Listings portal realtor.com and franchisor Century 21 Real Estate LLC have renewed a national marketing agreement that allows brokerages affiliated with Century 21 to “enhance” their listings at a discounted rate that’s subsidized by Century 21.

The program is designed to promote franchise and broker branding, drive consumer inquiries, and empower Century 21 agents to increase exposure and opportunities for their clients’ properties, the companies said.

Realtor.com and other real estate portals publish listings for free, but offer “enhancements” for an additional charge that are designed to give the listings — and the brokers and agents representing them — greater visibility.

Century 21 has been subsidizing realtor.com listing enhancements for its brokers and agents since 2009. The Realogy franchisor entered into a similar agreement with Zillow in 2010, which it renewed in January.

In April 2011, Century 21 announced advertising partnerships with Trulia and Homes.com. According to an internal communication, by 2011, Century 21 was subsidizing listing enhancements for brokers and agents on a total of five real estate portals: realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, Homes.com and Homefinder.com.

In a January memo to Century 21 brokers, Century 21 Chief Marketing Officer Bev Thorne said that while the agreement with realtor.com was being renegotiated, all of those agreements remained in place, providing discounts of up to 85 percent on listing enhancements.

After the discount, Century 21 brokers pay $1 per listing to enhance listings on Zillow, an 85 percent discount, and $1.13 per listing on Trulia, or 70 percent off, the memo said. Homes.com charges Century 21 brokers $54.95 per month per office to enhance all of their listings, a discount of 72 percent, and Homefinder.com charges them $65 per month, or 67 percent off. The memo did not provide pricing for enhanced realtor.com listings.

Depending on the website, listing enhancements may include higher placement in search results, broker and agent branding, and the additional ability to upload additional photos, virtual tours and videos. Purchasing listing enhancements may also prevent ads or lead forms for other brokers’ agents from appearing next to listings.

Realtor.com’s Showcase Listing Enhancements don’t provide listings with preferential treatment in search results, unless consumers choose to sort listings by “featured tours.” Brokers and agents purchasing Showcase Listing Enhancements can upload their branding and photo to the site, which will appear next to a custom toll-free number on all of their listings. The toll-free number redirects callers to the agent’s phone number, while tracking the details of each call in reports.

Realtor.com allows agents and brokers purchasing Showcase Listing Enhancements to manage property descriptions, upload up to 36 photos, and post open houses, virtual tours and videos with listings.

“We are pleased with the brand exposure and lead volume generated by realtor.com as part of our Showcase Advantage Listing Program,” Thorne said in a statement. “It allows us to promote our high-quality listings content through virtual tours and more refined broker branding. We wanted to renew our partnership with realtor.com because they drive quality leads to Century 21 professionals.”

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