It was announced yesterday that Errol Samuelson left Move Inc (Realtor.com) to join Zillow to oversee their “Industry Outreach”. What does this mean for the Industry? What does this mean for Zillow? What does this mean for Trulia? What does this means for Move, Inc?
It IS a BIG DEAL in terms of headlines. Realtor.com president quits and joins Zillow. That will make some headlines for sure.
But what does it change really?
In my estimation, not much.
Wha?? You don’t think the Top Dog at Realtor.com leaving for Zillow is a game changer? No. I don’t. Big News? yes. Game Changer? No.
What is he REALLY going to do? Outreach to the Industry? Is he going to convince hordes of REALTORS to join him and Zillow and stick their thumb in the eye of R.com? No. Simply not going to happen. This was more of a symbolic “take down” of R.com by Zillow. A “See we can write a big check and buy one of your execs” than anything.
Move Inc lacks leadership. And vision. And a rudder. And a spine. But the real problem that is CAUSING THAT is not the people. It is that while they SAY that they are different from Zillow, they are not. They are every bit a third party syndicator and NOT the property of the REALTORS as a whole. That is the elephant in the living room. Executives at the top of Realtor.com cannot effectively articulate WHY they are better because they are no different. Just another third party syndicator…except with the REALTOR brand and an attitude.
So maybe if a BUNCH of executives was to leave Move Inc, and MLSs bought it back and it was not a third party entity because the stock price dropped… then maybe.
I also do not believe the Realtor.com line on this… that it is no big deal…and that there are big plan in the works. Listen, your big exec was disloyal and left to work with a competitor. You are scrambling. Own it.
And I don’t beleive the Zillow line either. This is not a game changer. This is a buyout of a big executive from a competitior to prove a point and more importantly to make headlines to DISTRACT from the real problem that Zillow has: Their books. They NEEDED a headline for the conference call. They needed to be able to say: We are winning against the competition. And paying Errol to jump ship was convenient and cheap compared to the other options. They don’t NEED more industry outreach. They NEEDED a conference call pony. They got one. Kudos.
Three years from now will Errol make a big impact. Maybe, but not likely. How much more “outreach” can an Industry take? REALTORS have been getting groped en masse for years. One more guy doing the groping is not going to move the needle. #justsayin