syndication

The Future of Listing Syndication is Now

We have all heard stories and read the various articles regarding listing syndication – both good and bad.  After hearing those stories it’s easy to see how brokers can sometimes be left wondering what listing data gets displayed and by whom, how it is being displayed, and what they get in return for sending that all important listing data to public websites.

Make no mistake; the “Big 3” of REALTOR.com, Zillow.com, and Trulia.com are fighting for the hearts and minds of consumers, brokers, and/or agents everywhere.  So, it makes sense to require these and other public websites to adhere to display standards of how data should be displayed that is most advantageous to the broker’s business.  The brokers do own the data, after all.  Sounds simple, right?

It’s not.

All public real estate websites have to make money, we all understand that.  It’s not a bad thing.  However, should a broker be providing what is basically the source of a public portal’s revenue (the listing data) for free just so the portal can make a profit and throw a lead their way every so often?  RealTracs does not think so, and it’s a safe bet that most brokers don’t either.

This was the catalyst for changes made in September 2014 of how data was sent to public portals, whether it was received directly from the MLS as is the case of REALTOR.com, or via a syndication company such as Zillow from ListHub .  This is the reason photos were reduced from twenty to four.  This was the reason we added a data field to redirect an online shopper to the brokerage website.

This was the reason RealTracs took action.

The concept is simple.  Require public portals (e.g. REALTOR.com, Zillow, and Trulia), and the syndication companies that send those portals listing data on the broker’s behalf (ListHub et al.), to display only the information needed to give the consumer a good experience on the public website, while “leaving some meat on the bone”.  In other words, don’t display all of the data on a public website.  Display enough so the consumer will want to visit the broker’s website for more information.  Remember, your potential client should come to the local professional, not to the highest ZIP code bidder.

This redirect to the broker website is made possible by redirect URLs, or links, that are now a part of all public website data feeds.  If RealTracs has been provided the information from the broker or the broker’s website adviser, then the link is in the data feed.  If RealTracs has not been sent the information, or if the broker does not have an active website, the listing will link back to the details page of that particular listing on RealTracs.com.  To date, almost 80% of listings have a redirect URL attached to them.

To see an example from Homefinder.com of what a quality online listing with ample information and a broker redirect URL looks like, click the image below.

2014-12-09_1554

As is evident in the above mentioned screenshot, the experience for the consumer is neither diminished nor degraded.  It’s concise and directed to the listing brokerage. This is a step in the direction of brokers maintaining control of their own intellectual property, without being forced to hand over the keys to the castle.  It’s about giving the power back to the brokers.  It’s about brokers not being charged for leads to their own listings.

It’s way overdue.

It’s why the future of listing syndication is now.

ZILLOW TERMINATES REALTRACS DATA FEED

RealTracs Solutions® received notification on September 16, 2014 from a Zillow representative that its soon to be modified data feed will not be accepted, effective September 23, 2014.

The representative stated that Zillow would reject any feed that did not have complete data; however, it was indicated they would be willing to negotiate a contract for a direct data feed that “addresses” RealTracs’ concerns and the brokers’ needs – with “some stipulations”.

There were no details or guarantees on what that meant or what the requirements would be.

Zillow’s decision will terminate the incoming data feed originating from RealTracs through Point2 Agent, Threewide (ListHub), and potentially other syndication companies with an aggregation contract with RealTracs.

The announcement by Zillow will not affect RealTracs’ decision to move forward with the modification of the data feed for public portals, which goes in to effect September 22, 2014.

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Please note: RealTracs Participants with questions regarding Zillow’s decision to reject the RealTracs feed should contact the company directly to express their concerns. Zillow’s customer service is available by calling 1-206-470-7000, Option 5, or via an online feedback form found at http://www.zillow.com/myzillow/EmailCustomerService.htm.

REALTRACS SOLUTIONS® MODIFIES PUBLIC PORTAL DATA FEEDS

9/12/2014

RealTracs Solutions® and its largest brokerage Participants have agreed to modify the Real Estate Transaction Standard (RETS) metadata distributed to public portals. These changes are based on the following facts:

1. Consumers deserve a closer relationship with Realtors® who provide the work product powering public portals;
2. Brokerage websites can provide a more personal experience for consumers;
3. Brokerage firms control the listing content and should be allowed to manage advertising in ways advantageous to their companies.

RealTracs Solutions® understands the value of public portals (e.g. Realtor.com, Zillow.com, TheTennessean.com, and the dozens of other public websites not designed and controlled by the brokerage firms). However, RealTracs Solutions® also embraces the fact brokerage firms can present listing content to consumers for the best experience on their websites.

What changes?
Public data feeds will be restricted to 150 characters in the remarks; some detailed data fields are eliminated; there will be a four photo limit; and, most important, public portals will be  required to display a web address to the listing detail on the brokerage firms’ websites.

What doesn’t change?
IDX and VOW feeds to brokerage websites and data feeds to third parties that provide services for agent and brokerage productivity.

These changes will take effect later this month.

In addition, RealTracs Solutions® is in negotiations with syndication giant ListHub to set additional requirements on public portals’ display of copyrighted listing information. Similar to the airlines relationship with public booking sites and the relationship between music purchase sites and consumers, brokerage firms have full control over their listings.

“This is an approach to allow brokerage firms to control their customers’ experience with the company,” said Stuart White, CEO of RealTracs Solutions®. “It is a pro-consumer approach that also meets the needs of our customers, the brokerage firms. Collecting URLs for each company has been a huge project, but we now have redirect URLs for over 75% of
the listings in our database.”

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301 Seven Springs Way
Suite 200
Brentwood, TN 37027
p – 615.385.0777 f – 615.385.7872

MTRMLS, Inc. dba RealTracs Solutions® is a multiple listing service that provides a private, business-to-business network and software applications for real estate agents, brokers, brokerage companies, and various affiliated industries in Middle Tennessee, Southern Kentucky and Northern Alabama. RealTracs Solutions® receives information from its customers
regarding the listing and sale of real property, whereby brokers make offers of cooperation and compensation to other brokers. RealTracs Solutions® also provides extensive distribution of the most accurate listing data to brokerage listing sites and public websites.

Media Contact:
Stuart White, CEO
stuart@realtracs.com