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A recent decision by the National Association of Realtors’ board of directors to hold a special meeting in July to look at how to give realtor.com operator Move Inc. more leeway to compete with listing portals like Zillow and Trulia has industry insiders brainstorming ideas.
Todd Carpenter — a consultant who’s held high-level positions with both NAR and Trulia — thinks Move is probably hoping that NAR will give it more autonomy in deciding what consumers want to see on the site — including new homes, distressed properties and rentals, and maybe even for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) properties.
That won’t cost NAR anything to do, but could alienate some members (as NAR’s decision to amend the realtor.com operating agreement in 2010 to allow Move to run unbranded lead forms next to listings did).
Carpenter reports that another idea that’s been shared on social media channels is reallocating money NAR spends on TV and radio ads to drum up support for public policy issues into promoting realtor.com.
Or, Carpenter offers a “truly crazy idea” — why not dump Move and hire Trulia or Zillow to run the site? Less radically, Carpenter suggests NAR could build relationships with those portals, while continuing to work with Move on realtor.com.
Over on the Geek Estate Blog, founder Drew Meyers (whose past gigs include a stint with Zillow in business development) thinks there’s a simple way to put realtor.com back on top: “Assemble the greatest team possible, put them together, give them lots of money, and get out of the way.”
One way to do that, Meyers says, would be to put industry consultants at 1000watt to work for Move full time. Meyers lists other talent that Move could bring in, but concludes that the company would still need a “charismatic visionary” to lead the charge.
But who, he wonders, would be willing to “to spend (five to 10) years of their life obsessed with beating” Zillow and Trulia?
“Only a founder,” Meyers concludes. “The best bet? Bring back whoever founded Realtor.com.”
That would be Stuart Wolff, the founder, chairman and CEO of Move predecessor Homestore, who was released from federal prison in April, following his 2010 securities fraud conviction for his role in a scheme that artificially inflated Homestore’s revenue in 2001.
What’s your take? What steps might the National Association of Realtors and Move Inc. consider to better position realtor.com against competing listing websites? Leave your comments below.