Trulia adds Spotlight ads and lowers…

…the overall price of their featured listings with a revamp of their ad platform.

Some details… What used to cost $50/month for 10 listings now costs $39/month for unlimited listings.   In addition, as part of Trulia Pro, agents can also add unlimited spotlight ads.  So far, so good…

However, similar to Joel, a move toward “unlimited” ads had me scratching my head a bit.  From a business point of view, the upside of the spotlight ads seem somewhat limited for both Trulia and the ad buyer… especially in that they don’t do much to reward creative or innovative ads.

One of the keys to success of Google’s AdWords program is that users are constantly tweaking their ads and adjusting (often increasing!) budgets for their ad campaigns. With the Spotlight ads, there’s very little incentive to tweak. Sure you might be able to tweak things to get a slightly higher click-through-rate, but at the end of the day, you won’t be able to increase the amount of money you spend on the service (remember I get “unlimited ads for $39/month”), so even if you figured out the “system”, most agents won’t be able to use that knowledge to substantially increase their exposure.

Nonetheless, especially while the system is new with lots of excess inventory, there’s probably a lot of low-hanging fruit to pick up for agents looking to find potential buyers…

A fascinating conversation about NAR/DOJ…

I really want to thank the industry titans who participated in today’s podcast:

As well as all the people who listened in and provided wonderful chat commentary throughout the podcast. There were so many great names that showed up that I can’t wait to get many of you on future podcasts!

I thought if I gave us a half-hour we’d be able to cover the subject completely… but with the crew above, we were flying along after an about an hour when I decided to pull the plug in order to save some energy for next week! 😉

And if you missed the live call, don’t worry, you can still catch all the recored action here:

That was so much fun, I know we’ll do that again… Hopefully soon! 😉

I’ve convinced myself that the one thing missing from Outside.in is that they…

…never made much inroads with the real estate community (or real estate portals for that matter).   Imagine if the Realtor.com team had bought Outside.in instead of building the neighborhoods project.

And it really doesn’t matter if it was Zillow, Trulia, AOL, Yahoo or Realtor.com, it could be a win for the real estate portal (lots of local traffic and increased SEO benefits for local terms), a win for Outside.in (monetizing within real estate is easy: featured agents, listings, etc. on neighborhood pages) and a win for consumers (a large portal could easily add more local data/content such as neighborhood stats and maps).

I’ve always felt that Outside.in had an interesting thing going and just needed some real estate influence to make it pop.   Maybe the new CEO in the restructured Outside.in will do a better job reaching out to the real estate community…

Been crazy for a few days getting ready for…

…in Realty Quest.

Here are some of the things I wanted to talk about this week, but haven’t had the chance:

  1. 4RealzEd is coming to Pasadena on May 30! The buzz from the first two events has been wonderful and I’m already seeing people sign up without any real marketing on our part! I love it!
  2. Move, Inc lost $4.6M in Q1 and not releasing “transformational” product. About the only positive news is that they are “announcing” a beta site that has been live (with a link from the homepage) since December. I feel bad for my previous colleague in marketing who has to spin this stuff.
  3. Keller Williams gets Zillow fever. Consider the great relationship between Top Producer (owned by Move) and KW, this must have been particularly painful for Errol Samuelson (runs both Top Producer and Realtor.com)
  4. Trulia teams up with the Silicon Valley Ass of REALTORS.  The traditional walls are slowly crumbling.
  5. Seattle times reporter/blogger wonders covers conference with Move, Zillow and Google and wonders who will create the real estate destination portal of the future
  6. Todd announces RE BlogWord… A special real estate track for the popular BlogWorld conference in Vegas. My guess is that there will be a bunch of big names from the world of real estate social media so this should be a lot of fun.
  7. Had a great, GREAT, meetup yesterday (dubbed: Doctor’s Note Gathering) with real estate and tech folks from the valley.   Linda and Ted had nice write ups!
  8. Getting excited about a panel this year at Inman led by Jeff Turner called: Growing Pains: Take Your Blog to the Next Level (more announcments around RE Connect are sure to come!)
  9. Krunching.com launched earlier this week. I like everything about the site (from the perspective of a  first public launch), except the business model.  I think they will either need to be a tech provider (i.e. selling tech to consumers/professionals) OR a brokerage (commissions!), but not both.   Otherwise, the site is great and I look forward to seeing more!
  10. Niki let me know that he launched Homethinking Mortgage earlier this week.   I feel bad that I haven’t had more of a chance to check out the site, but ANYTHING Niki does is worth checking out.   Some of the things, like the heat maps of average loan amount, are interesting, but I just haven’t taken the time to figure out how they will be useful!
  11. BeatYouThere launches (yet) another national real estate search site.  I kinda feel bad for anyone trying to start up in this space at this point, even if they are well funded.   Incremental improvement in the search just aren’t going to be enough at this point.
  12. And speaking of things that will be forgotten about in a few months…   I like Louis a lot and he’s definitely doing a great job reaching out to the online real estate community, but…
  13. CyberHomes redesigns the site.   I can’t help but wonder when will they start seriously marketing to consumers?

Is Zillow worth $225M?

It’s a great question

I thought I’d dive into this question a bit so I started writing a killer-post! My thought was to put together a fascinating post that described likely revenue opportunities at both Zillow and Trulia and I was even going to go so far as to estimate the value of Trulia…

However, after multiple iterations and rewrites, I’m simply not happy with where the post was going so I deleted most of the text and thought I’d let you create your own story out of my notes:

  • Zillow: uniques: 2.2M, revenue: ?, estimated value: ~$225M
  • Trulia: uniques: 1.9M, revenue: ?, value: ?
  • Move: uniques (R.com + M.com): 10.1M, revenue: $286M , value: $503M
  • HouseValues: uniques: 430K, revenue: $59M, value: $56M*
  • ZipRealty: uniques: 1.2M, revenue: $104M, value: $118

Google’s Street View for everyone…

DotHomes, Trulia, and RealEstate.com (and I’m sure others) have added Google’s Street Views to their home search tools.   Despite all the press releases flying around about this feature, the real innovation is on Google’s site since everyone is just tapping into their stuff and becoming ever more tied to the Google mapping solution.

Was invited by Trulia to host an internet marketing…

hour on Trulia Voices, so I’m playing over there right now!

(And while I’m at it, I want to thank the Trulia folks for helping us build some pre-seminar buzz!   Between yesterday’s podcast and today’s Q&A session, they’re keeping me on my toes!)

Trulia integrates Google’s street view photos into…

their home search.

I think it is a great move by Trulia and outsourcing the task of collecting and organizing this task to Google has some obviously benefits over doing it in-house.  Collection/hosting costs are huge, but so are the potential legal headaches associated with being the original publisher of this information.

Trulia headed for success, while Zillow going to flop? The Industry Standard…

thinks so.

On Zillow’s failings:

“Zillow is so 2006. The business model is based on advertising CPMs, and now that the real estate bubble has burst, it’s much less fun to track the (sinking) value of your home. There’s more competition as well, including Trulia and Redfin.”

On Trulia’s success:

“If location, location and location are what real estate is all about, then business plan, business plan and business plan are why Trulia is rising to the top.”

(h/t Trulia blog)