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Listing Syndication – What Do Consumers Think of ARG's Decision?

If you want to know what consumers (aka your clients) think about ARG’s decision to pull their listings (Geek Estate coverage here, here, and here), look no further than the comment thread of this article in UT San Diego.

A few comments from buyers/sellers/home owners:

Andrew M

Why Does Abbott view it as the intellectual property of the real estate company when it’s a series of picture of MY house and details of MY house (which are all publicly available) that I’m trying to sell to the largest audience possible?

Christopher S:

Talk about completely going the wrong way. My wife and I just bought a house and we had a buyer agent only represent us. Bottomline, from a buyer’s perspective Zillow, Redfin and Trulia are invaluable tools that save time and inform the buyer.

Yes, you DO need a skilled agent but what Abbott is completely missing is that Zillow, Trulia and RedFin are merely tools that the buyer and the agent need to leverage. They don’t replace the agent, they enhance the agent to client experience.

Also, who’s he kidding with the multimillion dollar ocean front property as an example successfull house marketing? Not all, not even a fraction of sellers can afford a TV ad to sell their house.

“To our industry colleagues, please find our listings as you always have, through our cooperative, sandicor MLS…” Again, consumer’s don’t want a site that’s clunky and antiquated like sandicor. Even the new sandicor is a poor experience in comparison’s to the zillows, & redfinds of the world. The raw data is meaningless without the ability for the consumer to sift through it and make sense of it (neighborhoods, schools, comparison’s, historical tax, etc, etc).

I’m sorry but this kind of thinking reminds me of the candle manufacturer legistlating law’s in France to force people to close their blinds due to stiff competition from the sun.

Brandon G:

If I was a rival broker, I would love this. How is ARG going to explain to their customers that their listing will only be seen by half the people it was seen by before? Hopefully the word will get out, if you want the most potential buyers possible to see your house, don’t list it with ARG.

Geoff C:

Way to go. I am looking at purchasing in the future, and it will not be through ARG now. Sorry guys, but you just closed down a whole lot of options for yourselves.

Sarah M:

I agree with you… my husband and I recently bought a house, and both Trulia and Zillow were integral to our search. And yes, they sometimes have inaccurate information, but the benefits outweighed the problems, for the most part. They are shooting themselves in the foot this way.

Pretty telling, don’t you think?

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog / Geek Estate Labs. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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  • Why do buyers insist on lumping Redfin in with Zillow and Trulia. Redfin is a brokerage with a great website, not an advertising company 🙂

    • Anon2

      Because when they are advertising listings to the general public, they are an advertising company. (And I may add they do it very well, indeed.)

  • Michael Rapkoski

    5 random comments does not make me think ARG is doomed by their decision, sorry Drew. Yes there are some broken parts with the traditional real estate brokerage model but come on…you will always find buyers that differentiate in their choices. I get that the client is at the center of the equation, but business models are still left up to the business people who invest their time and money to put the system in place to enhance the process of both buying and selling. I am still surprised how many people endorse and tolerate inaccurate information and no accountability. As a Realtor if I provided a client accurate information I would be fried (and sued most likely!) Watch what happens when the proprietary information starts to disappear…and then let’s see how many buyers are still singing the same tune.

    • I don’t think they are doomed. I do believe they’ll lose clients over this — and the comments on that thread support that notion. I just don’t see how an agent can explain how this strategy benefits a seller..

  • Consumers want choice and the ability to get all the information they need to make decisions, without having to fight for it. Syndicator sites make it easier, and ultimately benefit agents as well, since consumers come to the agents once they have a better idea of what they’re looking for. In theory, it should save time that agents waste on unqualified clients.

  • Michele

    To be honest, I’m torn. As a consumer, it seems imperative that I am able to research something prior to going to a professional and enlisting their help to finalize my decision and purchase.

    That being said, AgentGenius posted a very poignant article arguing the opposite of this discussion – and I can’t help but agree with it as well.

    The author discusses how real estate listings are a commodity – a piece of information – held by real estate brokerages. Here’s a quote pulled from the article:

    “Here’s a scoop for ya — consumers don’t have a ‘right’ to my info just cuz they declare it so.
    They have a right to professional service and solid expertise,
    ethically rendered with integrity. Wonder how it’d go over if decades
    ago those same consumers had declared their right to Coke’s formula?
    It’s the only thing Coke has of value. Once that formula can be used by
    anybody, they’re toast. Yet many seem to think the real estate industry
    was created to be their b#@&es.” (edited for…well, you know)

    In as much as we have empowered consumers with this information, the vast majority of them don’t know how to use it. So, they challenge us. They challenge the information that we, as skilled agents in an industry we’ve educated ourselves, provide to them. “Yes, I understand the lowest sales price was this but, I still want to put in an offer 20% lower than that because it’s a bad market and that’s what all the websites tell us and if the sellers really want to move, they’ll accept it.”

  • Kevin Von Luft

    In my opinion this is another example of what is wrong with real estate companies right now.  They desperately want to hold onto the past when the listing information was coveted information that they only had and customer had no access except through an agent.  I remember flipping through the MLS “book” as a kid that my dad had. Well, the business has dramatically changed and if they don’t evolve with the changing times, they will be left behind.  There are so many examples of closed companies in every industry that did not evolve to changing business climates and are gone, think polaroid.  ARG and other brokers need to look to how they can leverage this technology to do the best job they can for clients and stay on the cutting edge of customer wants and needs.  The traditional corporate brokers are struggling with this and other business model shortfalls and I think they will all get left behind by smaller independent entrepreneurs that understand how be flexible and innovative. They will definitely loose younger clients by this decision and probably agents that want to move forward instead longing for the past.

  • Jack Cassedy

    I’m happy that someone did this, and better them than us. Someone needs to get these big sites to increase the rate at which they update their info and show clearly which homes are available and which ones aren’t. These sites are great for the consumer, but they need more accurate data.

    • Jack, On Zillow we process every feed sent to us at least once a day.  When we process a feed and it tells us a home isn’t or is for sale, that info is immediately published.  I’m not saying our data is perfect, by any means, and we can have a whole discussion around this.  But we are processing at least daily.

  • Tolega

    it is all self serving by the broker that wants to hold hostage the information…they want both sides, isn’t that clear to a seller…around the country there are MLS’s that think the same way, why do you think in this age a information they don’t update or merge? Its about control, not about sharing.  If you control the info you rule the market. All realtors take a ethical oath, but some self serve…control equals money and power. Salepeople sell homes brokers are the middleman that gives little value except their advertising for “their” brokerage.  wake up people see it for what it is…for me i would be happy just to sell another home….brokers want to sell all the homes because that is what their mind set is ( but they say its for the sellers benefit)   MLS boards are made up of the available brokers who chose to serve…who do you think makes up the MLS” local” rules….what a bunch of misdirection

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