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Agents: Join The Movement To End Real Estate Listing Syndication Abuse

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Published: 15/10/2012
By: larry

Last week Lani Rosales over at AGBeat.com wrote a article describing the effort that the new association National Association of Real Estate Professionals (NAREP) in undertaking to end listing syndication abuse. Here's what NAREP is going to attempt to do:

  1. Provide a Realtor supported association that will provide an alternative to Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com.
  2. Get enough Realtor support and membership (~25% of the listings US wide) to convince listing agents around the US to not allow syndication of their listings to the current syndication sites like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com.

As Lani covers in her article, there are a number of things that that could stop this movement before it goes very far but I like the concept. I think the biggest risk is as Drew Meyers (who used to be on the Zillow team) describes, "they need to show me the money (in the millions) and team that is going to execute on that statement." I agree with drew, it takes a knockout technical team and a lot of money to do what Zillow did - start from zero and completely pass up Realtor.com.

Ever since I got my RE license and started doing real estate full time back in 1999 it has always seemed to me that the NAR was not really representing the best interest of Realtors. The official NAR site (Realtor.com) could have been the model US wide syndication site for all the MLSs that represented the best interests of the NAR members rather than getting greedy and ending up on the list of sites that abuse syndication.

Even though I agree with and support the general concept the NAREP is promoting it is not clear that:

  1. They have the money then need behind the concept. Where will the money come from? Agents? Good luck.
  2. They have a competent technical team on board to deliver what is required.

6 comments on “Agents: Join The Movement To End Real Estate Listing Syndication Abuse”

  1. Great post. I have mega experience with syndication. Realtor.com dropped the ball so badly we now have to protect the homes we list. It is a form of extortion. If you do not cover your listings someone else will get the call. Pay us and you are protected.

    The two ways to deal with this are "A"- Pay up and then some or "B" create a better widget!

    There are several agents and brokers out here who have the answer. I think of myself as one of them.

  2. I think your concerns are valid and Im not so sure that taking from syndicators and moving to another syndicator is a good idea....How bout turn it off and learn how to market yourself? I think we have given the syndicators more power than they actually have. I have multiple websites. I have many of them on page one of Google for several different search terms and key words. I get 3-400 buyer registrations a month for my 10 or so agents and if the syndication was turned off today I wouldn't miss a beat. My competitors think of a website and digital brochure and they dont know what they dont know so they buy leads. I do like the idea of gaining 25% of the market share and turning it off and actually one day I hope to do that with or without NAREP but the key is having the marketshare of listings. That is where killer video, photography and organic visibility come in to play. Too many agents focus is on leads and I say they are bi-product of marketing but not the goal. Sort of like doing people right ends in making money but with a goal of simply making money your destined for failure. It is way past time for the Realtors to stop giving their business away and then buying it back...thats for sure!

  3. There appears to be a growing concern that business models like Trulia and Zillow are not sustainable. Right now, having just raised $75,000,000 and $125,000,000 respectively these two companies can bully their way into dominant positions; but maybe only temporarily . Are they sustainable? With articles like the above about NAREP and reports like that done by Citron Research on Zillow, perhaps the real estate market is beginning to realize that hard-core telephone sales do not create sustainable businesses unless the clients (in this case Realtors) like the service and attain a strong ROI from doing business with them. Very, very few Realtors talk positively about Zillow or Trulia, but seem shamed into using them because they believe they have no alternative. Look for business models that offer guaranteed ROI -- or at least charge no up-front fees or only minor fees to subscribe, but then share revenue based on transactions and mutual financial success.

  4. I just was at a conference here in Bend Oregon where one of the speakers was from Zillow. He explained the reason for listings showing up on Zillow, when they've actually been sold for a year (or whatever the case may be). But they're still advertising false listings. Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com all have their flaws, but I don't know that they're ever going to go away. However, consumers like these sites... unfortunately. We, as Realtors, should have made a stand when these sites first started. I like the idea, and think its about time we fight for change. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out.

  5. I just got back from the Council of Multiple Listing Services (CMLS) conference a couple of weeks ago. Seems like their take was in maintaining better control over who got the data and how it can be used after they get it. This approach may sound complicated and difficult to achieve, but the idea of banning together to "black ball" certain syndicators seems to have shades of anti-trust which makes me nervous.
    There is great value in the data and the REALTOR needs to understand this. Stop giving away the valuable data and leverage it to better serve your client.

  6. Great post Larry and although we are only a part of the industry, it is imperative that we take a leadership role in shaping better solutions. Although currently it is the agent who needs the protection in the eyes of this initiative, we as photographers need to initiate protection for our rights for our images. By getting involved at the ground level, our needs will be recognized in a better light then if we jump in after everything has been developed.

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