Surfing the Third Rail with Zillow, Opendoor, and MLS

Business model disruption can inspire and coexist with tenured ventures because new entrants find success if they can find product-market-fit.

Zillow and Opendoor continue to leverage the MLS ecosystem to grow.

These organizations are cited interchangeably when talking about radical players in the industry, despite their obvious differences. 

  • Zillow is the most popular brand in housing.
  • Opendoor is a home sale fulfillment vendor.
  • An MLS officiates real estate data.

The most electrifying forces in the space are powered by virtue of their membership in an MLS and alongside the most traditional models too.

Zillow generates traffic and refers out customers, Opendoor segments sellers and re-lists those properties, while an MLS curates a compilation of activity.

  • Zillow is the website to look at your home, your neighbors home, or houses for sale.
  • Opendoor is the mature cash buyer for homeowners willing to transact.
  • An MLS is an operating system for most houses that sell.

Zillow displays advertisements and Opendoor converts marketing using MLS data to induce real estate activity to be later cataloged by an MLS.

The participants of an MLS differentiate on business development strategies but share activities following customer acquisition.

  • Zillow shares marketing goodwill that generates clients.
  • Opendoor shares commissions for representing clients.
  • An MLS shares data services to assist in serving clients.

The most innovative companies are building offerings within MLS frameworks that exponentially help subscribers and consumers.

Wide visibility of properties informs people about the market and empowers them to make decisions. The newly launched Zillow and Opendoor partnership highlights this as good as anything could.


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