Zillow has added several new features, several of which may just help project the site from novelty to actually “useful”.
The most interesting, and the only one that might actually make them money, is EZAds, a quick way to place an ad online tied to a particular zipcode. I figured that this was the direction they were going in, selling zipcode-tied ads to real estate agents and brokerages, but thought it would be PPC. I was surprised to learn that the price is actually per impression or page-view. When I asked why that was, and not the typical pay-per-click, David Gibbons, Director of Customer Service Categories, told me that Z had done some focus-group studies about what agents would find valuable and they were told to “make my phone ring” and PPC’s typically do not include phone numbers.
On a personal note, I’m not sure I want strangers calling me from an ad on the internet. We warn kids about stuff like that, why would it be any different for me? But I digress….. By clicking here and entering a few lines of type, ones ad instantly appears online in ones chosen zip code. I did try it (strictly for research, you see….. ) as soon as it came on line at 9pm this evening, and it should be easy to track if any leads come from it. When one buys an EZAd, you can immediately see if your ad has appeared, how many times, and how many people then clicked on to your webpage. If it’s accurate, I’ve already received a dozen website hits in less than an hour, and it’s after 9pm.
I chose 10 zips to start and at a penny per impression or page view, it’s affordable. I think I might have been the first advertiser, at least in these zipcode areas.
The other feature that’s interesting is the Agent Profile Page. There, an agent can write a little bio and add links to their websites. So for those into link-love, a link from Zillow to their site couldn’t hurt.
The other two new features are less interesting to me. One is Home Q&A and someone askes a question and like a blog, someone can respond online. Even if they know nothing about the house…. not sure how valuable this is going to be and it seems ripe for abuse. The other feature is titled “Is This House For Sale?” and this section allows anyone, neighbors, sellers or agents answer that question.
Basically, they’re adding these features to make their site more interactive and sticky for buyers, sellers and agents alike. Trying to make it the “go-to” site brings eyeballs, page views and $$$’s.
Zillow had a few missteps at the beginning, starting with a few ill-advised interviews from their CEO, but they’ve been back-pedaling ever since and so far have used their power for good, not evil.
For a far less fawning report, see Greg Swann’s review….