David's Question: Came across this article today on the zillow acquisition of Trulia. I'm sure you are already aware of the rumors. I am curious what your thoughts are about such a team up and it's impact on real estate photographers / photography? My guess is that if this particular teaming doesn't pan out that there will be other similar plans in the future.
Answer: Zillow has been the dominant force in syndication of real estate listings for years. Back in 2005 when Zillow was founded I recall being impressed by their innovative features, like collecting all the public domain tax records and presenting them as an estimate of a property's value.
Agents don't like the high fees they charge to promote agents on listings, but as long as it works for agents it will continue. There has been a move among agents for the last couple of years to not syndicate their listings to sites like Zillow. I wrote about this a couple of years ago. Agents and brokers have control over their listings. They don't have to syndicate their listings if they choose not to.
From a photographers point of view the only threat that goes on is that they can keep using the syndicated listing photos after the property has been sold if you don't take steps to remove them. For example, my wife and I sold this rental property back in 1/2012 and my photos are still being used on the property (I could take them down if I wanted). The listing agent can claim the listing and remove or change the listing photos if they want.
Bottom line is that as long as photographers and agents keep track of how these sites work they are no big threat. Agents are still in control of their listings. The reason Zillow is the top syndication site on the net is because they have the best technology... It's the first place I go when I'm looking at property. Realtor.com was the top syndication site before Zillow launched in 2005. Realtor.com blew their lead because they didn't innovate. Zillow did. It was clear in 2005 when Zillow launched that they were going to become the winner.
Melissa's Question: I have a Sony Nex 6. In researching it seems like a lot of pro photographers were using these as well or many cases instead of- less gear, manual settings interchangeable lenses etc. easier to get around and were taking great photos. Do you have any experience with these cameras and what would a good wide lens for it be? Or should I ditch this and go with the Canon T3i/Canon 10-18mm that you recommended on the agent webinar. Those cameras just seems so heavy, and clunky to me and harder to travel around with.
Answer: Yes, you can get a wide angle lens for the Sony NEX 6 but you don't have many choices. I've done some brief searching, and it appears that the best quality wide angle lens for that body is the Sony 10-18mm F4.