If Zillow is like Google, then Redfin is like Amazon

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How do brokers compete with the “new digital monstrosity” created by Zillow’s planned acquisition of Trulia? The same way Amazon competes with Google, Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman tells the hosts of “Bloomberg Surveillance.”

What he means by that is that Google is a media site where people search for products, but Amazon is where they go to buy books and lawn chairs.

“Zillow and Trulia are media sites,” Kelman says. “We advertise on Trulia, and then the consumer actually buys the house by working with a Redfin agent.”

Kelman didn’t delve more deeply into the analogy, which he used to bolster an Inman News guest piece proposing that brokers provide only a few basic details about homes they represent to portals like Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com —  a few photos and a price, but not the entire listing description.

“Google does not display Amazon’s entire Web page about a TV or a book in a Google search result,” Kelman wrote in May. “Facebook shows a snippet of a New York Times article with a linked photo and headline to read the rest on nytimes.com. Any Trulia, Zillow or realtor.com visitor with a serious interest in a broker’s listings should end up on that broker’s site to evaluate the full listing.”

Redfin has built one of the few brokerage websites that’s in the same league as “ZTR,” as the big three are sometimes known. Kelman tells Bloomberg that the brokerage will cover 70 percent of the U.S. within about four months, up from 40 percent at the beginning of the year.

“We’ve figured out how to make money in big markets and in small markets. We understand how to cover the territory and meet customers at a very low cost. We’re expanding the geographical footprint.” Source: bloomberg.com.