX.

    What am I supposed to do now?

  19. LJ

    June 30, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    As an Iggys House client on the buy-side, I think Iggys was on to something and the idea isn’t going to go away. Iggys House opened up the gates to information that real estate agents try to keep out of the public domain. Certain kinds of buyers, once they have the information, don’t need real estate agents. (That’s probably an ouch, but it’s true!)

    Iggys may be gone, but more and more information is going to become available to the buyer. So what does the traditional agent have to offer when a buyer knows what the agent knows? Service, service, service — what exactly does that mean? Businesses like Iggys are going to push the envelope on that question. And maybe that will improve the services of traditional agents!

    Iggys offered certain kinds of services and they performed those services well. They were responsive, quick, organized, personable. They charged a reasonable fee. As buyers, we did a lot of work, but we preferred doing it ourselves. Once we had the information about available homes and knew how to find out about area sales, we were good to go. I admit there were times when we felt like we needed some hand holding, but $6000 plus is a pretty steep fee for hand holding. An insightful how-to guide into both the simpler and more complicated aspects of home buying would do the trick.

    The market is terrible. Maybe entire real estate companies aren’t closing down, but you must know some traditional agents who have called it quits because they can’t make a living right now. Or some traditional agents who are barely hanging on?

    Iggys was/is on to something. It didn’t compromise on service at all. It offered the most necessary services to buyers (contractual, negotiation, record-tracking) and provided buyers with information to do the rest of the work themselves. So the threat isn’t really Iggys, it’s buyers with information.

  20. Jonathan Dalton

    June 30, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    Barry … disturbing blog post? Which of the less than 60 words in the post was disturbing?

    Wait … did you mean the comments? That’s different now, isn’t it. I also don’t see anything ironic in the overall reaction, based on the definition of ironic and my expectations of the response, but that’s another story.

    I have little sympathy for venture capitalists … they know the risks when they write the check. I find it rather unfortunate for the company’s clients who now are left in the lurch. I don’t find it cause for celebration but I do find it notable, just as I found it notable when my former company started cutting expenses like crazy – closing offices, turning loose experienced (read: well compensated) managers, etc.

    To LJ’s point, I see no threat from buyers with information. I’ve simply adapted my business to take advantage of the oft-incomplete information buyers have and help them the rest of the way. Perhaps there will be another company that will follow in Iggy’s ill-fated footsteps and if so, more power to them. Here’s hoping they learned from Iggy’s mistakes (after all, truly successful companies rarely disappear without so much as a whimper) and find a way to make that model viable.

    The clients who utilize such a model weren’t going to become my clients anyway. Far better to spend my time and energy and potential clients than those who have no interest in my services.

  21. Bob

    June 30, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    Iggy’s was never a threat.

  22. Eric Blackwell

    July 1, 2008 at 5:55 am

    I’d agree with bob that Iggy’s was never a real threat. i’d add one caveat though…the marketing message that they promoted was that listing REALTORS are worth nothing…and in that sense I kinda view them as a threat even though not individually–more as a marketing message I think is misguided.

    I’d agree with Russell on this…I would not want a fellow competitor (Realtor) to go down, and I am not cheering now, but I see it as all part of the same game.

    Barry, I am not sure what you found disturbing about this post…I certainly don’t have a problem with anyone smiling that their business model triumphed over an alternative. God knows there are enough folks having orgasmic reactions to every new model that is invented to TRY to take us out…even when we are adapting pretty well as an industry IMO.

  23. Barry Cunningham

    July 1, 2008 at 7:19 am

    Yes Jonathan and Eric, we felt the post was designed to bring on the result that it did and yes SOME of the comments were ..IMO…anti-competitive, and as such disturbing.

    The value of competition is seemingly lost by some here and trumpeting a competitors demise is wholly anti-capitalist (a number of those commenting have said as much you included) and not good for the industry.

    We spoke on the show yesterday how misguided it is to think that the current “business model triumphed over an alternative”. That is hardly what occurred here. But as always, I am sure it will make many sleep well.

    That is indeed the irony of this situation.

    The fact that you don’t see the irony is indeed another story. One that has many chapters and characters in it.

  24. Eric Blackwell

    July 1, 2008 at 7:49 am

    “The value of competition is seemingly lost by some here”

    I never said that competition did not bring about the best in an industry. Please don’t put those words in my mouth. I agree with you there, but I don’t think we owe VC funded startups who go after us any piety either.

    @”trumpeting a competitors demise is wholly anti-capitalist ”

    Here’s a little quote from Ray Kroc (founder of McDonald’s) on the demise of a competitor…

    “They’re gonna drown…let’s stick a hose in their mouth.”

    Compared to Kroc (an avid capitalist), we are pikers – as are you. Yet I don’t think I’d have the “brass” to call him anti-capitalist. Just competitive.

    NOONE here has even REMOTELY approached that level (of Kroc’s comment). (And I am NOT condoning it, necessarily) I just don’t think you excoriating Benn for noting the demise of a “competitor” (competitor meant only in the sense of promoting our business model as worthless) is appropriate. I personally not did not lose any sleep last night when they were competing with us that I am making up tonight. I am still focused wholly on improving how WE approach our customers and make sure we are providing them the best experience possible.

    Hope that explains why I think you are making much ado about nothing…this won’t be the first blog post noting the passing of a “competitor” nor the last. I don’t think folks are wrong for doing that.

  25. Barry Cunningham

    July 1, 2008 at 8:08 am

    This blather is wholly unproductive. Glad at least you here understand the need for competition
    for business to thrive.

    I hardly raked Ben over the coals. He said he believed it was a “Survival of the fittest” issue and that he was not happy that they were out of business, if indeed they are. It was others here who found comfort in their demise and that is anti-competitive.

    And actually Ray Kroc did not say that..you may want to check before misquoting. You see I worked for Disney and I know all too well the genesis of that quote and you have, as would be expected, taken it wholly out of context.

    Ray Kroc, while a fierce competitor, knew the value of competition as did his short time nemesis, Walt Disney.

    In football, as in hamburgers with Kroc or as it may be theme park development, I want to pummel my opponents, I want them to cry for mercy and yield, but..and this is what is lost on this argument, I know I NEED that opponent.

    I don’t want that competition to be eliminated. That does not enhance my business and anyone who thinks to the contrary in this regard, does not understand the value of competition whether it be vc funded or not.

  26. Benn Rosales

    July 1, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Barry, it’s an invitation to speculate, not celebrate, as at the time of this posting, we still could verify they were really out of business- and as you can see throughout this thread there is speculation and some fact coming to light.

    Thanks.

  27. Bob

    July 1, 2008 at 10:01 am

    Iggy’s wasn’t seen as competition to the standard agent business model by anyone other than Iggys. The only business model they really hurt was the fee for service, Redfin or uber discount types that the list a fsbo in the mls for a few bucks types. The fsbo market has always been around 20% of the market, so there was a niche for them. In the boom, every house listed had a better than even chance of selling, so it worked well. The only difference with Iggys and a dozen brokers in San Diego charging $99-$499 for a listing in the MLS was the fee. They all tried to make their profit on the mortgage. That was never competition for most agents and brokers.

    I want to pummel my opponents, I want them to cry for mercy and yield, but..and this is what is lost on this argument, I know I NEED that opponent.

    There is plenty of competition out there. What seems to be lost on you is that these guys didn’t make any real dent in the business of the typical agent or brokerage. They bragged about how many they listed – not how many were sold.

    To use your football analogy, Iggys was a team that relied on trick plays. Once they exhausted the gimmicks in the playbook and they had to lineup and run the ball on 3rd and short, or make the short pass over the middle, they couldn’t move the ball. They played 3 and out, unable to score.

    The death of a Foxton’s or an Iggy’s is newsworthy only because of the claims they made. You wouldn’t see the reaction you object to if these guys didn’t bash everyone else from the onset. The real reaction here that you are missing is the Homer Simpson “D’oh!”, which is because we all know that if you don’t make any money, you don’t stay in business.

    Of all the people who I would expect to be poking holes in a short-sighted, unprofitable business model, it would be you Barry.

  28. Barry Cunningham

    July 1, 2008 at 10:35 am

    Hey Bob…I would be the first, and have poked holes in various business models. You and I have tangled in such discussion.

    I just don’t dance on their graves.

  29. Jonathan Dalton

    July 1, 2008 at 11:19 am

    Blather? Hmmm …

    I have low expectations, Barry, so few things strike me as ironic.

    And I have to say that I am shocked – shocked! – that anyone would write a blog post knowing what kind of reaction would come.

  30. Bob

    July 1, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    Barry, I think the reaction has more to do with the death of the business model than the business.

  31. Russell Shaw

    July 1, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Genius Bob says, “I think the reaction has more to do with the death of the business model than the business.”

    I totally agree. These types of companies were not “competitors” of mine – the kind of people I admire and respect. Companies like Foxtons, Iggys, etc. were nothing but market disruptions and at the same time, the darlings of the media. Every last one of them either has completely failed or soon will. They brought nothing to the table, had nothing new and offered nothing of value to consumers in general (which is the real reason they fail).

    It was their behavior and business model that was “anti-competitive” – not the subsequent grave dancing.

  32. Barry Cunningham

    July 1, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Based upon that rationale can I now begin a deathroll of the tens of thousands of real estate agents and brokerages that have went out of business as an indication of the relative failure of the conventional real estate business model?

    Let’s start a score card. Anyone want to offer any predictions as to how many conventional real estate practitioners have gone out of business versus how many Iggy type business practitioners?

    I would think it would be safe to say that it would be an overwhelming and resounding exclamation mark underscoring that the conventional business model is faring far worse than the Iggy type business model. That is if we use the rational exhibited here.

  33. Barry Cunningham

    July 1, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Russell…wow..expected more…but then again…it’s just more of the same..as always. But I understand why you have to say what you did.

  34. Russell Shaw

    July 1, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    The number of individual agents going out of business will be in the hundreds of thousands. And that is a death roll you have been announcing from the time you arrived. I don’t dispute it. Well over half of all agents either sell nothing or so little as to make them completely non-viable. About a third – in *any* given year, even in “good times” – sell *nothing*. No argument on that point.

  35. Holly White

    July 1, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    @Bob – I agree 100%.

    The comment (#18) that Dan made about a client who couldn’t get an offer through says it all. Full service brokerage’s have a place and will always have a place in this industry. You get what you pay for. I’ll bet if that poor client of Iggy’s could turn back time, they would have gladly paid full service broker rates to close their home. Now, who knows how long they’ll have to wait before they can even start marketing their home again. Discount brokers look good on paper, but again, you get what you pay for.

  36. Jonathan Dalton

    July 1, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    The flaw in your logic, Barry, is that everyone else has the same business model. I don’t operate my business the same way as Russell or Jay or anyone else around here. Maybe there are similarities in certain aspects but there’s not just one model on one side and then anyone who offers discounted services.

  37. Barry Cunningham

    July 1, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    There’s no flaw Jonathan. It’s YOUR perception. I think the consumer would think otherwise.

  38. Jonathan Dalton

    July 1, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    If that consumer chooses not to make any effort to learn the differences between agents, between companies, between marketing plans and all the rest … in other words, if they choose to believe that the real estate world is Pangea – a homogeneous mass of the same – with only one or two pieces breaking off to try something new (which often isn’t new at all, See: Redfin) then I suppose you’re right.

    If the consumer spends 30 seconds researching the differences, I think you’re perception is wrong.

  39. Barry Cunningham

    July 1, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Hey jonathan, have there been any $40 Million ad campaigns telling the consumer to find out “the differences between agents, between companies, between marketing plans”…orhas there been a concerted effort by the NAR to promote uniformity.

    I recall seeing ads and commercials directing the consumer to contact a Realtor. I have not seen any commercials telling the consumer to call and agent and ask questions to see if they know what the heck they are talking about.

    I might have missed the NAR campaign promoting the fact that all agents aren’t created equal.

    I do think the consumer needs to do the research that you are speaking of. Are you saying that most agents would answer such questions with the utmost transparency and veracity?

  40. Jonathan Dalton

    July 1, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    I can’t answer for any agent other than myself but I have no issue answering honestly and even with veracity should the mood strike.

    Have there been any ad campaigns from Chrysler (or any other dealer) promoting the merits of one dealership versus another or has there been a concerted effort from Chrysler to promote uniformity?

  41. Barry Cunningham

    July 1, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    Jonathan are you kidding me…Chrysler stands behind there product. It pulled them from bankruptcy..I think that Iacocca’s use of rebates was a real catalyst.

  42. Eric Blackwell

    July 1, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    I think it should be mandatory for Chrysler to promote Yugos… and remember…No celebrations when a Yugo dealership goes under!!!…ESPECIALLY since their marketing mantra was “Chryslers suck…Yugo’s cost less…”. (hypothetical…)

    Just using a little absurdity to point out the flaws in that logic. Whether the Chrysler dealer sells the cars with the sexy lady getting out of it or whether he sells it by DEMONSTRATING that it has 300 horsepower to the Yugo’s 54 horsepower, he still has a right to sell whatever package he wants and the consuming public has a right to buy what it wants. He is not obligated to say ” Are you REALLY sure you want the leather seats?…Some people say that they don’t NEED that.”

    What I think we learn in these tough times is that some of the models that worked momentarily when real estate was REALLY hot MAY not work now near as well…It takes money and effort to not just list but MARKET in today’s real estate.

  43. Jonathan Dalton

    July 1, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    I wasn’t asking about the quality of a Chrysler automobile. (I own one, incidentally.) I simply was asking if they promote individual dealerships, as you asked of NAR, or the brand in general? We know the answer, of course.

    As much fun as these circular arguments are, it’s time for me to jump back off the merry-go-round and go back to the business of selling real estate. And business has been quite good for the last several months.

  44. Bob

    July 1, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    I agree that the consumer would think otherwise, Barry. They see distinct differences in models, not the more subtle ones that exist between Jonathon and me.

    The point is that while 100k “traditional” agents (and quite a few brokerages) will bite the dust, the business model will remain, at least for the foreseeable future.

    FWIW, I don’t agree with the “you get what you pay for” argument as the reason for failed businesses. Clearly they had clients, but they bet the house on making it on the mortgage end. For me, this is only about a business model doomed to financial failure because they counted on client loyalty..

  45. Barry Cunningham

    July 1, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    Eric..lay off the caffeine dude…

    Jonathan your right…let’s close this bar..had enough…

  46. Jennifer in Louisville

    July 2, 2008 at 6:10 am

    Eric – drink more caffeine because your example is spot on. Iggys was a discounter and touted that real estate agents get paid too much and that they offered the SAME thing that real estate agents did (they viewed that the MLS was really the only thing that real estate agents had to offer). Am I glad they failed? Sure. Their entire business model was built around that real estate agents had nothing to offer and offered no value to the consumer.

  47. Eric Blackwell

    July 2, 2008 at 6:14 am

    The cap is back on the Diet Mt. Dew…grin….Even though I do stand by my assertion. When someone hollers “’nuff”, I respect that.

  48. Holly White

    July 2, 2008 at 6:18 am

    @Eric – Well that’s very noble of you but I say twist that cap back off. We like it when you’re all pumped up on caffeine! And I will always believe that you get what you pay for…

  49. Buea knigels

    July 15, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    This just in. iggys website will be back up and running by Thursday.

    i guess they were just reconstructing

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Austin

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Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

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