The 4 Most Prominent Arguments Against Syndication

by Houston Agent

Online syndication has become a source of considerable debate among agents the past year.

Internet syndication has changed the real estate industry as we know it, but that doesn’t mean that all brokerages want to use it.

Edina Realty, the Twin Cities-based brokerage that famously pulled its listings from Trulia, was in the news again this week, announcing it would also pull its properties from the even more popular Realtor.com. Edina, though, is not the only brokerage to take this step, and we thought we’d look at the four most common arguments against online syndication.

  1.  Control – Some brokerages have stated that by listing on third-party sites, they lose control of their listings, and are unable to effectively track traffic and client interest. Indeed, Bob Peltier, Edina’s CEO, said his brokerage will be re-upping the emphasis on its website to drive traffic.
  2. Listing Costs – Concerns have also been raised that by listing on syndication sites, listing agents are left out of the mix, and will not be properly compensated by sales commissions.
  3. Legality – This one is fairly common, that third-party sites operate without any of the legal and financial obligations to the listings that agents and brokerages must deal with – so, therefore, the data and services they provide are not held to the same standards as those of brokerages.
  4. Unequal Representation – By far the most common argument, though, involves the advertising models of the syndication sites, and how agents from competing brokerages are allegedly placed next to the listings of disgruntled brokerage. This was the primary reason that the GoodLife Team, based in Austin, TX, pulled its listings from Trulia.

Opinions vary wildly on syndication, but Lisa Dempsey, a branch manager in Lake Houston for Prudential Gary Greene Realtors, largely sympathized with the aforementioned brokerages concerns.

Syndication, she explained, often puts brokers in an uncomfortable position – on one hand, you want to market your client’s properties to the best of your abilities, but on the other hand, you also want to protect their best interests. And when client’s listings are placed next to advertisements from agents who may not even service the client’s respective neighborhood, “that’s a conflict,” Dempsey said.

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