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At the risk of mixing musical metaphors, we have another sponsor the Reel Big Fish real estate concert as Duane Fouts, formerly of Dan Schwartz realty in Phoenix, joins Zillow as a director of "partner relations."
And by partner, fellow agents, Zillow means us. Even if the company doesn't bring any particular unique value to its side of the partnership outside of fantastical Zestimates and listings inaccuracies that serve as conversation starters when those of us who really sell homes talk to real buyers and sellers.
I asked Duane to comment about his new relationship with Zillow:
I am truly excited to be joining the Zillow Partner Relations team. I look forward to working with brokers and industry leaders around the country in an effort to build strong, mutually beneficial relationships. Being able to share the new products and programs that Zillow has in development with brokers, agents, associations and MLSs, is exciting to me. I believe that in the end, if those products and programs make the job of the brokers and agents, who are serving the consumer, a little more efficient and a little easier… it is a win-win for brokers, agents and consumers.”
Except that it's not.
If Zillow really had the slightest interest in the real estate consumer, it would have figured out a way after all of these years to get its Zestimates somewhere close to estimate as opposed to a margin of error of roughly pi to the 23rd. And if Zillow really cared about the consumer, there would be tighter controls over the listings that are displayed on the site so that it wasn't so easy to find alread-sold homes as listed for sale. (Or, for that matter, to see previous marketing descriptions appear on new listings of the same house.)
Of course, if agents had a brain they wouldn't send their listings to Zillow in the first place under the little-known and rarely mentioned concept of "who exactly are you and who authorized you to be here?"
All Zillow really cares about, the extent of its interest in this "partnership", is its ability to separate real estate agents from their advertising dollars. It's much like the relationship between a client and the workers at the Mustang Ranch. One gets the cash, the other presumably gets what it wants and both probably ought to think about a long shower and some penicillin when it's over.
Pay the Borg to become a Premier member and you, too, can appear on a sidebar as a "neighborhood expert." It's the same pitch that was and has been made by Homes.Com, Realtor.Com and countless others. And it's Zillow's sole raison d'etre.
Not that I blame Duane, or former Arizona Regional MLS CEO and now blog-post writer Bob Bemis, or even my own soon-to-be-former-broker-and-only-half-owner, for taking the cash that Zillow's offering in exchange for his soul. All of us have a price and, as the old joke goes, now that we've established what you are we're only haggling about the money.
All I can hope is that my real estate brethren see the light and keep their credit cards in their pocket. If Zillow is to survive in a world without venture capital and keep money-whipping one-time leaders in the industry, the least the rest of us can do is make them develop a legitimate value proposition that doesn't center around taking the cash from short-sighted agents.
Always remember ... Zillow's not creating any more eyes for the online real estate space, it's simply diverting those eyes from other sites onto its own. It is and always shall be a remora.
Phoenix Arizona Real Estate Blog, presented by Jonathan Dalton of Thompson's Realty and All Phoenix Real estate.com.
Check back often for market analysis and general thoughts on the state of real estate in Maricopa County.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.