Zoocasa, the Rogers-owned brokerage that began life as a controversial web portal that was successfully sued by Century 21 for scraping listings from its website, and evolved into a referral network of agents, is being shut down.

In a statement, the company says, “Rogers has made the decision to no longer to continue our investment in Zoocasa as the business is no longer a fit with our overall company plan, and core areas of focus. We will close down our website and mobile app effective June 22nd, 2015.”

In a REM story in January, broker of record Darryl Mitchell said, “The misconceptions about Zoocasa from some Realtors are plentiful,” adding that the belief among some real estate professionals that Zoocasa is anti-Realtor or competition for salespeople is completely false.

“We believe that there are many qualified agents working at credible brokerages across the country,” says Mitchell. “Zoocasa’s services are intended to complement an agent’s and brokerage’s current business through referrals. We see our model as being very much a performance-based marketing opportunity for qualified, high-performing, customer-service-focused agents who are looking for ways to grow their business.”

In an email to customers, Zoocasa wrote: “We have had the pleasure of matching thousands of customers like you with great Realtors throughout the country. As a result of your support, Zoocasa has grown into a unique business in a traditional space. Although we have had great success, we have made the difficult decision to close down our business.”

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  1. I’m very surprised that Zoocasa isn’t opening as a FSBO company. The consumers need this service. Offering consumers an alternative online real estate service (FSBO) could make sense. Zoocasa have the infrastructure in place and there are thousands of consumers wanting to list as a private sale and not with a Realtor on the MLS. Sellers could still offer a fee to the buyer’s agent. ZOOCASA a coast to coast FSBO/PRIVATE SALE option makes sense.

    • Comfree offers that, and they’ve failed! Surprised that as a consumer advocate the you’re not aware or fully understanding of what consumers actually need…or want!

    • Consumer Antagonist,

      I’ve previously submitted a response to your post here, that I feel is appropriate to someone like yourself – who doesn’t have a vested interest in this industry, but for some reason I’m not seeing it. In the interests of balanced perspectives I certainly expected to see it. Perhaps the editor just misplaced it!

        • Jim,

          Yes, I’m aware that: “Personal attacks on companies or individuals will not be allowed.” However, Consumer Advocate isn’t an “individual”. The definition of ‘individual” that would apply here, is the following: “existing as a distinct entity.” The fact of the matter is that “Consumer Advocate” by definition is: “indistinct” as defined by: “not easily seen, heard, or recognized : not distinct or clear.”

          Consumer Advocate uses an alias, so that he/she can snipe at organized real estate from a comfortable position in the shadows — in pursuit of an anti-organized real estate agenda. Your “comment policy” also states: “Do not make false or misleading statements. Do not pretend to be someone you are not.” Are we supposed to accept that “Consumer Advocate” is a real Consumer Advocate, or someone who just has an inexplicable axe-to-grind with organized real estate? Are you suggesting that “Consumer Advocate” isn’t pretending to be someone they’re not?

          When someone attached to this business tries to put their hand in my pocket, I’m usually able to see the arm, body and head that is attached to that hand. When someone unattached to this business, tries to put their hand in my pocket, I didn’t expect the editor of REM to go out of their way to shield such an individual, from an appropriate and reasonable response!

      • This story just goes to show everyone that most think that all one has to do is market, market, market with glitzy, but hollow, promises to be a good Realtor, when in reality these people are nothing more than dollar-chasers emulating stock market pickers. Lauren even says that she is simply a serial entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs simply dream up schemes to make fast, easy money gleaned from the pockets of the masses. The underlying theme of an entrepreneur is to make as much money as possible as quickly as possible with the least amount of input. The business is fast turning into nothing more than a gigantic marketing exercise, with those possessing the deepest pockets (mad money) claiming to ostensibly be the best Realtors…not.
        Like I said many times herein before, the business is morphing into the likes of hoards of screeching gulls hovering over garbage dumps awaiting the descent onto the next truckload of garbage.

    • In its original format it is. Only Robers Inc could afford to lose a few million annually. No private investor would so it will be a shell of what it was. Likely a lead tool for the Keller Williams team imho. Good on her it is a smart move!

  2. Brian,

    You are just a grumpy old-timer whose real estate days are behind you. Wait a few more years. The crack in the wall of the monopoly has already been opened by the Melanie Aitken and Lawrence Dales of the world and there is no turning back. I cannot think of one other industry that has not been affected by the internet and technology to become more efficient and provide better value to consumers and this real estate industry is naive to think that is not coming to this industry. In five years you will see fewer agents and more so-called non-traditional operators. When you have a industry where more than half its so called “professionals” do less than a deal a month, changes will happen. What people like you refuse to recognize is that major changes have already happened. The average listing fee in a market like Toronto is nowhere near the level it was before Aitken and Dale started their quest, and the buyer fee will be the next to fall. For all the unproductive agents out there (and that makes up over half of all agents out there), your days are numbered. Good agents could always justify their value and will continue to do so, but the real issue with this industry is that the majority of the agents cannot justify a fraction of the fees their receive and they still as a collective group do a meaningful number of deals each year. The public isn’t stupid but only trades every 10 years or so it takes time to change a market like this. Good agents have nothing to fear, but to the 50,000 plus agents in Canada (and 20,000 plus in TREB) who never do over 6 deals a year, your days are clearly numbered.

    Progressive Realtor

    • Dear Progressive Realtor:
      I don’t understand why you are attacking me personally and my position subjectively. If you have been keeping up with REMonline over the years you would realize that I am much more closely aligned with the mindset that you project than not. You must be a newbie reader therefore. Maybe you are just a pissed off Zoocasa employee; who knows?
      There is no monopoly, as you seem to describe it, operating within the real estate transaction business. Ontario Hydro is a monopoly; everyone needs electricity and there is only one supplier that sets the rates to be paid. The TARION New Home Warranty Corporation is a monopoly; every new home buyer must purchase the warranty and TARION sets the fees to be paid. Absolutely everyone has a choice when it comes down to selling or buying real estate. Every seller may sell privately at his/her discretion. No one forces sellers to use the services of Realtors. Every buyer chooses with whom he/she will work, be it the listing brokerage’s Realtors or competing brokerages’ Realtors, with the latter choice being the smarter choice. Every buyer chooses how much to offer.
      if you are referring to the MLS as being a monopoly, sellers choose whether or not to expose their properties on that system, which was built and continues to be paid for by Realtors’ dollars. Aitken simply used her coercive powers to undermine CREA’s limp-d—-d will to stand up for the legitimate rights of the MLS supporters/funders.
      Yes, there are far too many so-called professionals in the business, and the sooner ORE does something of substance to limit entry to the business to the pre-qualified the better off things will be. but there is this problem of mega-dues income that clouds the judgement of the CREAcrats, OREAcrats (Ontario) as well as all of the other top-heavy governance institutioncrats Canada-wide that feed off of the pockets of the desperadoes in the filed. On that issue we agree.
      Question; why do you hide behind a made-up moniker when your first words consist of name calling? Do you think that by doing that your argument thereafter will hold more water? Methinks that your strategy (if you actually had one) simply serves to water down your wishful rationale.
      Yes, I am older (68), and I retired from the business over three years ago, but grumpy? Arrrrgh…turn the damn eye-volume down you young naïve whippersnipper!
      Grumpy Old-Timer

    • Interesting….I think if you were to read many of Brian’s posts over the last few years you would find that he likely agrees with “you” on the state of the Industry!

    • PR,

      Instead of yapping on about the internet, and trying to characterize Brian Martindale (who has the genuine product knowledge that most never have) why don’t you tell us about what you see as your personal value argument? When everyone holds themselves out as a discount broker, then no-one can hold themselves out as a discount broker, and poof guys like you won’t know what to say. Do you own a Lawrence Dale T-shirt, and do you wear it to listing appointments, is that your edge?

  3. Now that ZOOCASA is going the way of the failures-in waiting crowd, would it not be appropriate to change its advertising by-line…”From thousands of real estate agents to one” to…”From thousands of real estate agents, to NONE”. Hmmm…funny how NONE rhymes with DONE…like dinner.

  4. Called it! And I think it was in this forum. Homevalues.ca gone! This was an already failed model that was full of inherent flaws from the get go. First, realtors hate giving up commissions even under a referral scenario. Second, consumers are demanding more for less, not less for more. Third, consumers want to seek their realtor on their own terms and saw Zoocasa for what it really was…a money grab.

  5. ROGERS:
    You guys should stop listening to pitchmen with an axe to grind like Lawrence Dale. You should have seen the writing on the wall when he jumped ship…because he did…or…maybe you did.
    Hmmm… Melanie Aitken, Lawrence Dale, ZOOCASA…all gone. Who’s next? Just like the hoards of fledgling wannabe Realtors…another one bites the dust.
    Everyone thinks that it is easy to make big bucks operating as a Realtor or as a Realtor-skimmer artist. Like most wannabe failures-in-waiting, ROGERS could not make enough money to continue on.
    Funny thing that, how it’s always about the money.
    RECO: now is your opportunity to take a quantum leap forward (as I explained to Carolyne, your survey person from B.C. who interviewed me today about RECO’s position in the marketplace) regarding fixing the giant mess known as Organized Real Estate, at least in Ontario. Becoming a professional Realtor is not for just anybody with a pulse or for any big company with deep pockets to give ‘er a try at whatever spin-job one might dream up with a hoped-for big,quick pot of gold at the end of the rainbow in their dreams…all at the public expense of course.

    • Well, my in jest post re Meet Me at the Curb, seemed to have been interpreted seriously by some.

      The mirror effect of mere listings helping sellers… Reflecting a buyer position – as I said – tongue in cheek…

      Carolyne L

    • I just saw on CTV’s CP24 news channel a banner reading “ZOOCASA, internet real estate site to close down June 22 due to pressure from Toronto Real Estate Board”, or words to that effect. There was no further follow-up explanation by the newscaster.
      “Pressure” can only mean one thing: a legal threat to pursue court action was launched by the TREB against ZOOCASA which ROGERS’s legal team knew would succeed, said threat indicating that what ZOOCASA was doing was illegal.
      This is further evidence, to my mind at least, that Lawrence Dale’s advice and guidance in favour of ROGERS/ZOOCASA was flawed and driven by negative anti-TREB emotion rather than by a clear-headed legal thinking process. This is pure speculation on my part, but it all makes sense to me. I stand corrected regarding my previously posted comment which indicated that ZOOCASA failed strictly due to a lack of income, which may, however, have served to influence its decision to not fight the good fight and thereupon to pack it in.
      Too bad the CREAcrats don’t grow some TREB gonads.

  6. Anyone who questions just how easy it is to raise the level of professionalism or compliance with the Act should take note. It matters not, how big you are or deep your pockets are, YOU are accountable to RECO and must meet REBBA requirements like every other registrant.

    Sales Reps are not Agents
    Chat windows are regularly screen captured.
    Ratings require a disclosure of methodology and how ratings are made.
    Rebates must be precise and in writing.
    “Preferred Agents” cause dual agency.
    etc. etc.

    RECO will answer all your emailed questions on breaches and then you can be nice and let the offending registrant know of their breaches to allow them to escape. If they refuse simply issue a complaint.


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