Sorry, I’m slightly confused for the second time in a week. You’ve probably heard the rumblings in the industry for awhile about brokers threatening to stop syndicating their listings. But no one has put their foot in the sand — until now. Edina Realty announced they were going to stop syndicating their listings to top sites like Trulia and Realtor.com.
Here is the statement they released:
Edina Realty is responding to the changing business models of third party aggregators.
Third party aggregators are not brokers and they are not required to abide by the same rules and regulations as a broker. They get listings for free from brokers around the country and then display them online, collecting and distributing leads for a profit. While some of you in the industry may understand that Trulia.com is an independent company, many of you may be surprised to learn that Realtor.com is NOT affiliated with NAR. They are a separate, publicly held business. Just like Trulia.com, their business model is based on selling lead generating advertising to agents.
We’ve since discovered that much of the data and information showcased on aggregator sites is inaccurate if it comes from non-MLS sources. According to a recent data quality study conducted by Trulia.com and published on Inman.com, 69 percent of errors in online real estate listings information were directly related to third-party syndication of information by non-MLS sources. This points to the need for more diligence regarding ownership of our clients’ data and where we send it – be it directly to an aggregator site or through syndication.
“The company reviewed about 1.2 million listings from about 250 data sources during the third quarter and found about 120,000 inaccuracies in listings information. More than half
(51 percent) of those inaccurate listings had errors in price, 41 percent had status errors, and 8 percent had errors in both price and status.”*
*Source: Trulia.com and Realtor.com respectively
Edina Realty will no longer provide a broker feed of our listing inventory to Trulia.com starting Nov. 30, 2011. We also intend to discontinue sending our listings to Realtor.com by the end of the year. Third party aggregators are not brokers. They get listings for free from brokers around the country and then display them online, collecting and distributing leads for profit. We believe it makes the best business sense for our agents and Edina Realty to control our own listings in
order to ensure that:
- Our agents don’t lose future business opportunities because a non-listing competitor pays to present themselves as the contact for your listing.
- Our agents don’t have to pay – directly or indirectly – for leads on their own listings.
- Our sellers can be assured that leads on their listing are being handled by an expert
- The quality and accuracy of your listing data is assured.
- Potential buyers are provided with fast, knowledgeable responses via the listing agent or our seven-day-a-week customer service department.
I really don’t get how NOT sending their listings to the largest real estate sites on the web (for free) is good for their clients. When an Edina Realty agent takes a listing — they are paid to sell the house. End of story. Ask a seller whether it is okay for you to not advertise their listing on the real estate sites with the most buyers, and I all but guarantee of what their response will be. The conversion would probably go something like this:
Seller: “Huh? Why would you not want to do that? It’s free”
Listing Agent: “They charge me for leads because they have more traffic than my own site”
Seller: “And why should that impact me? I’m paying you to sell my house, right?”
Listing Agent: “Yes, but…”
You get the picture.
I totally get where Edina Realty is coming from in terms of not wanting to pay for leads from sites that drives traffic from their own listings (as well as listings from other brokers). No one WANTS to do that. But this is business. Driving traffic and leads is hard work, and takes a lot of time and/or money. The Trulia’s of the world have spent millions of dollars building great websites that draw consumers to them. Brokers are not in the consumer web technology business. They are in the business of selling homes (MOST brokers are in the business of recruiting agents, but that’s another discussion for another day).
All that business strategy is meaningless in the minds of a seller. They want their house sold. Listing syndication increases the chances of that happening. PERIOD. End of story.
In short, I’m with Jay on this one.
Do you think more brokerages will follow Edina? Or do you think Edina will end up eating their own words and putting syndication back in place later in 2012?