In a release today, Trulia announced that they are buying Marketleader. As a result, Trulia has taken ownership of a brokerage. That means that they can compete with other online brokerages like Redfin, ZipRealty, Sawbuck, Movoto, and others. However, I do not think that is their strategy.
There is a persistant paradigm emerging in the portal business whereby these companies combine the portal with technology products and services offered to agents and brokers. Operating a portal that relies on ad spending alone does not seem to be sustainable for the type of growth and stable recurring revenue for investors. Advertising has, and always will be a volatile business. Offering deeper levels of products and services to agents is a classic cross-sell opportunity. Move was the first portal to recognize this strategy, and has a suite of products that begin with Top Producer and expand from there. Zillow has followed the same path with their acquisition strategy of DiverseSolutions. Homes.com offers HomesConnect for agnets and brokers and powers many of the largest franchise sites in America.
With Marketleader’s suite of products, Trulia can now provide agents with more leads, offer marketing on RealEstate.com, HouseValues, JustListed, as well as Trulia. They can move that buyer lead directly into agent websites backed by full contact management solution, drip marketing, and excellent market analytic reports. For sellers, they have a full marketing suite with flyers, postcards, virtual tours and of course – the ability to market that seller listing up through the portals – Trulia, realestate.com, etc.
One of the advantages that Marketleader has developed in the marketplace is training. They learned years ago that the way to retain agent customers is by making them better sales people. They train and motiviate sales associates everyday. They have excellent coaches that help agent understand how to navigate the treacherous waters of technology. They also have the most active professional social network with ActiveRain, a place where agents help other agents.
The Marketleader management and development team also brings significant industry experience to Trulia. Trulia has always excelled at being consumer centric, now they have deeper bench strength at being agnet-centric. This link on RE Technology provides a 360 degree overview of Marketleader – product list, product ratings, product reviews, company announcements, and other articles.
Here is the note from Trulia this morning announcing the purchase:
Earlier today, we announced that we have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Market Leader, one of the real estate industry’s most successful technology partners. We are very excited about the addition of Market Leader’s talented team to Trulia and the value this acquisition will help us bring to our partners and customers.
This acquisition is part of our ongoing effort to enhance our services and provide more value to our industry partners. As you may know, Market Leader was founded in 1999 and has become the premier provider of software services for the real estate industry.
We’ve been very impressed with Market Leader’s track record of supporting brokerages and franchisors by helping them deliver exceptional value to their agents. Together we will be able to deliver even more value as a technology partner and it is our goal to help you support the productivity of your agents, retain top performers, and recruit new agents.
We are thrilled about the opportunities ahead, and as always, we welcome your feedback.