zillowlogoDo you know where your listings are going?

Realtor.com and realestate.yahoo.com have been battling it out for the top spot in the nation for real estate property search.  Now a rising contender is in the mix, zillow.com in a move that could break the virtual tie between zillow and trulia forever.

An early secret to realtor.com was the extension of thier property search site to more than 100 other prominent domains – now zillow.com has answered by winning the business of more than 180 newspapers, drawing them in direct competition with the top search sites and especially Homefinder.com.  This added traffic volume should have a tremendous impact on zillow’s traffic – and moreover the volume of leads they generate to thier broker partners.

Newspapers needed to make a move to shore up the relevance of their real estate channel online.  Newspaper advertising has more than dipped – is has been all but cancelled by more than half the advertisers who formerly considered that the paper was the number one spot for advertising effectiveness.  The secondary effect of the reduction in listing advertising is a dwindling in the number of listings on the newspaper website.  No Listings = No Traffic = No Advertisers.

It is no surprise that 11 major newspaper holding companies banded together to form the Zillow Newspaper Consortium.  This strategy directly competes with the success that Classified Ventures has had with Homefinder.com and Homegain.com.  The big difference here is that every broker who syndicates listings to Zillow today will benefit from this extended reach – and they are likely to find thier listings on their local newspaper website without participating in print advertising.

The Zillow Newspaper Consortium includes Hearst Newspapers; Media General; Scripps; MediaNews; Community Newspaper Holdings; Morris Communications; and Philadelphia Media Holdings.  101 sites are launching today.

Homefinder.com and Homegain.com supply property search solutions to the Classified Ventures Group which includes Belo; Gannett; McClatchy Company; Tribune; and Washington Post.  My understanding is that they only display listings on thier site that have been advertised in one of their print channels – so if a broker does not advertise, their listings do not appear.

With zillow in the mix now, I may need to retract my post about Newspapers being like Nursing Homes – click here to view – its funny.