Matt Ingram, in the wonderfully titled “Is Zillow Building a Ghost Town?” is skeptical of Zillow’s new community pages, noting the failure of BackFence. I’m also skeptical of Zillow’s prospects for online community building but I think for different reasons, and both of us are premature to call this so early. Zillow is a big player in the “city information” space and therefore should certainly look for ways to enhance social networking at the site.
I’ll waste a few electrons to duplicate what I wrote over there:
I’m also skeptical but this is no Backfence – here Zillow will not pay to have the content developed so if communities do sprout up they’ll be gravy to the Zillow bottom line which should only have to pay a modest amount to ramp up and keep this going alongside their core competency, RE listings.
However the *idea* of local voices is excellent, in fact I’m hoping to create a more tourism focused approach with local bloggers rather than contributors to a community in which they have little stake. Hyperlocal *news* will keep failing but hyperlocal *blogging* has only begun to flourish, and IMHO could become the dominant form of human communication. (insert trumpet fanfare here)