knits & plants

aah, the simple life. almost.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Figures

Last night on NPR, they were discussing a new website that launched yesterday. Zillow is apparently going to revolutionize the real estate market by giving individuals access to information that has historically been jealously guarded by real estate agents.

Using a nifty satellite engine, Zillow can pinpoint, isolate and gather data regarding houses simply by providing the address in the search bar. Pretty nifty, eh? Laying the data over a satellite image, you can get the approximate value of the property (and the values of all the surrounding ones as well.) You can also collect sale data, taxes, square footage, and a myriad of other noteworthy items. Neat.

Of course, nothing dampens enthusiasm for a new project faster than a website server that can't keep up with demand. I couldn't access the site at all yesterday, and eventually gained access, only to have their server keep severing the connection. Looks like I wasn't alone. If you can't handle people coming to the site, then delay your debut until you can! Sheesh. As far as I'm concerned, slapping a BETA tag on something doesn't excuse you from a sloppy launch.

But, whatever. It's a really great idea and promises to offer a much-needed service that is dynamic enough to keep abreast of a often-volatile market. I had more luck with access today. Having just purchased our home in October, I was really curious to see what Zillow had to say about it.

Here's the result:
Oh, I see. The revolutionary website has incomplete data. And that's putting it mildly. Vast tracts of the country are underrepresented or entirely missing. So our house is in a rural area. Too bad for us. I've heard complaints of results that actually get data being way off due to incomplete data. BETA my arse. If Zillow was an essay, it would be somewhere between Revising and Editing.

Still, it makes me miss the perks of living in an area that one could call populated. That, and bagels. And fresh produce all year-round. And decent clothing stores. For comparison, here's hat Zillow has to say about my old house in NJ:Wah. Hey, wait. It looks like they took the pool out. That's strange. What's also strange is that I can discover something like that from my desk. In Vermont. It's more than strange...it's...creepy.

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