With the real estate market in an indefinite doldrums, Zillow is transforming itself from an information provider about home sales to a full-service provider of information for home owners. The ad-supported service announced today that it is launching a Professional Services Directory that is probably going to encroach on similar territory mined by services such as Angie’s List or ServiceMagic.
The directory uses Zillow’s 150,000 registered real estate salespeople as a base, but expects to be adding adjacent categories, including stagers, lenders, contractors, landscapers and architects. Consumers can then search for professionals by specialty, business name, city, ZIP code or neighborhood. While it would seem logical that Zillow would invite ratings and reviews, they aren’t included in the initial rollout.
To us, the whole concept isn’t such a stretch (although it isn’t a sure thing that Zillow’s users will march from Zestimates to mortgages to this). Zillow has been selling ads to this community from the get-go, first via EZ Ads, and now with the updated version, called “Showcase Ads.” Combined, the two channels have now sold 30,000 ads.
Will the new directory launch as a state-of-the-art IYP, with integrated mapping, etc.? No. But it is likely to act as an additional ad channel, and also might support Zillow’s broader, mutual efforts with the Newspaper Consortium. Newspapers have been looking for a way to get into home services — rumors are that some of them had been looking at Angie’s List before its recent round put it out of reach.