Technology

Why the FTC let Zillow buy Trulia

Regulators see portals like realtor.com, Redfin as significant competitors

Federal antitrust regulators say they decided to allow the nation's most popular real estate search portal to acquire its closest rival because real estate agents have "numerous" ways to market their services, and that there was "insufficient evidence" that the deal would result in higher advertising costs or hurt innovation. But because the "competitive dynamics" of online advertising industry are "rapidly changing," the Federal Trade Commission said it could still revisit the question of whether Zillow's acquisition of Trulia might allow it to impose advertising price increases on a subset of agents. In the course of a "comprehensive six-month investigation," the FTC said it uncovered "documentary evidence tending to show that Zillow and Trulia compete closely with one another for consumer traffic and for real estate agent advertising dollars." However, the FTC said, "There is evidence that real estate agents use numerous methods in addition to the platforms operated by Zill...

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