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Is Trulia Getting Right What Realtor.com is Getting WRONG?


Trulia Announced…

Last night Trulia launched Trulia Pro. Rudy, Trulia’s Social Media Guru, sent me an email an hour or so before it went live, and I was there right away to sign up as a paying customer. Like most of agents, I like to keep my advertising budget under control, and testing new and unproven products is not something I do often. But Trulia really seemed to be offering a GREAT value for a reasonable cost. Plus they are currently giving out 3 months FREE if you mention my name. OK, you don’t even have to mention my name, and you will get the 3 months free, as long as you PROMISE not to tell anyone in my market about Trulia PRO 😉

What Did I Have to Show For It?

A few years ago I stupidly coughed up about $2,500 to buy a “showcased home” slot on Realtor.com for my home town, Birmingham, MI. Allan Dalton is a very inspirational speaker and he convinced me to whip out my credit card at a seminar so I could secure that valuable piece of Realtor.com virtual real estate. Homes are pricey here, so this was in their upper tier for zip codes at that time. I got one of 8 rotating featured spots for my zip code, so half the time my ad was not even on the front page. When I did not have any listings in 48009 I could insert anywhere else, but how useful is that really? After one year, and NOTHING to show for it, I dropped the service.

I have held on to the “enhanced listing” package from Realtor.com for 5 or so years. Frankly, now I don’t have a choice because our brokerage has all of it’s listings enhanced. I do get somewhat regular inquiries from my enhanced listings, and our cost on this is not far off from what I just agreed to pay Trulia monthly, only because the broker negotiated for us. If I were paying myself, I think my cost would be a couple thousand dollars, because I think I have something like 50-70 listings in a 12 month period. Did not do the research on the cost lately.

Is Trulia Better?

At first blush, Trulia is providing a better value and a better branding opportunity. I also think their price might go up, since they are just launching now. That remains to be seen.

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Here is what I like about Trulia Pro:

  • I get unlimited spotlight ads. That means my little picture and URL show up on all of the locations I want to target. Suggestions/questions to Trulia: let me have different ads for different areas; and how many ads will you allow for an area? I don’t want to be one of eight again…
  • I can “feature” all of my listings. That means they come up at the beginning of the search results.
  • It’s reasonably priced.
  • I use Trulia Voices, so I think this gives prospects a very well rounded picture of who I am. They can click through to my profile, see most of my listings (I claim most of them) and see how I answer questions. There are links back to my sites from my profile.
  • Trulia provides some of the most robust information out there for consumers in a very appealing format. If I were a consumer, I would rather search on Trulia than on Realtor.com.
  • I have a second listing presentation tomorrow for a prospect who found me on Trulia. His father wasn’t sure what site he had found me on, but he knew I was helping someone with a problem they had with a real estate situation (that was not caused by me). I knew right away it was Trulia Voices.

What Trulia Needs To Do

My biggest “issue” with Trulia is that I wish I could control the feed that they take for my listings. Right now my broker is submitting, I submit, our franchiser submits, vflyer.com submits and the local real estate book submits. I would like to control that they take MY feed first, from miBirmingham.com. That is where I have the most robust information about my listings. I never know which feed Trulia will pick up, and I don’t know how I can influence that.

Oh yeah, and if Trulia would accept American Express for payment, that would make me happy too.

Last night I saw a fair amount of traffic coming into my blog from my spotlight ad. It might have been Rudy checking to see if I was live yet. I’ll be tracking the stats and the results, and I will let you know how it goes.

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Written By

Writer for national real estate opinion column AgentGenius.com, focusing on the improvement of the real estate industry by educating peers about technology, real estate legislation, ethics, practices and brokerage with the end result being that consumers have a better experience.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Rudy from Trulia.com

    June 19, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Hi Maureen!

    Interesting image 🙂 Thanks for some really great perspective. I’ll jump back to leave a more thoughtful comment after the radio show on real estate radio at 4:20pm today – https://www.truliablog.com/2008/06/19/trulia-on-real-estate-radio-usa-today-420pm-est/

    Rudy
    Social Media Guru at Trulia

  2. Aria Schoenfelt, Austin Luxury Homes

    June 19, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    Finally, something nice to say about Trulia! I’m sure you will get a barage of emails and comments back for this. Many agents are upset with Trulia right now because they are climbing up search engine results. They are succeeding because they are offering information in a very usable way to both consumers and agents. I don’t subscribe to any Realtor.com services because of price and, well frankly, confusion. Trulia keeps it simple and doesn’t try to limit any information to the consumer as NAR and others try to do.

    I for one will admit that I am not the keeper of information. I am the analyzer of information because of the experience and knowledge that I have. Without that, I’d be a scrambling agent. With that, I’m a successful Real Estate Consultant.

    As for Trulia climbing up the Google ladder, I think they’ve earned it. I will also admit that although I think I have a great website and that it does produce results for me, I am really no match for anyone who works on web development and marketing full-time (however those who simply want my money to produce me a mediocre site are no match for my drive and passion.) If you can’t beat ‘e,. join ’em!

    If Trulia’s Google presence bothers you, use a “no follow” tag when you link to them. Add it into the link code. It looks like this:

    rel=”no-follow”

    Just add the no-follow part. I do, however, believe in giving credit where credit is due. If you use their RSS feeds, widgets, etc, don’t you think you should make sure to leave their branding and give them a link somewhere?

    Anyway if you want more on that, I recommend reading Is Google Taking Over the World? where I ramble much further into this sub-topic.
    Anyway, I had a post on this topic of Maureen’s great post.

  3. Paula Henry

    June 19, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    Maureen –

    I did not see the three month free option – I even looked for a place to put your name:)

    I do like Trulia and like you – would like to choose the feed they publish…..you mean they don’t accept AMEX. Hmmmm…

    I’ll check it out more – thanks for an excellent review.

  4. Tina Merritt

    June 19, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    I got the Twitter message from Trulia yesterday that Trulia Pro had launched and started researching it last night. Thanks for finishing my research! I’m off to sign up and see if I can find those 3 free months!

    Tina in Virginia

  5. Rudy from Trulia.com

    June 19, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Hi Ines!

    I promise I’ll leave my thoughts on your great post tomorrow…..Sara and I are celebrating our 4 year wedding anniversary……shutting down for the night…….

    For Tina and Paula – Get Your free 3 months here: https://www.trulia.com/truliapro/promo/

    Offer ends July 31, 2008

    Night all…..

    Rudy
    Social Media Guru at Trulia

  6. Barry Cunningham

    June 19, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    We interviewed Rudy today live on air and Trulia is DEFINITELY getting it right. Trulia Pro is an absolute no brainer!

  7. Jim Gatos

    June 19, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    My brokerage has some kind of a deal with Realtor.com where the agents only pay $99 for enhanced listings, It’s nice, and it’s advantageous, but they at realtor.com are getting ridiculous with the masses. They give me the feeling they act like we as Realtors are all working for them…. Pretty sad.. cocky, and just mean spirited sometimes.

    I sincerely wish Trulia would offer cheap or affordable IDX or Vow services. I’d be glad to pay them a fair price. I’ve been looking for an IDX for my website and blog… I checked that dsSearchAgent too.. (They charge TOO much for Massachusetts because they don’t want to pay my “MLSPIN” Provider a $500 “sql fee.. ) and the IDX’s I checked out for the most part can’t hold a candle to Trulia.. and agents wonder why no one goes to their site… Realtor.com’s sites aren’t that bad; but for what you’re getting I think you can do better…

    Of course an IDX from Trulia should be geared to help the agent; that means no info on who the other company is if the client signed in.. But can you imagine… Maps, RSS Feeds, etc, etc.. on indiividual agents sites.. Watch the numbers go up, Trulia!

  8. ines

    June 19, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    I think Rudy had a lapse there – was he talking to me and I wasn’t even here? LOL!

    I just signed up to Trulia Pro – and I totally agree with you, it would be great if the system would tell you how many other pros we will be sharing a particular spotlight with or maybe give it should have a limit.

    I do think it’s great that you can monitor those hits and decide what areas you are getting good results from. I am very optimistic about this and right now I would much rather give marketing dollars to Trulia than Realtor.com

  9. ines

    June 19, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    Oh….I know……he “knew” I was coming 🙂

  10. Michael Price

    June 19, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    Maureen,
    I’m assuming from the post that all of your links are going to your Trulia Voices profile. Is it possible to have some of them go to your profile and some of them go to your web site or a landing page? I’m thinking maybe it would be good to test the waters as to which may be more effective.

    I would be interested in knowing what your click through rates are after you have had a while to run the campaign. If you’re not doing it already, its pretty easy to set it up as a campaign in the free Google Analytics Software.

  11. Rudy from Trulia.com

    June 20, 2008 at 10:13 am

    Good morning all!

    Yes, I misspoke. I said Ines, cause she’s always on my mind :), rather than Maureen. My bad Maureen. I wanted to leave a comment yesterday but didn’t have the time….

    First of all, thanks so much for trying our Trulia Pro. I see you’re ad for Birmingham, MI and it looks great. Thus far, you are the only one for that area. Which, is a good thing for you. Your face and brand will be seen for virtually all the searches in the geographic areas you selected. Ah, the benefits of being an early adopter 🙂

    I like your thoughts on the Spotlight Ad – create different ads for different areas. At first, we wanted to make the process as simple as possible to both create and track. We’ll most certainly consider ideas like this one for the future.

    Today, we allow unlimited advertisers for each geography. The early adopters will benefit most as they will garner the most impressions for each geography they select – choose up to 20 geographic locations. We will monitor the progress of Trulia Pro closely and improve and enhance as needed.

    The great thing for agents whio already have created their Trulia Profile, is that we use some of that profile information to pre-populate your ad. This helps speed up the process for you. However, you have complete control of the ad copy and can make changes anytime to suit your needs.

    Congrats of your second prospect via Trulia and good luck on your listing presentation. Those are some lucky home sellers I tell ya 🙂

    Trulia’s standard operating procedure for listing feeds is meant to provide the best info for the consumer – we may not always get it right, but we find it’s generally the best solution. That said, with Trulia Pro, you can direct consumers anywhere you like from your listings.

    Maybe we’ll incorporate Amex at a later date, but for now, their just so expensive 🙂

    I did check your ad, but only a couple times 🙂

    Thanks again for some great feedback Maureen.

    Rudy
    Social Media Guru at Trulia

  12. Rudy from Trulia.com

    June 20, 2008 at 10:31 am

    @ Barry – Thanks for being such great hosts. That was a lot of fun.

    @ Jim – Sorry, but we’re not an IDX provider.

    @ Ines – Glad to see you on board with Trulia Pro. I see you’re our first early adopter in Miami now. Sweet. Interesting idea to display the number of other advertisers in your geo. All feed back is good. Thanks for your support. We hope we can provide you with some good value.

    @ Michael – Hope all is well with you. You can point the link wherever you like. We’re interested in all metrics as well. One other thing to consider, just like a billboard on a highway or Times Square, there are lots of people passing by. On Trulia however, most are targeted to the geo you selected. It’s a great brand building vehicle.

  13. John Sabia

    June 21, 2008 at 8:52 am

    Let’s get real here. They are most likely climbing the search engines because they hoard page rank thru the use of “nofollows” and redirects all the while obtaining live links back to their site. There is enough information out there folks.

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