Edina Realty discontinues 3rd Party Sites like Trulia and Realtor.com



 Edina Realty has hit their tipping point with third party aggregators and are going to pull their listings from Trulia.com beginning Nov. 30.  They also intend to follow suit soon after with Realtor.com.

This news should send shockwaves throughout the industry.

With advent of the internet and the MLS information being piped throughout the internet, 3rd Party Aggregator sites began to pop up.  3rd Party Aggregators are private companies that compile real estate information then collect leads and sell the leads to Realtors and Brokers.

At first this was welcomed by the industry, as this initially provided additional exposure to the marketplace.  What has transpired over time has become a liability to the clients we serve.  These 3rd Party Aggregators such Trulia, Zillow, and shockingly Realtor.com are not held to the same standard as Licensed Realtors and Brokers.  The information they publish does not always reflect the clients best interests and sometimes contains bad information and has become a liability for Brokers in some cases.  We have seen cases of people’s homes that are not for sale or have been sold are still published on these sites.  We have seen instances where a homeowner falls behind on a payment or two and these Aggregator sites publish their home online being mistaken as for sale.  Being that these sites are not owned or governed by the same rules makes it difficult if not impossible for us to correct the information posted there.

This poses liability, grief, and headaches for the Realtors, Brokers, and Clients they serve.

Edina Realty is leading the industry to pull their information from these 3rd Party Aggregators to protect their clients and their own best interests.

From Edina Realty:

Edina Realty is responding to the changing business models of third party aggregators. Third party aggregators are not brokers and they are not required to abide by the same rules and regulations as a broker. They get listings for free from brokers around the country and then display them online, collecting and distributing leads for a profit. [Ed. Note: an earlier version incorrectly reported that NAR was not affiliated with Realtor.com; it is, through an operating agreement with Move, Inc.]

We’ve since discovered that much of the data and information showcased on aggregatorsites is inaccurate if it comes from non-MLS sources. According to a recent data qualitystudy conducted by Trulia.com and published on Inman.com, 69 percent of errors in online real estate listings information were directly related to third-party syndication ofinformation by non-MLS sources.  This points to the need for more diligence regardingownership of our clients’ data and where we send it – be it directly to an aggregator site orthrough syndication.

“The company reviewed about 1.2 million listings from about 250 data sources during thethird quarter and found about 120,000 inaccuracies in listings information. More than half(51 percent) of those inaccurate listings had errors in price, 41 percent had status errors, and 8 percent had errors in both price and status.”*

*Source: Trulia.com and Realtor.com respectively

Edina Realty will no longer provide a broker feed of our listing inventory to Trulia.comstarting Nov. 30, 2011.   We also intend to discontinue sending our listings toRealtor.com by the end of the year. Third party aggregators are not brokers. They get listings for free from brokers around the country and then display them online, collecting and distributing leads for profit.  We believe it makes the best business sense for our agents and Edina Realty to control our own listings in order to ensure that:

  • · Our agents don’t lose future business opportunities because a non-listing competitor pays to present themselves as the contact for your listing.
  • · Our agents don’t have to pay – directly or indirectly – for leads on their own listings.
  • · Our sellers can be assured that leads on their listing are being handled by an expert –
  • · The quality and accuracy of your listing data is assured.
  • · Potential buyers are provided with fast, knowledgeable responses via the listing agent or our seven-day-a-week customer service department.

 

I think Edina Realty should be applauded for their leadership.

UPDATE  11/18/2011  (thanks for catching the typo!)

EDINA REALTY OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE

CLICK HERE FOR FULL PRESS RELEASE

Enhanced by Zemanta

Download my free property search app

 
 

About

Realtor. Twin Cities Area specializing in New Construction, Development and Investment Properties.

Comments

  1. says

    Craig, Realtor.com accepts feeds for property listings directly from our 933+ MLS partners. In fact, accurate, fresh and comprehensive listing data is so important to us that 80% of our listings are updated every 15 minutes–directly from these MLS partners. That’s 98 times a day. The rest are updated every 1 to 24 hours–also direct from the MLSs. This is unmatched by any real estate website today, and provides a tremendous benefit to consumers and our industry partners.

    • says

      Thank Jill. That is good information. I have not heard of these troubles with Realtor.com like other 3rd party sites, but I was surprised to learn that there is no association with the National Association of Realtors anymore. That realtor.com is in fact a 3rd party site capturing sales leads for profit. I was under the impression realtor.com was helping serve my clients, not selling potential buyers names and numbers to the highest bidder who may have no idea about the home or the area. That doesn’t seem to me like it fits either customers best interests.

      • says

        Thanks for your comments, Craig. Realtor.com’s mission is to connect consumers with real estate professionals so they can increase the number of real estate sales transactions. The program you’re referring to–Realtor.com Connections–can be compared to the use of lockboxes in the offline world, which lets agents work with other agents to show a listing when they’re not available. We think listing agents can benefit from the partnership a buyer agent sourced from this program by reducing response time to capture and retain a fresh inquiry. Everyone would benefit from faster response times and more connections.

        • says

          Hey Craig–one important point to clarify. Realtor.com is the official site of the National Association of Realtors, and is operated by Move, Inc.

  2. G says

    Craig, I am curious why Zillow “made the cut” but Trulia did not? Clareity consulting has an article on this topic (http://www.callclareity.com/SyndicationToRealEstatePortals.pdf) and lists Realtor.com as most-friendly but Trulia as the least-friendly, right alongside Zillow. I am also curious how Edina will respond to local IDX. RMLS-SASI has many inaccuracies, and often no better for consumer experience. For instance, as it stands an IDX office 100 miles away has just as much right to display that listing as one locally, yet when it comes to serving consumer needs an inquiry directed a 100 miles away is really no better than one 1000 miles away.

    What about the other brokerages from the Realty Alliance? Perhaps this is just the start for Edina and pilot for the others. I do not necessarily disagree, but as it stands it seems less to do with tackling an industry problem and more to do with Edina solidifying their online position.

    • says

      Great question. I don’t think Zillow “Made the Cut”. There was nothing informing me about Zillow, I suspect either Zillow gets it’s information in other ways such as “scraping” off the web or something. That is only speculation, I am going to look into that and will post more information when I find out more.
      As far as IDX, that falls into a different category. Their business model is more of a service provider than a “retail” outlet. From my understanding on the IDX is they have to play by the same sets of rules and regulations as the Brokers do and they primarily provide service to the brokers. I have not heard of the errors being involved with IDX, not to say that occasional errors don’t happen.
      As far as Edina solidifying their online position. Absolutely. Isn’t what their clients contracted them to do? It is their duty to capture the potential buyers for their clients properties, not hand out the information “willy nilly”. If I were a client and the broker said, “yes, we give this information to a 3rd party company who then captures potential leads – then we bid with other brokers to buy those leads back” – I would say “you have no business negotiating the best terms on behalf for my largest asset.”

  3. Troy says

    Certainly big news, but hardly worthy of applause. A 10% error rate in the Trulia and Zillow listings may be troubling, but the solution to that is to clean up the listings not screw your client’s out of possible exposure.

    I’m guessing the real motivation for this decision is that ER is unhappy with whatever payments they might be getting from Zillow and Trulia and now they want a bigger payment, but dressing the decision up as a client protection issue. If so, ER is breaching their professional duty to their clients. Edina Realty should decide if they want to be realtors or if they want to get into the info monopolization game. Doing both is a pretty egregious lapse of ethics, imho.

    I wonder if ER will be warning thier customers that their listings aren’t going to appear in the most popular real estate search sites? Sure, ER might have quietly put out this press release, but I’d bet they’re not higlighting their decision on this with potential clients. (Are any creative class-action attorneys looking into this?)

    If I were selling my home, I’d want to get the sales info in front of as many eyeballs as possible and I’d find a realtor that would make sure my listing info is going to appear on Trulia and Zillow. There is probably a pretty good branding opportunity for Edina Realty’s competitors. “Hey, don’t list your house with Edina Realty. They’ll just screw you by limiting the publication of your sales info. Instead, list them with me because I’ll ensure your sales info gets out to as many outlets as possible.” I know if I were selling my home, I certainly wouldn’t want to forgo putting my sales info on Zillow and Trulia over some 10% chance that it may get listed incorrectly.

    • says

      Good point, but the reverse of that argument might be “if you (the broker/agent) give away this information to a 3rd party company, then have to go bid to buy back the leads from other brokers – what business do you have negotiating the best terms on my behalf for my largest asset?” “What good is “eyeballs” when you can’t capture them and sell them my home, but you give that exposure to another agent/broker who goes and sells them someone elses home? ” I don’t think Fiduciary responsibilities to the client include a blimp over their house, TV spot featuring their home during Super Bowl – how is this any different? There is better argument to be made that the Client is losing potential buyers to this form market exposure than gaining.
      You are right, the consumers will make their choice. I will speculate that these sites will not have a web presence in this market when 20%-30% of the information is pulled from their sites. Home buyers will not look at these sites to get “partial” market information, they will go to other Brokers websites such as Edina, Coldwell Banker, Remax and the other brokers in the area that have ALL the market information on their sites, and accurate. Not only will Edina Realty’s website presence improve but so will the competing brokers websites. In My opinion, Edina Realty benefits, the Clients (seller’s) will get better exposure not “more” (quality not quantity), The Home Buyers will get better service, the competing brokers will benefit as well. Hardly a “monopoly”.

  4. Troy says

    I don’t completely track your point in your first paragraph, but I doubt that Zillow or Trulia are going to dissapear even if they lose 20-30% of their listing info. I’ve known the had a lot of faulty listings for months, and I still go to those sites to do my research because they bring search and database functionality that no other realtor-based sites offer.

    • says

      And that is exactly how the market will resolve this… Hopefully Edina Realty and the other brokers add better functionality to their websites. They do have nice functionality, I agree.
      My first paragraph probably wasn’t worded very well. Basically the business model Trulia and Zillow operate on is offering the real estate information collected by the brokers to the consumer, the consumer then decides if it has interest in a property. Trulia and Zillow then “Sell” that prospect back to the real estate industry or brokers to the highest bidder. A poor business model for brokers. So the point I was trying to make is how can a broker that engages in such a poor business transaction be effective in negotiating the highest dollar on your home?

      • Troy says

        Oh, ok I’m following you now. Your point is that a broker that engages in a bad transaction is indicative that he/she is an unsavvy business person and will not get the best deal for the seller.

        Well, you start off with the assumption that it is a poor business model and I’m not so sure it is. If the Trulia/Zillow prospect turns out a buyer, then from the seller’s point of view the Trulia/Zillow transaction was a good one.

        Second, I don’t think sellers are going to put much thought into whether the Trulia/Zillow/Realtor relationship is a good one or not. Lets face it: Much of the way the residential real estate game is played today doesn’t stand up to even a moderate amount of logical analysis. The fact that the industry is run the way it is shows sellers don’t think these sorts of things out or simply don’t care.

        So I wouldn’t get too hopeful that you’ll be able to spin nonparticipation in the Zillow/Trulia model as a positive. I think the best you’re going to be able to hope for is that sellers won’t think about it or won’t care.

        I join you in hoping that ER and the other brokers take some cues from Zillow/Trulia and improve their websites.

    • Sam Ingersoll says

      It’s hard to imagine that there isn’t any alternative to those sites that has the features you want. What city are you in?

      BTW, Sellers and Buyers don’t put much thought into this because most agents and brokers don’t have a clue how to position themselves in contrast to these national aggregators.

      On your home page put, “Our Search has 98% of the Homes in Your Market for Sale.
      Zillow has 76% and bad information about pricing estimates (click here to read their ‘fine print.’ Trulia has 54% of the listings and Craigs List only 4%. Where do you think you can find the perfect home for your family? Here or there?”

      ..or something like it. Choose a variation and see if your lead capture or prospect contact rates don’t skyrocket. :)

      Earning more money in real estate is no different than in any other business. BE BETTER than your competition. PROVE you are better. COMMUNICATE it effectively.

      “better” can be “more listings” “selling faster” “selling in less time” “using transaction management software so you get an email everytime we do one of the steps in our 1001 step marketing program” or pointing out how other agents who use the DOM stat are “deceiving consumers” etc…

      Most agents don’t “show” why or how they are Better than other agents because they are not. But in this case, just most agents’ home search sites (yeah, i’m obsessed and have reviewed 89 providers…and would mention the top 10 except somebody would accuse me of “selling them” or something else stupid…are better for consumers than Trulia or Zillow. Realtor.com has most of the data but sucks for various reasons mentioned above.)

      PS. Realtor.com places Google Adsense ads below their “paid agent ads.” Run an Adsense campaign and target your ads only to specific Realtor.com pages. Buy up a complete 4 ad block and get similar exposure at a much less cost :)

  5. says

    I guess I don’t think of it as spin, I think it is a good business decision. Trulia and Zillow are a form of advertising, which is not cost effective to the broker. If the broker chooses to advertise elsewhere, then the market has shifted. There was a lot of resistance when Edina Realty pulled their advertising from the local newspaper too, but now who looks for their new home in the local newspaper?
    The “leads” or potential buyers for your home coming from these 3rd Party sites were not captured by local professionals but rather just auctioned off to the highest bidder, which is a disservice to the seller.
    Regarding your point on Trulia and Zillow functionality, I would encourage you to write a letter to your favorite local broker (whomever it is) and say “I wan this functionality in my property searches” – whoever responds to that by providing better service is going to benefit the most from this change, and it likely may not be Edina Realty…

  6. G says

    Interesting note about having to buy back the leads. Do you mean that it is common practice for the listing agent or office to actually buy-back the leads so that they can potentially capture the buying side too? It is a good point about fair seller representation, but this is precisely what Edina is doing by bringing the listings back to their brokerage; the inquiries are going back to the listing agent and the seller could make the same argument that their agent may not be in a position to negotiate the best terms (so too might the buyer). In fact, these 3rd party sites represent large buying pools so Edina may find this brings fewer inquiries — taking longer to sell or may not find the best offer. Ultimately, I’m not sure this changes market dynamics too much — the internet is an amazing place that allows buyers from all over to shop around all day long and sellers to maximize their exposure via any number of models. Overall, this might improve Edina’s local SEO rankings, but as Troy mentioned, I think this presents a great opportunity for competitors who can offer more buyers and leads not only on realtor.com, but on their own referral-free national and global portals. Keep us posted Craig :)

    • says

      Nice comment! You must be in a Sales position? That was a nice counter-point. The Dual Agency debate surfaces again… I have yet to run across a Seller who wishes that I do not sell their house for them. A Seller typically hires an Agent as a Sales Person, not as an advertising firm. Dual Agency can get to be a tricky situation, and there have been times that I have stepped out of that role in the best interests of the Client waving the other side of the commission. Most agents that I know are very careful about this.
      Troy did raise a great point. I think if a broker built their website functionality to replace some of Trulia and Zillows features, they would become the area’s leader. I don’t think this is going to come from Edina Realty because of their size it would be difficult for them to take on an innovation like that. I think it will come from a small to mid-size company that is nimble enough to respond to this. In fact, if you and Troy would like to invest into a brokerage with me… :) +Troy, do you have a list of ever feature you would like to see and maybe some other ones that Trulia and Zillow don’t have?
      I will keep my ears open for what I learn about Zillow and let you know.

  7. says

    Craig, thanks for posting this. I hope it gets some good discussion going. Troy brings up excellent points from the consumer perspective and I like what you have to say that the brokers have to get better about providing functionality for the consumer. This will be interesting to see where this goes and if other brokers chime in. I’ve made some comments on my site that I think at the end of the day, the Trulia, Realtor.com model win out but I could be wrong.

    Here’s my post following up your initial story:
    http://johnmurphyreports.com/2011/11/15/has-edina-realty-just-declared-war-on-real-estate-web-site-aggregators-trulia-and-realtor-com/

    • says

      Thanks John. You might be right, I am betting on the content not the packaging. I will say the consumer will follow the information not the packaging. They will utilize the brokers websites to access the content, and probably cuss at Edina Realty while doing so for the foreseeable future… Then I think a broker will get wise an improve the function of their searches to meet consumers demands.

      It will sure be interesting to watch! (watch, I am in the thick of it…)

  8. says

    @Craig — There are a few facts and figures in Edina’s message that we’d like to clear up.

    While Trulia respects Edina’s decision to remove their listings from our site, we don’t believe this decision helps agents working for Edina, sellers who are listing their homes with Edina or buyers searching for homes in the Minnesota, Wisconsin and the North Dakota area. Here are some of the facts:

    • Edina is costing their agents future business opportunities. By removing listings from Trulia, Edina will shut their agents off from millions of potential buyers searching Trulia each month. Edina agents will receive fewer leads from Trulia once their listings are removed.
    • Trulia does not charge listing agents for leads generated by their listings and by default selects the listing agent to receive a copy of those leads, for free. If a listing agent wants to be the only agent displayed on the lead form, all they need to do is create a free account with Trulia.

    More important than how this decision impacts Edina’s agents is how negatively it impacts Edina’s clients. By removing listings from the top three sites – Trulia, Realtor and Zillow – Edina has chosen to dramatically decrease Internet exposure for their sellers. This results in fewer inquiries about Edina’s listings and more days on the market for the seller. In the modern real estate market where most buyers start their home search online, choosing to not reach the largest online audience possible is not the best decision for the sellers that Edina represents. Without this online exposure, sellers may choose to work with other brokerages.

    Lastly, one of Trulia’s top priorities is to provide highly accurate listing information to consumers. In our recent study on listing data quality, we found that 69% of inaccurate data on major sites comes third-party syndicators. While Trulia does receive data from these sources, our algorithms select the highest quality source of listing data to display on our site. When available, we always display higher quality listing data sent directly from MLSs or Brokerages, like Edina, instead of poorer quality data from third party syndicators.

    Although we think that Edina is making the wrong choice by removing their listings from the top real estate sites, we hope they’ll reconsider the benefits they’re losing as part of the decision. Feel free to reach out to us if you have questions.

  9. says

    Good for Edina! Bravo for someone finally taking back their business from third -party disintermediaries.

    The key phrase is: “They get listings for free from brokers around the country and then
    display them online, collecting and distributing leads for a profit.”

    Leadership is hard. It’s great to see someone actually doing it.
    - Matthew Ferrara

    • says

      Thanks Matthew. There was a little debate regarding that and I honestly don’t know the answer to – do these 3rd Party Aggregators get the data for free or do they buy it? I had heard and was under the belief they get it for free, wondering if you might be able to help clarify that.

      • says

        Craig: Different sites have different approaches. My understanding is that REALTOR.COM *used to pay* the broker for their listings, but now does not. The general argument is “we give you exposure in exchange for your data” and since most agents will fall on their own swords for free exposure, the brokers were backed into a corner. Once again, brokers not in charge of their own companies, and third parties putting the squeeze on them. I actually wrote an article back in 2000 called “BROKER BEWARE” when HomeGain first came out warning that this day would come so I’m so excited that Edina has seen through the scheme and is taking control of their assets.

        Likewise, our company was the exclusive deployment company for some of the largest companies in the world for real estate leads management; We saw where MILLIONS of leads were coming from for about 1000 companies in every market. The data consistently showed it was their BRAND sites, followed by their LOCAL COMPANY sites, followed by a MLS-powered site on a local level, and finally, the aggregators. So I’m guessing Edina has data showing that they aren’t really losing anything in terms of “traffic and leads” with this move. But they are GAINING so much – control of their business plan, not paying for leads, not empowering their local competitors who buy-up their leads by buying “zip code protection zones” etc. This move is competitive, it’s in the consumer’s interest because of accuracy, it lets Edina demonstrate the value of it’s exclusive marketing platform to agents, and it differentiates itself from the “well, everyone else does this…” crowd. Let others run their own business strategy – and use aggregators if they want – but I’m with Edina: You’re often best when you’re steering your own ship!

        Congrats again. I’m thrilled to see Edina being a leader in this space.

        • says

          Thanks +Matthew Ferrara. That helps clarify things. Have you seen other brokerages do this? I thought I heard of one that did this in a market place and their market share increased.

        • G says

          Matthew, I agree, for Edina this is more of a competitive move. I do not believe, however, they should mask behind “taking back the industry” – not all brokers can make the same decision as Edina. 3rd party sites will always be relevant since they represent unbiased sources for buyers to gather information and provide a medium for brokerages/sellers. Brokerages and their sites will also always be relevant as they represent brand, truth, quality and expertise. I hate to use the used car analogy with autotrader vs. dealership, however, it actually points out a major difference with real estate which is the fact that the agent does not actually own the asset; the home seller is also part of the selling process and ‘most’ will demand exposure. I’d be curious to know what message Edina is giving their clients. So, to your points, let’s hope they are not using “taking back the industry” and “cost effectiveness” as the reason.

          For interest sake: http://www.google.com/insights/search/#cat=0-29&q=zillow%2Cedina%2Ctrulia&geo=US-MN&cmpt=q, click on growth relative to real estate industry. Edina is also a place, so you have to take this with a grain of salt but it will certainly be interesting to watch. Most major countries have a 3rd party portal as the premier destination for real estate search, except for here in Canada :)

          • says

            We should keep in mind that the world is changing underneath our feet as Search Engines are looking “Local” on a “Global” scale. Sites with relevant “Local” content will be ranked higher on search results vs the Nationally syndicated sites. Organic Search Results. The industry keeps evolving and this is part of the evolution, it will be interesting to see how this shakes out. This probably speaks more to the changes taking place at Google than it does about the real industry…

  10. says

    Bravo! The days of real estate websites taking our listings and using them to profit at the expense of both the consumer and the listing brokerage MUST stop.

  11. says

    We, as realtors, caused this. We were too busy to enter and control our own data so it gave these companies an in to save us time. Too bad the genie is out of the bottle and, in some cases, causing havoc. Interesting too that one of the aggregators, Listhub, is now owned by Move.com. They constantly mess up the data they send out in our market and it does make us look bad, especially when we can’t control it. Plus, want the listing info on third party sites to redirect to your own website? They want you to pay!

  12. Danny Dietl says

    Jill, though realtor.com is the ‘official’ site of NAR it is not controlled by us the way it should be. It’s shameful we don’t have control and have to pay a 3rd party. I disagree with your mission statement. At least add the objective is to step between agents and consumers and pick the pockets of as many agents and for as much money as you can.

  13. says

    Very interesting situation! As a Realtor who is also tired of the innaccuracies of sites like Zillow and Trulia, I’ll be quite curious to see how this plays out.

    There are a lot of arguments to be made for both sides. Clearly these websites get our listings more exposure. However, they’re often displayed with inncorrect information. I don’t like that they sell leads gained by using information about listings I work hard to get. However, they are entitled to make a buck for the service they provide. These sites are truly a “double edged sword” and I’ll be interested to find out whether this decision helps or hurts your brokerage.

  14. says

    Craig, in some ways this will be interesting to see how this plays out in the market. Zillow is now a public company valued at $773 million at today’s close. REALTOR.com is owned by MOVE Inc. and that company is valued at $237 million with today’s close. Edina Realty is owned by Home Services of America, Inc. which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway – i.e. Warren Buffett. In the back of my mind, I can’t help but think there’s a bigger play here potentially?

    BTW, MOVE’s stock got hammered today.
    http://johnmurphyreports.com/2011/11/17/move-inc-s-stock-drops-8-today-social-media-picking-up-on-news-edina-realty-to-drop-realtor-com/

  15. says

    I can’t tell you how proud I am of your decision. It is time for brokers to stand up and say “we’re not going to take it any more.”. I can almost hear a huge round of applause moving across the industry. Thank you and congratulations.

  16. says

    There are inaccuracies in many listings – just look on the MLS. Most of the problems come from bad input from the agents themselves or receptionists entering the listing. Status errors probably get correctly within 15 minutes on realtor.com, and maybe a day on the others. Price errors – give me a break. Someone sees a home on trulia.com for $299,900 and wants to see it, and the agent tells them it was reduced yesterday to $279,900. Does that buyer say “no thanks” and move on?

    And don’t even get me started on square footage errors. Every day an agent inflates a listing by 100+ square feet, who will notice the difference? I’ve been appraising (and measuring) houses for 10 years and it still floors me how many times a porch is included in the finished square footage.

    I can see both sides of the argument, but truly feel that this move will cause more harm to the Edina agents and clients. Even the uber-smart Jay Thompson thinks the same thing: http://goo.gl/nfcKK Looks like my job of competing for listings with Edina Realty agents just got a bit easier.

  17. says

    Great post with excellent conversation!

    I don’t usually chime in however wanted to share what my issue has been with Zillow specifically (Trulia on occasion) and why I have been looking into opting out of having my company’s listing fed to these sites.

    Both Zillow & Trulia pull our listings from the web which is a great tool for our clients to see their properties showcased, however what they don’t do is update them properly or in a timely manner. For instance; I received a call just the other day from a consumer who saw a property I had listed and sold months ago, this consumer found the property on Zillow and was interested in scheduling an appointment! I had to explain to this consumer the property had sold a few months ago at which point the consumer stated I needed to update that!! I apologized and explained I have no control over Zillow and/or how they update the data they pull from brokers.

    When I contacted Zillow I was told that they expect us (me) to claim listings and update them and tried to sell me a package to be listed as ‘my area expert!’ Are you kidding me, I didn’t ask them to take my data and display it? I have now added watch my listings on Zillow (and Trulia) to my morning routine to assure the consumers aren’t seeing incorrect information. Thankfully we don’t have to pay to set up a profile and claim our listings however we have to be diligent about making the necessary changes to keep the listing being fed there up to date or find a way to opt out and hope our clients understand when we explain why their properties are not being promoted on these sites!

    In regards to Realtor.com, They actually pull updated information from our MLS’s once every 24hrs (as I have been told) therefore the information is accurate and updated as the listing in the MLS are updated.

    The only other concern I have in regards to these 3rd party sites who are pulling the data and not updating it is the potential for us as broker’s to be found in violation of our state laws under the “truth in advertising” rules. We are responsible for “painting a true picture” when advertising our properties for sale and when our listing data is not updated property when they either sell, expire, are withdrawn or cancelled and can still be found as active on these sites we aren’t exempt from blame should a consumer complain are we?

    Moral for me; take a few minutes to be sure (until I can opt out in a manner my clients are satisfied with) my property data is correct not only for the consumers using these 3rd party sites but also as ‘risk management’ for my firm.

    • says

      Vickie – We process updates from every feed we recieve every day, some even twice a day. If there is an old listing on on the site, if you scroll to the bottom of that listing detail page you’ll be able to see the source of that listing data. Removing it from that source will remove it from the site within 24 hours. If you are not happy that a particular company is not updating their feeds appropiately, my advice is to stop using them for syndication purposes. For example many virtual tour companies companies syndicate. While you may love their virtual tour service and wish to continue using them for that, it may be wise to stop using their syndication piece, if you know your broker or mls is already syndicating on your behalf.

      • says

        Sara,
        Thank you for your response and clarification. I will look deeper into this as it is very frustrating to have consumers finding inaccurate data with my name attached.

  18. says

    Sara from Zillow here. You have a few questions/comments about Zillow that I’d be happy to address for you.

    - First you asked why Zillow wasn’t included in this press release. That is because Zillow doesn’t have a relationship with Edina Realty. Any Edina Realty listing you see on Zillow was sent to us directly either by the listing Broker or Agent. The source of the listing data is always noted at the bottom of each listing detail page.

    On a broader scope, syndication makes sense for buyers and sellers. 24 million unique users used Zillow last month. This decision by Edina directly conflicts with the wants of many millions of buyers, sellers and agents who serve them. When a broker doesn’t syndicate, it forces their agents to manually distribute listings which lead to more problems with listing accuracy. This decision is a net loss for buyers, sellers, agents and ultimately Edina. Agents with firms who do syndicate will have an advantage in listing presentations over agents who don’t avail themselves of syndication – a free service.

    - For the purpose of clarification… Some of the statements on the advertising business model have been inaccurate. Any listing agent who creates a free account on Zillow will be listed 1st in the agent list (for free) on Zillow and Yahoo! Real Estate, listed as the source of the listing and in a total of 4 positions on the page. We just ask that the listing agent confirm that their email address works (which unfortunately, isn’t always the case) and we hope they respond to the leads we forward them. Any lead that a consumer sends to an agent on Zillow is because they specifically and willingly chose to send it to that particular agent.

    This all comes down to providing choice and balance. Choice to consumers to view real estate information where and how they want to and a balanced approach where real estate agents who want to work internet leads on their listings can do it at no cost. We encourage all participants in the real estate process to measure their decisions against the simple goal of if they are helping consumers to buy or sell a home they love. Syndication effectively helps everyone in our business accomplish this.

  19. says

    As a developer at Canada’s largest 3rd party real estate portal, zoocasa.com, the argument for brokers, and even brands, making better sites, ignores entirely the real cost of creating an excellent user experience on the web. Why would a broker or brand spend millions building a website, when it’s not their core competency? Why has there never been discussions about brands opening a newspaper so they can get their listings showcased for free? Because no one under estimates the expertise and real cost of creating and running a newspaper. As it stands, many third party aggregators offer excellent value for providing a needed service – not unlike the many services we all use day to day. I would assert that third party sites will continue to increase in importance, not decrease, as they will continue to provide the best real estate search experience available, as it is their reason for existence. Brands and brokers will ignore this trend at their own peril.

    When it comes to data quality, as stated by other commentators – that is an issue of high quality data feeds. The more brokers can enable 3rd parties to obtain accurate and timely information from their board, in theory and practice, the issue of data quality goes away. At least data quality issues that do not originate from the trusted source.

    In summary: the consumer and ultimately the agent and broker are best served by high quality sites with high quality data. My assertion is that the cost and expertise to develop those sites are too high for brokers and brands, and third parties are best positioned to provide high value, high quality sites consumers demand.

  20. G says

    Craig, On a completely separate note have you considered advertising on your site given all this new found traffic? ;)

    • says

      Great idea. I am a little overwhelmed. There are a lot of great conversations going on here with a lot of great points to this subject – these comments are really making me think! I still keep thinking about what this will look like in 5 years. Maybe we will go full circle and back to advertising in the local newspapers again except online!

  21. says

    This is quite possibly the biggest news I’ve read in some time. In the event other brokers pull their feeds from third party aggregators–that won’t bode well for their future.

    The only reason that Zillow, Trulia, et al got to where they are now was that the brokers DID not keep up with the (internet) times. In Miami, many agent sites outrank large corporations for important keyword searches.

  22. Philip Charles-Pierre says

    So glad someone finally did this. having been in travel, I know first hand how aggregators can take suppliers (airlines, hotels and car companies), in this case realtor information, and amass large numbers of eyeballs and then charge the suppliers back for access to their own content or eyeballs. What it does is devalue a real estate company’s brand and ‘genericizes’ them.

    From my perspective its ok for brands in real estate, large or small to own and control their own brands, leads and clients. That is why companies like ours at Smarter Agent are important to empowering the industry. Its about providing tools and platforms for brands to own and manage for themselves their clients without having to pay for that pleasure.

    From my perspective its a brave move, but the smart and right long term move.

  23. says

    What annoys me is doing all of the work for the listing and then being told by Trulia that there is a monthly charge if I want the “full advantages” of being on Trulia. What the??? Who is doing who a favor?

    What is Trulia, Zillow or Realtor.com without listings? As far as I’m concerned… they should be paying me for providing content.

    Kudos to Edina Realty. If they were in my neck of the woods, I would seriously take a look at what they have to offer. Automatic Aggregation to 3rd party sites for the actual listing agent is not in that agents best interest if they have a clue of what it’s really all about to begin with. (Providing Free Content to the third party service so they can sell Advertising, selling leads, etc.)

    I don’t know about anybody else but I don’t know too many photographers and writers that work for free.

  24. says

    I’d like to add a comment. Information on homes that are not for sale is a big problem in my opinion. I had an attorney call me to question why I had a home for sale that was not listed. It was showing on Zillow. He had an elderly client calling him very upset. Someone had told her that her house was being sold.out from under her – a scam so to speak. Be had called the other agents that showed up on the page as well. However I was.the only one to return the call.

    I explained that it was not for sale and he was satisfied with the information I provided.

Trackbacks