Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com: Comparing “The Big Three”

Chris Haran, Coldwell Banker, Gold Coast

By Dan Provost

The October 2011 issue of Realtor Magazine reported that in September, Realtor.com had more than 50 million visits. During that same month, Zillow.com saw more than 28 million visits while Trulia.com had more than 21 million visits.

But which of these three big real estate sites matter the most to Chicago and suburban real estate agents who are promoting their listings and themselves? Which ones do agents and brokers say deliver the best leads? And which frustrate them the most?

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  • Mike Russo says:

    It is very frustrating to me that brokerages haven’t figured out how to get the traffic to our own sites. But instead, us agents have to pay hundreds and thousands of dollars to buy back our leads. Something isn’t right here.

  • Great information and interesting perspective from three different real estate brokerage offices that run very different business models.Another view from a real estate broker like myself is that two of the three service providers in the article do not display the listing agent information unless you pay for the enhancement. They even go as far as steering the lead to an agent that does pay. Also we agents and brokers are continuing to provide the marketing information such as photos and listing details to these and other service providers, to find that they are taking our information to capture their own lead. They then offer this “lead” to an agent at a fee.As one that has experienced a great deal of evolution in the way our listings have been displayed over the internet, our focus and the evolution of these dynamics will be ground shaking to the industry.
    I think that each agent and brokerage needs to focus on how our listings are indexed and returned for results from the major search engines.As well, since the rate of response is so important, another focus would be how quickly and how efficiently that lead comes to the listing agent as well as the listing agents lead capture and follow-up system. I willing be looking at the release coming out this spring from RE/MAX regarding the international(RE/MAX.com) web site changes.Remember- if we do not pay attention to our business someone else will!

  • Brian Hickey says:

    Mike,

    As you know, people have short memories and most agent domains are long and hard to spell.

    There is, however, a marketing tool that you manage and control yourself – it’s a strong domain that is licensing its brand and system to agents – all the traffic from that brand (which you “own”) is directed back to you and your business.

    There are “riches in niches”

    http://teardowns.com/agent_program

    Thanks,

    Brian

  • Dana Lambert says:

    It’s interesting how Zillow says they only want to give out accurate, up-to-date numbers…but then they don’t give any numbers out. I understand wanting to be accurate, but if there were some averages for Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com ads, it might paint an even clearer picture of which programs are the best for agents’ money. Otherwise, as stated in the article, agents are forced to buy a program to test and measure their results, with no general knowledge of what their click-throughs and lead generation should be averaging upon purchase. Blind leading the blind?

  • I have to agree with Matt and Chris about Realtor.com but overall have to wonder if this is being approached to benefit both the consumer and the agent.

    For me, I do see the most clicks on per listing off of Realtor.com but actually click to contact from the consumer be it to list or buy is much higher for me from Trulia and Zillow.

    What really stands out to me is Mike Russo’s comment. Probably the most intelligent part of this post.

  • I have been an agent at both Re/Max for 22 years and now at Coldwell Banker. Regarding Trulia if in fact you follow the system as well as Realtor.com and Zillow the listed properties that are represented by Coldwell Banker agents always pull up first in the searches and always will due to the fact the Corporation has contracts with all of these companies. That makes a huge difference in the way the leads on properties are generated. Buyers are fickle and will only maybe to to 2 pages on line and they will click on only one listing. Re/Max is a great company however it is a Franchise and does not work as one unit when it comes to marketing. Each individual agent has to market the properties and when you add up the costs of these companies it is very expensive. I agree with Mike Russo as well as the costs can add up to more then $8000 a year if you do this as an individual agent.

  • Andrew Mooers says:

    Thanks for shaking it all out, for the apples to apples, side by side size up.