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Why was there no vote about giving our listings to Zillow?

My local Board of Realtors is now sending all listings directly to Zillow, and neither the Board members, nor the Directors, voted on it.

If your Board voted or took a poll on the syndication issue, please let us know in the comments.

Who we distribute our listings to is an important issue, and as the local Board of Realtors supposedly represents us, they should vote or take a poll on important issues like this. The funny thing with my Board is, they just polled all agents on the state’s licensing of vacation rentals, another words, something we have no control over at all. Yet – when it came time to decide on providing Zillow with our listings, something we have 100% control over, they decided no poll was needed.

In my opinion, providing Zillow with our listings mainly benefits Zillow and a few agents who have figured out how to get leads from them. Local websites are spending a lot of time and money on their website, yet feeding these listings to Zillow takes leads away from the local websites. It inserts a middleman, who then charges agents a good amount of money for those leads, when agents could have received the leads at no additional cost from their local website. Also, I believe most agents consider the Zestimate to be an issue, as they have to explain to their clients why the Zestimate says this, but they feel the true price they should sell at is something else. Finally, as Brokers can opt out of giving their listings to Zillow, buyers and sellers will probably get more up to date information from local websites that show everything.

Zillow would argue that they have X amount of users visiting their Website, so the listings should be there.

I say if they had no listings from our local Board of Realtors, then buyers and sellers would do fine using their favorite local websites.

About Bryn Kaufman

Principal Broker and creator of OahuRE.com, one of the most popular websites on Oahu. I enjoy working with PHP, MySQL, jQuery, JavaScript, HTML5, Ajax and more. I am always looking to improve my Website and business. When not working, I enjoy spending time with my family and doing anything on or in the Ocean.

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  • Like it or not, Zillow has the buyers – so yes, agent’s listings should probably be there. The home owner/seller does not give a sh*t about an agent’s business and that maybe their listing being on zillow is making it harder for the industry long term to keep their lead acquisition costs down. Home sellers are paying an agent to sell their home.

    • Hi Drew,

      For the MLS’s that voted not to give their listings to Zillow, and there are a number of them, Zillow does not have their buyers.

      Just because Zillow has X amount of buyers visiting their website, if they end up with very few listings in an area because they do not have a direct feed, it will only take minutes for buyers to realize this and stop using Zillow and switch to a local website that has all the listings.

      So Zillow has buyers as long as they have listings. If agents vote to not give Zillow a direct feed to their listings, I can guarantee you Zillow no longer has the buyers for that location.

      • “and there are a number of them” And that number is quite small when compared to the MLSs that have agreed to facilitate listing syndication.

        We get many listing feeds from brokerages and franchises and manual input — a direct feed isn’t the sole source of listing info. So even in the few areas where MLSs aren’t sending direct feeds, there are still listings on Zillow (and Trulia).

        • Jay, in those locations where you do not have a direct feed, I assume you are missing a good amount of listings.

          I really hope Zillow does the right thing and let’s users know this. I would hate to think users think they are viewing all listings, when they are viewing perhaps just a small percentage of what is out there. That would be very misleading.

    • Drew, I understand you feel the listings should be there, but that being said, do you feel the agents should be polled about this, or do you think it is best left to an individual to make this decision?

      Also, what are your thoughts on my response below. Do you agree that if the MLS votes to not send listings to Zillow, then Zillow would not have buyers for that specific area, and those buyers and sellers would start using local websites again?

      • As Jay mentions…zillow has listings with or without MLS’. So no, just because an MLS does not send a direct feed does not mean buyers in that area will not visit the website.

        It’s just better if they get them direct so they are more accurate.

        • Drew, I think it depends on what percentage of homes Zillow shows and how often they update those listings if they do not have a direct feed.

          If Zillow show almost all the homes and the listing data is accurate, such as being updated when it is in escrow, then no direct feed is needed.

          However, if buyers find they are missing homes in their price range vs. Red Fin or other local sites, or if buyers find that many of the listings that say Active are actually in escrow, at some point I think that buyer is going to switch to the website that has all the listings and is not showing listings that are no longer for sale.

          • “at some point I think that buyer is going to switch to the website that has all the listings and is not showing listings that are no longer for sale.”

            Why hasn’t that happened already? How are buyers going to know which of the thousand idx/brokerage sites they should look at?

          • “at some point I think that buyer is going to switch to the website that has all the listings and is not showing listings that are no longer for sale.”

            Why hasn’t that happened already? How are buyers going to know which of the thousand idx/brokerage sites they should look at?

          • I don’t know if it is happening where they have no direct feed.

            Zillow just lost its Listhub feed this year.

            Not sure how many MLS sites are not giving them a direct feed, nor am I sure how many listings they still get when there is no direct feed, and finally as Zillow stopped reporting traffic numbers in March of this year, so it is really impossible to tell.

  • Michael Wurzer

    Are you sure they didn’t just vote to give brokers the choice of whether to syndicate or not? There’s often confusion on this point because of the use of the term MLS-direct feeds and similar terms, but the relationship simply gives the brokers in the MLS the option to send their listings from the MLS direct to the destination.

    • Hi Mike,

      I am 100% positive they did not vote, as I asked my local Director and he confirmed it was never voted on, as did someone who works at HBR and is handling all questions regarding Zillow.

    • MIke, I answered your question below, but like Sam, I would value your opinion on this too.

      Do you think agents should be polled to get their opinion on sending all MLS listings to Zillow?

  • Who decided to feed to Zillow (your MLS directors, an AE, your board)? These decisions aren’t made in a vacuum. You must be able to contact someone to find out about the discussion.

    Was it an opt-in or opt-out?

    Is there no way for you as a principal broker to remove yourself from the feed if you wanted to?

    Give us some depth. This reads like a rant without enough research right now.

    • Hi Sam,

      I asked my local director and he is not even sure who made the decision. The Board is not saying, as they probably don’t want to put the blame on one specific person.

      He did say he would bring it up at the next Board meeting, so perhaps then he will get more insight as to why there was no vote.

      Frankly, I am not sure it matters who made the decision. Whether it was John or Joan does not matter, what matters is the agents were not consulted in the decision.

      Also Brokers having the ability to remove their listings is not a great solution in my opinion. I think it should be all or nothing. Consumers deserve accurate information, not partial MLS data. If they like using Zillow, why should they possibly be missing part of the MLS.

      • Sam, my post is definitely a rant, I agree.

        However, I had exchanged a lot of Emails with my local Director and the Board employee handling this, so I would not say I did not research it. I did not mention my research in my post because the only conclusion I was able to make was that their was no vote by members or the Board of Directors.

        Should my local Director come up with more answers when he brings it up at the next Board meeting, I can update this post.

        • Good, thanks. I just don’t want this looking like a smear of an unnamed person/group until you know what’s really happening.

      • Jay T from Zillow Group here. Bryn, different boards have different structures set up with regard to decision-making. There are 900 some-odd MLSs across the country, and probably 900 some-odd ways they make decisions.

        You have issues with how the decision was made, but it doesn’t matter who made the decision?? I don’t understand that.

        Speaking as a former brokerage owner, I have to completely disagree with you when you say it should not be up to the broker to decide where their listings appear. As a broker, it’s not the MLSs or a board’s choice as to how I market my listings. The MLS or board can facilitate sending my listings to various places — and that’s exactly what MLSs are doing when they agree to send Zillow Group sites a direct feed — but it’s not their place to decide where my listings are marketed.

        • Jay, what I mean by that is I don’t care what individual made this decision. I am not on a witch hunt to root out this individual and attack them or put them on the spot.

          What I care about is why no poll or vote was taken. I don’t think it is a decision that should be made by one person, a poll should be done, as agents our opinion should count as the Board of Realtors represents us.

          I was happy to read you said “As
          a broker, it’s not the MLSs or a board’s choice as to how I market my listings.”. I think this point is important because in this case the MLS made a choice for me, without my input, and I think that is wrong.

          Regarding the opt out option, I have to put myself in the consumer’s shoes and say that is not a great way to do it. If 20% of the Brokers opt out, it is not fair to consumers searching for their next home for them to think they are seeing the entire inventory on Zillow, when actually they are missing quite a few homes.

          In this regard, from a consumers point of view, it would be nice if Zillow put a large disclaimer on their website that they might not have all the listings. Otherwise, as mentioned, the consumer is really getting hurt by thinking these are all the listings available in their area, when in reality it is not.

          Do you think you could bring this up at Zillow, I think it is only fair that consumers know the truth?

          • I’m not saying you should call someone out publicly, but if you want to know how and why your board made a decision, it would seem prudent to ask them how decisions are made. Every board I’m familiar with has a published decision-making process.

            I share every suggestion that I come across with the appropriate team(s) at Zillow, and will of course share yours.

            You do realize, I assume, that NO site has ALL available listings. No IDX site, no franchise site, no brokerage site and no third-party site displays every available home in the market. FSBOs, pocket listings, exclusives, and sellers that don’t want their homes on the Internet all preclude any one site having every available home on the market.

            I haven’t seen your board/MLS agreement, but I strongly suspect it has the ability for a broker to choose whether or not their listings are displayed. Are you saying your MLS is *forcing* you to send listings to Zillow? That would be VERY unusual (and may in fact not be an option anywhere).

            So you actually DO have a choice (or more accurately, your broker does).

          • Jay, the reason Zillow needs a very clear disclaimer is it is the only website where Brokers can opt out.

            For example, they can’t opt out of showing their listing on my website, or any other local site.

            While they can opt to not show their listing at all on the internet, they can’t say I don’t want my listings on Coldwell Banker’s website, or XYZ Broker’s website.

            This is a HUGE difference. Consumers understand that FSBO’s and Pocket Listings will not show up on websites, but they don’t understand that when they search Zillow for a specific area they are only seeing X% of the listings. They think they are seeing all the listings, and it is very likely they are not.

            How would you feel as a consumer using Zillow if you found out later on a home sold that was perfect for you, but you were never notified about it because you were using Zillow. I would be pretty upset about this.

            Please make sure Zillow knows what I mean, because they are a large consumer website, and they have a responsibility to not deceive consumers!

    • Sam, I responded to your questions below, but one thing I noticed that is missing from your comments is your opinion, which I do value.

      Do you think agents should be polled to get their opinion on sending all MLS listings to Zillow?

      • Sam, I know you also put a lot of time and money into your website and content creation, so I would also be curious to know your stance on sending the listings to Zillow?

        I am sure in your market you have a lot of tough competitors, but would you favor buyers and sellers using local websites like yours vs. using big national portals like Zillow or Trulia?

        • Thanks for the updates, Bryn.

          Brokers have to be able to make the decision. Yes, a broker should probably poll his/her own agents to see if they want their listings syndicated, but the end decision has to be that of the broker.

          I’m totally against MLS-wide feeds without an opt-in or opt-out mechanism. The MLS can do a great job of negotiating standards of display and facilitating a feed option, but then must let each broker decide if it’s appropriate for that brokerage.

          Will consumers get better/more accurate information on my company’s websites? Yes, without a doubt.

          We still syndicate to the portals because we feel it’s valuable, but I fully respect another broker’s decision not to syndicate if it’s good for their clients and their business.

  • Should have gone to a vote. Huge decision with both positive and negative long term impact.

    I for one spent an hour on the phone with our association’s president to discuss my unhappiness with such a monster decision being handled behind closed doors with zero input from the base.

    • Thanks Brad, I agree with you 100%. My Board’s CEO was copied on all the Emails I sent to my local Director about this, so she is also in the loop.

      I also look forward to getting some answers on why we had zero input, and more importantly, I am hoping they reconsider and do send out a poll or setup a vote for this issue.

  • rolandestrada

    If it’s done right, direct MLS feeds are better way to go. In the case of our MLS we made demands on Zillow and got them. For one, the listing agent isn’t buried at the bottom of he page. The listing agent gets top billing. MLSs can and should make demands on how listings are displayed. And if Zillow doesn’t like it, EEF them.

    We have the inventory and therefore the gold. MLSs have forgotten the golden rule. He who has the gold makes the rules.

    • Great points Roland. I looked at one of my listings and I see 6 agent photos on the page, but my photo is no where to be found. I assume our MLS did not make any demands.

      • rolandestrada

        Thanks Bryn. As I’ve said before on the inter webs, I don’t begrudge third party portals their initiative. But we don’t have to simply give up the farm in the process.

        Unfortunately, we don’t have a national unified AGENT voice on how our listings are distributed. The brokers have their voice. The portals and portal startups have their voice.

        Our voice should have been NAR. But NAR long ago went for the profit model instead of the agent model – your listing, your lead. At the risk of ridicule, I’ll again mention HAR as the “your listing, your lead model”. Would the portals have less ability to have a sales model if NAR had the type of model where the listing agent gets every listing inquiry. We’ll likely never know because of the money and politics involved. I tried a Facebook page called. Realtor.com Extortion but it would need to go viral to get any traction.

        If you have an idea to get national agent attention to this, I would love to hear it. No one group of agents ever gets mad enough and long enough to get any traction on the issue of having an agent centric portal that is sponsored by NAR – the organization to whom we pay dues.

        If the state and local AORs treated us as a profit center with regard to our listings the way NAR treats us, there might be a more visceral reaction. Maybe…

        • Good points again Roland, thanks for sharing.

          I am taking it one step at a time, with the first step being my local Director investigating how this decision was made and why agents were not involved. My goal would be to get agents involved and re-evaluate this decision.

          I believe if the Broker’s Public Portal gets going and MLS’s stop feeding the other portals the listings, then we would have more control over our listings.

          http://www.brokerpublicportal.com/

          • as you know, I don’t share your optimism on the prospects of that initiative

          • LOL Drew, that I know. I have not really studied the motivating factors for a BPP, so I would not really classify myself as optimistic or pessimistic that it will happen.

            I brought it up as it could be the agent centric portal that Roland mentions above.

          • rolandestrada

            Wow! Thanks for sharing that link. If it pans out the way HAR’s public facing portal works, it would be what Realtor.com should have been all along. It would fantastic to have a national MLS portal where agents get all the leads from their listings. I would also quite selfishly LOVE to say “i told you” the nay sayers. Almost anything can be done if there is the will and perseverance to do so.

            I particularly like this quote – “The guidelines include not forcing brokers to display their listings on the site; no featured listings or ads for other brokers or agents next to a brokerage’s listing; and free leads sent to listing agents or brokers, among other stipulations.”

            If bugs the crap out of me that there are elements in the agent community that think only a for profit national portal can succeed. If it works for regional MLSs it can work nationally.

            It’s really easy for nay sayers to stand there and throw rocks at even the idea of an agent centric portal that is nonprofit. It’s like they have some sick twisted romance with the portals and are constantly at odds with the agent community.

          • You bring up a lot of interesting points.

            My MLS has their own public website, and I like that on that site I am the only agent showing up on my listings. That is way better than Zillow showing 6 other agents and not showing me.

            However, that website is not considered to be very good from the feedback I heard from some clients.

            I guess the advantage of the BPP is they could pool their resources and put together a really good website that users would like, compared to what is done at the Regional level.

            Combine a good national website with not giving our listings to the portals, and you have a recipe for success.

          • rolandestrada

            I agree. Try an experiment. Do a search for “Houston real estate”. The first hit should HAR before the portals. With the right algorithms, even a national agent portal could bring up local listings and start to outrank the portals anywhere i the country.

          • Possible, sure. but it’s easier said than done. takes years of work to get to where HAR is.

          • rolandestrada

            So what!! We start now and see where we end up. If it takes years, then it takes years. At least we’re farther down the line. Your attitude always seems to be to never start. I don’t get it. What’s your angle? Thank God Columbus didn’t have your attitude.

          • Haha. I don’t think brokers or agents shouldn’t start at all. I just think they should start on a strategy that is forward thinking and not backward thinking. I am not convinced duplicating the portals with better listing quality will work.

          • rolandestrada

            LOL. Oh yeah, who would ever want timely and better listing quality. Nobody!! Well maybe just buyers and sellers.

            Okay. Since we are all wrong, why don’t you enlighten us with a brief explanation of your strategy. Don’t worry. We won’t steel your idea.

          • Start with a consumer win – http://geekestateblog.com/next-major-consumer-win-real-estate/

            Maybe I will write another post on this soon.

          • Start with a consumer win – http://geekestateblog.com/next-major-consumer-win-real-estate/

            Maybe I will write another post on this soon.

          • rolandestrada

            We’ll all be waiting. It sounds like you have the winning strategy we’ve been waiting for so long to hear. This should be some really good stuff!!!

          • See this post -> http://geekestateblog.com/real-estate-search-less-is-more/

            Mix it with the last post I linked to. And throw that into mobile interface. There’s more product specifics to think through, of course. Like I said, maybe I’ll write a more detailed post at some point. But doing so isn’t at the top of my priority list anytime soon.

          • rolandestrada

            I’ll put the Consumer Win on my Claim Chowder list. The problem of agents getting leads for THEIR listings has been and issue ten years in the making, from the time NAR thew us under the bus realtor.com.

            In the meantime the real estate industry awaits the day when it can hoist you on it’s shoulders for your winning strategy for a national agent centric portal.

            We’ll be waiting. Tic toc, tic toc…

          • “The problem of agents getting leads for THEIR listings has been and issue ten years in the making, from the time NAR thew us under the bus realtor.com.”

            Sure, it’s a problem to agents. But it’s not a problem to buyers/sellers. They don’t care about what any of these industry dynamics mean to your business. They just want their house sold, or to close on the perfect home.

          • Roland, Drew, I was thinking about it more, and I don’t think we need a Broker Public Portal.

            Roland, the HAR website looks good. They have the #1 position on Google. They already do what you want by only show the listing agent on each listing. They have apps for smartphones in place.

            All HAR needs to do is not feed Zillow their leads and they will remain the number 1 choice with no competition from Zillow. They could also pull the plus for other portals.

            Why start from scratch? As Drew mentioned getting on page 1 of Google is not easy, and what would make the portal that much better than HAR?

          • “Sure, it’s a problem to agents. But it’s not a problem to buyers/sellers.”

            Agreed, and this is why removing a direct feed to the portals is also not an issue. If Zillow does not have the inventory, buyers and sellers will just click over to the websites that do. Sellers will still have their house sold, and buyers will still buy their dream home. It will not phase them at all.

          • rolandestrada

            Oh spare me!! The two aren’t mutually exclusive. Agents do the ground work every single day helping buyers and sellers. The portals are just one tool in the marketing arsenal. Agents do the work not the portals.

            Just because agents and brokers want more control over how listings are presented and that agents get the leads for their own listings, doesn’t mean the consumer gets screwed. That’s just your opinion and an invalid one at that.

            What consumers want is accurate well presented information. A nationwide agent centric portal does NOT preclude that from happening. If anything, when a buyer has direct contact with an agent for for information on a listing, the buyer is better served. Who better to provide listing information than the agent to whom that listing belongs. Your listing, your lead. That is what an agent centric portal would provide.

            Buyers and sellers win because they get accurate info from the site and from direct agent contact. agents win because they get direct leads. Brokers win because the agents win.

            The ones not on the winning end of an agent centric portal are the third party portals. That’s life. If they don’t like it, tough sh*t!! They would just need to adjust to the new normal.

          • Realtor.com delivers accurate listings in the exact same way an agent portal would. Why are they so much smaller than Zillow/Trulia?

          • I have not done a side-by-side comparison of the two sites, so I am not sure if it is a website issue.

            I believe Zillow and Trulia have spent a lot more in marketing, and that is probably your answer.

            That marketing budget is what makes them hard to compete with. They are OK to spend billions on Trulia or many, many, millions on marketing, all the while losing money. That is a tough competitor.

          • rolandestrada

            OMG, why!! Because realtor.com sucked so badly. Their data accuracy was horrendous. I would get calls from clients and leads for listings that had been sold for a year or longer. Their UI sucked too.

            They were the model for sucking money from agents. Zillow and Trulia just figured out a better way to do it. I give them kudos for being industrious. What made realtor.com’s nickel and dime money grab so egregious is that is was an arm of NAR, an professional organization to whom we pay money to have our best interests. Without agents NAR doesn’t have squat. But they screwed us anyway and stood there and took right up the bum.

            The road that realtor.com has taken is too far gone to ever be a wholly agent centric site. That ship has sailed. That is why there has been a push for a national agent centric portal.

            And if you want talk about serving the consumer, let’s talk data accuracy. I ran an MLS search just now for Active homes in Laguna Niguel. Not Back up or Pending, just Active.

            MLS shows 240 Active
            Redfin shows 248 Active
            Truly shows 387 Active
            Zillow shows 270 Active

            You like fruit? How about them apples!
            So don’t give me this garbage about consumers being better served.

          • Thanks Roland, I never tried Realtor.com so it is good to know it was horrendous. Hopefully it is getting better now that Murdoch bought it.

            Trulia needs to take the “Tru” out of their name. I wonder if they have no feed at all right now and are just letting listings fester on their site.

          • rolandestrada

            Realtor.com has gotten better since back in the day but I’m still not a fan. They show 251 Active. I further delineated the user experience in a post above regarding UI.

          • I tested it for my area and one thing Zillow and Trulia are doing is when a home is in escrow they just keep listing it as for sale. In my area this means about 40% of their “For Sale” listings are not really for sale.

            Interesting strategy. While it does provide more homes to look at, I would think users would get tired of inquiring on For Sale homes only to find out they are not For Sale any longer.

          • rolandestrada

            Let’s talk user experience. Neither Zillow nor Trulia have the best UI.

            Trulia has a “list” view that is nothing more than a banner view. You need to scroll forever to get down the list. Map view? Same thing.

            Zillow has a combo map and “list” view. Same scrolling issues and no options to change that view.

            Redfin has the best UI. They have a nice big map with an easy to scroll single line list. Zillow and Trulia’s “lists” are noting more than banners.

            Redfin’s list also has data 8 headers that are sortable. Redfin also allows you to toggle between list and photo view if you really want the big pretty view. Redfin’s UI is clean, concise and elegant. They of course have the advantage of not having to clutter the UI with ads. It’s not perfect but it is very nice.

          • So how is this portal going to be better than Redfin? Why wouldn’t buyers just go use redfin, which already exists?

          • rolandestrada

            The real question is why wouldn’t they. If done properly, buyers would have noting to lose. Not a bloody thing.

            Why do consumers try anything these days. Because it’s new or different. Consumers love the latest shiny shiny web thing. It seems like there is some new viral web or mobile thingy every week. Case in point, Meerkat and Periscope.

            Man, you have a clear and palpable bias against an agent centric portal and for the Zillow Group. I can’t figure out why and may never figure it out. There is some kind of angle there, just now sure what it is.

          • “The real question is why wouldn’t they. If done
            properly, buyers would have noting to lose. Not a bloody thing.”

            If you truly believe that, go spend your own money and build it and see if buyers randomly find it and use it just for the hell of it.

            “Case in point, Meerkat and Periscope.”

            No…geeky early adopters try stuff like that.

          • rolandestrada

            Really? That’s your answer? Nyah Nyah, “go build it yourself”? Fortunately someone is already making that effort, which you obviously hate.

            How does any portal of any kind gain traction. Zillow and Trulia and the rest didn’t start with huge followings.

            There are plenty of early geeky first adopter service that take off. Twitter and Facebook jus to name a few. They are EVERYWHERE!

            Your arguments aren’t logical. You’re rationalizing. Do you know why rationalizations are more important than sex? Have you ever tried going a week without a rationalization.

          • Roland, I understand where you are coming from and I understand where Drew is coming from.

            I have enjoyed the Geek Estate Blog as both a reader and when something irritates me I post. I have always enjoyed Drew’s insight and tell it like it is style.

            You can better understand Drew’s point of view by knowing more about his background. Drew, this is all good public information, so I assume I am not sharing anything that has not been read by thousands of people already.

            https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=drew%20meyers%20zillow

          • Yes, I have a zillow bias because I have friends there. But I’m not a shareholder. I have zero financial interest in broker public portal working or not working. I’m not a fan of it because I don’t buy in to the strategy or that anyone involved with that project has the product chops to build a great consumer offering that will get used.

          • Drew, while I agree with you that it is a hard project to take on, and beating Zillow and Redfin is not going to be easy, I am not sure one could say no one there has the product chops. It is so early, they probably don’t even know who will be guiding the design process.

            I believe I offer a lot of things that Zillow and Trulia do not offer, and I am just a one man show, so perhaps it only takes a few key people guiding them in the right direction to come out with something really nice.

          • “It is so early, they probably don’t even know who will be guiding the design process….perhaps it only takes a few key people guiding them in the right direction to come out with something really nice.”

            I’m not sure why anyone would invest in it without knowing who those core people are. That’s what will fundamentally make or break this initiative, or any consumer facing initiative for that matter. Without an amazing product, it’s doesn’t stand a chance to draw traffic away from the portals. It seems pretty proven that accurate listings by itself are not enough. There are thousands of agent/broker sites that have accurate listings. Why haven’t any of them gotten big? Realtor.com has them, and is a distant distant third. From my perspective, consumers have voted with their feet. They don’t care enough to go use some other tool that simply has better, more accurate listings.

          • All good points.

            I think the only way the BPP has a chance is to pull a Murdoch on Zillow. Another words, cut off all their feeds from all MLS groups.

            I know Zillow has a plan B where agents enter the information manually, but that is going to get old fast, many won’t enter it or keep it updated. Zillow thrives on big data, and relying on agents to keep their database current is not a good solution, should that day ever come.

          • rolandestrada

            I get it. I know Drew has a Zillow background and it would be unrealistic for him not to defend a past employer. But life doesn’t revolve around Zillow. There is always room for change. To that end, most companies don’t remain dominant in their sector forever. Not even Zillow. Zillow isn’t just real estate. It’s tech. One thing is for certain in the tech industry over the last 40 years. Companies move up, down, laterally or out.

            If I get worked up about tech and real estate, that’s because I’m passionate about both. There are two categories in my Feedly. Well thee actually – real estate, tech and Apple. And I probably just ticked some people off just mentioning Apple. I’m even learning to code.

            We’ll see how the BPP pans out. There’s noting bad about a little competition. If BPP is crappy, I’ll the raising my hand to complain about it for sure.

          • Good question. The answer it will have to as good or better than Redfin, otherwise your point is well taken, why not just use Redfin. I don’t have any of the details on how this portal will be better, but as you know there is always a way to improve everything, especially in technology.

          • I think UI is critical, but your other post talking about the actual Active listings is even more important. You could have a fantastic UI, but if you are showing old listings, or missing new listings, the site is not very good no matter how good it looks.

          • “In the meantime the real estate industry awaits the day when it can hoist you on it’s shoulders for your winning strategy for a national agent centric portal.

            We’ll be waiting. Tic toc, tic toc…”

            I’m not sure why you think I care that much. I’m not going to go build a solution to this long term. The industry can spend their time and money on whatever strategies they think will work. I’m just offering my opinion based on my own personal experiences as to what I think would & would not work.

          • rolandestrada

            LOL. Oh yeah, who would ever want timely and better listing quality. Nobody!! Well maybe just buyers and sellers.

            Okay. Since we are all wrong, why don’t you enlighten us with a brief explanation of your strategy. Don’t worry. We won’t steel your idea.

          • Drew, I agree with Roland on this. I think this strategy is forward thinking.

            The portals are not a run away success right now, far from it. They are struggling to figure out how to make money and hoping that the combining of two money losing portals will create one profitable portal. I am not saying they can’t do it, but at this time they have not found a formula to be profitable, which at some point they need to be.

            They are also trying there best to get direct MLS feeds, getting some, not getting some. The feeds they get are limited. I found out our MLS is limiting what they get, so for example, they do not get all the listing status options that I get, which I am happy about.

            I think the idea of Realtors taking back their listings and controlling them better is forward thinking. While Zillow certainly showed everyone what can be done with a good website, it does not mean Zillow forever.

            There have been a number of very successful companies that are no more such as Novell, Word Perfect, Lotus 1-2-3, Netscape, etc.

            They were in a much stronger position than Zillow is in today, yet those companies are just part of history now.

          • Yes, HAR is first. Zillow 2nd. If HAR stops feeding Zillow and they no longer have the 8,271 Homes For Sale there, they would not be shown in the search results and they would irrelevant for the HAR area.

          • That’s not how seo works actually. Zillow would still rank even without as many listings as they have.

          • I think it would depend on the bounce rate. If they do not have a direct feed and a lot of listings are missing I assume their bounce rate would go up considerably. Google is watching that bounce rate and will not keep them in 2nd position if their bounce rate goes up too high.

            There are a lot of other factors besides the bounce rate, but Google does a pretty good job of having very popular and relevant websites on the first page.

            If Zillow for the HAR area becomes less popular and less relevant I believe they would lose that position.

            Interestingly, in my market “Oahu Real Estate”, my website, Realtor.com, and some others out rank Zillow.

  • rolandestrada

    The battle is engaged. Join the effort to make the Broker Public Portal a reality. Engage on the Facebook page go the BPP site and comment.

    https://www.facebook.com/BrokerPublicPortal

    http://www.brokerpublicportal.com

    • Thanks for posting the links. I wonder what the big advantages over the HAR website will be? Did you source mention anything about pulling the MLS direct feed from the portals if the BPP becomes a reality?

  • rolandestrada

    I spoke with a well place source that is attending the Broker Public Portal meeting in Dallas next week. As it was explained to me, the goal is indeed to create a public facing MLS portal fashioned after the HAR model. That model being – it is your listing and your lead. It’s a long road from initiative to reality but well worth the trip. I made some suggestions to my source to bring up at the meeting and got some positive feedback.

    • Cool, please let us know if you get any additional insights after your source comes back.

  • sandiegoron

    Posted on the Sandicor login:
    Sandicor/Zillow Syndication Update
    As you may know, the relationship between Zillow and ListHub ends on Tuesday April 7th. If your listings are going to Zillow by some means other than ListHub, this does not affect you. However, if you have been using ListHub, your listings will no longer be going to Zillow on the 7th. Sandicor has been in the process of implementing a replacement syndication system and negotiating an agreement with Zillow that would offer substantial benefits and protections for you and your listings along with protections for Sandicor, in the event you elected to send your listings to Zillow. While our syndication system is being put into production, our negotiations with Zillow have not resulted with an acceptable agreement between us.

    Please know that the terms of the agreement were developed by a fifteen member Broker Group, representing a wide variety of brokers, from a 2 person office to our largest brokerages. All were unanimous in the terms developed, which included protections for the listing data, brokers / agents and Sandicor. The terms are very similar to other licensing agreements we have with IDX vendors and other vendors. Unfortunately Zillow was not agreeable to those terms and appeared to be unwilling to consider much beyond their terms. We revised the agreement such that we felt we addressed some of Zillow’s issues, at which point we were told they didn’t have the legal resources available to discuss it any further. We then tried to negotiate an interim agreement, which also was not successful. While Zillow does not have the resources to negotiate with us at this time, we have not given up and will endeavor to work on an agreement that is acceptable to all parties.

    Zillow has provided a list of ways an agent can post a listing on Zillow. They are:
    1) http://www.postlets.com – Here is a help link http://help.postlets.com/hc/en-us
    2) Manually add to Zillow- Here is link on how to https://zillow.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/203657230-How-do-I-post-a-home-for-sale-directly-through-Zillow

    We will continue to keep you updated as we work further on an agreement.
    Thank you Sandicor! It’s ok to display MY listing on ABCREALESTATEAGENT.COM’s website, but we don’t want it to go to Zillow?? I thought OPT-OUT meant as the listing agent, we could decide whether or not to allow our listing to be displayed on other websites. What, I don’t have the capability to decide what decisions are in the best interest of my clients and my business. Like it or not, every listing office/agent had the option as to the syndication of the listing, this fifteen member Broker Group by their vote, has made it harder for the real estate agents of San Diego from acting in their clients best interest. I guess I’ll have to go back to running ads in the Pennysaver and Union-Tribune.

  • Robert Holtson

    Its worse then that. Agents pay to get their ads on someone else’s listing. The poor consumer calls that agent, thinking they’re the listing agent for the property. That agent theoretically can direct the buyer to their own listing . Its coming to a head and eventually a seller is going to figure out someone he doesn’t have a contract with is using their property to possibly sell someone else’s listing.

    • How’s that any different than IDX?

      • I don’t know of any IDX sites that list agents ads on the listings.

        On an IDX site the only contact information is that of the site owner.

        They do force you to put the name of the company who owns the listing, but no agent info, no contact info, just the company name.

        • “I don’t know of any IDX sites that list agents ads on the listings.”

          YOUR ad (the website owner who is always an agent/broker) is on every single listing.

          • Good point. I should of used the word “other”, as in no IDX sites list other agent’s ads.

            Anyway, this post was over 1 year ago, but I still feel a vote should have taken place. I believe the vote would come out not to automatically give Zillow all our listings.

  • Meg

    I am with you on this Bryn. My listings are being funneled to other agents even when I am shown as the listing agent at the top and it says, “CONTACT AGENT, My name (a change field if I want to contact a different agent) and my phone number. I used it twice tonight when a seller called me and said there was something wrong with the Zillow version of his listing. He was right – they are using our inventory and hard work to sell this information to other agents. They are using extremely ‘deceptive tactics’ with both the public and the real estate community. I wish there were an office in my area that would refuse the feed to Zillow. It is the single stupidest thing we have allowed as an industry.

    • You seem to forget that the entire premise of IDX is to enable the exact same thing Zillow is doing. Virtually every broker/agent puts every listing on their own website, with the explicit goal of having buyers contact them and NOT the listing agent.

      How is Zillow not okay, and IDX is?

      Isn’t the goal to sell the listing? If so, who cares where/how the buyer finds the property?

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