American companies have to deal with a lot of stupidity coming from investors, customers, the media, clients, and Washington.
I don’t just mean the kind of stupid that ends with warnings on hair dryers about using them in the shower.
(You know any warning tag you see on any product is only there because someone Darwined themselves doing just what that tag advises against.)
I don’t just mean the kind of stupidity that has driven people in most every endeavor to say at one time or another, “This would be a great job if it wasn’t for the [adjective redacted] customers.”
I mean that special kind of stupid. My most recent favorite example is from a couple of years ago, when Apple had some of its people in Washington before a congressional committee.
Prior to the start of the hearing, Sen. John McCain buttonholed one of the Apple guys and asked him why they couldn't get their software right, because he didn’t understand why he constantly had to update the apps on his iPhone.
Now I have a new favorite. It comes from – how to thread this needle? – the entertainment industry, in the sense that she was a great entertainer back in the Carter era, and following her on Twitter is definitely entertaining.
I’m talking about Cher, of course – the Cher. The "verified on Twitter" Cher.
Sometime early Tuesday – like 1:05 a.m. – Cher tweeted this gem. She wants to boycott Zillow (Z).
Now, in her career as a social media commenter, Cher has broken ground on cringe-worthy tweets. She’s renowned for her use of caps lock and is the reason for the phrase “all caps breakdown.”
She’s called SeaWorld a “Dachau” for killer whales. I’m not even kidding.
DONT B FOOLED BY ANYTHING MURDEROUS CO.#SEAWORLD SAYS ITS DOING 4 WHALES THEY R TORTURING. THEY ONLY CARE ABOUT LOSING?? ITS DACHAU 4 ??s— Cher (@cher) August 16, 2014
So while calling for a boycott of Zillow is crazy, it’s really a low-level output considering Cher’s overall crazy capacity.
Zillow’s stock around noon was, shockingly, up almost 4% on the day in spite of this powerful appeal by the singer-turned-warning-to-kids.
A spokesperson for Zillow had not responded to questions about this from HousingWire at initial publication, and who can blame them?
But they have since decided to engage crazy with rationality.
@cher Our partnership benefits home sellers – our goal is always to help them expose their listings to as many potential buyers as possible.— Zillow (@zillow) October 15, 2014
For the record, Zillow is in fact now powering U.S. real estate searches for Leju Holdings, an affiliate of E-House Holdings, a leading real estate company in China.
From the Sept. 9 release:
Chinese home shoppers who search for U.S. homes on Leju's platforms now have access to Zillow's robust home search experience, rich data on homes, millions of for-sale listings, and unique pre-market inventory, through a co-branded Zillow-Leju site.
"Chinese home shoppers represent an untapped opportunity not only to U.S. sellers, but to agents and brokers as well," said Amy Bohutinsky, Zillow chief marketing officer. "Chinese home buyers spent $22 billion in the U.S. last year - nearly doubling what they spent in the previous year - and this co-branded site will make it easy for them to not only find the U.S. home of their dreams, but also connect with a local real estate professional who can help make that dream a reality. We are excited to offer this opportunity to the thousands of brokers and agents who choose to market their listings on Zillow."
So yes, Zillow is doing business with the inscrutable, heathen Chinee, but somehow it doesn’t seem like that calls for a crazypants boycott.
I mean, the Chinese already own something like 70% of the Treasury float and 40% of the property float, so if that’s your concern – you’re a little late.