Lesson Plan For The Future – Listing Information Distribution - Syndication

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 12 November 2019 05:00

Real Estate Listing Portals such as Zillow, REALTOR DOT COM, et al continue to move closer to the transaction (and the commission).

Syndication has been an industry evolution, not an industry revolution. The first serious syndicator of listing data was REALTOR.com, which syndicated to AOL, Alta Vista, Lycos (remember Alta Vista and Lycos?) and a few other sites. Realtor.com was “syndicating” listings in the 1990s. No one referred to Realtor.com’s distribution of MLS data as syndication at the time, but today, that is exactly what we would call it.

Today, the concept and the benefits of having the ability to distribute your listing data through a single point of entry should be well understood. But is the following still true?

"Distribution Trumps Destination," which was the best way to explain the value of listing distribution to public portals 10 years ago.

The questions for MLSs, associations, brokers and agents to ask now are:

1. To what entities should I allow my listings to be distributed?

2. What is the real value proposition offered by destination sites? Is the “exposure” promised by the portals all that they claim it to be, or is it more hype, made impressive because it is reported in large, aggregate numbers?

3. How and what does each portal do to de-duplicate when it receives the same listing data from multiple sources? What are a portals determining factors in deciding which source is its authoritative source?

4. What, if anything, are the portals doing to reduce the chances of non-featured listings, those where the listing agent pays nothing to the web portal, from being found on their sites by interested consumers?

5. How are the search results manipulated by the portals?

6. Is it in my best interest, the best interest of my customers, and in the best interest of the industry to allow these sites to use my listing data to make commerce for themselves, perhaps at my present and future expense?

7. What are some of the unintended consequences of listing data being freely available to destination sites under current terms and conditions of those sites?

8. What are the destination sites doing with the data that they should not be doing?

Of course the answers will depend on who you ask. There are many stakeholders in this game, more than just those consumers interested in buying or selling real estate in the next few months. It is an entire eco system, where lots of different players have a lot of different motivations.

Points of significance and topics for further discussion are:

1. Diversion of leads away from the listing agent, a practice used by most portals in one way or another.

2. What, if any derivative rights and works should be licensed to portals and others, and maybe, at what price?

As the industry wakes up to the value of listing data, and the value of the data created by the consumer while searching for the listing and property data, the discussion of data licensing and potential monetization of listing data will begin to take center stage. The value proposition offered by portal sites must be re-examined and re-evaluated. Why should the destination sites be the only ones to reap the benefits of the hard work of the army of REALTORS who toil in the marketplace every day to obtain the listings?

Read 2810 times Last modified on Friday, 08 November 2019 12:40
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Saul Klein

In 1948, doctors told my father that his life aboard submarines on war patrol in the South Pacific and the depth charging he experienced had rendered him sterile. Although controversial and not widely applied, he was treated with an Ayurvedic therapy called “shivambu.” If you are unfamiliar with this term, I recommend you Google it because against all odds, I came to exist.

That was a loony segue into my life but is a fitting precursor to a career that would be just as incredible.

Like my father, I joined the Navy. However, due to a medical inconvenience, I was honorably discharged after 6 years of commissioned service, all on Sea Duty. This was an opportune misfortune that led me down the path to a successful career in real estate. Both my father and grandfather flirted in real estate brokering and flipping part-time, and I followed suit but making a lifelong career out of it.

With over 40 years in real estate, it is impossible to talk about my experiences in this small window. But I can proudly say that I am well-recognized as an industry pioneer, especially in real estate syndication and education, and one of the few luminaries that paved the way for real estate’s transition to the online world.

Some highlights of my life’s work:
● Co-created ePRO, technology certification course that certified 70,000 students
● Created the first online communities for real estate professionals to network, learn, and sell
● Created "Opt Out" Listing Syndication, aggregating over 1.4 Million Listings in 18 months
● Built the #2 National Listing Syndication Service, Point2 Technologies, sold to Yardi in 2010
● Founder of the California Association of Buyer’s Agents
● Member of the first REALTOR.com Team, pre-IPO, responsible for obtaining first 500,000 listings
● Helped Zillow and Trulia build up their MLS data inventory

Today I continue to lead efforts that bring new technologies to the real estate industry. Feel free to reach out and learn more.

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