The SaaS Apps that Screw You
Updated: Jan 14, 2021
I’ve been looking for a home to purchase on REDFIN in the Seattle area for over 5 yrs with no luck. The homes I want are either too expensive, a flat out rip off, or an offer is accepted within 24 hrs of listing, which we can not do being in S.F. We’ve bid on 5 houses up there, and were ‘out bid’ 4 times.
I’ve defaulted to using REDFIN.COM almost exclusively, as they released MLS data within minutes of the broker’s listing. ZILLOW, REALTOR.COM, and their like get MLS listings hours, sometimes days later.
I assumed that REDFIN was helping me find a home. But what this SaaS offering is really doing is supporting the 1% wealthy, while screwing most potential home buyers. Making MLS listings available to everyone online, which is just about everyone with any money globally, does NOT level the playing field for buyers. It introduces tens of thousands of interested buyers, many from the 1% rich in China, India, and Korea that bid on homes they never see, jacking up housing prices with fierce competition for the same property.
Real estate brokers love this software! They now give you access to their MLS site (Matrix), knowing we all get it from REDFIN anyway. Promoting “competitive bidding” makes them richer with every sale.
Book a trip on HOTEL.COM or EXPEDIA lately? Ever? You’d get a better hotel rate if you call the places you’d like to stay, and talk directly to the front desk. I’ve booked family vacations for 21 yrs, and every single time, without fail, from Victoria, Canada, to Venice, Italy, the rates are cheaper if you call the places you plan to stay. The original idea with travel apps was they’d buy in bulk and sell at a discount. But like Pets.com, these sites quickly learned the destinations were not very flexible on their rates, so they ‘pivoted’ their SaaS with marketing. They sold users on ‘Packaged Deals,’ but you’ll be locked in to their ‘deals,’ which often aren’t ideal, and your vacation will cost more booking through them, even though they advertise that they save you money. Travel apps offer you no real value, and often rip you off, adding charges to cover the cost of maintaining their business.
Same goes for most middle-men SaaS offerings. It cost money to run their platforms, and they pass that cost on to their paying customers.
Ever use ANGIE’S LIST, or DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESOURCE to get recommendations for services from contractors to dentists? Their ratings are a LIE because the VENDOR PAYS to have their name on these lists. DCR says they reach out to the vendor’s customers by phone, which they likely do, with numbers the business gives them. Maybe they get the wife of the vendor on the phone, and of course, she just loves his work! And this is all the checking they do. Then they give the business a 5-star diamond rating, so you’re more likely to hire them. And the customer is more likely to keep paying DCR to appear on their lists.
Developers and marketers of these types of SaaS apps will argue they are “doing good” for the world, whatever that means. (Doing good for them?) They are ‘setting information free to form an egalitarian society,’ you’ll hear Silicon Valley types batting about this hype. But I’ve already established that these apps, and their like jack up the cost of goods and services, as IRL middle-men do. Creators of middle-men software will tell you they are offering you a ‘convenience.’ OK… first, with a few clicks you too can book flights, hotels, car rentals, excursions online, and do, even using most travel apps. Do the research and you can find all kinds of information about a company or vendor, including ratings across a broad spectrum, not just paid for ratings on ANGIE’S LIST. And how convenient is it being robbed of your money and information each time you use these self-serving ‘services’?
Ever wonder why entertainment events had gotten so expensive (before Covid)? The only way to buy tickets was through an online ticket broker. And good luck getting a refund if you needed to cancel, or the event was cancelled. You’ve purchased through an APP, which generally provides little to no customer service that is easily accessible.
Want to know why you can’t afford the home you want today? Partial thanks to MLS Listing apps like REDFIN. These apps are not only valueless, they are dangerous. The ripple effect of their ignorance is almost as expansive as the socioeconomic damage from their continued existence.