Trulia is dead to me.

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At least, their listing widget is. But, I’m fickle.

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I have been displaying their admittedly cool widget on the side bar here for some time now, but I have finally thrown in the towel. I am just a little ol’ agent working for a big ol’ company, and I have been outgunned. And, without boring the pants off of our three civilian (non-agent) readers, I will give only the abbreviated Kris Notes version of how Google ultimately prevailed.

Trulia populates their site by either crawling websites or receiving feeds. Now, I am in a position to feed my listings, but my company, instead, feeds my listings on my behalf and on the behalf of the thousands of other affiliate agents. Clearly, duplicate listings on the Trulia site would be a problem, so my feed and I were shown the door in favor of a better date with my Broker. I can’t say that I blame them, but my own personal branding efforts tend to get squashed like a bug in the process.

This is becoming a common problem. Zillow, the dudes for whom I sang many praises recently for catering to the individual agents and winning our hearts in the process, has become a bit of a two-timer as well. Sure, my photo and phone number appear next to my company-fed listings, but my website has been subordinated and now resides in a cyber-trash bin somewhere, while requests for “more information” are shuttled off to my Broker’s site. Don’t get me wrong, I still love what these guys are doing, warts and Zestimates (pardon the redundancy) and all. And, again, I can’t say that I would do it any differently if it was my own site I was trying to populate with listing data, but as an agent, I’m not feeling the love.

So, back to handy and adorable little Trulia widget. The sad thing is that I really liked and found value in Trulia’s listing display mash-up; it is both customizable and attractive. So, I found myself relying on the inferior and unpredictable crawl-my-website approach, which was my only option. This, however, was enormously unreliable, and it had become a perpetual surprise package of “which listings are accidentally going to be displayed today?” Advantage, Google.

This morning I replaced the Trulia widget with my own Google maps mash-up. It is not as pretty (when a marker is clicked, the information box is not conveniently sized to fit entirely within the viewing area, making it necessary for one to scroll a bit), and it requires that I manually update the maps with each status change or new entry, but at least I can control it. It is incomplete for now, but by sundown will accurately display the homes for sale which we represent – all of them. This is much more than I could ever say for the Trulia version.

For a programmer, this should be a pretty easy problem to address. If someone out there can find a solution, I will drop my Google map like a hot potato in favor of your (branded) widget.  Zillow – get moving! Trulia – it’s not too late to woo me back! You know you want to win my affections and occupy the coveted space on my side bar!

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