DotHomes Launches US Home Search Tool

I’m somewhat of a night owl, so I thought I’d have no problem waiting out the U.S. launch of the UK site DotHomes. But it is getting pretty late and the U.S. version of the site still hasn’t gone live. 🙁

However, TechCrunchUK published their story (with the not so promising comment: “The question, is will the US – packed to the gunnels with property search engines and in a sub-prime slump – actually notice?“), so I thought I’d give my analysis based on what I learned from a good, long conversation with one of their co-founders, their press release and a bit of playing on their UK site.

Let’s start with the good stuff:

  • They have slick crawling technology that does a great job indexing home listings from a variety of listing sites
  • They have a well developed one-box search that allows for all kinds of inputs and actually delivers decent results
  • They have a healthy sense of flair as demonstrated by their “I’m feeling wealthy” button

Whereas the recently released search site Roost.com appears to be going for the “kayak of real estate”, DotHomes is clearly going after the “google of real estate”. Like Google, they display only the teaser information on listings before sending you back to the original source (the crawled website) for more information. So far, so good!

However, I’m a bit skeptical this site will generate much interest or buzz in the U.S. for a number of reasons (none of which are fatal, but…):

  • DotHomes is following less than a week after the release of the Roost.com site, which got some great buzz around the RE.net for having a listings aggregation approach that made sense (i.e. get all the MLS listings!).
  • Besides entering a crowded space, DotHomes is also opting for a crawl approach to get listings, which will never compete in either comprehensiveness or timeliness with direct MLS feeds.(although it does allow for more freedom to add other listing types).
  • And finally, I didn’t get the impression that the DotHomes team really understood oddities of the existing US real estate market. Some of the background material they presented made me think they hadn’t really done their homework in terms of really understanding the complex dance of agents, brokers, brokerages and MLS organizations that allow listings to get placed on the internet in the first place.

With all that said, I’ve been following the cofounders of this site for quite some time (including back when the site was called Extate.com). Artemi Krymski and Douglas de Jager are extremely smart guys and I’m sure that after they get some U.S. experience with this launch, they’ll regroup, adjust their tactics a bit and continue to produce interesting products that will keep us talking.

Published by

Dustin Luther

Current lead up the team managing Brand and Influencer Engagement programs for Dun & Bradstreet. You can find me on Twitter (@tyr) or LinkedIn (DustinLuther)

10 thoughts on “DotHomes Launches US Home Search Tool”

  1. Excellent write up about dothomes.com. A possible issue I see is the scrutiny they may receive for scraping the listing information. You may remember when Trulia launched – http://www.raincityguide.com/2005/09/28/trulia-better-real-estate-search/

    For the comparison against Roost – all dothomes needs to do to get MLS listings is crawl broker sites with IDX feeds or public access MLS sites. This is a fairly simple process, as we have already indexed most of roost I don’t see it as being too difficult for dothomes to do the same but I do agree it maybe difficult to update based on current format of individual listings.

    Dustin, since you get all the info.. do you know how they plan on monetizing the site? Looking at the uk it seems to be simple sponsored advertisting or will they go the trulia / realtor route and offer “featured” advertising?

  2. whats the point with DotHomes already entering a crowded marketplace of Home Search Portals.

    How will they make money? Yes they can sell ads, but selling ads is pointless if their is no traffic and I don’t see it getting much if any traffic

  3. Thank you for the information. I think your analysis is spot on.Current sites like Zillow and Trulia are looking into ways to extend their reach, but many real estate professionals do not have much care for them. It will be interesting to see how the lawsuit with Zillow and its estimates will turn out.

  4. This should be a wakeup call to the *plug n play onliners. If agents are not creating content their sites will be relegated to what the general population of agents have been for years, a commodity without differentation (in the publics eyes of course).

    *plug n play- or “set it and forget it” websites. Put IDX and a couple templated content pages and pray for business.

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