Listhub has finally enrolled the Houston Association of REALTORS® in its listings distribution platform by matching the terms of HAR’s unique needs for listing syndication. Historically HAR has entered into direct agreements with major portals. Houston CEO, Bob Hale spoke briefly about the organization’s strategic shift toward Listhub during our discussion at the Council of MLS meetings in Boise, Idaho.
“We track everything so our brokers can maximize their success in online marketing,” said Hale. The Houston Association of REALTORS® pioneered the STAR reports that have long provided their members with detailed reports on listings and leads displayed on HAR.com. What was missing was a federated report that shows how HAR.com stacks up against the leading portals.”
Historically, Listhub has offered its listing syndication services for free to MLSs, in exchange for the opportunity to market “premium” reports to brokers and agents. HAR wanted to acquire customized weekly listing metrics reports for their members. When the system goes live, brokers and agents who have active listings will receive reports that show how well their listings a performing on HAR.com and other sites where brokers choose to publish their listings. HAR is installing the Listhub tracking codes on HAR.com. Brokers and agents may still choose to subscribe to other premium reports.
REALTOR.com President, Errol Samuelson remarked “with our partnership in Houston, Listhub has now eclipsed the aggregation of 90% of listings in the United States, a landmark accomplishment.”
There are a couple of interesting best practices that emerged in this agreement that are worth noting.
In some instances HAR may maintain their practice of contracting directly with a publisher and not rely solely on the agreement between Listhub and the publisher.
REALTOR.com listing views and leads will be included in the HAR Listhub reports.
HAR is not truncating the data feed at this time. Some MLSs like Sandicor have also implemented a Syndication Remarks field into the MLS that allows agents to promote themselves differently for syndication than the remarks intended for IDX.
HAR stopped short of a few opportunities that WAV Group has identified for listing syndication. No MLS has successfully implemented tracking codes into the MLS system. This is a strategy identified by MRED MLS that was attempted with Onboard Informatics but the pilot program was not implemented into full production.
It would also be very interesting for an MLS to require every agent and broker website vendor to install tracking codes. WAV Group believes that the MLS system and the combined traffic on broker and agent websites is far and away higher than listing syndication sites. However, this is an untested hypothesis. WAV Group hopes that an MLS will move in this direction one day to allow the REALTOR® to demonstrate the marketing value of the MLS. Our concern is that sellers may be more likely to pursue FSBO sales and market the property on third party websites if they lack confidence in the power of the MLS and cooperation between brokers. The user metrics and reporting created by this cooperative agreement between ListHub and HAR will deliver the most comprehensive level of timely reporting available to brokers, their agents and clients.