EMERYVILLE, Calif., Oct. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- ZipRealty (http://www.ziprealty.com) (Nasdaq: ZIPR), the nationally-ranked real estate brokerage powered by proprietary technology and effective online marketing, today announced the Company has opened access to its comprehensive online services by removing the registration requirement on the majority of the ZipRealty website. Effective immediately in most of ZipRealty's markets, consumers will no longer be required to provide contact information in order to view home prices, photos, maps, and other property listing details permitted under MLS rules to be shown without registration. ZipRealty has removed the registration requirement to satisfy the needs of consumers who often begin their home buying search online, and may not wish to provide contact details during the earliest stage of their home search process. The removal also makes it easier for website users to share home information via their social networks. This announcement follows in the footsteps of other recent strategic changes ZipRealty has made to capitalize on its core strengths in customer service, industry-leading technology, and efficient online marketing capabilities.
"We've been both applauded and criticized over the years for asking the consumer to register on our site before we show listing details. Applauded because we've been able to drive a steady stream of highly qualified leads to our real estate agents with the registration system, but also criticized for holding valuable information away from consumers in need of assistance," said Lanny Baker, CEO of ZipRealty. "Rules and practices have evolved and the game has changed since ZipRealty first implemented the registration system. Today, we believe that every potential home buyer should have access to our excellent online home search experience and our technology-enabled local real estate agents, which we have combined to make finding the right home as easy and enjoyable as possible."
Beginning in February of this year, ZipRealty tested the registration removal in three of its markets: Sacramento, Houston and Portland. The total number of unique home visit requests generated in those markets was higher year-over-year than in the markets with a registration requirement.
Additional strategic changes ZipRealty has made over the past several months include:
- The discontinuation of the commission rebate program offered to buyers who close a transaction using a ZipRealty real estate agent;
- The introduction of new state-of-the-art mobile applications that allow consumers to take comprehensive information and personalized services from ZipRealty with them during every stage of their real estate process;
- The development of a new "Powered by Zip" offering with market-leading brokerages to combine the Company's strengths in technology and online marketing with the great local presence and operational excellence of other local real estate brokerages; and
- The transition to an independent contractor relationship with real estate agents that provides greater flexibility and larger incentives that has helped ZipRealty to attract a more experienced agent force.
"The ZipRealty website has consistently ranked in the top 10 for real estate search even with the registration system in place, and we are excited about opening up all we have to offer for even greater numbers of consumers in the future," added Baker.
About ZipRealty, Inc.
ZipRealty is a leading full-service residential real estate brokerage focused on finding better, faster ways to connect home buyers and sellers with the information, tools and professional services they value to complete their residential real estate transactions. The Company offers a combination of a leading online presence, robust proprietary technology and knowledgeable local real estate professionals in the field. The Company's award-winning, user-friendly website and mobile applications give its users on-the-go access to comprehensive local Multiple Listing Services home listings data, as well as other relevant market and neighborhood information and tools. The Company's proprietary technology, including its agent productivity platform, helps increase the efficiency of real estate agents while reducing customer acquisition and management costs, allowing the Company to invest in making its value proposition differentiated and more attractive both to home buyers and sellers and to agents. Founded in 1999, the Company operates in 23 major markets in 18 states and the District of Columbia. The Company also has referral arrangements with third-party brokerages in two markets where it does not conduct its own brokerage operations. For more information on ZipRealty, visit www.ziprealty.com or call 1-800-CALL-ZIP.
SOURCE ZipRealty, Inc.