What effect will Zillow have on other industries?

Asked by Laurie Manny, Long Beach, CA Thu May 17, 2007

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California M…, Agent, Oceanside, CA
Thu May 17, 2007
Great question, Laurie. I think that Zillow is causing a backlash among the less confident professionals in the industry. Trulia will do the same. Zillow was sued by the Arizona Board of Appraisal and that state tried to OUTLAW Zillow.
2 votes
Robert T. Bo…, , San Diego, CA
Wed Apr 30, 2008
Rather than ask whether or how Zillow will change other industries, ask instead what Zillow _IS_ and how it fits into the information fusion and distribution hierarchy
Let's consider Maslov's hierarchy as an analogous concept. At the base you have survival and eventually you get to self actualization. We are dealing with much the same thing, but on a more global level.

Layer 0 - information silos. You could arguably break this into multiple stages - e.g., pre and post computer. But in any case, the available information is limited - usually to the information producers themselves and sometimes strategic partners.
This pattern will persist well into the future as many people will continue to view it as a competitive advantage. The win-win of information sharing will take a long time to become the norm. But, we are definitely heading that direction.
Layer 1 - global information accessibility. This is the major break-through provided by search engines, made possible through the internet. Companies like Google and Zillow are performing fairly superficial data mining of public information and making that available to everyone.
Layer 2 - multi-source data fusion. Available information is gathered and an initial analysis is provided to determine with data is correct or to estimate the correct answer from the disparate sources. The JDL Data Fusion model is the first model that provides a solid definition of the concepts, except its focus is military intelligence. (Of course, nearly everything we use today developed from military intended origins.)
The link http://www.data-fusion.org/article.php?sid=70 provides a simple overview of the model. In short, there are four levels.
1. Object Refinement - determine the identity and attributes of an object. This is what Zillow is doing with pricing a property
2. Situation Refinement - provide situational awareness. This is what Zillow is doing in allowing users to view neighborhoods, etc. and associated prices.
3. Threat Refinement - the language tells you the source of the concepts. From a purpose agnostic perspective, I would put this as layer 3 in our information hierarchy calling it higher-order analysis and planning. I'll come back to this again.
4. Process Refinement - having a self perpetuating improvement cycle.
The above is 4 stages are what the military has traditionally used. Information fusion is starting to pop up in papers on bio-informatics and multiple other places. You can expect to see much more of it in the future.
Layer 3 - higher-order analysis and planning. This is where information is analyzed and recognizeable patterns are identified. I think AI has progressed to a stage that you can also bundle the planning aspect for dealing with the identifiable patterns.
For example, the next stage for Zillow (or any equivalent) will be to analyze the information, identify under and overpriced properties, and offer up purchase recommendations.

In summary, I think it is less that Zillow is changing other industries than that Zillow is an example of our evolution along an information hierarchy.

Robert T. Boyer, Ph.D.
Leveraged Appreciation Creates Wealth
3 votes
Caroleean, Home Buyer, San Diego, CA
Thu May 14, 2015
Probably make finding what you are looking for easier and be able to make decisions on your own instead of relying only what your realtor is telling you.
0 votes
Caroleean, Home Buyer, San Diego, CA
Thu May 14, 2015
What would be the price for bare land in the Long Beach Industrial area, South of PCH in the Harbor area?
0 votes
Don Reedy, , San Marcos, CA
Wed May 7, 2008
Zillow is a very good example of a very overworked phrase called "transparency." Simply put, if I want to buy a burger, I drive to Mickey D's, drop down some cash, and head home with food. If, on the other hand, you want to buy a home, and need information on a loan, then where do you go to get all the information you need to make that happen?

Zillow, though a nemesis for some real estate professionals and lenders, is actually on a path to make this process "transparent." Go to Zillow, find out what homes are worth, contact a Realtor, make appointments to see the home, get quotes from trusted lenders, package all the data, and then get in the car and buy that home. The EFFECT Zillow will have, is one that it already IS HAVING. Zillow is making all the purveyors of information, just like this site, make sure that information is as easy, trustworthy and obtainable as possible. Yes, Zillow has a multitude of problems with accuracy, and perhaps they have stretched too far to make them THE source now, but all of us who are trying to provde the best service possible to our clients will find Zillow's path a necessary one to follow.

The ultimate effect of Zillow on real estate is that YOU, the home buyer or seller, will find more and more real estate pros who are seeking to provide the most transparent methods possible to serve you. I'm going to be better, and my competitor, and that, my friend, is better for you.
0 votes
Ryans Mom, , Hooterville
Wed Apr 30, 2008
Zillow will have no effect because it's numbers are so far from accurate.
0 votes
The Hagley G…, Agent, Pleasanton, CA
Wed Apr 30, 2008
I love Zillow....you may as well embrace it because our consumers are! I link it on my sites, use it in my presentations....and I pick up a ton of buyers from it. The information is not always accurate....I just preface that from the start
Web Reference:  http://www.cindihagley.com
0 votes
Neil Fjelles…, Other Pro, San Diego, CA
Wed Apr 30, 2008
Zillow is one example of a fundamental shift that recognizes that the customer, not the broker, decides on the flow of information necessary to make financial decisions. Any industry that has thrived in the past due in part to restricting and/or parcelling out information will need to re-evaluate and prove their value based upon service and expertise. All in all, a positive outcome in my estimation.
Web Reference:  http://www.FBS-PM.com
0 votes
Infinity Rea…, , Saratoga, CA
Thu Oct 11, 2007
.We wouldn’t be asking this question if Zillow wasn’t actually feeling a need in our marketplace. Whether there accuracy is in question is another question. Like all great websites that flourish they become popular because in fact they are fulfilling an inadequacy that Most of our industry websites have failed to acknowledge. So yes it will have an effect a huge effect. We might not notice it right away.

You might not think that it effects you, but with 70% of buyers using the internet to start there home search. These leads are swarming to sites like zillow and redfin. My advice, get informed and keep involved all aspects of new technology. Know and understand your competition. Understand why they are successful

quick article http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070711/102503.shtml
0 votes
Javier Varon, Agent, Carlsbad, CA
Wed Sep 26, 2007
I honestly have not seen any effect on my business. You can always manipulate their data to help you anyway.
0 votes
Karen McMill…, Agent, San Jose, CA
Fri May 18, 2007
I think that Zillow will force the larger real estate companies to "ramp up" their marketing on the web and make their own web sites more user friendly. I expect to see better and better web sites from the best real estate companys in the realty business. Competition makes all industries better!
0 votes
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