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Pulling Your Listings: A Boycott or a Movement? Pt. 2

by James McClister

Crye-Leike is only the latest brokerage to pull its listings from major syndication sites, begging the question: Is this the beginning of movement?

Zillow-Trulia-Realtor.com-boycott-crye-lieke

This is Pt. 2 in a two-part series: Pulling Your Listings: A Boycott or a Movement? Pt. 1

What the Websites Have to Say

Disregarding effectiveness for a moment, it’s undeniable that Trulia, Zillow and realtor.com attract millions of unique visitors each month. According to its website, Trulia alone brings in more than 31 million visitors per month.

Following Edina Realty’s very public announcement to leave realtor.com in 2012, the listing service went public in its defense. In an article published on the company’s website, realtor.com President Errol Samuelson wrote that while it respects Edina’s decision to withdraw its listings from its online portal, he believes it was motivated less by a desire to help the customers and more because Edina wants to channel as many customers as possible through their own website.

Christie Wilfley, director of corporate communications for realtor.com, told Houston Agent that while Trulia and Zillow are recognized as competitors, neither boast listings as accurate as realtor.com, which update every 15 minutes.

Both Zillow and Trulia, as well, have publically defended the quality of their listings.

In 2012, Trulia rolled out a series of changes meant to reaffirm its commitment to data integrity, including more obvious designations for listing agents and brokers and no competing ads on featured listings – which have been paid to appear at the top of consumer search results.

Ginger Wilcox, director of industry marketing at Trulia, told Houston Agent that the company is continuously enhancing its platform and offerings to best serve the needs of the company.

“Over the last few years, we’ve made significant enhancements to our data processing framework,” she says. “That has allowed us to process data much more efficiently, and has enabled us to update MLS sourced data in near real-time – every eight minutes.”

Following the video ARG’s President Abbott released denouncing the use of syndication listing services, Zillow Director of Broker Services Sara Bonert commented on Abbott’s claims.

“[Zillow’s] data shows that homes which receive the top 10 percent of page views sell more than a month faster than those in the bottom 10 percent,” she said. “Similarly, these highly viewed listings achieve sale prices closer to their asking price than those with less exposure. Give your listings exposure to lots of buyers, it will sell faster and at a higher price. The data proves it.”

Still, the listing services admit data accuracy has suffered. As realtor.com is the only syndication service that receives its listing information from a direct feed from real estate association’s MLS data, Trulia and Zillow are relegated to manually resolving data discrepancies among a myriad of sources, many sending duplicate listings.

On more than one occasion, spokespersons from Trulia and Zillow have emphasized a need for brokers and MLSs to work together to clean up data and limit inaccuracies. Whether that plea will be answered remains to be seen.

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