A couple of days ago, there was a rumor floating around Wall Street that Realogy would acquire Trulia. Both Trulia and Realogy threw cold water on that dream quickly. Nonetheless, I found the whole thing fascinating, since a similar scenario was exactly a “Black Swan” event I used to amuse the audience at the last T3 Summit. Here’s the video, courtesy of Stefan Swanepoel and T3:
Black Swan #2 was that Realogy would acquire Zillow. Heh.
Do I still think Realogy would acquire a major portal? Not really. I never thought it in the first place, but brought it up so as to get the people at T3 thinking in a different way.
But the whole brief chatter got me thinking further, and I draw together various separate strands to make the claim that one day in the not-too-distant future, we could (not that we will, but that we could) see a major acquisition of a major “portal” (in quotes for a reason).
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.
I think this might be a bleg (that would be a blog/beg) for help in making sense of some recent buyer data. Some of this just makes so little sense to me that I’m asking the Notorious community for assistance.
The buyer data comes from Redfin. I’m focusing on it because I know Redfin’s corporate culture is data-driven, and because the folks there are really good at data. They constantly survey their customers, they take pride in their NPS-derived customer satisfaction surveys, and pretty much have been data junkies from day one.
Given that we’re only looking at buyer survey data from one brokerage, and a fairly unique one at that, it isn’t clear how much weight we could/should put on the data. But it’s something. If you’re aware of any other brokerages (NAR’s survey is a bit too broad/diffuse, and I’d like to look at broker-level surveys) who have this kind of buyer data, I’d be interested in knowing about them.
Thus far, we have explored why Redfin 3.0 is significant, and the hypothesis that the real estate consumer cannot, will not, or in any event does not form relationships with companies or with brands, but only with another person: the agent. We have looked at the two main consequences of that hypothesis: that if the brokerage brand doesn’t help an agent form and maintain client relationships, it can’t hurt an agent either; and that brokerages should only invest in technology only to the extent that such investment leads to greater recruitment and retention of agents. What matters, at the end of the day, is agent count.
We now turn to how those two conclusions then inform business strategy for brokerages going forward.