17 June 2015 ~ 0 Comments

R.I.P. Zoocasa

It may be considered to be old news by now, but earlier this month a Rogers-owned Real Estate Company announced they were shutting their doors.

And I say good riddance.

From the get go, Zoocasa was a flawed business model. I won’t go into details as to why, as others have flogged their demise to death, but I will say this: they weren’t the first and they won’t be the last entity to try and capitalize on the lucrative real estate industry without offering ANYTHING of value to the consumer.

What hasn’t been spoken much of is how dysfunctional they operated: the hiring and firing (‘parting of ways’ in corporate speak) of a well-known consistent flop in the real estate community, the breaking of laws and lack of adherence to privacy laws, the agitation and isolation of the very real estate community in which it publicly claimed ‘were partners’ and not competitors, and so on.

Recently, the Huffington Post wrote a ‘fluff piece’ on this development and how detrimental it will be to consumers now that they are gone. Pu-leassseeee! Sadly this is what happens in today’s business aligned world: the media (especially online media outlets) are there to stroke the bruised egos of the advertisers who pay them.

Rumour has it that Zoocasa was hemorrhaging a loss of a million dollars per month. This doesn’t surprise me. They advertised like crazy, yet at the best of times, they only had 100 agent members aligned to their services (who were not the cream of the crop in the business).

In addition, I’m certain that Rogers Communications took a huge hit in the business quality they offered to the Realtor community. When word leaked that they were competitors to agents, many fled to other non-competing carriers. Bell Media quickly encouraged realtors to switch to Bell and threw in a marketing jab by ‘promising not to compete with you, only provide great cellular service’.

With over 110,000 agents in Canada, even if a small percentage jumped over to Bell (I was one of them) it would be a ding to the bottom line. Realtors pay a small monthly fortune on cell phones, home Internet, mobile data packages and tablets, so it adds up quickly. Not including cable TV and Internet I was paying over $250 per month alone to Rogers. Add another hundred for my home services… You do the math.

In my opinion, what Zoocassa did accomplish was exposing the potential flaws of a pretty antiquated real estate industry. The good times have been very good (read profitable) for Real Estate Boards, Brokerages, affiliated industries and of course, some licensed sales representatives such as myself.

Who will be the next threat or disruptor that will cause the real estate industry to wake up and get with the times? This I don’t know. But I am certain it won’t be long before someone else comes along looking for a piece of the pie.

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