MLS Consumer Facing websites collectively deliver millions of leads and thousands of inquiries for their subscribers every year. In every market that I have evaluated the MLS delivers 2 to 3 times the number of inquiries that any other leading third party site does including Zillow and Trulia. Sadly, most brokers and agents are not aware of this amazing value they receive from their MLSs.
I solidly believe that if MLSs did a better job of communicating the amazing marketing value of these sites, brokers of all sizes would be more supportive of the event. In today’s climate where so many brokers are trying to find alternatives to third party sites, there is an even larger opportunity to promote the value that MLS consumer websites are providing. I have been pleading with MLSs to share the great work they do with their brokers, but I have not seen much positive movement.
Now the Realty Alliance is asking for the same thing I have been suggesting for a long time. Enter the new Fair Display Guidelines. In a nutshell, The Realty Alliance is asking that MLSs provide a consumer-facing website that follows a set of guidelines that allow brokers to control distribution of the leads from their listings and that no broker can secure an advantage over another broker. The guidelines also require that an MLS share results of the listing exposure generated by their site.
Rule 6 of the Guidelines states:
Make Reports available to the broker, if available.
Brokerages will receive or be able to access complete reports on any traceable activities related to their listings.
This language was actually watered down because there are so FEW MLSs that actually provide an outbound report taking credit for the lead activity their site and the MLS and IDX generates for their subscribers.
Since every MLS is struggling to maintain relevance and value for its brokers it makes no sense not to promote the business value that MLS provides. Everyone knows that the MLS is the #1 place to market a home, but the industry has not collected the proof points like third party sites have published. If the MLS aggregated that data, agents could demonstrate that value.
HAR.com, the granddaddy of MLS consumer websites has offered their STAR report to their members for years. Every month the organization sends an email to their brokers and agents promoting the number of leads and listing inquiries their site provides. The report is extremely popular and one of the key drivers of the almost unanimous support HAR.com enjoys in their marketplace. They take credit for delivering hundreds of thousands every year to their members.
Until now there was no easy way for other MLSs to offer a program like the STAR report unless they spent the time and resources to design it themselves.
I just ran across a FREE solution that will now allow ALL MLSs to offer a report just like the STAR report so that they can take credit for the listing exposure they generate as well.
The company is called Listtrac. They offer a FREE method for MLSs to track the listing exposure, leads and inquiries that are generated from their sites. After a simple installation process on your website and your MLS system, Listtrac can provide you with monthly reports that can be distributed to brokers and agents allowing an MLS to take credit for the listing activity they have generated. Some MLSs may go further and invite IDX vendors to include the tracking code too. This would allow brokers and agents to show sellers a more comprehensive online marketing report that would include all MLS marketing channels. This takes the requirement outlined by the Fair Display Guidelines to a whole new level.
Listtrac has recently begun deploying in MLSs including Sandicor, GAMLS and a few others.
As part of your MLSs efforts to strengthen relationships with brokers, definitely take a look at Listtrac. It’s a simple, easy way to take credit for the great work you do with your MLS consumer website!