OK, so it's a little off the marketing beat, but the launch of Zillow.com was one of the most exciting recent developments in Real Estate. Their simple interface made instant 'nosy neighbors' out of all of us. Tearing down the artificial information wall and democratizing the CMA process for consumers was a massive paradigm shift in a staunchly conservative industry.

Once the novelty began to wear off however, serious problems emerged with Zillow's offerings. The most serious of which were the discrepancies in its home valuations. Zillow's "Zestimates" often relied on County tax records, which are notoriously out of date, and resulted in big divergences from people's expectations of their home's worth. So it's not surprising that they'd be looking for a way to top up their data pool with the more current MLS data.

Many brokers have questioned Zillow's motivations and business model, and I, for one, have a hard time believing that they can remain profitable solely as an advertising-driven site. I believe that they will eventually leverage their considerable brand equity and backend technology and become just another brokerage or Real Estate firm. It's somewhat telling then, that the following job description was found on their site

Real Estate Broker

Zillow.com is seeking to become a licensed broker in multiple states in connection with our real estate information service. We do not plan to be an agent or act as an agent in any real estate transactions. As a licensed broker, we may also join certain professional associations to remain current on the issues facing the local and national real estate community. We may seek to enhance our Zestimate™ home valuation with data available from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), depending upon MLS rules and terms of use.

Any interested party should have a real estate broker's license issued by the applicable real estate regulatory authority and be able to take all actions necessary to maintain his or her own license and the license of Zillow, Inc. pursuant to state laws.

At least 10 years of real estate brokerage experience and an impeccable, documented track record are required. All inquiries held in confidence. Extensive background check required.

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