Zillow’s Smart Search is…

working much better today than yesterday.

I love the aggregation and the fact that the neighborhoods/zips/cities/counties/states highlight the areas as you mouse over them.  Definitely well executed and not an easy thing to pull off for such a large area.

But Joel is very right to point out that content is king and in the world of online real estate, listings are the king of content. This is important when you start talking about regional statistics, but even more important on the level of individual listings.

Interestingly, this is the same issue I’ve had with Trulia since I can remember and, if I may say so myself, pretty well articulated in this article from March ’06 called Who is Trulia Serving?

“in somewhere like Washington (and Oregon, California, and I think most of the country), this strategy means that [Trulia] will never have the most complete database of homes (at least not under the current MLS system). Maybe I’m missing something, but I simply cannot see how this is going to win buyers over… Even an ugly search interface is better than a snazzy Trulia search if it includes a larger selection of homes that are on the market.”

With that said, Trulia has definitely surprised me at the progress they’ve been able to make with consumers considering they haven’t reached MLS-level completeness in any market (save NY) as far as I know.  Obviously, their focus on cutting listing deals with brokers early on has paid off in term of traffic, so there’s less reason than ever to think Zillow couldn’t find similar success by following a similar pattern.

(This post got me thinking back on the early days of Trulia and the time Sami and Kelly made a special coffee shop visit with the Rain City Guide community. That was so much fun.)

2 responses

  1. […] discussion about Zillow’s neighborhood aggregation got me thinking about this because I can tell that a ton of work went into developing their […]

  2. […] Completely agree.   The only way I change my mind is if the mortgage product makes a HUGE splash early in the year (i.e. pre- RE Connect in NYC).  Zillow becomes a LOT more valuable if they can launch one more thing that captures public attention along the lines of Zestimates, and I think, but clearly don’t know, that Barton would feel like he was selling early investors short if he didn’t wait until Zillow did one more big thing (Smart Search clearly does not count). […]

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