There are some proponents for the entire industry ceasing syndication entirely (specifically to Zillow). The thinking is generally “with no listings, Zillow would become irrelevant and lose all their traffic, all that traffic would frequent agent/broker websites, and the result would be cheaper leads/clients”.

So, what would happen if the industry as a whole stopped syndicating listings?

In short, absolutely nothing when it comes to the cost to acquire/reach buyer and seller leads/clients.

If buyers went to Zillow, and realized not all listings were represented – they would turn to…Google. Those with great content/SEO already would benefit more than most initially. But competition, which is already fierce, would increase. A multitude of new paper brokers would pop up and compete using IDX data. Brokers and agents would spend more money on SEO and their own websites to compete against one another (remember, the number of yearly transactions is not increasing). The money agents and brokers now direct toward Zillow for advertising, would instead be directed at the likes of Google and Facebook or other paid traffic acquisition channels. One way or another, agents/brokers would be spending money for leads and clients.

Zillow’s traffic would go down without critical mass of listings, sure — but most definitely would NOT become irrelevant. They are the only place buyers and sellers can get Zestimates, for which demand is proven. Their SEO power would not disappear (a topic previously written about here and here) – meaning they would still be a very formidable SEO competitor even without listings.

And there you go, nothing would actually change from an agent/broker perspective if the entire industry stopped syndicating listings to Zillow.

Agree, or disagree?