Trulia's New Logo Taunts Realtors Who Use Widgets

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Austin Referral Realty

Trulia, The King of Your Real Estate MarketIt 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.

Trulia, The King of Your Real Estate MarketThe 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!!!


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Bill Exeter
Exeter 1031 Exchange Services, LLC - San Diego, CA
1031 Tax-Deferred Exchange Expert

Hi Ronnie,

Great post; great insight into the issues involved.  Kudos!

May 18, 2008 06:26 AM #1
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

The problem is that most Realtors have limited SEO knowledge and have no idea they are actually creating their own demise. This is the kind of information that Trulia does not want Realtors to be aware of as you have pointed out in your post.

May 18, 2008 06:46 AM #2
Ronnie Bredahl
Austin Referral Realty - Austin, TX

Thanks, Bill! (both of you)

Trulia Widgets are about the worst possible thing you could have on your site, IMO.  Anything that drives traffic from my site is THE COMPETETION!!

I'm going to stop submitting my syndicated listings to Trulia.  If all Realtors did the same, goodbye!  We're Trulia not gonna miss ya!

Here is the philosophy behind Trulia (on their "About" page)

  • Looking for a home shouldn't be a miserable experience - Local Realtor sites have that covered.  Check.
  • Information should be made freely and easily available to everyone - That's why we have IDX!!!.  Local Realtor sites have that covered.  Check!
  • Most home buyers/sellers will work with a real estate professional for guidance - Great perception Trulia **heavy sarcasm**... Local Realtors have had buyers/sellers covered for about, say 100 years.  We know our markets 1,000,000 times better than you!
May 18, 2008 07:23 AM #3
Trulia Roger

Hi Ronnie,

Just to set the record straight, my (new) picture is not a monkey, it's an emperor tamarin. My old one was a lemur. I like primates. Maybe that's why I work for a real estate media company, come to think of it :)

I'm not sure what's gained by calling my choice of profile photos a bold marketing move, since 1) I'm in engineering, not in marketing, and the opinions I post are mine and not sponsored, vetted, edited, requested or otherwise approved by the rest of Trulia, 2) I've always used cute animal pictures in my profile, 3) None of what I said in reference to this conversation is a marketing move. Rather I'm just setting the record straight and correcting misrepresentations and factual errors.

I would encourage everyone to have constructive conversations and avoid misrepresenting each other.

Thanks, and have a great Sunday!

May 18, 2008 07:28 AM #4
Tom Davis
Harrington ERA,DE Homes For Sale, $$ Save $$ Buy Today ! - Dover, DE
FREE Delaware Homes Search!, $$ Save $$ - Find Homes! Delaware Realtor

Bill sums up my statement...

and the rich keep getting richer ...

Tom Davis , Delaware realtor

May 18, 2008 08:28 AM #5
Bob Crain
Crain Realty - North County Luxury Homes - San Marcos, CA
San Diego County Real Estate Broker


The sad thing is most of the agents who are helping Trulia pass them in the serps have no clue what is going on.

Trulia amazes me.  In a few short years they have gone from being a data scrapper to one of the largest real estate sites in the world.  I wonder how much longer it will take them before they start their own online Brokerage?

Isn't that their next step? 

The way I see it Truilia will either get a brokers license in every state and sell leads back to these agents who keep giving the Trulia site so much authority or compete directly with agents as an online discount brokerage.

Hold on a second, isn't Trulia already selling leads or the promise of leads???

May 18, 2008 08:29 AM #6
Eric Bramlett
Bramlett Residential - Austin, TX

Great read.  Thanks for doing the research on this - really interesting.

May 18, 2008 09:50 AM #7
Star Smith
Suburban House Hunters Team (CSI, Inc.) - Schaumburg, IL

Thanks for the background on who is funding Trulia, it is very interesting to say the least. As a side note there are plenty of people who know exactly how to rank in Google and Trulia has plenty of them on their staff. You don't accidentally rank for almost every city in the United States for "city real estate" and other terms. That takes very careful planning and they have used the authority of the real estate agents sites using widgets to get there.


May 18, 2008 09:52 AM #8
Susan Zanzonico
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services - Morristown, NJ
Sellers/Buyers Agent, Morristown NJ Real Estate

I agree with Bill G. and SEO knowledge is a big part of the problem.  Trying to bring all realtors up to speed on SEO is not gonna happen...but hopefully blogs like this and some on BB will help in educating realtors enough to understand the affect of these widgets.  Bob's comment about Trulia headway in a few short years is something to think about seriously....  Where is it leading.

May 18, 2008 10:02 AM #9
Jim Olenbush
Cantera Real Estate - Austin, TX

Great post Ronnie!  Trulia practices very aggressive search engine optimization, and it is ridiculous for them to say they don't know how it works.  The venture capital connection is interesting to say the least!

May 18, 2008 11:34 AM #10
Bo Buchanan
Kettley Realtors - Oswego, IL

Ronnie, once again - it's all  about relationships.  Trulia is working from the top down.  I'm curious how big franchise players like ReMax and Coldwell Banker are responding to the traffic flowing down the drain. Thanks for educating me on what's going on with Trulia - I googled trulia at AR and your post was the first that came up. 

May 18, 2008 04:35 PM #11
Dennis Pease
Coldwell Banker Coast Real Estate - Florence, OR

Great post Ronnie; this is a topic I have not only followed closely but have Blogged about myself, but you have added some very informative facts that were unknown to me and probably most agents out there.

Venture Capital being provided by the same people that helped Google definitely has its advantages. Then to act like they don’t really understand how Google works and ranks sites is more than pretty lame, it’s a lie. Although we know that their industry is full of lies, deceit and mistruths.

Bob Crain is right on target. I remember when Trulia claimed they were just here for the good of the agents and they didn’t charge any money. How quickly things change! I suppose they still claim to be here to help agents.

That’s like the wolf that’s just in the chicken pen to help the chickens, right?

May 18, 2008 05:09 PM #12
Ronnie Bredahl
Austin Referral Realty - Austin, TX

"like the wolf that's just in the chicken pen to help the chickens"

Great analogy, Dennis!

May 19, 2008 02:49 AM #13
Ken Smith
Suburban House Hunters - Arlington Heights, IL

Typical that one of the most important posts related to the agents on this site doesn't get featured. Great research Ronnie!

Trulia is a parasitic website. They are nothing without agents listings or links from agents yet they provide nothing of value in return. They are very good at hiding their true colors, but the fact remains that they need real estate agents and we don't need them.

Agents need to stop sending their listings to Trulia, demand that their companies stop sending listings to Trulia, stop answering questions on, and remove anything that is related on their websites and blogs. It doesn't take everyone to do this to make a huge change so remember that your actions help.

May 19, 2008 07:50 AM #14
Bob Crain

"Your either a wolf of a sheep.", Says Trulia Roger.  To the many unsuspecting real estate agents as they are adding his modules to their sites. 

Do you want to be a wolf or a sheep?

May 21, 2008 08:08 AM #15
John Sabia
Coldwell Banker - Fort Lauderdale, FL

Trulia no longer has to target unsuspecing agents now that they have successfully acquired big name real estate companies into a "preferred partner" status with them. They no longer need to trick agents into displaying listings, etc - they have full cooperation of the broker/owners.

Why on earth would brokers/owners support Trulia knowing that:

  • Trulia trusts the information but not the source?
  • Trulia engages in an aggressive linking strategy that only positions Trulia to outrank the very same real estate companies and their real estate agents who truly are the source of the information
  • Trulia seeks to dominate search engine results?

Do you see the bigger picture here?

I agree with Ken above.

This is a Call To Action.


Jun 07, 2008 09:18 AM #16
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