Listing Publishers Are Not Responsible For Your Bad Data

by Victor Lund on January 5, 2012

Online AccuracyA crazy phone call came my way today from a large third party listing website. It does not matter which one. The person was very concerned that the industry is on a mission to stop brokers and agents from syndicating listings to them. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Marketing listings is a fundamental obligation that the listing firm delivers as a service to the seller. Certainly online advertising is a component of fulfilling that obligation.

WAV Group has been very outspoken about problems with listing syndication.

We have done countless studies that measure the percentages of inaccuracies on publisher websites. To be clear, the inaccuracy is not the fault of the publisher. It is the fault of the advertiser (or listing agent). Garbage in, garbage out.

We have reported on issues related to the Terms of Use of those websites (some of which have been changed in part from our criticisms). There is no reason why a listing broker should give unlimited commercial use and ownership of the data to the publisher when placing an ad. The use should be limited.

There are other improvements that can be made to listing syndication to support brokers in their online publishing but the point of this is that data quality is the broker’s responsibility – not the publisher, not the MLS, not the syndication service.

The broker is the custodian of the listing. They have a contract with the seller to market the property. That entails making an effort to provide the listing information to prospective buyers accurately.

Here is a simple suggestion. When you publish your listing on a third party website, check it for accuracy on a regular basis. If you do not have good automation to insure accuracy – switch syndication providers.

Here is a second hint. It is usually an agent’s use of a non-broker-authorized syndication tool that causes the problems – like hand entered virtual tour data or magazine listing data, or re-syndication. Publishers normally disclose the source of the data, giving the broker the ability to train the agent or terminate the behavior.

With few exceptions, publishers provide agents the ability to correct the listing details right on the listing page – just click the “submit corrections” button and you are done.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: