Fidelity Title Acquires a Lead Generation Company

Today, Fidelity National Real Estate Solutions ("FNRES"), the Fidelity subsidiary that manages Cyberhomes, reports the acquisition of a lead generation company GoApply. GoApply is a small lead generator of online mortgage leads that according to website monitor Compete had about 81,000 unique visitors in December 2006. It is distinctive only in how generic and unremarkable it looks as a lead generation site.

Like Cyberhomes, the GoApply acquisition fits the "baby steps" strategy FNRES has been demonstrating in its quest to understanding the consumer market. I've been chronicling FNRES' learning curve since the Cyberhomes launch in November 2006: - a Title Insurance Company now has a Consumer-facing website with a 1999 -style name - Nov. 7, 2006
Fidelity Title's encore act in their "Reach Out to the Consumer" strategy - describing their Hispanic consumer market facing initiative - Nov. 11, 2006
Cyberhomes learns from Real Estate 2.0 Pioneers - Cyberhomes' positioning strategy as a Real Estate 2.0 property - Jan. 22, 2006

In the post Cyberhomes and its Future, Fidelity unveils its ambition to evolve into the transactional front end for mortgages and other real estate related products. Fidelity is doing this methodically... there's no reason to upset their unique title insurance culture with a big acquisition like the embattled Housevalues, the reason they acquired GoApply is because they are developing a "transaction platform" play.

Proof is in this statement within Fidelity's press release: "Go Apply will provide a tremendous platform to deliver consumer traffic to, a newly created real estate portal that generates leads by offering home valuation tools to consumers".

Think about this... Cyberhomes now embeds itself into the brokers' websites as an AVM (automated value model)... is the plan to embed GoApply seamlessly with Cyberhomes to generate mortgage leads for the broker, who can service them, sell them or distribute them as he/she sees fit? By extension, that means Cyberhomes can eventually provide a portfolio of products within a broker's site, all of which would ostensibly benefit the broker's business as added value. It also means Cyberhomes/Fidelity, in consort with the brokers, would assume more control of the products sold to the consumer. Sound strategy.


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