I don't blog as much anymore but thought this one should be cause for some debate and wanted to both get my thoughts out there as well as solicit from others to see if they match the sentiment that was pretty much dominating our industry a decade ago.
Let's start with - In the Beginning Zillow was a prettied up polished platform of sleekness with FREE feeds of information from different MLS' providing thousands of real estate listings for the general public to enjoy, none of which were Zillow's listings because they were just a syndication partner sharing OUR listings. Fast forward to today and Zillow has essentially used our free data to build themselves into what probably will amount to the real estate brokerages biggest competitor, particularly with their financial strength (due in VERY LARGE part from realtors buying up territories for leads).
I've always used blogging and back linking then posting to outlets such as facebook, twitter and AR as my tools to organically build my sites presence but I also know that anyone that spends one day browsing keywords on google or any of your favorite search engines can quickly find out how easy it is to generate leads if you are willing to spend money to do so. Tools available today can allow a new realtor who needs the instant lead flow to help jump start their business to have instant success WITHOUT giving their money to Zillow. I tried to plead this case years ago only to hear 'Our Sellers want their home on Zillow'. What happened to the art of the sell? During the down markets it was an easy sell to keep listings off zillow simply by explaining their zestimate to sellers. Nowadays the data is so rich and foreclosures and short sales are down so the zestimate is fairly accurate and now that Zillow is a brokerage they are actually entitled to the free rets feed of data we so freely sent to them years ago. Question though, Is it not a conflict of interest to be the largest marketing platform for real estate listings and then also decide to well become a brokerage because they now have control of all the data and can easily steer the entire home selling community in their direction? At some point NAR has to step in and do something but my gut tells me if they cared they would have stepped in a few years back.
I am curious about others thoughts on this subject. I have some very successful agents who utilize the Zillow advertising platform to sell a boat load of houses and I have very successful agents who sell a boat load of houses without the assistance of zillow. Where do your thoughts lie?