While I am not a big fan of Redfin, this article was very interesting Despite Housing Slide, Real Estate Sites Sell. It really demonstrates that real estate consumers are moving further away from print advertising and have embraced the internet. The internet offers convenience and more information.
However, the thought of some of these sites attempting to circumvent using a broker is a recipe for disaster for many sellers and buyers. A skilled broker will help guide the transaction through to closing. A broker's job goes far beyond opening doors and showing houses. A broker's experience and knowledge can prove invaluable if there are any obstacles in the process. I know I am the first person to address many of the problems that arise. There are more bumps in the road than many people realize at the beginning of the process. Managing these issues can save a buyer or seller far more than what they think they will save in a commission.
Personally, I think that companyies like Redfin will follow the path of Foxtons.