It’s no secret that Zillow has shut down their iBuyer model and has already taken a $380 million bath. But make no mistake, Zillow was forced into this debacle. 

What does this mean? The first question you might ask yourself is what in the real estate industry pushed Zillow into such a risky business model?  But the real question isn’t “what”, it’s “who”. Who is big enough and powerful enough to force Zillow into such a misstep? It’s simple…


But what did Google do that caused this? Three words: Local Services Ads, or LSA for short, and these three words changed everything for Zillow.  In 2017, Google launched the newest evolution in local advertising and it took away the ability for Zillow to buy the top position for when high commercial intent keywords, such as “Realtors Near Me”, are searched on Google. 

At first, it was just a Beta.What harm can come from these LSA’s? For Zillow, it saw its dominant position for certain high converting traffic disappear virtually overnight.  Look at the two searches below:



On the surface it doesn’t look like much, but that little strip of ads at the top of Google Search meant Zillow no longer could buy the top spot. Fast forward to 2019, Zillow — in an effort to continue to grow — decided to take a risk. And, Just like that, iBuyer was born, and before it made it 3 years it was gone…


One thing is for certain; Google didn’t get rid of its LSA platform and it continues to grow year over year. But what’s on the horizon? Where else can Google monetize that will limit Zillow’s traffic and opportunities? We believe this will be the next big move.


This search is one of the few searches left in the “Googleverse” that looks exactly the same as it did 10 years ago. Again, on the surface it doesn’t mean much to the average person or even the average broker, but it should!! It is our opinion that in the not-so-distant future,  Google will monetize this just like it did with the LSA’s above. You might think “Okay, so what? They are going to place LSA’s on top of this search too, right?  Wrong!! We believe the future of “homes for sale near me” will look alot like the search results for “vacation rentals near me” Let us explain, look at the search below:


Google has secretly been modifying maps to compete in the hospitality industry. On the surface it places them in direct competition with Airbnb, Trip Advisor, and other hospitality aggregators. 

But look closely. Think about it. They already have a map that displays homes for vacation rentals. Now imagine Google takes its $130 billion dollars and starts connecting MLS feeds to this already developed feature.


It’s not clear when it will happen, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know if Google is pushing a $12 billion company around like Zillow, how can the average broker or agent hope to win in this landscape? There is a way and the future is not relying on portal leads.

There is hope!

Give us 10 minutes to explain how you can get ahead of this coming storm!