Midwest Real Estate Data LLC or MRED is the MLS of the Chicago region of Illinois. They are the MLS Provider to around 40,000 real estate professionals. In a press release today, Trulia announced that MRED will feed listings directly to Trulia, bypassing Listhub, Point2 and other listing syndicators. “Listing syndication has contributed to a mess on Trulia and all other sites who get their data second hand, on behalf of our brokers, MRED is going to fix it” says Russ Bergeron, MRED CEO.
There has been a great deal of discussion in the real estate industry about syndication to publishers. Today, publishers receive listing from multiple data sources. It is not unusual for a listing to be provided to a publisher like Trulia from a broker, an MLS, an agent, a virtual tour provider, an agent website provider, a franchise, a magazine publisher, ad infinitum. This array causes a quagmire of uncertainty about the authority of the listing source, and breeds inaccurate data.
MRED has been on a march to help Trulia clean the data through the Trulia Direct Reference program. According to Trulia, only 10%-13% of the listings in the MRED marketplace (from 3rd party syndicators of non-MLS data) are found to be incorrect on a regular basis. MRED’s goal with this new program is to clean it all, says Bergeron. “We do not believe that brokers (and agents) are going to stop sending data to publishers, and only the MLS can fix the data quality issue.” This may be the first step toward the MLS having more leverage to protect brokers from seemingly nefarious usage of broker data. In an effort to make a difference, Bergeron volunteers as an advisor to Trulia and Realtor.com, and is a participating member of the Council of MLS. Bergeron has been recognized by the industry for his leadership many times.
In a notice sent to MRED brokers, the MLS clarified that this (like all MRED programs) is broker opt-in only. If a broker does not want MRED to help them, they won’t. All brokers who are currently sending data to Trulia today (approximately 72,000 listings) through whatever means will notice the results of this program.
Trulia indicates that this new arrangement will not impact any existing covenants with data providers. As many brokers learned in the past, different feeds have different business rules. A listing that travels from REALOGY to Trulia will not have the famous 4 heads because of the existing business relationship. But if the same REALOGY Franchise broker (or agent) sends the same listing via another source, the 4 heads will appear on the listing unless the broker (or agent) pays to feature the listing or claim the listing. Trulia submits that the reasoning for this is that a large percentage of agents who receive leads do not respond to the consumer. If Trulia knows the agent is engaged (by claiming heir listing for free) they are the only agent shown on their listing. The business rules get very complicated, very quickly. Sorting out the business rules for 300 publisher websites available through some syndication services is unreasonable lifting for most brokerages.
In speaking to Mark Weiss of Trulia, WAV Group learned that MRED Data will not be used to augment other source data. Some brokers truncate the number of data fields in syndication so that the mirror listing on the broker website has more information and results in a better consumer experience. This program will not disturb that broker strategy. Weiss also indicated that Trulia plans to pull listings off the site that are no longer for sale – and will send a notification to the parties.
To further these efforts, MRED has also announced that they are launching 360Insight from Onboard. This program intends to aggregate reporting on every place a listing is viewed. This goal includes tracking visits in the MLS system, publisher sites, agent sites and broker sites. All data flowing out of the MLS will be tracked.
Disclosure: WAV Group has performed consulting work for Onboard, Listhub, MOVE, Realtor.com, Howard Hanna, MRED.
Press Release: LARGEST MLS IN THE COUNTRY, MIDWEST REAL ESTATE DATA, ANNOUNCES DIRECT SYNDICATION TO TRULIA
New Partnership Focuses on Data Accuracy for Consumer
SAN FRANCISCO, February 29, 2012 – Trulia, a leading site for home buyers, sellers, renters and real estate professionals, today announced a strategic partnership with Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED) to directly syndicate more than 100,000 listings to Trulia providing consumers with the most accurate information on homes for sale across Chicago, northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin and northwest Indiana .
Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED) is the largest multiple listing service (MLS) in the country (based on listing volume) serving nearly 8,000 real estate offices and 40,000 real estate professionals. Their listings will now be seen by the more than 20 million* serious home buyers and sellers coming to Trulia each month to get the inside scoop on real estate they can’t find anywhere else.
“The distribution of inaccurate listing data is an industry wide problem. We believe the best way to eliminate data inaccuracies are to directly send the data, as directed by our listing brokers who have opted into Trulia, to where consumers are searching,” said Russ Bergeron, Midwest Real Estate Data CEO. “We chose to partner with Trulia first because of their industry friendly Trulia Data Pledge. We are confident that Trulia is going to protect our data and fairly represent our listings.”
As part of the agreement, Trulia will abide by the guidelines established by the Trulia Data Pledge for listing syndication that was launched in January of this year.
“By proactively syndicating for their membership, MRED will ensure a higher level of data accuracy making it easier for their members to maintain accurate listing information online and ultimately help their members connect with more buyers and sellers to close more transactions,” said Georg Gerstenfeld, Trulia Vice President of Business Services. “We have a very large transactional audience and MRED understands that connecting our audience with the most up to date and accurate information provides their real estate professionals with the best opportunity to close deals.”
*Omniture, January 2011
About Trulia Inc.
Trulia gives home buyers, sellers, owners and renters the inside scoop on properties, places and real estate professionals. We have unique info on the areas people want to live that can’t be found anywhere else: users can learn about agents, neighborhoods, schools, crime and even ask the local community questions. Real estate professionals use Trulia to connect with millions of transaction-ready buyers and sellers each month via our hyper local advertising services, social recommendations and top-rated mobile apps. Trulia is headquartered in downtown San Francisco and is backed by Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital. Trulia and the Trulia logo are registered trademarks of Trulia, Inc.