Google's New Pay to Play. WARNING: This will shock you.

Services for Real Estate Pros with Virtual Pictures Corp. (VPiX)

If you've been in real estate for a while, you might remember when Google first appeared on the Internet landscape more than 11 years ago.

Google fought the PAY to Play game by publicly telling people that Yahoo's Paid Inclusion program was evil. My, oh my, what a difference a decade makes. Because Google seems to have forgotten about their original promise. 

If you're a newbie REALTOR, let me bring you up to speed here: 

1.) Yahoo's Paid Inclusion was $299 a year and was often thought of as a way to land a page one ranking for your Dallas Website for the keyword:  dallas homes for sale  -- which was the big myth.  Yahoo even said so on their website. Paid Inclusion was just a way to guarantee you were listed SOMEWHERE in the Yahoo Directory. They NEVER promised page one anything. Yet thousands of real estate agents too lazy to read Yahoo's guidelines happily marched on and continue believe the myth that shelling out $299 would eventually land them a page one rank on Yahoo.  

FAST Forward to May 31st 2012.

Google announced a big change in their policy with their introduction of "Pay to Play."  Let me show you how this works.

Google this:  digital cameras

Google Pay to Play

Companies can't pay to show up in Google's organic results. And the big thing here, is neither can REALTORS or mortgage companies. Unless we all agree to do something just as evil.

Let's pretend Better Homes and Gardens, Angel Realty,, Keller Williams Clients' Choice and a Re/Max office or two decides to list the same Colorado Springs home but at different (purchase) prices.

Here's what this would look like if a potential home buyer would be searching for a colorado springs home.

Colorado Springs Homes


Okay, this is a bit of a shock isn't it?  

But it sets the stage for what's coming. I've spoken to plenty of brokers and agents about this possible future and nobody seems to want it materialize.

Imagine, the same Colorado Springs Home being sold from different brokers but at slightly different prices or maybe different closing costs.

Changes are all around us. Just six months ago, Jim Abbott at Abbott Real Estate Group pulled all of their listings from, Trulia and Zillow.

Big shock to the world on this one. He has no love for Zillow, Trulia or

More changes: is here in Colorado now.  

Flat fee closing costs averaging $3,000.  Ouch. So much for our 6% sales commission model. It's out-dated and it's being attacked from all sides.

What's coming next?  Innovation and lots of changes are still coming. 

Trust me the (fake) Google search results I've just shown above is coming.  Or some variation of this will be on your doorstep sooner or later.

Food for thought... 




Posted by

Bart Wilson | CIO
Virtual Pictures Corp (VPiX®)  
iPhone: (719) 645-9940  |  Skype:  vpix360 


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Randy Ostrander
Lake and Lodge Realty LLC - Big Rapids, MI
Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI

Good morning Bart. Not really the ray of sunshine we'd like to see on the horizon.

Jul 12, 2012 12:48 AM #1
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

They always promoted organic searches as being unbiased and rewarding to all of us. .if they change this, is not a search engine anymore. .is a HUGE AD!

I don't think any CEO inside Google would allow this

Jul 12, 2012 02:01 AM #2
Mike Frazier
Carousel Realty of Dyer County - Dyersburg, TN
Northwest Tennessee Realtor

Bart, nothing that a company like Google would do for money would surprize me.

Jul 12, 2012 02:04 PM #3
Sussie Sutton
UTR Texas Realtors - Pearland, TX
UTR TEXAS Realtors - Rep for buyers and sellers.

Bart I have to agree with Fernando... nothing but a big ad.

Jul 13, 2012 10:56 PM #4
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