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Agent Reviews

The real future of AgentMatch: it’s dead, but…

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Late last year, Realtor.com launched Realtor ranking site, AgentMatch, which fueled controversy and concerns that came in all shapes and sizes. It has since been scrapped. It is no more. Despite only piloting in two cities, the volume of criticism led to the program being shuttered, and while the company said at the time that AgentMatch wasn’t dead, they have since confirmed to us that it was put on the chopping block and they started from scratch.

When the reception was less than stellar, Move asked the most vocal critics (and even a few advocates they dug up) if they would be willing to join an Advisory Board dedicated to improving the idea and eventually resurrecting it. This handful of individuals had different concerns going into their commitment, ranging from how fair the data was for team members, to how consumer-friendly the information was.

Is it AgentMatch? AgentSearch? Find A Realtor 2.0?

Insiders at Move, Inc. (which operates Realtor.com, and the former AgentMatch product) tell us that AgentMatch is no more, and hotly contest other news outlets that have referred to the second coming of AgentMatch. Right now, it is being loosely referred to as “AgentSearch,” but we have also heard it called the next version of Realtor.com’s “Find a Realtor” feature.

They do not consider it a descendant of AgentMatch, because despite the same team leading the charge, not a single line of code from AgentMatch has been recycled into the future product – they say that they started over from scratch and insist that it is not a new version of an old product; it is not a successor.

What data will be offered and when will this launch?

Little is known about what the rankings will look like, what they will offer, or how the data will be remixed, and the company is tight-lipped regarding whether this will be a separate website like AgentMatch was, or if it will be baked right into Realtor.com’s “Find a Realtor.” We suspect the latter. One source noted that the new iteration will give consumers a “Google-esque experience,” but at this time, we cannot confirm that statement.

Further, Move cannot offer any release date on the new product and notes on the record that they “are collecting and consolidating feedback and ideas from our various audiences,” and it is way too soon to announce a launch date. We suspect the launch could be as early as June.

The effective feedback loop

After speaking to several Advisory Board members, the consensus is that the feedback process is extensive and efficient, with Move staff diligently incorporating the feedback into each iteration, still led by Ernie Graham.

“I can honestly say they’ve addressed every single one of my concerns,” said Advisory Board member, Rich Shearrow, VP of Realty Ohio, “and there were a lot of them.” He opined that they’ve come up with better ways to offer qualitative data to consumers that they can actually translate, rather than offer strictly quantitative, raw data.

Various Advisory Board members told us that because consumers don’t know what they don’t know, they advised that the new product properly match consumers to the appropriate agent, not based on production numbers. It seems that consumers will be able to search with more specificity, being matched on more specific criteria like pairing buyers and sellers with a Spanish speaking agent, or an agent who has expertise in horse farms or REOs, or an agent with a specific designation, and so forth.

Move’s monetization strategy for this tool is still unclear, but one Advisory Board member confirmed that as with AgentMatch, this new ratings product does not allow anyone to pay to be at the top of the results. We believe that also like AgentMatch, this tool will not cost anything to use or to appear in.

How will Move handle the rollout?

The sticking point for Advisory Board members when asked was what challenges Move will have when rolling out this new product, even though their involvement is limited to product development, not marketing the final tool. One acknowledged a lack of trust based on how the AgentMatch product was rolled out, and another asserted that the Zillow/Trulia/Realtor.com haters will hate it no matter what.

Bryan Robertson, Advisory Board member and Managing Broker at Catarra Real Estate in San Francisco, stated that through an extensive, steady stream of conversation, his concerns of how to weigh qualitative data and quantitative data properly have been addressed, and that he feels the Advisory Board members have helped guide Move into releasing a product that “solves a need and works.”

Advisory Board member Ryan Bokros, Director of Tech & Development for RE/MAX Hometown said that like listing syndication, “how do we make it better and use it to our advantage while still benefiting consumers?” He added, “as with any new technology or software that allows us to connect with consumers, as an industry, we must keep an open mind.”

The once vocally critical Shearrow emphatically noted that comparing AgentMatch to this new product is like comparing a $30k house to a $1.4M estate. When asked whether or not he believes Advisory Board members were chosen to be elevated in stature and silenced through involvement and NDAs, he laughed and noted, “if my efforts were being ignored, I would be vocal about it,” adding that he’s been “earned over” by how the Advisory Board’s concerns have been addressed by Move.

Shearrow closed by noting that when the new product launches, there will be skeptics, but for those people that spend more than 30 seconds exploring the final product, “they’ll be pleasantly surprised.”

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.

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