Category : Listing Syndication

Listing Syndication REALTOR Association Buildings REALTOR Buildings

Association Building of the Day – Youngstown Columbiana Association of REALTORS

Not only does each Association of REALTORS have its own distinct building…each has a paid staff, an elected board of directors, officers, and President (and President Elect). Each has a committee structure (Tech Committee, Executive Committee, Board of Directors) and a request for a direct data feed could take easily up to a year top obtain the permissions needed at all levels, and then with data restrictions on the use of the data as the Industry “wakes up.” Additionally, there can be further delays as the volunteer leadership of REALTOR Associations turns over each year.

Direct feeds from all of the MLSs in the country? It is no easy task, and could take more time than most people, even our friends at the major portals, like to admit publicly.

DCP_0132 YoungstonOhio DCP_0130 DCP_0127 DCP_0126

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Listing Syndication Major Real Estate Portals

Data Inferiority Is the Future for Zillow – Why Not Renewing with ListHub/Move may prove costly

Without MLS feeds, Zillow’s data will be inferior in a number of ways, under the current residential real estate sales paradigm, one at which MLS is the hub for listing data and the “First Point of Entry” in local markets.

Also, there are lots of ways to get listing data, some ways more expensive than others. The cheapest way is from MLS. ZT’s success in obtaining direct feeds from MLSs in the past has not been stellar. I did not say that this would put Zillow out of business, just that it is a blow. They will spend more money on data aggregation. Zillow knew about the Point2 acquisition by Listhub, and have always been working on alternative data sources. At this point, the gravy train is over. You have to pay for the data one way or another. This creates an opportunity, If other forces come to fruition, the size of the blow will be minor, or significant.

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Data Licensing Listing Syndication Major Real Estate Portals

No more listings for Zillow. Trulia must be next

Just released – Listhub (MOVE) will not be renewing its data contract with Zillow. This has to be a blow to Zilllow and has been a foregone conclusion since MOVE purchased the syndication asset from Point2 last September. Again, it should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed this saga. I wrote about the possibility last month.

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Listing Syndication Major Real Estate Portals MLS (Multiple Listing Service) Public Portals

Real Estate Syndication Consortium

Back in July, I circulated the seeds of a “position paper” I had in mind, internally, to the leadership at Yardi, and I also circulated it to a few “industry giants.”

I knew that Yardi (then owner of Point2 and the number 2 syndication capability in the Industry) had decided not to dedicate any more resources to the Point2 syndication product. This was about to create a huge hole, and for the right party or parties, an even bigger opportunity.

There were strategic as well as tactical benefits for specific entities that might be willing to step up to the “data distribution” plate, as Yardi was stepping away. Listhub already controlled the biggest network and stood to gain much if it could acquire Point2. Zillow and Trulia seemed to be at greater risk if Point2 were to fall into the hands of Listhub…which then fell into the hands of NEWSCORP.

The September acquisition of Point2 syndication by Listhub (which is owned by MOVE) puts MOVE in a very strong position to regain the number one position it held for so many years. I think we may begin to see some of the results of MOVE’s recent acquisition  of Point2 Syndication when the Zillow and Trulia data contracts with Listhub expire…sooner rather than later. 

What is needed is an Industry syndication alternative. This is the time for disruption, for “taking back the future” by the industry. Conversations and meetings are already taking place. A Public Portal effort with a new syndication effort is a multi billion dollar proposition, and is a possibility if the right entities “join hands.”

I have been saying for a number of years that the value of the MLS data, properly packaged and distributed, should be able to pay the cost of the MLS infrastructure, and a whole lot more, and in a way that is not adversarial, or in conflict with the best interests of the brokerage community, the MLS and association communities, and consumers.

Back to July…here is what I was advocating to a small group: 

Real Estate Syndication Consortium

Create an organization of interested parties who will benefit from more uniformed and structured data resources from MLSs nationwide. This can be done by placing in motion a process whereby MLSs will begin to control their data once again, through the Intellectual Property (data contracts) and Leadership and influence offered by this organization.


Billion dollar enterprises are wrestling and positioning for their share; expectations are that huge commerce will be made in the real estate online marketplace, and all that entails…from advertising, media, and “upstream lookyloos” to the transaction platform and closing, and all of the commerce that may spring from that major event — the purchase or sale of a home. Multiples for companies in this space are unusually high.

There is much at stake, and yet much rides on a major choke point, data acquisition and data rights.

All of the activity pre and post purchase in a lifetime relationship with the consumer in the area of real estate needs is the goal of many portals today, and all of the data that can be derived therefrom.

What all of these companies (save one) lack is reliable long term access to the consistent flow of accurate, dynamic data.

Access to that data is fragmented and of varying degree of accuracy and freshness. What many entities, looking to make commerce in this space all need, the key element, is access to MLS data, which is policed, and made available with varying depth of information, by the different MLSs (Data Providers).


We have moved from Syndication Evolution to Syndication Revolution in the past 6 months, and it is just beginning. The Industry at the broker, MLS, and agent levels are ready to take control of their data, with new, data agreements developed in a way to insure there is a fair exchange of value for the information.

Brokers, MLSs, have learned much since syndication was brought front and center in the Industry in 2008, with the prevailing thought being “Distribution trumps destination.” Data, its value, and the value of the data created by the data, was being considered by few inside the Industry.

 Current State of the Industry:

There are 3 ways for third parties to obtain this data, at varying expense, and benefit (this was written in July, and now Point2 and Listhub are ONE):

  • Listub – Owned by one of the “Big Three” real estate portals, – Growing stronger
    • Point2 – Owned by Yardi – weakening and little resource available to make it better
    • Direct Feeds – The choice of major portals, which would benefit in the long run from a more reliable source of data, not controlled by a major competitor

There is great misunderstanding within the industry around data rights and the licensing of those rights, but that is changing and this creates a disruptive opportunity.

In addition, the value proposition provided by those currently using MLS data (Zillow, Trulia et al, received from Point2 at no cost) is being questioned at all levels of the residential real estate sales industry (the Industry).

There is great dissatisfaction with the portals, and with the MLSs by the brokerage community.

The time is now right to use the strengths of the Industry to anchor its position for the future. Those strengths being the data collected by the army of REALTORS who work for free until a transaction closes, and the organization of MLSs across the US and Canada that makes the real estate marketplace in North America the envy of the world. The Industry can now capitalize on the fruits of this labor, for the benefit of:

  • Practitioners at all levels
  • Associations and MLSs
  • Media
  • Consumer

There is an opportunity for major players currently in this space to achieve a number of their individual goals by working together on the Real Estate Data Syndication Consortium project.*

 Purpose of the Organization:

To achieve mutually beneficial goals and objectives around the accumulation, manipulation and dissemination of real estate listing data provided to the public by MLSs, brokers, and franchises, for the benefit of group members, industry stakeholders, and, ultimately, Consumers.

Examples of Benefits:

  • Alternative to Listhub
  • Rewrite syndication model in the residential real estate industry today

Include data rights in a transparent way, and in a fair exchange of value with portals and those desiring the use of the Industry data.

There should be enough money in the data food chain, behavioral and advertising, that the infrastructure in the industry, currently costing the industry over a billion dollars a year (made up, check real number from Clareity…it is a lot).

What entities have an interest and might participate in this “Movement.”


Expenses – 3 year proposed time to accomplish goals and objectives. With possibilities new opportunities will arise.

Funding could be through a group of investors yet undetermined; the companies mentioned here, and/or others.


  • Organize and fund as necessary
  • Create the Data Contract Standard – Stake in the Sand
  • Negotiate with Data Recipients
  • Consult with MLS and Brokerage community
  • Charge for the data, and/or data handling and delivery to destination sites
  • Timetable


Standard data contracts in place and constructed to allow for the continued evolution of the value of the data created by the real estate Industry with the first major goal to be a new funding mechanism for MLS.

Now is the time to take the next step  to change the monetization model of MLS data from lead generation and sales, to the participation in the value created by the information, and by the information created by the information….

Considering the above, the days of dominance of the current portal superpowers may be numbered.

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Listing Syndication Major Real Estate Portals MLS (Multiple Listing Service)

MLS Data has value

Data concerns – 1998. What we knew then is even more relevant today, and sharing that data will allow interlopers to get upstream…and you will pay a toll down stream.

Why do we now think MLSs should offer their data to Real Estate portals at no cost to the portal?What if MLSs backed off, and let those brokers who desire, to send the data directly to portals?Data Memo - 1998

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Data Licensing Listing Syndication MLS (Multiple Listing Service)

Is Zillow pursuing "Direct MLS Feeds" with great enthusiasm? If not, it is my opinion that it certainly should be…

Someone commented to me on a popular social media platform that Zillow seems in a rush to acquire listing content. It makes sense to me that Zillow would be in an ongoing rush to acquire clean fresh listing content. In fact, when I was in the data aggregation and syndication business a few years back, it was not unusual for Spencer  Rascoff, when I met with him at Industry events, to encourage my efforts to acquire more MLS contracts and more listings, and to do it faster.

While has some 800 plus direct MLS data feeds, Zillow, has few direct feeds, and depends pretty heavily on the data provided by Listhub.

This reliance on Listhub by Zillow increased when Listhub acquired the data contracts from the number two aggregator and provider of MLS listing data, Point2, in early September this year.

When does Zillow’s current contract with its major competitor, Move/ Murdoch…the company which provides a large portion of the oxygen Zillow needs to be healthy (listing content), expire?

And then…what will Rupert and his Team do, to take back the Number One spot, which is the publically stated intention? Will this be hardball or softball?

I thought I had read somewhere that Zillow’s data contract with Listhub expires early next year, and about a year later, Trulia’s content contract expires.

If that is true, and I were managing Zillow’s data acquisition strategy, I would be looking hard for alternative sources of listing content too, and fast. Nothing worse for real estate portals than big “black holes.”

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Listing Syndication Major Real Estate Portals

Paying for Leads with Guaranteed ROI – A Possible Future

There is a way for marketing and media companies and websites to participate in the real estate compensation food chain without participating in the transaction (they don’t need to be in the brokerage business). Their task is to build the trust and confidence of consumers, entice them to “play on the portals (even when consumers are not interested in buying or selling real estate). Portals (media companies) must, by whatever means, control the “upstream” and they will become the owners of the space as the consumer “First Point of Contact.” This is now taking place. It has the potential to alter the biggest time sink in the business, prospecting. Prepare to pay for this convenience. The next step is seeing two distinct brokerage models…those with their own upstream strategy and technology, and those that have to plug into the big players that win the battle for eyeballs. Of course whoever wins, needs your MLS data to day to get to their ultimate goal. At some point watch for them to be able to guarantee ROI on the leads they sell, based on the consumer behavioral data they accumulate. Want a lead with a 99% close probability in 30 days? That will be $3000. Or would you prefer a lead with a 50% probability of close in 60 days for $100? Remember this…Leads with guaranteed ROI.

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Listing Syndication News Uncategorized

Big News – Syndication – What's Next?

To all of our friends…

You will be reading some pretty big news about real estate syndication, first thing Thursday morning.

John and I want to let you know that we are no longer involved with Point2 and that we are leaving Yardi. We completed our last responsibilities on September 1. It is a long story which we will share with you over time.

As you know, Point2 and syndication have been at the center of our lives for seven years, and that chapter has now come to a close. We are proud of what we accomplished while at Point2.

But, as we all know, the one constant is change. John and I are actively searching for our next opportunity and adventure, and we have a few ideas, so stay tuned.

And don’t forget to watch for the news. As always, we are available for any questions as the next phase of syndication begins to play out.

Thanks for your continued support.

Saul and John
“Old Brokers never die, they just get listless.”

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Data Licensing Listing Syndication MLS (Multiple Listing Service) Uncategorized

Toward a Better Consumer Internet Experience

Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman raises some interesting points in today’s article in Inman News as he argues that brokers and the listing search portals need to work together to give real estate consumers a cohesive online experience. Glenn maintains that:

  • The goal for a broker isn’t to get more traffic than a national portal, it’s just to get more traffic than the broker had before.
  • A model of Internet coexistence based on national breadth and local depth will give the consumer the most complete real estate experience, but we need to make a few simple changes through our MLSs to create a balanced Internet ecosystem
  • Brokerage sites, including Redfin, should drive more traffic to listing brokers
  • Brokers should support the portals as a directory, not a destination, for brokers’ listings
  • Portals should advertise listings only while the listings are for sale — But the portals often keep these property details on their sites in perpetuity, without regard for local privacy customs, removing only the attribution to the broker who provided the data.
  • Brokers should ask the MLSs to represent brokers on syndication — Given the asymmetry in negotiating power and expertise between the portals and a local broker, the brokers need the MLSs to negotiate and monitor compliance on our behalf, but more aggressively than the MLSs have in the past.

Speaking to the issue of some portals continuing to use the listing data and property photos even after the property is off the market, please comment on what’s the accepted practice in your marketplace. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that most brokers are unaware the portals take the position that they have the right to use the data and photos in perpetuity. What are your thoughts?

Source: Inman News

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Listing Syndication REALTOR.COM

Save Listhub??? Then get Ready to Save Zillow and Trulia

In reading Curt Beardsley’s letter, and Andrea’s article in Inman, I couldn’t help but take note of the “Internal Project” known as “Save Listhub.”

Save Listhub from who, or what?

Why does Listhub need to be “saved?”

Zillow and Trulia receive a good bit of their listing content from Listhub so if Listhub goes away, how long will it take the major portals to replenish their supply of active listings?

My experience is that securing data contracts from MLSs takes a little time. Zillow knows this as well, based on Bob Bemis’s experience over the last few years.

So what will it take for Listhub to be saved, and what will Zillow and Trulia do to save it?



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