Now, comparing nearly any web site to Amazon or Google isn’t a fair comparission. Google & Amazon have 1) many of the best software engineers on the planet working for them and 2) they have thousands of them working on their web site. Microsoft (which is in the same league as Google & Amazon) is said to spend over $100 million/year on it’s corporate web site (I’m sure they spend even more on MSN)!
The only real estate company that I can think of that could afford that level of R&D is Cendant (they own Century 21, Coldwell Banker, and ERA). Ironically enough they also own Orbitz & CheapTickets.com (who are Expedia competitors). The vast majority of brokers are probably smallish companies that under-invest in technology (and Cendant is probably happy enough with the status quo that they aren’t going to rock the boat until the waves of change force it upon them).
Now, I do think ZipRealty’s site is medicore and Windermere’s site is average. But suck is way too strong a word. Could their sites be better? Yeah. But given they aren’t billion dollar internet/software companies with multi-million dollar R&D budgets, I think the sites are OK. I could do better, but don’t mistake a medicore site for one that sucks.
What I want you to do is tell me about the WORST agent & broker web sites out there. I only want to hear about the truly awful. Let me give you an example of how bad it can be.
Teri Herrera, is a very successful agent at John L. Scott with whom I purchased my first house with. However her web site makes me cringe in horror. Fortunately, she’s a much better agent than her web site would suggest, but her site is nothing but a flash link farm. Nothing of value other than links to other places and it’s wrapped up as an obnoxious flash app. At least ZipRealty & Windermere have branded MLS searches, instead of being just a link farm or framing somebody else content.
See, ZipRealty & Windermere look pretty good now, don’t they.