Sharon Hill, senior writer / analyst with the AIM Group listened to Trulia's earnings call, hosted by Pete Flint, CEO, Trulia, and was struck by the vagueness with which Mr. Flint discussed Trulia's new mortgage centre, so she looked into it a bit further, and here is what she discovered.
“At launch, our Mortgage Center was powered by one mortgage provider,” Flint said on the call. “ To lay the groundwork for future growth of our mortgage provider we are engaging with additional partners to expand the number of mortgage providers that consumers are able to access.”
In the Q&A session, Flint added:
“We’re building scale on the mortgage provider side of the business, and so we’re in dialogues with multiple partners. We launched with one partner for simplicity’s sake but it’s our intention since the beginning to work with multiple partners to add liquidity, and overall our focus is not to monetize the service in the near term. So while our provider was required we’re not monetizing experience so there’s no revenue impact from that. And as we think about in 2013, it’s our expectation to add multiple providers into the platform.
“So we’re excited about mortgage but we’re very early on in terms of our evolution as we focus on scaling and then monetizing, just like we’ve done with the for sale part of our business.”
It hit us then that it sounded rather vague. Now we know why. We missed (as did everyone else on the call, evidently) what GeekWire just pointed out: The early-on only mortgage provider for Trulia is none other than Mortech – the company that Zillow just bought. Oh my. According to GeekWire, Zillow has said that it does not plan to alter what Mortech is offering Trulia but come on… Can that really be the case?
While Trulia undoubtedly had plans all along to add other mortgage firms, it had better step that up. it sounds a little bit like the Trulia folks got caught off guard. GeekWire does a nice job of evaluating the two as competitors in this article as well.
Sharon Hill has been a senior writer / analyst with the AIM Group since 2004, except for a two-year time-out to serve as sales and marketing manager for Suburban Newspapers of America. She worked at newspapers in California, the Carolinas and Indiana as a classified advertising sales supervisor and manager, and in newspaper circulation in Alaska. At the SNA, she was responsible for bringing in new members; lining up exhibitors, and helping develop programs for the classified conference and the classified alliance. She is also co-author of “Implementing and Managing Telework: A Guide for those who make it Happen” (Praeger Press) and a prolific blogger and social media user. She is based in Phoenix.