I meant to get this up days ago, but between travel, client engagements, other writings, and an upcoming vacation, I just couldn’t. But if you’ve missed Part 1, you can check it out here.
In a nutshell, part 1 worries about whether the acquisition would be allowed to proceed without the government requiring that ListHub be spun off or sold off. It also speculates on whether large brokerages and franchises would be happy about a NEWSTOR.com extending into mortgages and elsewhere.
Since that post, and in my travels and conversations, I’ve heard quite a lot of opinions from agents, brokers, MLS CEO’s, Association Execs, and others about how this acquisition is a total gamechanger. In fact, no less an august personage than Brad Inman himself, the publisher of Inman News, wrote the following with the headline “Do Not Underestimate Rupert Murdoch“:
For certain, News Corp’s acquisition of Move changes the chessboard of online real estate. Any hubris at Zillow headquarters in Seattle has suddenly been clipped. But it eases FTC approval of the Zillow-Trulia merger because suddenly there is formidable competition.
Most importantly, this move will spawn greater innovation for the consumer and better offers to agents and brokers. Some will argue it gives the real estate industry relief from a monolithic distribution partner, solving a vexing problem in one clean sweep. But the industry should still be on its toes: Murdoch and Zillow should never be underestimated.
I cite Brad Inman because he’s such a respected part of the industry who speaks so rarely that when he does speak, it gets people’s attention. I also cite it because I think his views here are echoed in the views of so many others I’ve spoken with about the News-Move deal.
The core idea expressed by those folks is something like, “Now that News Corp. is in the mix, Zillow had better watch out!” That idea, in turn, is supported by two assumptions:
- News Corp and REA have far superior management talent than does Move/NAR, and freed up from meddling by NAR, the new Realtor.com is going to get super-duperific.
- News Corp will leverage its immense media assets to drive traffic to Realtor.com like Black Friday drives shoppers to WalMart.
Both of those assumptions may turn out to be true. But from where I sit today, I think both assumptions are rather… optimistic… or overblown… or simply wrong. News Corp’s taking over Move may turn out to be a gamechanger, of course, but I see nothing yet that suggests any such conclusion.
Let’s dive into why.