Portal behemoth Zillow Group will hold its first-ever multiple listing service conference next month in an effort to reach out to the entities that compile and control the nation’s real estate listing data.
The invite-only event will take place April 15-17 in Last Vegas, just days after Zillow Group subsidiaries Zillow and Trulia lose access to listings from rival-owned listing syndicator ListHub. The impending cutoff has both Zillow and some MLSs scrambling to finalize direct feed agreements.
Zillow Group plans to announce new initiatives related to real estate data at its MLS Forum, said David Charron, president and CEO of Rockville, Maryland-based MLS Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, who was invited to the event. MRIS is on the brink of an agreement to send Zillow a direct listing feed.
Zillow Group “plans to announce several MLS-related initiatives that are intended to compliment [or] augment what MLSs already provide [to members] via third parties or via internal development, and importantly, what MLSs intend to provide in the future and how [Zillow Group] might assist,” Charron told Inman.
Zillow Group declined to comment beyond noting that the event will be open only to its MLS partners. Press will not be allowed.
In an email to MLS executives obtained by Inman, Zillow Group Vice President of MLS Partnerships Curt Beardsley said the MLS Forum will bring together “the nation’s top MLS leaders and Zillow Group executives for robust discussion, learning, networking and a bit of fun.”
Charron said he believes the conference is meant to be a “formal outreach” to the MLS industry.
“The forum is intended to create an open, yet formal communication vehicle with a group of smart industry people that have varying degrees of understanding about what Zillow is and what it is we believe [Zillow] could and should become. I am guessing there will be lots of animated discussion as a result,” he said.
Zillow Group has indicated that it “intends to be a true partner in this industry,” Charron added.
“Given the recent dust-up with ListHub, the amount of visibility [Zillow Group] enjoys with both the professional and the consumer and, importantly, the resources [Zillow Group] has at its disposal, it makes sense for us to learn all we can,” he said.
“Maybe more importantly, as a group the MLS execs can provide important guidance to [Zillow Group].”
The company will cover many of the costs associated with attending the event, including MLS execs’ two-night hotel stay, up to $500 in airfare, and meals.
Zillow is on a quest to prove that it can be the real estate industry’s best online partner, taking aim at its now-chief rival, realtor.com. In October, Zillow held its first national agent conference for more than 1,000 agents who advertise with Zillow, known as “Premier Agents.” The event rivaled the size of national agent-focused conventions held by franchisors such as Re/Max and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.
Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to note that MRIS is on the brink of signing a direct feed agreement with Zillow. A previous version of this story said MRIS had signed an agreement with Zillow.