Real estate portal Zillow has formalized plans to end free manually entered listings of homes for sale.
After announcing plans earlier this week to begin charging users for individually entered for-sale property information, the company has followed through with notices to existing users this week declaring that all current listings will expire Jan. 13, 2010, unless they are renewed as featured listings at a cost of $9.95 for a 180-day period. Those same fees will apply to new, manually entered listings.
And it’s the same amount Zillow charges landlords and property owners for listings in its newly launched rental search service.
The fees do not apply, though, to listings that come to the site via bulk feeds — which account for about 97 percent of the 4 million listings at the site, company officials have announced. Those bulk feeds come from several sources, including brokerages, multiple listing services, and syndication services by companies such as Postlets and vFlyer, as those listings update automatically.
The main reason for the change was to improve the quality of listings by giving people an incentive to submit accurate listings and keep them up to date, said Zillow Chief Operating Officer Spencer Rascoff.
In some cases, people who entered listings manually have not routinely updated those free listings to reflect price changes or status changes, for example, Rascoff said.
Featured listings are sorted to the top of search results at the site and generate six times more page views than nonfeatured listings, the company announced.
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