TRULIA-ZILLOW MERGER WILL CHANGE THE FACE OF MOBILE REAL ESTATE MARKETING

Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff says the upcoming $3.5 billion merger between Zillow and Trulia in 2015 will position the company in the forefront of mobile real estate marketing, a report on USA Today said.

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In an interview with the news site’s Tech editor Nancy Blaire, Rascoff said that 70 percent of Zillow’s visitors are accessing the web site through mobile devices, while only 30 percent were using desktop.

And since Zillow monetizes on mobile advertising, the company will be able to take advantage of Trulia’s large user base and branding, Rascoff said.

“The appeal for us of buying Trulia is (that) they have a huge audience. And they’ve got a great brand. They’ve done a great job of integrating rich local data into their listings, like crime data and school data,” he said.

Zillow monetizes on locally-targeted advertising which cost about $57,000 agents about $4,000 annually. With 26 applications across platforms, it won’t be hard for the company to grow this revenue.

“Real estate is the ultimate mobile endeavor,” Rascoff noted.

The company also monetizes on its mortgage marketplace advertising, which currently accounts for 20 percent of its revenues.

Zillow is also capitalizing on its presence on Google Now, an Android mobile app that recommend Zillow listings based on your real estate searches and emails you receive.

Zillow also operates StreetEasy and HotPads, which it acquired a year ago and two years ago.

While many agree that the merger is going to be a game-changer in the online real estate technology sector, some industry insiders aren’t too happy about the news.

Some real estate agents, for example, note that Zillow and Trulia provide inaccurate information about the prices and location of properties which play a major role in the decision-making of consumers.

“From what I understand, Zillow, Trulia, and HGTV haven’t changed the way real estate agents work with buyers and sellers, but they sometimes make the job more difficult, which helps no one,” said Alan Heavens, a real estate journalist, in a Philly.com report.

Kevin Gillen, University of Pennsylvania economist and senior research consultant, added to Heavens’ statement: “This merger could very well be the test that determines whether the home-buying process will make the leap to a more standardized and nationalized process dominated by a relatively few big players, or will persist in remaining a highly localized and fragmented process with lots of relatively small players.”

Other options also exist in the market that are as promising as Zillow and Trulia and would tremendously help agents and consumers get up-to-date real estate information and accurate property descriptions. Realbiz Media Group, Inc. (OTCQB: RBIZ), for example, develops proprietary video software that agents and their brokers can use to promote their listings online to potential buyers to meet the changing demands of real estate buyers and investors. The company empowers agents across America to have their own marketing tool, so they do not have to buy leads from third-party web sites.

The company touts its disruptive Virtual Tour program as a technology that is going to make all the difference in property marketing. The program allows real estate sellers to create virtual tours and presentations that are optimized for mobile viewing and could be syndicated through social media for only $29.95 a month.

The program is also equipped with a video search engine optimization (VSEO) tool that automatically generate meta tags and descriptions for virtual tours and listings agents have uploaded to the platform so that they would be found easily by consumers online.

The program also has tools for creating QR codes, e-flyers, and seller reports as bonus features.

Author:  Jana Bile

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