Local 3D Tour Tech Upstart Surefield Design-Jacked by Heavyweight Competitor Matterport

Local startup Surefield launched as a brokerage in April, offering home sellers detailed, virtual-reality-style online 3D tours. A major part of their site is the listing detail pages, which hold their signature 3D tours and basic listing info about the home.

Most other real estate listing sites have settled on a fairly standard layout for home listing detail pages—two columns, address and price at the top, photos on the upper-left, bullet-point list of property features, etc. Compare this Capitol Hill listing’s page on Redfin, Zillow, and Trulia for a good example of what has become the standard layout.

Surefield went with a very different and distinctive design—single column, 3D tour at the very top, big bold address and price under that, followed by a 3-column layout with the home’s description in the left column and the details in a bullet-free list format in the remaining two columns.

Apparently the design is a hit… with their competition, anyway. 3D tour technology heavyweight Matterport, who has raised $26 million since 2011 and recently rolled out a major partnership with Redfin, has pretty much completely design-jacked Surefield’s listing detail page.

Here’s a link to a Surefield listing detail page, and here’s a link to a Matterport listing detail page. Compare them below.

Surefield LDP Matterport LDP

Surefield LDP Matterport LDP

Matterport even jacked the shrinking top-bar feature from Surefield.

As well as I can tell Matterport didn’t straight-up copy any code, so this isn’t a sleazy as the Kirkland brokerage who ripped off Redfin code earlier this year. Still, you would think that a company with $26 million would be able to pay for an original design rather than just ripping off a smaller upstart competitor.

Full disclosure: The Tim is currently a Redfin shareholder.

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1
    Shoeguy says:

    All’s Fair in Love and Housing Bubbles.

  2. 2
    Erik says:

    Good for them. No point in recreating the wheel. Websites like redfin had a chance at creating something big since they made a pretty website. Their time is over to jump ahead. They were unable to get the whole real estate selling plan together. They only focused on the pretty website. They deserve to get crushed and they will.

  3. 3
    The Kraken says:

    RE: Erik @ 2

    Good for Redfin/Matterport, or good for Surefield for trying new things?

  4. 4
    joedirt says:

    I noticed some listings have what look like photos from drones.

  5. 5
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    By joedirt @ 4:

    I noticed some listings have what look like photos from drones.

    The FAA doesn’t like that, but some agents seemingly don’t care.

  6. 6
    Azucar says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 5

    You are correct that it is not legal to use them for commercial purposes, but the FAA doesn’t do much about it. The way the rules currently are, hobbyists can fly them but not for business use. That just makes it so it’s only amateurs who are legally flying them.


  7. 7
    Missing the target says:

    Leave it to tech oriented real estate companies to throw money at projects that don’t help sellers sell. Instead they spend their resources on novelty items to attract visitors to their websites.

    A listing agent’s job is to get buyers into the house for sale and sell the house. The only case where this could arguable “help” the seller is on extremely high end homes where market time is always long and the buyer pool is not always local. Buyers learn quickly that until you see a house in person you can’t (or shouldn’t) rule it out.

    I’m all about progressive and forward looking brokerages, but the company that figures out next gen real estate brokerages is going to come from within the broker community, it won’t be Zillow, Redfin, Google or anyone else.

  8. 8
    David B. says:

    “Design jacking” is actually typically a *good* thing. It makes for consistency across providers.

    Would you want to live in a world where only, say 25%, of motor vehicles had steering wheels, and vehicles were steered by tillers, joysticks, slide controls (mounted in various locations), etc. depending on the maker?

  9. 9

    RE: David B. @ 7 – Currently even a lot of the automobile logos look similar.

  10. 10

    RE: Missing the target @ 7 – Redfin would argue that it is “within the broker community” – it just has a different organizing principle (one more suited to the 21st Century, not the 19th like the “traditional” model). Zilllow and Google, however, are not within the broker community, you are correct there.

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