Real Estate Ads: Hipsters, Dogs and Pregnant Bellies

Three of the top portals released ads on the same day. Two were good. One sucked.

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A still from the video, “Doghouse Architects.”

Videos are fun, and we’ll get to those in a minute. But first, a primer for those who need one: Real estate portals are consumer-friendly websites that present real estate listings but aren’t tied to a specific brokerage or real estate firm.

The three that are most well-known are, and — the last of which has the most credibility because it works in tandem with the agents, as a sort of arm of the MLS. For that reason, it’s certainly the most accurate, and usually has the most up-to-date information about who to contact if a homebuyer wants more info about the home. has a lot going for it in terms of features — multiple ways of searching, multiple criteria to search, even a keyword search, which for some reason eludes the capabilities of most portal developers. It also creates its own metrics to estimate actual value now and in the future.

Trulia has a terrific CEO, a great research staff, and as a company, probably does most to build its stature as provider of expertise in this area. But their portal? Ugh. Not so good. The tools are limited, and I’ve found it to be the least reliable of the three. CEO Jed Kolko might want to stop paying so much attention to being a thought leader and more attention to his website. On the other hand, he’s doing okay so far.

The three ads below represent the three sites perfectly.

The one is artful and funny because they’ve got nothing to explain or prove. When you’re on top, you can afford to have a little fun.

The Zillow ad, like the portal, is explanatory and informative (albeit within a cornball narrative), showing you how the site works to help find a home.

The Trulia ad tries too hard and sucks.