Will Zillow Suck The Oxygen Out of Trulia?

May 12, 2007  |  Michael Wurzer

When Zillow released their promote anyone’s listing program in order to generate listing data on their site a month or so ago, I suggested that instead they should avoid such tactics and just buy or merge with Trulia, which already has quite a few listings. With both listings and Zestimates, “Zulia” would be closer to reaching the critical mass necessary to “suck the oxygen” out of the residential real estate space by providing a site attractive to both buyers and sellers and, therefore, agents and brokers and lenders and everyone else involved with real estate.

My Zulia suggestion didn’t get a lot of attraction back then, but Trulia’s recent update to their site seems to have resuscitated the idea, at least in the RE.net.  After thinking a bit about Trulia being a “juicy acquisition target“, though, I wonder what the data feed agreements between Trulia and the big franchises say about mergers. Would the same franchises be as friendly with Zulia as they are with Trulia?

5 Responses to “Will Zillow Suck The Oxygen Out of Trulia?”

  1. karim tahawi says:

    Interesting idea. They have pursued different paths in pursuit of innovation. Trulia is going through the ecosystem while Zillow is going around it and making it attractive for rebels. Their commercial approaches cannot be reconciled so the only benefit to Zillow is taking out a strong competitor that is getting stronger.

  2. Robbie says:

    I suspect it’s unlikely to happen in the near term, because I believe Zillow & Trulia are taking different routes to arrive at the same space. Trulia went for listings first and community later, and Zillow went for community first and I’m sure will get listings later.

    I just hope Zillow’s feed spec is closer to Trulia’s than Realtor.com’s when they do get listings later.

  3. Hmmm says:

    This seems very unlikely. For one Trulia is kicking Zillow’s proverbial booty in the listings game, a game that Zillow has entered in the 4th quarter with 2 minutes to play. Trulia’s value is more in their relationships with brokers and their awesome interface. Zillow’s sole purpose in life is to take over the real estate market, and lessen the realtor’s role, their whole value is the funding they have and the temporary popularity of a “zestimate” ‘which is slowly losing it’s luster as consumers can find this information from Broker sites now, with way more accuracy. They know that their traffic is useless b/c they are selling views for 1 penny a page…are you kidding me? As everyday passes, two things are happening to Zillow – one the market is cooling, no matter what it is in flux, their zestimates CAN NOT keep up with the actual market… so they will never be able to replace the agent on the street. It took them this long to realize that, the fact is that Trulia can start doing T-estimates, or something with far better accuracy than the big Z b/c they have the SAME sales data, plus all, or almost all of the active listings data. Trulia took the right road, by providing a tool that is BOTH consumer and BROKER friendly. Why would they devalue that by partnering with the biggest interloper in the real estate industry – Zillow. Zillow is totally made for the by owner market, and that is it. Their WHOLE model is based on the 18% of the market that sells by owner and the dumb agents that advertise on there are the ones that missed Zillow’s release where they announced the death of the real estate agent to the expedia model…. who is laughing now? long term view, my prediction – Trulia becomes way more profitable than Zillow in a year – if Zillow is even turning a profit yet, and maybe the big Z will just be a big X. I’ll tell you who could buy trulia – Realtor.com, now wouldn’t that be something. Or maybe ebay or amazon…even Microsoft for their real estate portal… who knows?

  4. TL says:

    #1: I’ve never heard of Trulia.com until today.
    #2: Trulia shows a house for sale in my neighborhhod that sold over a year ago! That doesn’t impress me with their accuracy.
    #3: I don’t know how Zillow expects to make a profit, but I’d rather bet on the guy who has 800,000 page views in my neighborhood alone in the past year vs. the guy who I’ve never heard of.

    Someday, Zillow will figure out how to make money off all the traffic they generate.
    Trulia? Dunno. Never heard of them. Clunky interface, slow server response, “heatmap” is on a zipcode level, shifts from heatview to normal resets the map… The interface on http://www.johnlscott.com or http://www.windermere.com is better if you want to BUY a house. Why go to Trulia? Maybe they just don’t have much presence here in the Northwest/Seattle area which is, after all, Zillow’s backyard.

  5. MTn Man says:

    We are fortunate here in Montana that we are one of four states where sold prices are not of public record. That hamstrings Zillow’s business model when trying to replace Realtors as the place to go for sold prices (house values). That didn’t stop them from putting grossly inaccurate house values on line for our area. After a few inquisitive calls from our EO as to where they got their data and why it was so inaccurate, they disabled Zestimates for our area.