CoStar Group CEO Andy Florance has called out the triumvirate of Zillow, Realtor.com and Redfin for tarring the industry's reputation.
At the Inman Connect New York event, Florance told Brad Inman that the group of portals he calls "Ziltorfin" distracts American buyers and sellers with bait-and-switch tactics that laud their traffic numbers while failing to address their respective user experiences—and the reason people "hate" the industry.
Florance branded the three portals as deprioritizing the agents' branding in favour of their own.
"In the rest of the world, when an agent has a listing, their name is on the listing, their phone number is on the listing, and there’s branding happening.
"Only in the United States is it the portals’ brand goes on the listing rather than the agents’ brand. That’s bizarre.
"If you’re an agent, you may not be catching this, but buyers have been trained to not ever hit ‘contact agent’ because if you do you need to buy a new cell phone.
"I’ve tried it. I’ve submitted leads on three houses and I received 140 phone calls, emails, texts and voicemails within 24 hours."
Florance pointed out CoStar's ongoing "Your Listing, Your Lead" campaign that rewards the listing agent with the lead, as the vehicle by which CoStar will vacuum up market share for its residential portal Homes.com.
CoStar is ramping up its pursuit of Zillow, a portal behemoth Florance set his sights on many years ago. Continued investment in data and marketing has certainly boosted Homes.com's reputation, but can it legitimately take the crown?