REAL Trending Episode 45
Lone Wolf acquisition of zipLogix. Zillow, Facebook, Google, Amazon versus the world
Also: A primer for the Gathering of Eagles
From REAL Trends, the trusted source for real estate industry news, this is REAL Trending, episode 45. We’re breaking down the trends of the week and showing how they impact broker and agents. I’m Steve Murray, President of REAL Trends. Today, we’re going to discuss the Lone Wolf acquisition of zipLogix, Zillow, Facebook, Google, Amazon versus the world, and a primer for the Gathering of Eagles.
Lone Wolf Acquisitions
This past week, industry was surprised. Lone Wolf owned by VISTA Equity out of Austin, Texas, acquired zipLogix, which had been owned by the California Association of Realtors and the National Association Realtors in a partnership. What does this really mean? Well, those combined companies have over 1.4 million agents, 20,000 real estate offices and over 1,000 MLS or associations in the U.S. that use the platform for forms or transaction management.
There are over 125 million forms and 23 million signings or eSignatures on the platform every single year. Lone Wolf’s stated purpose is to, according to CEO Jack Blaha, to create one ecosphere for all transactional data in the industry for brokers and agents and to be able to link it to both MLSs on the one hand and the broker back office on the other hand. Lone Wolf already has a commanding presence through its brokerWOLF product and service, serving well over 10,000 brokerage offices in the U.S. and Canada already.
Their ability to link those together creates a very interesting opportunity for the industry in that Lone Wolf is not associated with any one national brand or brokerage company. In fact, one could say they’re now the largest of their kind in offering transaction management, online forms, Esignatures and broker back offices. What’s really interesting as we reported on the past, is firms not limited to Keller Williams, Realogy, Berkshire Hathaway, RE/MAX, Compass, Redfin, Zillow and realtor.com to some extent, are building out the same kind of ecosystems where all the data will be held on a platform, integrated systems all to be built. We know that Lone Wolf occupies a unique position in that they are number one in most of these market shares in terms of transaction management, online forms and brokerage back office.
The challenge of the company of course will be to keep existing customers happy, satisfied, while they go about the process of integrating all of these systems into one seamless platform. One note, this speaker is a board member of Lone Wolf and have been for a year and a half. This news, however, is so important that I wanted to make sure we brought it to you and exactly what it means and what it could mean for people in the industry.
Zillow, Facebook, Google, Amazon vs. The World
On a second story, one has to wonder about the world. If you look back not all that long ago, IBM was king of the world in technology and then along came Microsoft. Now when IBM was king, it was assumed no one would ever knock them off their throne. By the mid 90s, Microsoft was so powerful, no one thought anyone would ever knock them off their throne. Then Google arrived and knocked Microsoft off their throne, in fact knocked them sideways from the view of consumers and clients and financial markets.
Then along came Facebook and knocked Google off their throne of being the dominant, most feared technology player in the world. In fact, many people know Google tried to compete with Facebook as Microsoft tried to compete with Google. Microsoft didn’t win that war and Google didn’t win the war with Facebook so then we talk about our industry, and Zillow and realtor.com achieve this mythical giant status.
No chance they’ll lose their position. Well, except Facebook. In recent surveys, Facebook is now becoming the favored advertising vehicle for real estate agents about themselves and about their properties. Then you have Google and Facebook thinking they are now kings of the hill in digital advertising.
Wait, who’s the fastest growing company in digital advertising, growing at rates two to three times Google and Facebook? It’s none other than our good friend Amazon. Think about that for a minute. Google and Facebook can tell advertisers, we know who, when and where clicked on your ads, and we can feed all this other information to you about who they are and what they like and where else they’ve been.
What they had for breakfast this morning, you know, for the people who always take pictures of what they had for breakfast, but Amazon can do all of that and they can actually tell advertisers exactly how many of their products were purchased and what ads consumers most reacted to. Wait, article in the Wall Street Journal points out that all the sudden growth in Amazon Prime membership is slowing dramatically.
Amazon is scratching its head, how to keep growing from their over 100 million Prime members today and how they’re going to keep growing that number. What’s our point? There is no way to know who the dominant platform will be in the future based on what we know today or looking backwards. We can say Zillow is the most-visited real estate site.
There’s really no question about that. Realtor.com is likely number two. I’m not an expert on the numbers and Redfin’s in the top five for sure and maybe number three, but that doesn’t mean they will be top of the heap forever because just around the corner, there could be somebody new that comes along with a better answer for real estate practitioners and housing consumers.
Going back to our first story about Lone Wolf and zipLogix, who knows what that platform will look like in the years to come and if it remains independent of any brand, does in a matter of fact bode well for those who aren’t associated with one of the national companies to have access to that platform. We don’t know because nobody knows exactly what’s going to happen in the future. There’s a new competitor out there that we all keep an eye on.
Gathering of Eagles Primer
Lastly, the Gathering of Eagles this year is really two parts. It is the mind part and the heart part. The mind part is Compass and the leaders of the iBuyer companies, Ken Auletta, author of Frenemies, talking about disruption among technology and digital marketing companies worldwide. Private time, with yours truly on stage talking about disruption with some special guests and panels of a digital technology pitch, and talking about mortgage, title and property management as new sources of revenue and profit for brokers. That’s all the mind part, all to feed the thoughts and minds and new ideas and new ways to look at services and businesses.
Then we get to the second part, which is the heart part and two of the most inspiring leadership speakers and coaches in the country, Larry Kendall of Ninja, and Mike Staver of the Staver Group will close the conference to add value to leaders’ hearts as we continue to navigate through these difficult times. I know you’ve already solidified your plans for the week of the 13th through the 17th of May, but if you haven’t and you want both information and a lift inspiration, come see us in Denver, at the REAL Trends Gathering of Eagles, May 15-17 in Denver.
Learn more about industry trends, marketing, and technology strategies as well as listen to past REAL Trending episodes on our website, www.realtrends.com/blog. This has been Steve Murray, until next time.