Trulia, Zillow & ActiveRain Profiting From Real Estate Agents. Why Not?

Education & Training with Coldwell Banker Hubbell Briarwood

Trulia, Zillow, and ActiveRain are getting into the money game when it comes to real estate agents.Hey, that’s America, everyone deserves a profit. I do not despise the idea of having add-on’s or  premium services, however, I do resent the idea of a competitor appearing on my listing pages. Let’s look at Tulia to start with.

Trulia has a listing by company XYZwith an agent listed as your Trusted Professional on the same page. The agent who listed the property does have a button to contact, however if I were a consumer looking at this, I would assume the REALTOR on the right is the listing agent.  This kind of makes you wonder what IDX is good for. This seems to be a Premium IDX.  They promote it as owning the territory, buy buying a Zip Code.

Zillow’s Premier Agent program offers the same setup with no takers yet on this zipcode in Lansing, however, I wonder how the agent of this $500,000 plus listing will feel when his/her competitor shows up on the right column

I went to post on ActiveRain the other night, which I have been doing for four years and discovered that if I wanted to have the public see the Blog post, I would have to upgrade to their premium version. This went from FREE to $39.00/month recently.  Thank goodness for and owning my own site and posts.

So, here’s three big players getting smarter about the bottom line, or are they? I wonder how long agents will opt in to syndicating their listings to these sites or continue posting Blogs?

I think it’s boiling down to not putting all your eggs in one basket. Smart agents will get their own domain name, own their own WordPress Blog with IDX search capabilities, and use social media to drive traffic, in addition to other good tools. Then again, I may be wrong, but I know, I am not going to pay the three companies above any money for them to advertise my competitors.  But, what the heck, maybe whoever bought the Zip Code will sell my listing. What do you think?


Comments (14)

Mike Watson
Keller Williams Realty - Chula Vista, CA

There's always someone dipping ing our pockets, as you said that's America

Jan 05, 2011 02:08 PM
Wendy Betts
South Delta & S. Surrey Realtor

...You said it!  But, they also have business costs, motgages to pay and have to make thier millions some how!  Might us well be from us wealthy Realtors (observe tongue-in-cheek)  Cheers, Wendy Betts - Vancouver BC

Jan 05, 2011 02:09 PM
Liz Lockhart
Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO - Cape Girardeau, MO
GRI, Cape Girardeau Real Estate

Mike~I see your blog here on Active Rain, so does that mean you have decided to pay for that membership?

I agree that the Trusted Professional tag is confusing to readers, who might assume that there is some standard being met in order to get that designation.

Jan 05, 2011 02:12 PM
Trena Daignault
Fayetteville, NC
Opening Doors to Your Dreams

I agree but if it's where the buyers are as a listing agent I want to be there too! I pay for all three! I did sign on to Zillow recently and within a month already closed a buyer. Paid in full!

Jan 05, 2011 02:12 PM
Fred Cope
Reliant Realty in Nashville, TN - Nashville, TN
Looking For Homes With A Smile

Mike, you raise a valid point, and I expect the issue will only grow.

What I love about America is Free Enterprise.  They are free to make money, and I'm free to take mine elsewhere. 

I no longer do anything with Zillow--I feel their property values' have been a major contributor to the huge drop in property values.  Consumers know very little about arriving at property values, and Zillow knows nothing about local market areas.

I do a little on Trulia, but I'm happy with ActiveRain.  I don't think any of this social media will replace doing the grunt work.

We will stay tuned...

Jan 05, 2011 02:15 PM
Steve Davis
Davis Coastal Properties - Carlsbad, CA
Carlsbad CA

Mike - I agree about Trulia. I even had another agent list one of my properties on Trulia!

Jan 05, 2011 02:18 PM
Conrad Allen
Re/Max Professional Associates - Webster, MA
Webster, Ma, Realtor

Hey Mike have you check value's through Zillow?  They have no validity in most markets.  You can't "average" sales and come up with a value.

Jan 05, 2011 02:29 PM
Conrad Allen
Re/Max Professional Associates - Webster, MA
Webster, Ma, Realtor

Hey Mike have you check value's through Zillow?  They have no validity in most markets.  You can't "average" sales and come up with a value.

Jan 05, 2011 02:29 PM
Brad Andersohn
Retired Executive Director of Education at eXp - Boulder Creek, CA
ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876

Hi Mike - This quick video may help you better understand the Zillow Premier Agent program better.   Sara did a great job explaining it and I think as a consultant to Real Estate professionals, it may help arm you with a better understanding of how the program actually works and why so many agents are successful using it. 

I hope this will help. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask or contact me.  Thanks.  :-)

BTW - We do have just one spot left for that zip code in Lansing if you're interested.  I'll have one of our PA specialists contact you. I'm also willing to spend some time and walk you through some of the other features and tools that I think you could share with those you consult, I'm confident that they would find them useful and very valuable to their business.  707 646-1876 if you have the time.

Jan 07, 2011 10:40 AM
Mike Bowler Sr.
Coldwell Banker Hubbell Briarwood - Lansing, MI

Thanks to all of you for your comments. I would like to also compliment ActiveRain and Zillow for their quick responses. It shows they're listening when someone mentions their company name and both had excellent follow up.

I would encourage any of you to watch the video above provided by Zillow and also visit the Trulia site to investigate what they are offering. This type of program might just be what it's going to take to wake up our industry that 9 out of 10 agents don't even have a profile on these sites. (Not that it does much good any longer;-)

I pulled up my listings while on the phone with a representative of Zillow (I have a profile) and three agents appear on the right column. I guess they're my new buyer agents. (In fact one of them is;-) 

My take on this is the same as the post above, that you can't put all your eggs in one basket, however, we can't afford to have our eggs in ALL baskets neither. This is a business decision that only you as an agent can make. Both Zillow and Trulia are respectable companies and I'm sure they will continue to prosper. Just not on my dime. (We can't all be Premier Agents)

Remember, our job is to just get the listing sold. 

Back to ActiveRain, if I was paying attention, I would have noticed they cut the public portion off after 90 days of inactivity. I use WordPress for all my Blogging now, however still remain a big fan of ActiveRain. They have a great platform, wonderful social opportunities for agents, and I love the Localism opportunity.

I'll let you know if I hear from Trulia.  

Jan 07, 2011 11:32 AM
Brad Andersohn
Retired Executive Director of Education at eXp - Boulder Creek, CA
ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876

We really do listen Mike, thanks for acknowledging that in your comment above.  As I said on my voice mail to you, feel free to contact me anytime for other ways and ideas on how to use Zillow and ActiveRain, my door is always open to you.  Thanks.

Jan 18, 2011 07:40 AM
Mott Marvin Kornicki
Waterway Realtors® • Notary Public & Apostille - Sunny Isles, FL
Miami Notary & Apostille 786-229-7999

Mike Bowler, Sr.

You are absolutely correct... Again! Active|Rain, Zillow, Trulia - ALL have expenses to operate and providea valuable service to those that want to participate. Active|Rain is by far the best way to network and blog. 

I use Trulia very often to provide Answers via their Q&A Portal - I rarely visit Zillow. The Arena is always growing and only those Networks that adapt, change and provide value will win.

Mott Marvin Kornicki, Realtor®

Empire Avenue Aficionado

Jan 31, 2012 04:44 AM
Curtis Van Carter
Better Homes & Gardens Wine Country Group - Yountville, CA
Your Napa Valley Broker Extraordinaire


This is another of the changes to our business being driven by the internet, social media etc. I am certain there will be quite a few more to come, many we have thought about. I am certain this is some of the reasoning for more large real estate brokerages to drop out of syndication. 

I will tune into this thread for I feel there will be a great deal more comments on this. Thanks for bringing it up and expressing your thoughts, cheers cvc

Jan 31, 2012 06:01 AM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

Now , it is only Zillow left, since they gabbled everyone under: Trulia, Active Rain, Market Leader, etc. And agents pay to each of them separately. I got a call from M.L., they wanted $500+/month for their service.

Jul 30, 2014 05:39 PM