Which Online Listing Site is Best?
When advertising home listings, where should Realtors spend their marketing dollars? Where should homebuyers go first when they begin an online home search?
NEW YORK – October 15, 2015 – When advertising home listings, where should Realtors spend their marketing dollars? Where should homebuyers go first when they begin an online home search?
As a result of rapid changes in the online advertising wars, data analyst BuildZoom compared Zillow and realtor.com listings in 51 U.S. cities. It found that "the best online home listing site" varies by metro area. In 40 out of 51 cities, BuildZoom says, realtor.com has the advantage – in some cases, a strong advantage. In 11 cities, Zillow lists more homes for sale.
Three home listing ad sites dominate the Internet. Zillow leads in total number of visitors, but it's now followed by realtor.com, which passed Trulia within the past year. Realtor.com benefited from an acquisition by News Corp. that appears to be giving it higher exposure among consumers.
According to a blog written by BuildZoom Chief Economist Issi Romem – The Zillow and Realtor Listing War – BuildZoom began to track and compare listing numbers on Zillow and realtor.com after an agreement Zillow had with ListHub ended and Zillow started directly contracting with local multiple listing services (MLSs).
However, Romem says BuildZoom received a cease-and-desist order from Zillow lawyers, saying the group could not collect Zillow information using an automated system. As a result, Romem says it opted to collect its comparison data manually, but in a limited number of cities.
However, "number of listings" isn't the final word in the online ad listing wars.
"As long as Zillow Group continues to draw substantially more traffic than realtor.com, agents and brokers will continue to feel compelled to advertise on its portals," concludes Romem. "As a result, Zillow Group revenue is less sensitive to its listing coverage than one might think."
Romem also floats a question: Will Zillow succeed long-term?
"We suspect Zillow Group is destined for an uphill battle," Romem says. "The nature of relationships between the MLSs and Zillow Group's portals are the subject of passionate disagreement, and Zillow Group may find it difficult to win over 'multiple' hearts and minds."
© 2015 Florida Realtors® All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.
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