Today MOVE, operators of REALTOR.com and the Listhub listing syndication network, announced that they have created a data sharing solution called the Real Estate Network. Participant in the network include the two largest REALOGY networks of Century 21 and Coldwell Banker along with Realty Executives and RE/MAX.
Under the terms of the agreement, the four participating Franchise Organizations will reciprocate in a listing data share of property listings for public display each other’s franchise websites. New Century 21 CEO, Rick Davidson sent an email to all Century 21 brokerages yesterday ushering in what he calls “the next step in the evolution of our listings distribution strategy.”
The release from MOVE indicates that the Franchise organizations have come to mutual terms on a standard display of listings, details about the standard have been released on the Listhub website (http://www.listhub.net/networkrules.html). MOVE indicated that the rules were “to ensure that broker’ interests will be preserved and facilitate a level playing field by the participants”
Some key take-away’s from the rules, many of which are comparable to IDX and look pretty reasonable:
Listing usage is limited to public website display and mobile display.
Ability to hide display of price and property address.
Ability to use the data to create trends, indexes, and averages.
Ability to co-mingle listings with other data sources (presumably this would mean that REALOGY will continue to display their other brand listings of Sotheby’s, ERA, and Better Homes and Gardens in line with the Real Estate Network Listings).
Listing broker and agent are clearly identified (but links go to the franchise participants website).
Industry participants may be either Franchises or “dues collecting membership organizaitons.” This leaves open the opportunity for groups like Leading RE and The Realty Alliance to participate. For that matter, it would seem like an MLS may participate.
Data may not be redistributed or repurposed.
All participants must agree to share analytics like Search Impressions, Detail Impressions and Lead Counts.
There was not mention of a social media policy with listings, among other things – but that is fodder for another post.
There have been a variety of reactionary responses to this new initiative. Here are the expressions that we have gathered through direct response and social media.
Small Franchise Broker – This is great – it gives me a chance to ride on the coat tails of larger brokers who I compete with without having to pay a premium to Zillow and Trulia.
Mid-Sized Franchise Broker – I pay my franchise fees and marketing fees and get little for it today. This will help. I would rather pay the franchise to help market listings and our brand to consumers than third party companies who only get in the way. This is great news. It is about time that (Franchise Name) finally woke up.
Large Franchise Broker – If I could cancel my franchise agreement, I would. We have no opportunity to make selections over where our listings are syndicated. When are these franchises going to understand that the listing belongs to the broker – not to them? When we load listings into Crest – we have no freedom to choose where they go. The Franchise already earns 6% commission on all sales plus a Franchise marketing fee. They don’t sell real estate, we do! We are considering a strategy to mark all listings in Crest as “Do Not Syndicate.”
MLS Executive – This could be the beginning of the end of the MLS. If the Franchises all share data directly, they don’t need us. There is no magic to managing offers of compensation among brokers.
Large REALTOR Executive Officer – This will open the door to a major shift away from REALTOR Associations if agents and brokers realize that they can manage offers of compensation and data sharing without the support of NAR, State, and local Associations. It will also create the opportunity for wider compensation to Franchises. Smart move, but I am not thrilled about its implications to our membership.
Large Independent Broker – This is unfair competition and I suspect that the department of justice will begin taking a careful look at this. REALTOR.com just lost my business and I plan to suggest that the MLS switch syndication partners away from Listhub.
Medium Sized third party consumer website – The news of this should strike a blow to Zillow and put Trulia’s IPO at risk. As soon as the Franchise organizations understand that it is the listing more than the technology that drives consumers to National websites, they are likely to stop syndicating broadly. It should not impact us at all.
We took a look at stock prices at the closing today to see if the leak of the news had any impact on Zillow or Move. There was no indication of any reaction either way. The markets may react today on the news.
What do you think of the news?
Here is the official press release from MOVE:
LISTHUB LAUNCHES REAL ESTATE NETWORK
Real Estate Brokers Extend Reach to Millions of Consumers Through
Real Estate Franchisor and Broker Network Websites
Campbell, Calif., – (January 11, 2012) – ListHub, the largest syndicator of real estate listings, today announced the launch of the Real Estate Network (REN) to extend the syndication of property listings to highly trafficked websites operated by real estate franchisors and brokerage networks. ListHub’s Real Estate Network will be available at no charge and as a voluntary syndication option for brokers and Multiple Listing Services (MLSs). ListHub is operated by Move, Inc., (NASDAQ:MOVE), the leader in online real estate.
Century 21, Coldwell Banker, Realty Executives International, and RE/MAX are among the first publishers to join the network at launch. Together, these publisher websites attract 4,331,000 million unique visitors