…model. (Another writer, David Evans, has a book entitled Matchmakers that captures this idea well.) Thompson’s aggregators might be valuable because they specialize in helping people find a match for what they want. But if that is what we’re speaking of, I don’t buy the winner-take-all stuff. Seen this way, a real estate agent might one of Thompson’s aggregators — there’s a large inventory of apartments or houses out there, and the agent is one way of helping you find a good fit. Yet there are thousands of real estate agents. Perhaps Thompson will say that this is where zero marginal costs makes all the difference. Anyhow, my point is that we need more than this distinction to understand how contemporary multisided markets really work, which I will admit is no easy thing to get your head around.
As you suspected, Ben Thompson does address this in his archives — best articulated in this Exponent podcast, as I recall. For example, Zillow, in particular, is “live action aggregation”: Not only did Zillow successfully aggregate highly fragmented MLSs, but it’s also laddering-up into iBuying. 🏁
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