Trulia Finds Its Voice

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Luxury Connect | Oct. 16-18 | Beverly Hills

Trulia launched a pretty significant new release of its real estate search site this morning.

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Big news was they finally removed the Beta from their logo, hopefully spurring many of its Web 2.0 cousins to do the same.

More importantly however, it has charged right into what’s rapidly becoming a very crowded space – the online conversations around real estate.

Zillow is trying to own the conversation about your home (see Zillow Asks What’s For Sale in your Hood?). my-currency is trying to own the conversation around housing prices (see My-Currency Wants to Use the Wisest of the Crowds) and YourStreet.com is trying to own the conversation around your local market (see Real Estate Geeks Unite at YourStreet.com) – just to name a few of the competitors.

Trulia’s new offering, Trulia Voices, allows anyone to ask a question about a particular neighborhood or Zip code and get an answer. The idea is that real estate agents can “own” a particular neighborhood or and establish themselves as the “neighborhood expert” – a strategy that I’ve written about many times before on this blog (see Everybody’s Going Local).

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It’s a strategy echoed in ActiveRain’s Localism and could even be the basis of Move.com’s $6 million stealth project – though I see a much greater draw of consumers to Trulia’s offering. Trulia holds the “holy grail” for real estate shoppers online and has one of the best search interfaces out there – one that is aped by many.

They’ve made a concerted effort to attract Realtors – by making it easy to answer questions (you can subscribe to email alerts with new request from a neighborhood) and there’s even a Top Voices leaderboard in each city which is bound to stoke Realtor’s competitive fires.

Trulia Voices is the final piece of the puzzle for the scrappy search engine. They’ve wooed the brokers and won and now they wooing the agents. With this in place, they’re set for an even bigger push towards mainstream consumers – I’d expect to see this happen later this year.

And once they’ve gathered together the holy trinity of Real Estate 2.0; brokers, agents, consumers – they’ll be very well positioned. Either to forge ahead on their own or as a very juicy acquisition target indeed.