Dustin Luther writes an excellent article on why real estate is a long-tail market, arguing that no single agent can have dominant market-share given the variety of inventory.
In real estate, it’s all tail: the long tail was originally developed to distinguish best-sellers sold in volume at Wal-Mart from indy titles on Amazon. In real estate, everything is the tail, as each house is different, and can be sold to only one buyer.
The long-tail applies to brokerages too: it is interesting to extend this argument not only to agents, but to the brokerages they work for: by allowing any online consumer to find long-tail inventory on his own, the Internet decreases the marketing power of the traditional brokerages, which have long maintained control of inventory. In a long-tail world, there will be more brokerages.
Maps, a new way to visualize the tail: Dustin’s best point was that agents can prosper by developing blogs that promote their mastery of a niche or a neighborhood. All real estate, Tip O’Neill might say, is local. At Redfin, we are recruiting neighborhood bloggers whom we can link to from our map. We think over time that sites won’t just be linked one to another in crazy daisy chains, but also organized geospatially, so that people browsing a map can uncover treasure chests of local information in the form of blogs. As users move from neighborhood to neighborhood, Redfin will show headlines from different neighborhood blogs. (We’ve already recruited a number of bloggers; but if you’re interested in participating in this program, please drop us a line at bahn (at) redfin (dot) com. We’ll even set you up with everything you need to get a blog going).
We hope to bring the traffic of Seattle’s most-trafficked real estate site to local bloggers. This gives consumers the best of both worlds, local knowledge and powerful visualization technology.