In an effort to improve is relations with the housing industry and fellow MLS providers, popular website Zillow has hired real estate veteran Bob Bemis as the company’s vice president of partner relations.
Bringing 25 years of experience with him, Bemis will be responsible for creating new partner relationships with real estate brokers, agents and multiple listings services, a role that will undoubtedly call upon his time as CEO of the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service, Inc., one of the largest and most influential MLSs in the nation.
Spencer Rascoff, the CEO of Zillow, said Bemis’ role with Zillow will benefit not jus the company, but the real estate industry.
“We are honored to have one of the most esteemed and well respected executives in the real estate industry join our team. Bob’s deep industry knowledge will help Zillow engage with brokerages and MLSs in a mutually beneficial way,” Rascoff said. “Bob’s role will benefit the entire industry by bringing better communication and cooperation as well as help improve Zillow’s product development initiatives.”
Bemis himself was quoted in Zillow’s press release on the challenges of the new position.
“I am looking forward to the challenge of building bridges to Zillow’s current and potential partners in the industry, including MLSs, Associations of Realtors, brokers, agents, appraisers, title companies, mortgage lenders and other service providers,” Bemis said. “I intend to foster a spirit of cooperation that has sometimes been missing in the dialog between licensed practitioners, their support organizations and the rest of the industry,” said Bemis. “This is a very exciting opportunity to make a major contribution to the continuing success of an industry that I have been a part of for nearly 25 years.”
Bemis elaborated on those comments in an interview with Jay Thompson, a real estate broker in Phoenix, Arizona who maintains the popular “Phoenix Real Estate Guy” blog.
In response to a question about Zillow’s reputation, Bemis said he’s looking forward to a dialogue about not just Zillow, but all third-party sites.
“There is a tendency to lump the big three real estate sites – Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com – into one large overlapping group,” Bemis said. “At times, they can be similar despite distinct differences in their business models. It’s easy to paint the entire group with a wide brush and label them the bad guys, the common enemy. In fact, each has its own plusses and minuses, each offers distinct solutions to industry needs. I would ask that the detractors give each site a fair hearing, judge the value of the service on its merits and don’t convict by association. That’s the kind of dialog I want to open.”
Coincidentally, Chicago Agent engaged in such a dialogue in its most recent issue, “Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com: What’s the Best?” Our conclusions were very similar to Bemis’, that no magic bullet exists in third-party MLS advertising and each of the “Big Three” has its own advantages and shortcomings.
As we wrote in the issue’s cover story, though, such conclusions were not easy to come by, given the labyrinthine nature of the sites and difficulty in contacting any of the site’s sales representatives. Do any of you think these analyses, or dialogs, as Bemis calls them, will truly become more common with his promotion?