My friend Seth Price, aka, Best Dressed Man in Real Estate, works for a startup called Placester. Many of you know the company, as it makes IDX websites for brokers and agents. High quality design templates and custom websites is Placester’s game. Or rather it was Placester’s game.
This morning, Placester announced that it had raised an additional $5.5M in funding. That news by itself isn’t something I’d normally write about, but there is an interesting angle here.
My friends over at Clareity Consulting have released a new white paper entitled, “Is Your IDX Website Mobile Friendly, or Driving Away Business“. You can download the PDF by clicking on that link. It’s a really solid report if you’re in the market for a new IDX website, or need to redo your existing one so that it is mobile friendly.
Because, as Clareity says, citing a Google study:
If your website is not mobile-friendly, it’s time to get a new website. A 2013 NAR study shows that 68% of consumers already use a mobile device rather than a desktop or laptop computer to look for a new home. Many brokers and agents spend a lot of time and money trying to drive consumers to their website, buying online ads for their listings and worrying about search engine optimization (SEO) and so forth – but are they wasting their resources? 61% of consumers on a tablet or phone who visit a website that isn’t mobile friendly leave the site immediately and may never come back. You only have one chance to make that first impression – is it a good one?
They then give you a primer on mobile websites, including adaptive design, responsive design, and of course, native apps. Then Clareity provides a helpful list of vendors.
So as far as that goes, it’s an excellent paper, and I would encourage you to go read the whole thing. But you know me. That ain’t the end of the discussion here.
The heretical question I have is not whether your IDX website is mobile friendly or not, but whether you should have an IDX website at all in this day and age.
Once again, it is time for the world famous (in my own mind at least) annual tradition of making predictions for the coming year that are Guaranteed to be Wrong, or Your Money Back! This year, I thought I would pay tribute to the greatest musical act still working today: Alison Krauss and Union Station. If you haven’t experienced AKUS, please click on the embedded videos; you will become a fan. If you are not a fan, you should be. “But I hate country music” is no excuse when it comes to the awesomeness that is the Hall of Fame lineup of Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas, Dan Tyminski, Ron Block, and Dan Bales.
My 2012 Predictions turned out to be mostly wrong, which is great news, since many of them were dire indeed. Here’s to hoping that my 2013 predictions will perform about the same.
The first Triple Crown Winner in 45 years… and he bat .330
Welcome to another edition of an annual tradition, in which I go back and grade myself on my predictions made at the start of this year. My track record so far:
2010 Predictions: 6 of 10 (.600)
2011 Predictions: 4.5 of 7 (.642)
As was the case last year, I’m hoping to be wrong more often than not, because my 2012 Predictions, written on January 2, 2012, were kind of on the doomy and gloomy side of things. Let’s take a look, shall we?
I’ve gotten more than one request from readers to discuss the brutal analysis report on Zillow by Citron Research. I didn’t think I’d have much to add to a stock analyst’s report that tends to be heavy on financial metrics and such, but it turns out that the Citron Research report is indeed worth reading. And opining about. Seeing as how I don’t own any Zillow, haven’t shorted Zillow — or anyone else, and no one is paying me for this post… you may value my thoughts at what you’ve paid for them.
Fundamentally, Citron’s report isn’t an attack solely on Zillow; it’s an attack on the entire business model of Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and everyone else in the “aggregation” business:
We can all agree the internet is not a new technology. Internet-generated leads to realtors have been getting sold for close to 15 years. Zillow itself has been around for seven years. If, after seven years and hundreds of millions of dollars of Wall Street’s money, all it has generated is a $100 million revenue run rate, why should the future be exponentially better than the past—especially with a plethora of well capitalized competition? That Zillow has captured a whopping 1% of real estate ad spend after seven years, definitively reveals a history of rejection of their model by their core market. This is not a broken business model; it is a business model that has never worked. (Emphasis in original.)
I think that’s going a step too far, and ignores some of the real simmering fault lines bubbling under the surface in the real estate industry. Since Citron isn’t new to covering the real estate technology business (“yes, we are veterans in this space”), I would have thought they’d be more aware of those fault lines. If they’re not, I invite them to subscribe to this here blog, since I often discuss them.