Zillow Group filed for a temporary restraining order today in a bid to keep listings flowing to Trulia from listing syndicator ListHub.
ListHub — which is owned by realtor.com operator Move Inc., a News Corp. subsidiary — announced yesterday that it had terminated its syndication agreement with Trulia, the nation’s second most visited real estate search portal, in the wake of its acquisition by Zillow.
The agreement was originally scheduled to end in June 2016.
ListHub said it will stop supplying listings data that it aggregates from more than 560 multiple listing services to Trulia on Feb. 26.
“Brokers and agents — and the home sellers they represent — deserve the right to market their listings broadly, as they see fit,” said Paul Levine, president of Trulia, in a statement.
“Through this sudden and unilateral decision to cut off the ListHub feed to Trulia, News Corp. is creating an incredible hardship for agents and consumers, and is demonstrating a lack of understanding of our industry.”
Direct listing data feeds, he said, “are best for everyone, and we are committed to helping brokers, agents and MLSs transition to a direct feed to Trulia, but they deserve the opportunity to do so in an orderly way, without disruption to their business.
“A third party should not determine where and how sellers, agents and brokers are allowed to market their listings.”
Move did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Zillow announced in January that it had been unable to come to terms with News Corp. over renewing its syndication agreement with ListHub, and would be seeking to obtain more listings directly from brokers and MLSs before the agreement’s expiration on April 7.
Some real estate professionals are scrambling after hearing of ListHub’s cancellation of its agreement with Trulia.
“Larger companies have feeds. So do most large MLSs. We’re a small company of two offices in a small market. They’ve pretty much left us dangling,” said Stacy Stateham, vice president of marketing and branding at Prescott, Arizona-based BloomTree Realty, in a Facebook group post earlier today.
“We knew we needed to sort out what to do with Zillow, but we had plenty of notice there. Five days warning on Trulia is another matter entirely.
“Whatever you think of syndication in general, our agents and our clients are relying on exposure for their listings where the buyers are. So I have four days as of this morning to find a workaround. Color me less than pleased.”
Leslie Ebersole, an agent with Baird & Warner Real Estate in St. Charles, Illinois, was indignant.
“News Corp. and Move have put a bunch of brokerages in such a difficult spot,” she said on the same Facebook thread.
“If a brokerage has signed a listing agreement with a seller that says the listing will be on Trulia, then that’s an obligation that must be met. I know it’s a requirement for every (relocation) contract I’ve ever had.”
“I suppose this is what is referred to as collateral damage,” she added. “It’s not the end of the world, but especially heading into the spring selling season this is such unpleasant behavior by Move.”
Other real estate pros seemed pleased that Move was stepping up its game.
“News Corp. is competing. It’s a good thing. Everyone knew this was coming yet complain about four days left,” said Miriam Bernstein of New Orleans Property Lady LLC.
“The relo companies won’t hold anyone accountable for things beyond their control and this is … just a temporary blip.”
“We complained when realtor.com didn’t compete. Now we complain that they do,” said Ron Mazier, broker at Mazier Realty.
One alternative for real estate pros wishing to syndicate to Trulia is Zillow-owned syndication platform Postlets, according to Jay Thompson, Zillow director of industry outreach and social media.
“The downside is it means ‘double entry’ of the listing data, once into the MLS and again into Postlets. But it’s free and will get your listings into both Zillow and Trulia (and some others),” he said.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated.
Questions or comments? Email Andrea V. Brambila.