Zillow is Far from a Media Company

 Zillow is far from a media company.

Matthew Ferrara said it best on Facebook concerning Zillow’s new acquisition of DotLoop:

“Brokerage licenses in many states: Check!
Property marketing platform: Check!
Lead generation platform: Check!
Back-office transaction management platform: Check!
Getting the real estate industry to believe they’re just a “media company” ….
Priceless.”

Is Zillow a Threat or Opportunity?

So many arguments either way.  So little time to sit down and debate them all.  I’m going to side with Opportunity,  just because of my general positive nature.  However,  I am not clicking my heels in glee over the acquisition.

Zillow entered into the industry as a way to “help” consumers.  It is a very user friendly site and  has been for years, even before I became a Realtor.  It is the preferred way for most of my clients to view properties.   Zillow is not sanctioned by the National Association of Realtors.  It is in competition with the Realtor Association.  Zillow has thumbed its nose at the conventional ways of thinking of the Realtor Association.  Zillow has in essence put the National Association of Realtors behind the eight ball.  In a lot of ways, thank you Zillow for giving Realtors the kick in the pants they need to realize that the consumer should be put first.

So why is Zillow an Opportunity?

The natural progression for Zillow is to form a brokerage or a separate Association for Real Estate Professionals.  Let’s face facts:  Another addition to the Zillow empire is the monetary proceeds from the transaction process of Real Estate.  Yep, that is another avenue and another piece of the puzzle, to get the bodies of Real Estate Professionals.

Zillow can be an Opportunity on so many levels for a Realtor.  Not for the monetarily transaction; but, just for the sheer size of the beast.  Trust me, after experiencing Zillow’s lead generation platform for three months, I’m not real crazy about the opportunities there.

I’m more excited about the opportunities that I present; the relationships that I have built and carefully constructed over the last 8 years of my career.  What Zillow does not present is the ability to develop relationships.  Facebook has been the closest application that is able to conduct relationship building.  True, authentic relationships however, can only come from one on one interactions.  No technology can provide that level of relationship.  It can mimic it, but it is a poor replication of the real thing.

Zillow to Become a True National Real Estate Conglomerate?

I do not fear Zillow.  I do not fear the National Association of Realtors.  I see them as they are:  Real Estate Entities.  The true grist and basics of Real Estate is in the local application of the practice.  The practice has changed from information hoarding, to information dissemination, to information guidance.  After seventy closed transactions (and still counting), I have definitely evolved since my first transaction.  Experience builds experience.  What looks like filling out forms and managing people is so much more, especially if you are able to build a rapport with the opposite side.  It is a true skill to be able to bring people together to accomplish a goal.  No large entity will ever be able to create an application that will actually replicate that skill.  It takes too much human interaction to successfully achieve that skill.

Conclusion

Zillow is far from a media company.  That may have been it’s roots but, let’s face the facts, Zillow has come a long way since its humble beginnings of beating Realtor.com for consumer eyeballs.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the next natural progression of the company is to attract Real Estate professionals and consumers to a new generation of Real Estate.  Should Realtors fear this?  No.  Change is inevitable.  Realtors must be able to adapt to the change and show that their presence is still a necessity in consumers’  lives.  Uphill battle?  For some.  For others, it is what they have been establishing throughout  their whole careers.