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Product Review

Who In Hell Do You Think You Are?

wolf-in-sheeps-clothing.jpg

Blah blah blah B.S. about aggregators. Transparency, schmasparency. You’ve revolutionized nothing. You are a designer store with no product- that’s what you are. Search is not a product- that’s why you can’t sell it. Consumers aren’t buying it. In fact, you provide so little value, you’re ticking them off.

At best, you are a software designer trying to pimp what you do not own.

So you built a clothing store? A designer of fine clothing you are not- your store shelves are bare. The answer? Pawn off your spin on how Levi’s won’t give you access to their exclusive designers, materials, research, and trade data as the reason for the barren shelves in your failed store.

Your lack of product is no one’s fault but your own. Your oversight and wish is that you had the product the MLS has- data, LISTINGS! You want data? Get it from the store that owns the data- or (here’s a novel idea) get your own product. Prove yourself as the revolutionary you claim to be, or die as what you are- a software pimp trying to make money off of ads, and off the backs of the Realtors you badmouth.

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Want us to be transparent? Then show us your numbers. Show us what you’re making per click on ads. What are you getting paid on banner clicks? Show us your wallet, or shut up. While you’re at it, be sure you let the consumer in on trade agreements you’re making with other aggregators. I’ve had about enough of this lopsided conversation. How about you put your money where your mouth is and go non-profit, otherwise transparent public interest- my ass, you have no concern for the public’s interest.

You’ve yet to sell yourself as an alternative, so instead you’ll beat up on those that actually have product- Realtors. You’re preying off of the backs of years of exclusive listing agreement data. How in world do you make the case that the data belongs to the public when it is the product of the MLS? You can’t. Why? Because, it is the equivalent of you shopping my pantry to sell my groceries in your designer store, all while bad mouthing me, and selling them back to me… Groceries you did nothing to acquire- I did.

I’ve about had it, but I’ll offer you a piece of advice- get your hands out of my warehouse and design a product. My advice for local boards- lock your pantries and you’ll find some great new search software on sale at hella discount prices.

I’ll tell you who you really are in case you missed it- you’re a business with no product, and the fault is all your own. I’m all for competing, but beating up on the better player with the talent is what it is- a sore loser. If you are nothing else, you’re better than that.

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Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network. Before AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation has received the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular offline events. He does not venture into the spotlight often, rather he believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits and develops, so he gives all credit to those he's empowered.

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Brian Brady

    March 4, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    This is one helluva vendor bash/rant. I’m proud of you.

  2. Brian Brady

    March 4, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    Now that you’ve got the eyeballs (oh…they’re coming), be prepared to moderate a good discussion.

  3. Teresa Boardman

    March 4, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    Not sure who you ar aiming at but if it is the non real estate web sites like Trulia and Zillow that make money off of our listings and our conversations they should be here shortly to leave a comment. They will tell you what a great service they do consumers and how generous they are. I thought they were non profits here to help us all. LOL

  4. Candy Lynn

    March 4, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Benn:
    ok now tell us what you really think!

    Actually great perspective on issues. As an old retailer – no product – no store makes sense.

    As a REALTOR(R) we own the listing but not the actual product that changes hands- the real property. The difference is the bilateral listing contract between the seller & the listing broker. As party to a bilateral contract we own the listing.

    All this makes sense in the old web 1.0 but what about the new web 2.0? How do we as REALTORS (btw – I HATE THE USE OF CAPS FOR realtor) keep pace in web 2.0?

  5. Rob Aubrey

    March 4, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    yeah what he said

  6. Ines

    March 4, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    What I can’t understand is why they talk trash about us if we are the ones that provide their content – we provide the merchandise they need to survive. I say let’s cut them off!

  7. Erion Shehaj

    March 4, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    Benn

    What a rant!

    Pardon my being slow, but can you tell us what company you are referring to so we know who to hate? And what do you mean by “badmouthing realtors” … Can you provide a link?

  8. Rob Aubrey

    March 4, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    #8 There are a handful that the shoe fits, don’t be prejudice.

  9. Brad Nix

    March 4, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    Solid rant on real issues about Zillow, Trulia, Roost, et al. I say you have to throw Realtor.com into the mix as well. If NAR really wanted to help it’s membership, shouldn’t it roll out a higher level basic service to equal these search alternatives before upcharging us to death? I think the generic rant fits as there are so many companies and associations this could pertain to it would be unfair to single just one out.

  10. Ryan Hukill

    March 5, 2008 at 12:18 am

    Benn, all I can say is ‘BRAVO, my friend, BRAVO!’

  11. Greg Cremia

    March 5, 2008 at 7:58 am

    Sounds like somebody got a rude phone call from a telemarketer selling leads.

    One thing the web has shown is that consumers typically are not looking for agents. They are looking for real estate and they want it now. They don’t want to fill out a form and wait to be contacted.

    Lead generators provide agents. This is not what consumers are looking for. Without listings their value will continue to diminish in the consumer’s eyes.

  12. Rick Grant

    March 5, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Passion. That’s a good thing.

    Part of the problem is that this is a really confusing issue to consumers. I know it shouldn’t be, but the truth is they think that either real estate agents own the listings, aggregating websites own them or that they are just public record data. Real estate brokers own real estate listings and agents are the workers that basically do what these websites you’re bashing do, wave the listings under a prospect’s nose and hope for a piece of the action. Sure some agents are great, but the vast majority are pretty awful.

    Brokers have been wrestling with this issue for many years, both with their own boards, the NAR and other online information providers. The feature I just finished for Mortgage Banking Magazine talks about Bank on Real Estate, yet another information provider that is working with RE Brokers to put their listings on bank websites. Prepare for more ranting. But as the CEO of one of the nation’s largest brokerages told me for the story, a database that isn’t used is worthless. That data will be leveraged. It’s a fact of life.

    If you’re a broker and you don’t want anyone using your listings, don’t allow it. If you’re an agent and you’re angry that someone else is out there getting paid on information your broker is also making available to you, fight back. Power up your website. Write a blog. Do some marketing. Be one of the great agents and leave the competition to the Devil. I guarantee you it will do more for your business than writing this post has done for mine. 🙂

    Good luck out there.

  13. Trevor Smith

    March 5, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    I think it may be unfair to direct your hate in such general manner…. It’s like taking a shotgun to all of Real Estate 2.0.

    Directing your hate more precisely would probably carry more weight, substance, and meaning.

  14. Benn Rosales

    March 5, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Yeah, generalizing is a bitch, and so is disruption used to steal product. Everything I’ve said is truth, if the shoe fits, wear it with caution.

  15. Matt Scoggins

    March 5, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    One of the best posts I’ve read in a while! Great job, Benn.

  16. Teresa Boardman

    March 5, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    Benn, I just have to ask, it has been bothering me ever since I saw this post. Did you draw the picture yourself or was it done by a pro?

  17. Benn Rosales

    March 6, 2008 at 9:22 am

    Teresa, a child prodigy drew this work of art…

  18. Sue

    July 4, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    Benn, I admire your candor. I agree that realtor.com should be thrown in there. They are way out of line with their prices and where would be be without our listings…

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