You Know, ZILLOW Is Not The Only Big Bad Wolf Out There!

Real Estate Agent with Joe Manausa Real Estate 8508880888

Real estate agents appear to fall into one of three camps when it comes to Zillow. They either see Zillow as a threat, they see Zillow as a great benefit, or they do not care one way or the other about Zillow.

It seems to me though that the majority recognizes Zillow as an organization that continues to move closer and closer to our space and it has the potential to control a healthy portion of what we have traditionally done on our own.

If you see Zillow as the big bad wolf (making us agents Little Red Riding Hood), then I propose you should take a broader look at how the digital marketing space is evolving, as there are many more wolves out there than just Zillow.

Step Back Out Of The Box

To understand the marketing evolution that is occurring, one must take a step back and view the entire business world beyond just real estate brokerage. There are many other "Zillows" out there, and they represent a similar threat to those other industries in which they compete. So who are they?

They are merely DM organizations that are publicly funded. They are mega-marketing machines with the sole purpose of generating traffic in specific niches. They have no intention of servicing the consumer; rather they form to take advantage of the lack of digital marketing skills in industries that have not embraced DM. These digital marketing organizations generate customer leads and then, in turn, sell them to local business owners who then convert them to consumers of their products or services.

In every industry, there is always a group of business owners that embrace these mega DMs as an opportunity to outsource some or all of their marketing efforts. They buy leads and mistakenly see this as a way to simplify their operations, allowing them to focus on customer service rather than generating business. They believe the marketing company will “market,” while their own business will “service.” So who am I writing about?

Just a few examples. Does HomeAdvisor offer any benefit to the consumer? Can they fix the HVAC or unclog a toilet? No! But they can sell online consumer information to HVAC companies and Plumbers for a nice fee. Is Angie's List any different? Not really. But here's the thing.

Ten years ago, in your town, the largest plumbing company was local. Today, it's probably the plumber that is willing to pony up and pay for leads from the big DMs as we mentioned above. It does not matter how many years an organization has thrived through traditional marketing methods and word of mouth, digital is taking over. Death is coming to organizations that do not embrace digital.

A well-funded DM can take over any industry including Doctors, Lawyers, and all brick and mortar businesses that are not actively working digital channels. It comes down to this for all of us who operate as small businesses:


If you are not educating yourself on digital marketing, if you are not creating digital marketing solutions for your business, you are losing ground to those that are. It really is that simple. If you are only a year or two away from retirement, then it really does not matter. You can survive on word of mouth. But if you intend to work many more years as a real estate agent, what are you doing to own your local digital space?

I do believe Zillow and a few other organizations will control the flow of real estate activity for most locations because I believe the current structure of the real estate brokerage industry is too fragmented to counter the invasion from real estate digital marketing organizations. Are you defending your area of operations?

Enhance Your Digital Marketing Skillset

Fortunately for ActiveRainers, there is a solution. If you are on ActiveRain, then it is likely that you are at least trying to get a handle on the growing channels within digital marketing (DM). Content marketing is obviously one major tenet of DM, and ActiveRain is an excellent place to improve upon your content marketing skillset.

But there are others, and you must continue to grow. Evolve. Learn.

Or perish.

Posted by

Joe Wrote The Book On How To Sell A Home In The Digital Age

The digital marketing guide for bricks and mortar businesses

Joe recently wrote "The Business of Getting Business."

It is a comprehensive guide for small businesses to help them understand how to implement digital marketing. For Realtors, it's a guide to using digital as the heart and soul of your marketing.

For those of us who want to survive and thrive in a world where large corporations are taking over, it is a must-read.

You can find "The Business Of Getting Business on Amazon here.




Joe Manausa Real Estate
1934 Dellwood Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32303
(850) 366-8917


Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Peter Mohylsky. Beach Expert 07/08/2019 06:00 AM
Real Estate Best Practices
Florida Leon County Tallahassee
Addicted to Active Rain
The Lounge at Active Rain
Bartender, Make it a Double
Old Farts Club
digital marketing

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Gwen Fowler-864-916-2019 SC Mountains Lakes Homes
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc - Salem, SC
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc.

I see Zillow for what it is: an excuse--to spend money, to complain or to weed out those who do not want to keep up with what is happening.  If the rules would just stay the same for a week or two then we all could get ahead instead of just spinning our wheels trying to keep up.

Jul 08, 2019 05:24 AM #21
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

There is a good 6 plus others that are active in generating leads in my area that call non stop with leads to sell. I will not pay up front for any leads, they always turn out worthless, but will take a listing by referral and pay a referral fee. 

Jul 08, 2019 05:55 AM #22
RE Virtual Solutions
RE Virtual Solutions - Saint Charles, MO
Virtually helping real estate professionals.

Great post Joe.

Jul 08, 2019 07:39 AM #24
Sondra Meyer:
Colorado Springs, CO
See It. Experience It. Live It.

Whether we like it or not, we live in a world of online marketing. The  Amazon, Google, and Zillow type of marketing organizations will not be going away anytime soon.   They have found a way  to satisfy a LOT of people.  

As real estate agents, we must find ways to satisfy clients in our respective "niches."  We must be willing to continually evolve in order to best meet our potential client's needs and wants.     

Jul 08, 2019 07:55 AM #25
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
West USA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

Good post Joe. It's a constant learning process. Obviously there's money in the game.

Jul 08, 2019 08:12 AM #26
Wayne L. Brown
Franklin Advantage Inc. - Alpine, CA


Like it or not, change is inevitable.

Your post was very well on point.

Jul 08, 2019 10:15 AM #27
HOMEiZ.COM Real Estate Technology
HOMEiZ.COM - Agoura Hills, CA
The Real estate social network

Very well said! 

Jul 08, 2019 11:27 AM #28
Keith McMullin
Port Aransas Realty - Port Aransas, TX
Port Aransas Real Estate

Joe Manausa You made so many excellent points.  Our industry is not exempt from the changes seen elsewhere.  Who would have guessed a few years back that the vast majority of our web traffic would be on mobile devices.  Customer service and local market knowledge still win in the end.  As Michael pointed out in his comments, you hit on a conversation starter for sure.  Thank you for the post.

Jul 08, 2019 04:59 PM #29
Robert Hicks
United Country River City Realty - Savannah, TN

.....and things will change and be different tomorrow.. Thank you for a great read..

Jul 08, 2019 06:50 PM #30
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Joe good points now we need to get rid of the Finn red that is... we got rid of Purple Bricks... so there are many more to be needed to get rid of.... and there are agents in our profession that we need to get rid of too, but I am just sayin, Endre

Jul 08, 2019 11:17 PM #31
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Great post.

Change is a constant, I can attest to the fact that I am no longer 21.

Change is coming more rapidly than ever before. Unfortunately many have spent so much time ignoring change and will pay the consequences.

If we do not adjust our business model we will see the impact and we will not be happy.

So, I must ask myself: What adjustments can I make today?

Jul 09, 2019 04:22 AM #32
Bryan Haarlander
IRS Tax Strategies & IRS Tax Debts

Good advice! Today, businesses need to continuously evolve as the market changes. The old adage of "if it isn't broken, don't fix it" generally is no longer applicable in today's world. 

Jul 09, 2019 11:37 AM #33
Mike Frazier
Carousel Realty of Dyer County - Dyersburg, TN
Northwest Tennessee Realtor

Zillow is definitely the elephant in the room and wants to eat all our business. I personally cannot stand zillow.

Jul 09, 2019 01:17 PM #34
Michael Eisenberg
eXp Realty - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Real Estate Guy

Zillown has the eyeballs of the acerage consumer. Your sure right Joe we have to learn to be the local expert that gets found in the digital world.

Jul 09, 2019 02:14 PM #35
Alan Brown
Coldwell Banker Montrose Colorado - Montrose, CO
29 Years of Real Estate Experience .

Nice article Joe.. You are spot on, snooze we lose,

Jul 09, 2019 02:16 PM #36
Kay Van Kampen
RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX - Springfield, MO
Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate

Discussing the future of real estate is something that comes up more lately.  I have an agent stating that Zillow is now trying to eliminate the MLS completely.  We know changes must occur to keep in content with changing times.  Is this one of them?

Jul 09, 2019 06:42 PM #37
Bruce Hicks
Best Homes Hawaii - Honolulu, HI
Your Lifetime Friend/Helper!

All I can say Joe Manausa is that I agree.  Now Inman is Trying too.  We have several RENTAL ads and they send emails saying we have this person or that person who is interested, please pay us a referral fee.  Sorry, owners do not want to pay for rental leads.

Jul 12, 2019 06:29 AM #38
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Regardless of the industry, lead generators are in business only because their clients (real estate agents, brokers) most of them, are simply order takers, don't you agree?

If the market exists, the lead generators will remain in business, many if not most, use bait and switch tactics to generate leads from expired, sold listings or inaccurate information, yet consumers aren't aware the information is bogus.

I agree with Endre, #31, that agents in our profession who sustain lead generators might be better suited in another profession and perhaps get into a need type of business and over time make more income without effort. 

Jul 14, 2019 09:14 AM #39
Karen Climer
Demetree School of Real Estate - Orlando, FL
Teaching people to pass the real estate exam

As I read these comments, I don't understand why so many people are critical of lead generators.  If you don't like them, don't use them.  If they work for you, use them.  

What's the difference between asking a friend, "Do you know anyone who wants to sell their home?"  and someone who asks a website the same question.  Both of those are forms of lead generation.  Both of them lead to business for some people and not for others - nothing wrong with that.

Use what works for you.  But why all the hate for things that don't work for you, but obviously work for someone?

Aug 05, 2019 06:52 AM #40
Joe Manausa
Joe Manausa Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Tallahassee Real Estate

The biggest difference Karen Climer is that asking a friend will not result in me paying money to an organization that is going to attempt to put me out of business. I believe it is inevitable. Check back here is 5 years and let's see if Zillow/Aggregators haven't put more than half of all Realtors out of business.

Aug 05, 2019 10:37 PM #41
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Joe Manausa

Tallahassee Real Estate
Looking for Tallahassee Real Estate?

Additional Information