Three Trulia initiatives
2012 has been an important year for real estate media company, Trulia. The company snatched up talent from the National Association of Realtors, and brought on a new VP, they launched “Trulia Insights,” a mobile app dedicated to rentals, and “Trulia Local,” got the direct MLS feed from the largest MLS in the U.S., and Trulia Estimates exited beta and went national. They also launched a mobile ad platform for agents, became entrenched in a heated public debate over listing syndication, and most importantly, hired JPMorgan Chase to oversee their IPO.
Today, the company is announcing three initiatives that are indicative of what they have been working on behind the scenes, as CEO Pete Flint has been traveling across the country, having face to face discussions with brokers across the nation, as have most of the senior executives, Flint tells AGBeat.
Initiative one: data accuracy
One of the hottest contentions, and likely one of the biggest challenges to a successful IPO is public perception of the accuracy of listing data on all real estate media sites. In response, Trulia is not only relying more heavily on broker feeds to improve accuracy, but Flint says that data accuracy is something the company is focused on, and is “working really hard to improve.”
In January, Trulia published their Data Pledge and in March, the company launched “Trulia Direct Reference” which works with the MLS to report and remove errors. Now, they are tightening the ability for agents to claim listings, which Realtors have always been able to do, but Trulia is now verifying through the MLS that the uploader is, in fact, the listing agent.
Initiative two: agent attribution
Like other real estate media companies, Trulia has come under fire for how listing agent and broker information is displayed, and after many direct discussions with brokers, Flint says they are responding by increasing attribution on all pages, even if the listing agent and broker are not paying clients of Trulia.
Below are screenshots provided to AGBeat of (a) broker attribution higher up and less hidden on a listing, (b) listing agent attribution underneath the listing, which is much more prominent, and (c) the new appearance of agent ads, now noting “buyer’s agent” up top:
Initiative three: Trulia local ads
Lastly, Trulia is announcing that they will remove Trulia local ads from paid listings on Trulia. When asked if this was in response to any particular broker’s public appeals for how ads appear, Flint told AGBeat that this move has been in the works for a while and that it had been a concern of various brokers that Trulia seeks to meet.
Regarding the public airing of opinions regarding listing syndication, ads, or any real estate industry matter, Flint notes that it is just the world we live in right now, but argues that it is “a good thing, the airing of opinions,” adding that Trulia listens to all opinions of the company, across social networks, and although he does not believe the brokers who are pulling out of syndicating to any particular real estate media site are representative of less than a small percentage of private conversations brokers are having with him.