MLS Not Ready for Direct Syndication

by Victor Lund on May 5, 2015

Screen shot 2013-01-31 at 3.29.06 PMIn no small way, the impact of Zillow and Trulia being disconnected from ListHub has caused troubled waters for many MLSs. Although ListHub continues to manage syndication to a wide number of sites, they no longer support two of the top five.

What’s the plan?

MLSs are scrambling in every direction today. The biggest issue has been the data license agreement to Zillow. Everything was neat and tidy when ListHub had one agreement with each portal. Now Zillow is faced with hundreds of MLS agreements all with different terms. According to MLS executives, that is Zillow’s choice. Efforts by legal firms to negotiate on behalf of groups of MLSs have been shunned by the Zillow Group in favor of individual contracts.

Comedic Tragedy: Each Zillow Group agreement is confidential. It begs the question, how can the MLS inform the broker of what is in it?

MLS Technical Issues

The ListHub service has two features. The first is the broker dashboard for syndication preferences. The second is the data distribution server. The broker dashboard is the critical ingredient for direct syndication. It puts brokers in charge of where their data goes through a process known as broker opt-in or broker opt-out.

MLS data distribution servers from most vendors (called RETS servers) do not have a broker dashboard feature. Some MLS system vendors like FBS were quick MLS not readyto add them. Rapattoni launches tomorrow. CoreLogic is planning their launch roll out with customers now. Paragon is in the research and planning stages. Beyond that, I am not sure.

Third Party Services

Technology firms like Onboard Informatics, Real Estate Digital, Bridge Interactive and perhaps others have developed MLS solutions with enhanced features for managing and reporting on listing distribution. These services are typically found in large MLSs with more enterprise data management needs. Most smaller MLSs use the vendor solution or rely on ListHub.

The Need for Communication

A lot is changing everyday. Zillow is out trying to get agreements signed with over 800 MLSs. Most MLSs are not talking to their brokers about their preferences. Most brokers do not know what the readiness state is for the MLS to support direct syndication feeds.

If you are a broker, call every one of your MLSs and figure out what’s going on. If you are an MLS, be sure to ask brokers what their preferences are and get feedback before making decisions. MLSs would do well hold webinars on the topic and survey the brokers.

If you are a broker or an MLS that needs help with the strategy or the communication, call WAV Group.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kevin McQueen May 7, 2015 at 10:31 am

good post Victor. You speak a lot of truth here. Most of this will pass over in a few months. The terms however are long reaching and lasting. Fun times really.

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