Zillow Drops List Hub, Introduces Accuracy Fix

by Chip Bell

Zillow opts not to renew ListHub contract and implements plan to secure direct feeds to local MLSs.


Creative Commons: Casito, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Archery_target.jpg

Who holds of the gauntlet, Zillow, Trulia or realtor.com? “The Big Three,” they are called, and for good reason – combined, the three listing syndication sites control the overwhelming majority of online real estate traffic. The debate has been particularly prevalent this past year, as Zillow and Trulia entered into a multi-billion dollar acquisition agreement, which will either move forward or face further delay pending the results of a Federal Trade Commission investigation in Feburary, which we reported on in early November.

One of the most popular complaints levied against syndication sites, namely Zillow and Trulia, is the accuracy of their listings. Unlike realtor.com, which boasts direct access to local MLS feeds, Zillow and Trulia funnel their listings data through third part syndicators. On April 7, Zillow’s contract with MLS provider ListHub – owned by Move Inc, operator of realtor.com – expires, and the company has announced that in lieu of resigning it will be introducing a new listing management and reporting platform called Zillow Data Dashboard.

Zillow Chose Its Own Path

Through the online service, Zillow officials claim that users will benefit from more direct MLS feeds, which will allow listings to be published closer to real-time and with far greater ease.

“The Zillow Data Dashboard firmly puts control of listings, and where their listings appear, in the hands of brokers and agents,“ Greg Schwartz, Zillow chief revenue officer, said. “The direct flow of listings from our partners enables us to provide the most accurate and timely listings to the millions of consumers who come to Zillow each month to find homes and connect with agents.”

In light of the announcement, Move Inc. released a statement acknowledging the split, saying the company had tried to reach an agreement with Zillow, but ultimately the syndication site “chose (its) own route for (its) own business model and interests.”

Speculation of the separation began in December when News Corp acquired Move Inc. While Zillow currently lists upwards of 3.5 million properties, Katie Curnutte, a Zillow spokeswoman, told Inman News that if the ListHub contract ended in January, a few hundred thousand of those listings would be disrupted, particularly in rural areas. That’s why Zillow has been lobbying MLS and brokers so hard to get on board with the dashboard service.

Assuming the Zillow-Trulia merger is approved, realtor.com will be the syndication site’s only serious competitor left. With the leg of supreme accuracy in danger of being swept out from underneath realtor.com, Zillow’s dashboard service could pose a major threat to the site’s long-term viability.

What Data Dashboard Brings to the Table

Among the expected benefits of Zillow Data Dashboard are:

  • Single-click publishing of real estate listings directly to Zillow
  • Automatic updates to listings information every 15 minutes
  • Free daily reports to track how listings perform on Zillow in real time
  • Ability to work with existing MLSs systems, including a single sign-on option for the hundreds of MLSs using Clareity Security software and the Clareity Dashboard
  • Streamlined, seven-day-a-week customer service

The new dashboard has been in beta in several parts of the country, where local MLSs are helping Zillow to iron out the wrinkles of the service. Once live in mid-January, access to the Data Dashboard will offered free to any MLS or broker who creates a direct connection powered by the Real Estate Transaction Standards (RETS).

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