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MySpace Should Buy Trulia, Zillow and Active Rain

MySpace, Active Rain, Trulia, and Zillow. The perfect merger.

Active Rain: The best place for B2B sales in the real estate industry. Mortgage originators, title reps, and escrow officers who aren’t playing in the “Rain” are missing out on an incredible opportunity. I’m not going to expand on that anymore in the interest of greed. Realtors can juice their SEO on Active Rain, trade war stories, and learn the art of weblogging but they really aren’t having enough conversations with a consumer to warrant the time investment to have a presence there.

Zillow: The consumers I’ve “met” from Zillow tend to be “over-educated”. They are the “know everything” engineer-types who value real estate professionals only as a functionary. Contrary to tech culture belief, a business can not be built on commodity shopping; there is no incentive for participation from the real estate professional community. Zillow’s automated valuation model, however, may very well be the best use of technology for real estate. Consumers LOVE it regardless of it’s inaccuracies.

Trulia: Perhaps the best opportunity for a real estate professional to establish a credible web presence is in the Trulia Voices section. Just two weeks old, Trulia Voices is attracting consumers and providing a forum for professionals to answer questions. Buyers flock to Trulia because of the listings. Control the listings and you control the game.

MySpace: Last summer, Myspace just registered it’s 100 millionth user. Critics claim that MySpace is for teenagers and is not to be taken seriously. That is incorrect. Over half of the visitors on Myspace are over 35 years old as the site starts to mirror the population. Any MySpace user can tell you about the cultural shift these “graying users’ have brought to the site these past two years.

Why would I propose this “merger” of RE.net media?
Zillow offers tools for the seller (or homeowner looking to refinance), Trulia owns the listings platform with the participation of the professionals. Active Rain has tech-savvy real estate professionals dying to interact with consumers over the web.

MySpace has the consumers. That is who we’re missing.

Related posts:
  • My client went shopping for houses on Trulia.com, and only 75% of those she found were bogus listings…
  • “Let’s just say that Jim and Dustin are going to be working on a secret project…”
  • Active Rain- Happy First Birthday

  • 24 comments

    24 Comments so far

    1. Teri Lussier May 25th, 2007 7:03 pm

      I’ve only been intuiting my way through all this, but it’s nice to see my newbie thoughts validated by solid experience.

      My husband is an engineer. We make a great tag team. I stand quietly and watch with glee as he blows canned sales presentations to smithereens and sales staff are visibly forced to shift gears and work as a functionary. Then I move in to negotiate. No reflection on your sales style implied Brian, just found your comment funny and can acknowledge the beauty of Zillow from his point of view, and the flaws from ours.

    2. Jonathan Dalton May 25th, 2007 7:58 pm

      I think you’re overestimating the impact of Trulia Voices, at least at this stage, Brian. I’ve seen far fewer buyers flocking to TV than agents looking to appear on the scoreboards for most questions, most answers, most useful answers, etc.

      Active Rain’s Q&A section at this point is a far more vibrant forum, even if it doesn’t attract the same volume of traffic.

    3. Brian Brady May 25th, 2007 8:46 pm

      I didn’t know that about Active Rain Q&A, Jonathan. Are you playing over there?

    4. Sock Puppet May 25th, 2007 10:55 pm

      It’s a good theory Brian, your points make sense, just I suspect Van Halen will have a world tour before that group joins forces.

      I doubt Trulia is willing to be brought after their VC infusion and likely have plans they want to stick too.

      Zillow I am 98% positive is going to try and capture the appraisal industry (and I do mean appraisals not zestimates).

      Too many AR peeps think Zillow and Trulia are the devil, and they are on AR to NOT be on MySpace.

      All this would be irrelivant compared to Realtor.com adding some web 2.0 sthick. Lord knows what the those guys do with their day.

    5. Jonathan Dalton May 26th, 2007 8:30 am

      I’ve checked in from time to time, Brian. I’ve got a serious love/hate thing going with AR these days.

      Most of the questions are the type that clients should be asking their agents, if they’d hired one. Or some are from clients trying to escape their agents and looking for someone to violate the code of ethics to provide the answer.

    6. Sock Puppet May 26th, 2007 9:16 am

      The the heart of the matter – for us as agents – is that we’re better off building our own brand and creating our own websites.

      By all means post on AR and answer Q&A anywhere you like, just realize some of these places could suddenly change in a way you don’t like, or even fold completely and blink out of existence (at some random point in the future). Then all that effort would be lost.

    7. Brian Brady May 26th, 2007 9:45 am

      “just realize some of these places could suddenly change in a way you don’t like, or even fold completely and blink out of existence”

      That’s always been a concern. Not so much the “closing down” but the change.

    8. Sock Puppet May 26th, 2007 10:38 am

      Yes I agree it’s the change thats the worry rather than the shutting down. Even success changes things. AR with 500 people is one thing, AR with 20,000+ is another for example.

      The AR / Trulia / Zillow / Myspace “allstar” agents mostly seem to have their own blogs anyway. There are about 100 or so of us working this hard. Take away the “who’s who of RE blogging” crowd and ask yourself whats left worth looking at.

      “We” are the X factor any of the above companies crave.

    9. Brian Brady May 26th, 2007 4:42 pm

      ‘”We” are the X factor any of the above companies crave.’

      I want to answer this carefully, Athol. Sure, it would appear to look that way …today. However, RE.net is participatory. Anyone willing to put in the time can and does rise to that “coveted” status you cite; Tony Gallegos is a great example.

      100 people can not handle the information needs of 22 million consumers. If the consumers come to the party, there will be far more than 100 hard-working participants. I think Myspace offers an excellent platform for some of this great technology. It’s fast becoming a self-contained community.

    10. Sock Puppet May 26th, 2007 5:04 pm

      That’s a good point Brian.

      Sigh, I just wish we knew was going to be the winning basket to put all our eggs in.

    11. Dave Barnes May 27th, 2007 10:56 am

      I could give you 5 reasons why those of us who are engineers behave the way we do, but I won’t.

    12. Brian Brady May 27th, 2007 11:06 am

      Dave,

      I’d LOVE to hear them and implore your response.

    13. Sock Puppet May 27th, 2007 11:14 am

      LOL he’s an engineer… don’t crowd him Brian.

      Optimist: The glass is half full
      Pessimist: The glass is half empty
      Engineer: The glass is either at 50% capacity or twice as big as the initial study suggested we implement. We’re not sure. We’ll get back to you.

    14. Keith Jeppson May 29th, 2007 5:07 pm

      At a glance of the title I though you were joking and read expecting a laugh. I did, but you’re serious?

      My kids play on MySpace? And you think that is a platform we should be on? Out of curiosity I’ll at least check it out now.

      I thgink the safest direction is our own. I’ve been pretty disenchanted with the public side of AR and focus my entire effort on my own and localism now. We’re both in embryonic stages but working towards local domination.

      Whew, I’m exhausted already.

    15. Brian Brady May 30th, 2007 8:14 am

      “My kids play on MySpace? And you think that is a platform we should be on?”

      So do your neighbors, Keith. In fact, over half the users are over 35.

      Highly-targeted, hyper-local campaigns can be developed there:

      I entered the browse button for users from 35-68, married, within 10 miles of zip code 84101; 2808 users came up.

      1066 “single or divorced’ women with children, ages 35-68, are registered within 10 miles of that zip code.

      Myspace, for all its criticism, is a demographer’s dream

    16. Sock Puppet May 30th, 2007 8:55 am

      Ok….

      I tried looking at MySpace Brian and it’s so horrible. The Internet should be taken away from these people, everything is like, omg I can’t even think what its like. I can’t find anything on this toilet flush. Every time I get to a new page goddam music that sounds like a cat trapped in a waste disposal starts up.

      That being said…

      After your last comment I went back and tried your Browse etc and yes indeed there are quite a decent number of people in my local area over 30 flagged as “on MySpace for networking” and yes I mean more than a thousand.

      The 30+ peeps seem to have less headache inducing graphic design too. I’m going to have to think about it and maybe even…

      …no I just couldn’t get a MySpace page. I just couldn’t.

    17. Brian Brady May 30th, 2007 3:00 pm

      “I tried looking at MySpace Brian and it’s so horrible. The Internet should be taken away from these people, everything is like, omg I can’t even think what its like”

      “rap music is noise pollution”- my father to my sister in 1982

      “Elvis will rock the very moral foundation of America’s youth”- My grandfather to my uncle in 1957

      You don’t have to like it, Athol…just use it

    18. Sock Puppet May 30th, 2007 5:28 pm

      It’s not so much what they play Brian, for after the initial flight or fight response dies down I can turn the sound off.

      It’s the visual clutter that makes my eyes bleed. I miss my 10pt Georgia on a white background. :-(

      Though I do agree that liking MySpace is not a requirement to using it.

    19. Sock Puppet May 30th, 2007 5:30 pm

      Dear God…

      … I’m a font snob.

      -Athol

    20. Erion Shehaj June 11th, 2007 11:26 am

      The idea sounds very enticing but in my opinion it cannot work. Sometimes in business what may seem obvious is the most unpredictable thing there is. The idea that you can join the quality of Active Rain with the “crowd” of MySpace simply would not work because Active Rain’s quality is directly related to their grassroots growth and would be diluted by the quantity that MySpace brings to the table.

    21. Sock Puppet June 11th, 2007 12:18 pm

      I think Brian’s point is that MySpace is filled with potential clients to be reached out to. Yes they are a “crowd”, but thats our possible client base.

      As a side note, since this post was written, I’ve heard a lot of chatter that MySpace will be losing many people to FaceBook. Worth looking into that too I guess.

      -Athol

    22. Brian Brady September 30th, 2007 12:19 pm

      Athol:

      that Van Halen Tour?
      http://www.van-halen.com/news.html

      The stranger thing always happens.

    23. Sock Puppet September 30th, 2007 2:09 pm

      LOL Brian that just proves my orginial comment was right! ;-P

      Now I have to decide if I want to go.

    24. Brian Brady September 30th, 2007 11:37 pm

      You did call Move.com getting into Web 2.0 game, Athol!