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Trulia to Active Rain: Your Days Are Numbered

July 23, 2008

Breaking news from Inman Blogger Connect: Trulia has announced that it is launching a blog platform. I don’t have a link, because this was on a piece of paper, but there will be an official announcement later.

I actually had a chance to speak with Vicky Gkiza, Sr. Product Manager for Community, at Trulia and… well… she’s a lovely, lovely person. In more than one way, actually — take a look:

She was really nice, very kind with her time, and extraordinarily smart — as is sort of par for the course for the boys and girls at Trulia.  But the point is not to talk about Vicky.

The point is this: Trulia may not intend to put ActiveRain (and others of its ilk) out of business, but the impact of this blog product is to do precisely that. As a matter of fact, I have a bet with Vicky now that I plan to collect at Inman in 2010.

Here’s the thing: Trulia has 5 million unique users each month, by their own count. If you’re a real estate agent doing a consumer-oriented blog, then what you’re after are consumer readers. ActiveRain, Agentgenius, and any of those guys may have a great platform, but until and unless they can provide consumer traffic to the tune of 5 million uniques per month… I’m afraid the value simply ceases the exist.

I have to take pains to point out again that Trulia probably doesn’t intend malice upon ActiveRain or other similar consumer-oriented agent blog networks.  As they see it, they just want to help their agent members connect with their consumer visitors.  Once you have listings, then have Trulia Voices, then Trulia Q&A, the agent blog is the obvious next step.

I’m just pointing out the obvious: if you’re an agent, and you want to have a blog somewhere, why would you do it anywhere other than at Trulia Blogs?  ActiveRain, as it is, has a tendency to be realtors talking to other realtors.  Which is fine, and might be great for an industry-focused blog like this one, or the Onboard Informatics corporate blog, but… for an agent who wants to blog to drive leads and grow business, I just don’t see the value anymore.

What this product does is divide the in half: those who are focused on consumers, and those who are focused on industry.  The agent blogs have to find a reason NOT to blog on Trulia.  (Presumably, a good one might be Zillow‘s answer, if they have one.)  The industry blogs may want to continue at places like ActiveRain or independently.

Perhaps after Inman is over, I’ll have to do some thinking about what this means in the even bigger picture: now that Trulia is creating a compelling platform for agent blogging, together with listings, together with Q&A, together with consumer traffic… what is the next evolution for the Big Brokerages like Century 21 and so on?


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