Several weeks ago, I was contacted by Red Herring Magazine to comment on a piece they were working on about the new crop of Web 2.0 real estate companies. [Interestingly, only days after I spoke with the reporter, she announced she had moved over to tech-industry blogger Om Malik’s new site GigaOm.]

You can read it today in Real Estate’s Web Wake-up.

Redfin, ZipRealty, Zillow and are all profiled in the piece.

A couple of choice quotes I’ve pulled from the piece.

Online brokers also aim to profit from everyone’s thirst for richer information.

I think this line hits on the crux of the whole Real Estate 2.0 phenomenon. A thirst for richer information. The online brokers, like Redfin have responded first to this need. Traditional brokers can (and should) do the same however.

How the Internet impacts brick-and-mortar real estate agents remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt that real estate advertising, long the domain of newspaper classifieds, is moving to the web.

Absolutely – I’ve said this all along; Time’s Running Out For Print Advertising. The buyers have largely migrated to the ‘net already, and so should sellers.

…content-focused companies like Zillow and Google—with mapping and market information making up the bulk of their offerings—argue that they can weather a downturn because they depend not on transaction commissions, but on selling ads. And in a tougher market, sellers and agents will be forced to do more advertising to get homes sold.

I suppose this an argument could be made for this. But Real Estate 2.0 Survival Prospects aren’t all rosy. In any downturn (if one exists) marketing budgets are often the first thing that gets axed. The opposite should happen, but rarely does unfortunately.

But with the rise of information sites like Zillow, real estate agents may need to shift their focus away from marketing (which is really all listings are) and instead focus on acting as midwives for the huge life event of buying or selling a house.

I don’t think agents should shift their focus away from marketing. I hope that doesn’t happen anyway…what would I write about here? Seriously however, I believe that agents still have a important role to play in marketing a property, they’re just going have to market smarter and more effectively. All of these new Web 2.0 sites will help but they’re only one component of a smart marketing plan.

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