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.