Trulia Inc. is providing "premium placement" of all listings represented by San Francisco-based Alain Pinel Realtors under the terms of a "strategic partnership," the companies announced today.

With 1,400 agents working out of 32 offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, Alain Pinel was ranked by Real Trends as the sixth-largest U.S. real estate brokerage by dollar volume of transactions handled in 2010.

Premium listings show up on top of search results on with a brokerage’s branding. Trulia claims a branded homebuyer request form that appears next to the premium listings generates three times more leads than are generated by the company’s nonbranded form.

If agents have not "claimed" them, listings on Trulia are often accompanied by "Trulia Pro" lead forms that generate leads for agents who work for competing brokerages. The lead forms appear at the bottom of a listing, and invite site users who want more information about a property to contact up to four agents. Brokers and agents can also purchase dynamic Trulia Local ads, which appear higher up on listing detail pages.  

"There are no competing agents on the lead form for any clients, paying or not, as long as the listings have been claimed by the broker or agent, which can be done for free," said Ginger Wilcox, Trulia’s head of industry marketing. "For Premium Listings customers, additional advertising is pushed down on the page."

A few brokerages that object to such ads and lead forms have said they will stop providing listings to third-party sites like Trulia, Zillow and Other brokers and franchisors are willing to pay so that their listings will stand out on third-party sites.

In February, Pittsburgh-based Howard Hanna Real Estate Services announced it would pay and Zillow to promote its listings on the sites unaccompanied by ads or lead forms for competing brokerages.

Howard Hanna, ranked by Real Trends as the seventh-largest brokerage by dollar volume in 2010, said it would pay a seven-figure sum — between $1 million and $10 million — for special treatment of its listings on both sites.

Last June, the nation’s largest brokerage company, Realogy Corp. subsidiary NRT LLC, announced it had signed agreements to add advertising enhancements to 100,000 property listings on Trulia, Zillow, and Yahoo Real Estate.

Under the terms of an agreement announced in April 2011, Trulia also offers brokers affiliated with Realogy subsidiary Century 21 Real Estate LLC discounts on premium listings. As part of a listing syndication deal announced in March 2011, Re/Max agents and brokers receive "partner benefits" on Trulia Pro and Trulia Local ads.

Wilcox said the company has agreements with "hundreds of brokers and franchisors across the country."

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