Zillow Partners With Google. Game over? For who?

Feb 14, 2013 Michael Wurzer

Zillow has made a ton of news lately, and seen it’s stock price soar to a $1.4 billion valuation as a result. The string of announcements was capped off yesterday with news of a partnership with Google to power Google Now, a search tool for mobile devices.

The Google partnership and a new partnership with HGTV prompted Zillow’s CEO, Spencer Rascoff, to tweet yesterday:

The same announcement prompted Robert Drummer from iMapp to tweet:

Jim Duncan, a well-known real estate blogger in Virginia, said the announcement huge:

He then follows that up with a great question in a blog post today:

We’re not to the point where zestimates replace market analyses – there are so many unzillowables that can’t be quantified by an algorithm – view, smells, neighbors, proximity to work, stuff, groceries, etc but the question that marginal real estate agents need to be asking themselves (that great ones have been asking themselves for years) is this:

Why should my client trust me more than Google/Zillow?

(my answer to this question coming next week)

Perhaps a better question is whether an agent or broker will ever be found or heard with all the noise and popularity of Zillow. Or, as Spencer Rascoff says, as a practical matter, will every broker and agent need to be on Zillow or, as Jim says, will Zillow simply become the de facto standard simply by ubiquity? I think these are very real possibilities and, as an MLS software vendor, I wonder if this is yet another version of the story we’ve all seen before about the Death of the MLS, which started this blog nearly six years ago?

I didn’t think so back then but the success of Zillow in building a juggernaut that is changing our industry is undeniable. The only question is how far and successful will they be, and will MLSs, brokers, and agents find themselves in the no-win position of having to partner with Zillow to not be marginalized?

What do you think? Same story different day, or is this something new?