MLSListings feeding listings to Zillow

MLS CEO: Program offers brokers industry standards plus 'broadest marketing ability possible'

MLSListings Inc., a Northern California multiple listing service with 16,000 subscribers, is feeding listings directly to Zillow.

The MLS has become the latest to join the Zillow Partnership Platform, which offers enhanced branding to MLSs in exchange for direct listing feeds that let the portal update its listings as often as every 15 minutes.

Binary data image via Shutterstock.
Binary data image via Shutterstock.

MLSListings, which serves Monterey, San Benito, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties, is not providing a blanket feed to Zillow, Jim Harrison, MLSListings president and CEO, told Inman News. Member brokers have to opt in to send their listings to Zillow as they do to other portals the MLS provides a feed to, including other large third-party portals such as Trulia and Homes.com, he said.

Realtor.com and MLSListings’ consumer-facing site, MLSListings.com, are the only sites to receive the MLS’s listings on an opt-out basis, meaning that those sites receive a complete feed from the MLSListings database by default. Brokers have to specifically opt out of sending their listings to those sites.

MLSListings had been in discussions with Zillow for about three years about a direct feed, but talks had stalled until former realtor.com president and Move Inc. chief strategy officer Errol Samuelson and former Move executive vice president of industry development Curt Beardsley joined Zillow in March to lead the portal’s industry relations efforts, Harrison said. The deal for a direct feed began moving forward soon after they arrived on the scene at Zillow, he said.

Zillow’s also making it easy for MLSListings’ members to show up as the listing agent next to their listings on Zillow, Harrison said. The new opt-in feed will automatically populate the MLS’s listings on Zillow with the listing agent’s name, photo and contact info, he said.

Harrison declined to provide specifics on the data-licensing contract with Zillow.

He said joining Zillow’s partnership program gives MLSListings’ members the “best of both worlds; immediacy and industry standards of the MLS coupled with the broadest marketing ability possible with Zillow.”

“Having our listings displayed on Zillow is in the best interest of our subscribers, homebuyers, sellers and renters,” Harrison said in a statement.

Though MLSListings is building a “Coming Soon” listing field in its database, Harrison said the MLS will not be feeding those listings to the new “Coming Soon” feature Zillow rolled out on June 11. The feature allows brokers and MLSs who provide Zillow a direct feed and agents who pay to advertise on the portal to premarket their listings on the site.

Some MLS execs and industry players see the new feature from Zillow as a challenge to the MLS, undermining its role as the industry’s de facto listing storehouse by capturing listings upstream of the MLS.

The partnership will ensure that MLSListings’ listings are frequently refreshed across the Yahoo-Zillow Real Estate Network, which in addition to Zillow and Yahoo, includes Zillow’s mobile apps, AOL Real Estate and HGTV’s FrontDoor.

As part of the partnership, real estate agents who subscribe to MLSListings will appear prominently on the property detail pages of their listings, will receive leads directly from Zillow and have access to traffic statistics. Brokers, meanwhile, will receive attribution, branding and a link back to their website on listing pages.

Listing portals prefer to obtain listings directly from brokers and MLSs because direct feeds allow portals to update listings more frequently than they can if they receive listings through syndication platforms like Point2 or ListHub.

Zillow has relied on ListHub for about half of its listings, according to a March declaration by Rachel Glaser, the chief financial officer of ListHub parent company Move Inc.

But the listing portal has been cultivating other sources. The number of members of Zillow Pro for Brokers, the Zillow Partnership Platform equivalent for brokers, increased to more than 1,000 in May from 200 last fall.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated.


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