Being Sunday and all, this seemed like a good time to talk shop. Nothing too heavy – just a little something I needed to get off my chest.
I have enough widgets now!
It started innocently enough. I accidentally befriended a couple of the social media dudes at Zillow a couple of years ago at my first Inman News Real Estate Connect conference. More correctly, I befriended them at the popular pre-conference social event, “Beer with Bloggers,” sponsored by (drum roll) Zillow. They gave us all commemorative beer glasses.
I didn’t really consider that I had been bought, but I subconsciously must have felt the need to repay them for their generosity. Consequently, I have written a few articles about Zillow over the years here. Among them were gems like “Zestimates are a Bunch of Doodie,” and “Zillow is for Ztupid People.” (OK, those weren’t the real titles, but you get the idea.)
And over the years, Zillow has grown from a fledgling start-up to a Zinormous real estate search and information portal with millions of visitors each month. A coincidence? I think not. And the cruel irony is that when my buddies, at some future party, are celebrating their buyout by Google, or Yahoo!, or the People’s Republic of China, I won’t even get a thank you note. I think I’ve earned those beer mugs.
And, they will have earned their fortunes. That is because they never give it a rest. Take their widgets (please). Zillow’s Drew Meyers (those of us in the inner circle like to call him @drewmeyers) has been on a year-long, one-man crusade to see that every widget every conceived of by their development team finds a home on our blog. More recently, I have become convinced that the end game is to actually take over our blog. “The Zillow San Diego Widget Home” does have a nice ring to it.
So recently, mostly because it’s good stuff but, not incidentally, because Drew wore me down, we added a page to this blog called San Diego Housing Snapshot (look up) in which we are featuring their “local market explorer” plug-in. Come on. I didn’t just give them a spot on my cluttered side bar; they got a whole page! And I am told that this market information will be provided down to the zip code level soon, which means I will be adding more “depth” (read: widgets) to our site any day now.
But, when is it good enough? Apparently, never. It has now been called to my attention by @drewmeyers that I am missing another huge opportunity to provide valuable content to my readers via Zillow’s “Regional Real Estate Statistics” widget. My initial reaction was, “Now where am I going to put this one?” The blog is getting all-fulled-up, I explained. And then it occurred to me. Why limit myself? I could pin the link to my forehead, or I could have some snazzy car magnets made up with big Zs all over them. Or, maybe, I could just have a rendering tattooed on my bicep.
That’s it – a tattoo, but my bicep is far too small to do a widget of this import justice. Hopefully, this will satisfy them, at least for another week or so.
Oh, and for the record Zillow, I really do think that your local market information is pretty cool, and your Zestimates are sucking less and less every day. I even find myself using your site in tandem with our own MLS, because you provide depth that our own agent platform does not. And I say this in all honesty, so there is no need to send gifts. Using the word “Zillow” ten times in this post is my gift to you.
But, whatever you do, please don’t send any more widgets for awhile.