(This is Part 1 of a two-part series. See Part 2.) A hurricane the magnitude of Katrina has just hit the real estate industry. Did you notice? Since its recent launch, the real estate industry has been buzzing about a new Web site called Zillow.com. According to Alexa.com, an Amazon Web site that ranks Web traffic, Zillow has rocketed to the top 200 Web sites in the world. That's higher than Realtor.com or any other real estate Web site. How did Zillow zoom to the top in real estate Web traffic? First, Zillow's founders identified what the consumer wants when they visit a real estate Web site -- access to listings and to comparable sales data. Second, Zillow's CEO was the founder of Expedia. This well-funded team understands Web marketing. Third, the real estate community has been shaking in its boots -- would Zillow be the next frontal assault on the full-service model? Would Zillow lead to more commission compression? These questions have had brokers and agents alike flocking to the...
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