Those were the words of a Network Communications Inc. CEO Daniel McCarthy as he announced that “we will have a deal with Zillow in the next 14 days.” McCarthy made this statement during an executive interview, The Leading Edge: Real Estate in Transition, at The Kelsey Group’s ILM:07 conference today. Other panelists in this session were Niki Scevak, president and founder of Homethinking, and Jorrit Van der Meulen, vice president of partner relations at Zillow.
NCI is the largest national publisher of local print and online magazines for the real estate market. It distributes more than 13 million magazines each month, representing more than 650 markets in the U.S. and Canada. Several years ago, McCarthy recognized the need to migrate his listings to the Web at no additional cost to the advertiser. Today NCI distributes its content through a proprietary online network of more than 18 Web sites.
“There is an insatiable appetite for information about real estate,” according to McCarthy, who told the audience about a series of focus groups NCI recently held in 10 markets to determine how people find out information about real estate. With the exception of Zillow, there was no “brand resonance” for any particular source. However, he said, when the NCI shoppers were shown to participants, people nodded and said, of course they use those, indicating the ubiquity of the shoppers and the fact that people take them for granted. His conclusion was that there will be no category dominance by one information source in real estate.
Note: This same thinking might very well apply to Yellow Pages when people are asked what their source is to find a product or service.