It seems that Trulia is starting a rather contemptuous marketing effort targeting local Realtors by the looks of their new logo. The San Francisco company is currently dominating local searches with the help of Realtors across the country. Many Realtors are stating that they link to Trulia because their sites are sub-par to the awesome power of Trulia. West Virginia Realtor Donna Givacrap says, "I place Trulia Widgets at the bottom of all my pages to give my site visitors an alternative to using my real estate services. I'm only one woman and Trulia offers buyers and sellers hundreds of Realtors to choose from. And their widgets look cool!," as she launches a wad of Levy Garrett into a half full spittoon.
The marketing strategy is edgy and only time will tell if it will pay off for the West Coast company. Trulia currently seems to be the real estate authority for every US market (per Google). Trulia Roger (pictured right) answers a Trulia Voices question, "Painting Trulia as an underhanded traffic thief doesn't seem fair to me when the choice to have Trulia's (or anybody else's) widgets on your site is yours." Using cute exotic monkey creatures as spokesmen for the company is another bold marketing move by the real estate aggregator. Les Trefik, a Realtor in Somerset, Vermont (population 5 - per 2000 Census) commented, "If someone is looking to make a move to my town, Trulia is the way to go." You would think that with the unlimited amount of free knowledge at their fingertips, Realtors would actually try to keep traffic on their local real estate site.
Two Sides to Every Coin
While many novice Realtors are embracing Trulia as a partner in real estate advertising, there are a handful of tech savvy Realtors that are upset with Trulia's linking strategy. The first to call out the company was Galen Ward on April 29, 2008 via the popular BloodHound Realty Blog: Truliamazing tricks of the trade: don’t link to your trusted partners.
On Trulia's company blog, they posted a weak rebuttal stating, "Creating confusion about difficult topics is easy as no one really knows how google really works but everyone would love to learn more about it." Playing the "We don't know a damn thing about Google rankings" card may not work for the tech company who has been funneled over $17.5 million in venture capital thus far. Trulia's venture capital partners include Accel Partners, Fayez Sarofim & Company, and (most importantly) Sequoia Capital, a Silicon Valley icon who originally funded Google $12.5 million of seed money through partner Michael Moritz. Mr. Moritz was one of the key players in making Google what it is today. He introduced Dr. Eric Schmidt, Google Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, to Sergey Brin and Larry Page who needed solid management leadership. If you were Sequoia and wanted to see Trulia succeed, would you ask Google for help? You have massive stakes in both companies. Would you encourage your "new partners" to get (err ALREADY HAVE) an education in Google Search Rankings prior to funding them $7,500,000? Would you write a check if someone walked in your office and said, "Hey I want $7 mil, but this internet thing is confusing the hell out of me, but I would love to learn more about it." Cha-Ching!!!