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SANDICOR Launches a Consumer Site — I Don't Get It

Sandicor is now in the business of competing to be a top 20 consumer real estate website in San Diego. Here’s the email that was sent out yesterday to all SANDICOR members

San Diego’s four Association of REALTORS® and Sandicor are excited to announce the release of a new consumer website! This website is designed to turn the consumer’s focus back to Brokers and Agents and away from third party sites such as Zillow and Trulia that rank among the top 20 websites in the category of San Diego real estate. In addition to the Sandicor MLS site, there will be four additional websites branded to each of the four Shareholder REALTOR® Associations that own Sandicor. The goal is simply to reverse the trend of consumers going out to and staying on third party sites and to drive consumer traffic back to our member’s websites. Recent analysis (click here to view relevant video from Victor Lund) using HitWise (an Experian company) has shown that website traffic from third party sites to broker and agent sites has significantly declined and that consumers are staying on the third party sites for their San Diego real estate information. We want to change this! The four Realtor Associations and Sandicor consumer websites are intended to “unseat” these third party sites as the de facto resources for property searches and property information in San Diego County.

Developed around a powerful and flexible search engine, the websites provide the following benefits for brokers and agents:

–Deliver leads to brokers and agents
–Drive traffic back to brokers and agents and away from third party sites like Trulia and Zillow
–Facilitate a consumer’s search for San Diego County real estate information and properties.
–Provide consumers with unbiased, timely (updated every 10 minutes) and comprehensive data – all of which are valued and preferred by the consumer
–Allow the consumer to find an agent using a name, affiliated office or location
–Permit county-wide Open House searches
–Provide valuable Community Data
–Provide links to helpful information such as Population Statistics, School Systems, and Government Resources
–Offers a variety of reports for both Brokers and Agents on their listings such as the number of views of their listings in a search, the number of times the listing was displayed and emailed and more.
–Lead to a reduction in the fees paid by Brokers for participation in national third party sites.

There is no additional fee to provide this tremendous benefit. Sandicor can leverage the consumer view that the MLS is the trusted source for real estate information provided by and for the real estate professionals in San Diego County. The consumer knows MLS data is unbiased, timely and comprehensive.

Please watch for future emails informing you of what reports will be available to you and how to update your contact information. We look forward to making the sites a success and to help bring the business back to you! Go ahead, click on the link below and take a test drive now!

My Thoughts

My big question is WHY would a consumer use the site Sandicor released? Why would a consumer look at Sandicor’s new consumer site, as opposed to an agent or broker site like or (both of these sites are clients of Virtual Results). On the agent/broker sites? The listings are the same. The community data is better. The search experience is BETTER. That leaves me puzzled why money was spent on this new “consumer” site.

As far as Sandicor’s goal of ranking as a top 20 site in their market? Remember, you need a solid SEO foundation to rank — and this is not a solid SEO foundation if you ask me. For proof — visit the “community info” portion of the site, navigate to ANY community from the drop down in the upper left, and notice that the URL ( and title tag (Community Info) remain the same no matter what community you are viewing. That means that community portion of the site is 1 page in the eyes of Google.

The Zillow’s of the world have absolutely nothing to worry about. Honestly, I struggle to see how MLS’ ever plan to compete with the Zillow’s of the world. They are not in the business of building amazing consumer experiences. Zillow is.

As I commented on Kris Berg’s post, why the industry continues to pay for, and release subpar website solutions like this that will likely never yield any results, I have no idea. My hunch is this site will be scrapped in a year or two and will just serve as a distraction for the MLS in their quest to remain relevant to their members.

But what do I know…

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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  • I think that what you have are some very big ego’s at SANDICOR management team that need’s feeding. I hope this does not happen to us at MLSListings in Northern California 

    • Victor Lund

      MLSListings has had an MLS Consumer facing website for years – 

      • Yes,but it is low keyed and not a “go to site”

        • Victor Lund

          Oddly enough, MLSListings is the 7th rated consumer property search site in the bay area. – the BAREIS consumer website is right behind them. Ranking 16th is the Sacramento MLS consumer website.

          The only bay area websites with more traffic are Zillow, Yahoo,, Trulia, ZipRealty, and Redfin. MLSListings ranks above Movoto (great consumer experience),, AOL, MSN,

          • Victor Lund

            MLSListings has about 500,000 visits a month and more than 4 million page views – not too bad, eh?

  • A bigger questions is WHY would an association decide to compete with its own members?  I’ve been seeing this trend across the country, I’m just thankful it hasn’t hit mine … yet.

  • Great!  Well, I admire the precious time and effort you put into it..
    it was interesting..

  • Victor Lund

    Hey Drew – great to see you last night.

    With all due respect, you are absolutely incorrect. and there are lots of facts and data points that you should be looking before you make an evaluation. is already the 7th highest ranking domain for real estate search in the San Diego area. Zillow is the top site, followed by Yahoo,, Trulia, Redfin and Zip Realty. already ranks higher in consumer traffic than AOL,, Keller Williams, MSN, and others.

    Do you know where and SanDiegoCastles rank in terms of share of voice for San Diego?

    Here is what your clients will quickly learn – is likely to become their #1 referral site within 12 months – ask any broker or agent in Houston, Washington DC, Long Island or other market that has a successful MLS consumer facing website. It works well.

    • I have no clue what market share gellens and sandiegocastles has, but that’s not the point. My point was that those two sites are much better consumer experiences than the sandicor consumer site. That said, on my computer sitting in Laguna Beach at the moment, Sandicor is nowhere to be found in the first 2 pages of Google for “San diego real estate”.

      I think we’ve had this discussion on 1000watt at some point, but I still firmly believe it is a mistake for MLS’ to get into the game of building consumer portals. I know what it takes to build a GREAT website…and to think MLS’ are ever going to do what it takes to WIN — attract the right type of employees, spend the development dollars, do the A/B testing, linkbuilding, etc — seems beyond a stretch to me.

      As with everything a business does, the opportunity cost to taking any course of action needs to be considered as part of the overall cost. Could the money and human resources spent on a consumer portal be better spent doing something else that’s closer to their core competency? I believe so. I guess unless MLS’ feel that a consumer portal is the only way to remain relevant to their members. And if that’s the case? Then it is truly only a matter of time before MLS are irrelevant…because they are not going to win at this game. Great consumer experiences win out over time in every vertical.

      • Durrell

        This is about a new revenue stream not a lead capture platform. Third party sites have made a good living on selling digital ad space. Now the local boards want some of the ad dollars,

    • Mike

      7th highest because we the agent’s set up searches on the client gateway (which is exactly where the upgrade if any from Sandicor needs to be made) and when our clients pop the server they are counting that traffic.

      OUR CLIENTS WILL LEARN?? Pardon me sir but “Our Clients” will become the largest REO agents clients very quickly with this More listings, more leads productWhat is the goal???  I did here Sandicor is going to sell advertising on this, they are going to then reduce the agents $600 yearly donation to Sandicor then? This thing is a disaster, I had no vote as an owner on this, and the client gateway needs a COMPLETE OVERHAUL to make it something attractive and professional to it’s end users.

      • Mike

        Also Victor can you please tell us what Sandicor
        (Owned by the associations therefore by us, the agents) paid you for your
        research as well? That in itself should be information we are entitled to is it
        not? Should we as owners not have been consulted prior to the research being

    • Jason Lopez

      It’s been more than a year and the Sandicor site does nothing to drive leads. They don’t even rank on page 1 for multiple search phrases, and only when using the term “MLS” (what consumer does that?) does the site show up…and not first.

      • Exactly. They aren’t going to put in the necessary work to make it work.

  • Drew, you’ve pretty much covered it.  Tina’s hit it on the head as well.  The creation of a regional MLS site to compete with a national 3rd party will be at the expense (financial and traffic) of the local agent.

    Would this site refer more buyer traffic directly to this listing agent?  Create more dual-agency situations (not good for buyers)?  This seems like a knee-jerk reaction, marketing out of fear without thinking out the full extent of the consequences.  I’m not a fan, and I’d be against any similar idea in Seattle.

  • Whether this is right or wrong?  Cant say.  But this is arguably one of the worst real estate sites I have seen. With all we know about Traffic and Conversion? This site will gain neither.  

    • Victor Lund

      You may be surprised – is pretty much the same search, and they rock. So does 

  • Victor Lund

    Since this topic seems to be interesting, WAV Group just published a ranking of MLS Consumer websites – pretty good source of information

  • I spoke to Victor tonight in person…and he mentioned that CoreLogic gave Sandicor this site for free. That changes the discussion a little bit, but not much.

    So, sandicor didn’t spend any hard dollars on this site (and it certainly shows). What does it say about the Sandicor “brand” if they are willing to just throw up a free site? Is this a good reflection on Sandicor? I think not. Who cares if they get a lot of traffic (from email campaigns supposedly) now…that just plays off the notion that consumers don’t know any better and aren’t ever going to search for a better real estate experience. I may be naive, but I don’t think consumers are idiots. They will eventually figure out that the sandicor site is subpar (at best), and that there are dozens of alternate, better search experiences out there.

    That said, it doesn’t change my opinion. This is not a good strategy for MLS’; it’s not a core competency and I’m pretty sure agents would rather not have the MLS competing with them for traffic. My view is that if you can’t WIN at something, why do it? And sandicor will never beat the Zillow’s of the world in a consumer real estate experience. Nor will they even likely beat the likes of agent and broker sites that invest a little bit of money in a great website.

    Maybe I need to write a blog post about what I think MLS’ should be spending their resources on to help their agents…but that’s not happening tonight.

    • Victor Lund

      Drew – CoreLogic has done user testing on this platform in three major markets: A-B user testing and focus groups. Sandicor did not just “throw up” a website – 

      CoreLogic is one of the largest web services providers in the nation, they offer AgentAchieve, and MLXchange Pro to literally tens of thousands of agents and brokers. Their technology may not appeal to you, but it appeals to many.

      Being overly critical of someone else’s technology without any foundation other than you opinion is not a way to win friends.

      • Victor-
        My thoughts are my personal opinions. Nothing more, nothing less. Some people may not like them, and that’s fine.

        I think you’ll find most agents agree with me…they don’t want their MLS competing with them for traffic. The ones that don’t understand or engage in online marketing may have a different tune — but they aren’t online to give their take.

  • Chris @ Austin Real Estate

    Austin Board of Realtors does this also with It’s irritating to say the least and doesn’t really make much sense at all. If a potential Buyer is interested it gives them the option to contact the listing agent directly. Don’t even get me started on the “Find a Realtor” feature…

  • Thanks for sharing this useful information, i was not aware of it.

  • You are definitely correct in that this was more than likely a waste of money and people will probably continue to utilize the websites that are more user-friendly and effective. Good post. 

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  • Sandicor is now in the business of competing to be a top 20 consumer real estate website in San Diego.

  • This site is more about technical related information..And so i visit more often..

  • Appreciate it. I think be prepared is the best of all the tips you provided. We need to be prepared for everything and only then whatever we do will be successful.

  • Mja99537

    The site has had a soft roll out and hasn’t been yet promoted by Sandicor, and some kinks are being worked out, but it soon will be formally launched with advertising. It is not competing with SDAR members. It’s to cut out the middle man, Zillow and Truilia and the others that sell ZIP code advertising space to buyer’s agents, often at the cost of diluted, wrong or not updated data. This way, the public in San Diego can go directly to the San Diego MLS and search homes for sale and contact the listing agent directly. In fact, Sandicor just approved a new “third party feed” field that will allow the San Diego listing agent to put in their OWN information to allow the buyers at Zillow and Trulia to contact the listing directly. Obviously all part of the bigger picture to control the quality of the data and flow of information for consumers. Yes, buyer’s agents who buy ZIP codes will be mad, but why would you support that business model anyway? I think it’s a brilliant move by Sandicor, completely aheaad of its time and as a listing agent, I like being able to speak to the Zillow and Trulia consumers directly with my new third party feed field. It will say: Call me!

    Sandicor’s consumer site will probably become the #1 referring site in San Diego County. I would almost bet my license on it. Listings, baby, listings. Get them.

  • (Sara from Zillow)  Just to put some hard numbers around what is happening in terms of
    consumer traffic in the San Diego market for December 2011, I pulled the latest
    Comscore Media Metrix numbers (most widely accepted website traffic measurement
    service) – image attached.

    As you can see, there is a is a pretty wide spread between the
    first and fifth most trafficked sites, but will be interesting to watch the
    trends.  In looking at November’s numbers compared to December’s, I know
    that Zillow, For Rent and Sandicor’s numbers actually grew – while the others
    fell rather substantially.  To me, this says that it is important to have
    unique content on your site for consumers, verses just counting on listings to
    drive traffic.  I think this is the point Drew is also making with regards
    to the great community content added to


    Another interesting this to note is how large the general “real
    estate” audience is, according to Comscore.  As you can see, there is
    still a lot of audience unaccounted for, likely going to local agent and
    brokers websites.  So if you are someone who is good about cultivating SEO
    and an online presence, then there are big wins to be had.  If you are
    someone that would rather spend advertising dollars on an existing media
    platform, then this is an option for you too.  You just need to decide how
    you want to spend your resources of time and money. 

  • I absolutely enjoyed reading and hope you keep updating it frequently! I absolutely liked the abstraction you accept aloft here. It is actual accessible and advantageous one.

  • this site is new consumer sites. I have seen first time..

    • I am currently out on maternity leave through the month of April.

      For assistance regarding listings and listing feeds, please contact From there, your email will be routed to the appropiate support person.
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