Saturday, October 04, 2014

Escalation, My Brother

Big changes continue to happen in the world of online real estate. The dust had barely settled on the purchase of Trulia by Zillow when we got the news (no pun intended) this week that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. was buying Move Inc. For those that don't know, Move, Inc. licenses the domain from the National Association of Realtors and operates that website. They also own the nation's largest MLS syndication service, Listhub, and just four weeks ago announced the acquisition of Point2, the second largest syndicator. Syndicators are the conduit for MLS listing data to non-MLS sites like Trulia and Zillow. Point2 handles the syndication of approximately 900,000 MLS listings in the U.S. from 112 different MLS systems. Combined with Listhub's existing MLS agreements, Move, Inc. now controls the distribution of 85% of the MLS data in the United States. Guess who happens to be Zillow and Trulia's primary source of listing data. Yep, it's Move, Inc. Murdoch is not known for his kinder, gentler practice of business so this development must have the Zillow boys staining the armpits of their Alexander Price rags. And to think they could have had Move for a fraction what they just paid for Trulia.

Waiting in the wings is the new and improved, owned by Nationstar Mortgage that was scheduled to be relaunching about now in a bid to capture a bigger piece of the pie that Zillow has been gorging on. I reckon News Corp.'s move (again, no pun intended) this week may mean a possible delay or rethinking of that relaunch. The eventual outcome is uncertain but we can be sure that the world of real estate, both online and on the street, will be far different in the very near future. The corporate barbarians are at the gate and they have dollar signs in their eyes.

Rupert, if you're reading this, could make a nice garnish for your growing real estate portfolio. Have your people call mine or we can meet at Coconuts and talk price man to man over a frosty.

"The body always surfaces."  __Steve Romano