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There’s always something to howl about

Truzilla IDX = N/A R.Com?

When I was looking into whether or not Realtor.com was publishing scrapable rss feeds based on searches a few weeks ago, I also took a look to see if Trulia was doing the same thing.

Sure enough, they are, but of course the quality and the diversity of the types of feeds they’re offering are way juicier than Realtor.Com’s. Not surprising.. absent a Move/NAR type hook up, these guys actually have to innovate, right…

So, with all this fuss over local boards and NAR trying to control the “misappropriation” of property data by regulating idx feeds, I’ve been wondering if one couldn’t just turn Trulia into a personal, free idx solution using the same method I used to tap R.com…

The ingredients?

  • Lotsa fresh goog juicy dynamic content.
  • Not all, but enough mls info to make your visitors at least hang around for a little while.
  • Sales Transaction, REO, Pre-foreclosure data and any other information not available in local idx data either because of local
    board regulations or limitations in the fields available in the mls software.
  • And more…

In short, you could probably “scrape” your way to a more informative site then your competitors have without the need to wrestle with the threat of an absurd Mibor type situation.

[An Example Start Here For The Curious]

But It’s A Half Measure…

Sure…that could work, sorta. But Trulia’s info isn’t all that comprehensive to begin with and you’d be offering your visitors a half-assed hacked up version of true idx. So we’re back pretty much to square one, with some extra dynamic content but no free idx via Trulia.

[Aside: Shouldn't these guys do the right thing and disclose to their visitors that their's isn't a comprehensive "search engine?" I'd buy ads on trulia in a minute if they could say something like: "Yo, we don't have all the listings, but we're real good at roping you in, so why don't you click this guy's freaky face for the real deal"]

Another Way…

But why give up so fast?

What if all agents, NAR and Non NAR members alike agreed to provide Trulia with listing info, but not give it to the local MLS?
Even where providing listing data to the board is a membership requirement, we could still only give the local MLS 1 photo and limited descriptive info, while giving Trulia like 20 photos plus a big ole juicy remarks write up?

Hmm…

I know. This would require participation on a large scale from a whole lotta realtor folks. Could never happen right? Well…

Hey Trulia! Why not make something like this happen? Why not innovate a product that’s so incredibly valuable to real estate agents that they’d pretty much all gladly line up to provide you comprehensive listing data while even paying you a monthly fee?

What am I talking about?

What about an idx solution that every agent in the country could use free of charge? You know…something that
would “brand” to each individual agent, meaning the leads generating from that agents pages would route automatically to the agent. And why not make it both:

  • Framable on our own websites…

and/or

  • Part of individual agent web/blog pages, something like ryanhartman.trulia.com maybe.

And you could offer 2 pricing options.

  • $2/month for ad free (ok, I’ll give you $5 or even $10 if you do it right)

or

  • Free with ads?

I’d gladly pay for a product like that, complete with all those juicy graphs, foreclosure data, sales transactions, heat maps,
lead capture stuff, etc. And…Trulia’s pre-packaged google clout to boot! Yeah, I’d take it in a heartbeat. I wonder if there aren’t a million or more like me out there who wouldn’t also hop on this one?

A fully functional idx + website for $24 year and we could all just forgo the $500 or so in local board + NAR dues? I mean idx is the only rational reason for paying those dues any more, isn’t it?

So Trulia, are you ready to make an insanely profitable switch over to idx vendor? Or maybe Zillow, will you help bring us all closer to “N/A R?”

Or more obviously… Move/NAR!

Couldn’t you guys have something like this delivered pretty quickly and have a product on your hand that’ll sell itself and be much more profitable than your current offerings will ever be? (Without completely ripping off your membership with ads that never provide valuable ROI..)

Yeah, IDXRealtor.Com. — I’m thinking this last option is probably the closest to what’ll actually end up coming of all this abzurdity?

Related posts:
  • Automated Valuation Models – My New Favorite
  • R.com – Finally a bailout that interests me… ;-)

  • 8 comments

    8 Comments so far

    1. Mark Madsen May 28th, 2009 10:41 am

      Awesome, I’m in. I’ve got a few online networks with a bunch of real estate agents who would jump at the opportunity to have their own high traffic web presence that actually provided valuable property info for their clients.

      Good job, Ryan. Make it happen.

    2. Al Lorenz May 28th, 2009 11:17 am

      Ryan, I’ve been playing with this a bit too. The trulia approach today wasn’t satisfying for the reasons you mention. I’m looking at another approach, that isn’t nearly as scalable and with all the benefits for the industry of your suggestion. Yes, I’d sign up in a heartbeat.

    3. Paula Henry May 28th, 2009 11:55 am

      Ryan – If NAR, MIBOR and other MLS’s don’t get it right for REALTORS, this is exactly what will happen – the people with the control to stop this need to take a look at the ease with which they could quickly lose all they want to protect.

    4. Joe Loomer May 28th, 2009 11:55 am

      You had to post this after I just renewed my dues for the year. DANGIT!!!

    5. Don Reedy May 28th, 2009 8:07 pm

      You are a wild and wacky guy, to be sure. Plumb smart, with all the attributes of a leader.

      I’m not sure how to proceed, because your idea is so damn large. “Act as if”, as Brian would say.

      So imagine my surprise in seeing this Seth Godin video as a TED lecture. http://www.ted.com/talks/seth_godin_on_the_tribes_we_lead.html

      Wanna make a Tribe?

    6. James Boyer May 28th, 2009 8:45 pm

      Not with Trulia, Don’t promote Trulia, they are your competitor not your friend.

    7. John Kalinowski May 29th, 2009 12:08 pm

      Ryan – I think this is a great idea, but there’s one major item that keeps it from working, at least right now. That’s the co-broke agreement that exists in the MLS that guarantees you will be paid for selling another agent’s listing.

      Unless Trulia can somehow come up with a similar agreement, that all participating agents sign, brokers will never leave the MLS. There’s just no way to guarantee you’ll get paid for showing another broker’s listing.

      As a listing agent, without that guarantee it just becomes another marketing tool, because agents will no longer show your listings. If you can figure out a way to incorporate that idea, then it’s a killer concept.

    8. Ryan Hartman May 29th, 2009 12:26 pm

      Don… let’s just call it a wild “pack?” and keep it all going strong here at bhb?

      John, I see what you’re saying. But couldn’t that agreement just be handled upon inclusion in the “program”? — “$2/month, but ya gotta sign this?”

      I’m a little disappointed that the folks from Trulia or Zillow or NAR haven’t shown up here, but I guess we can give Rudy the benefit of the doubt and assume he got a no from his PR folks?

      Hmm…

      If not Trulia, maybe someone with deep pockets wants to angel up John Rowle’s company so that he can offer that sweet product he’s got for free on a national level for a while?

      Bottom line — I’m thinking the key to “N/A” R might lie in helping along some existing entity with the infrastructure to quickly turn on National IDX…

      [Hell, -- (hopefully my wife's not watching)-- I'll tithe up the seed pot if others join in. ]