Zillow lured former realtor.com executive Errol Samuelson away from Move Inc. to do pretty much the same thing it had hired former Arizona Regional MLS CEO Bob Bemis to do: improve industry relations and beef up the quality of listings data on the website by forging more direct partnerships with multiple listing services.
That’s according to Barclays analyst Christopher Merwin, who says that while that strategy has had only “limited success” in the past, Samuelson has “an impressive background of industry credentials that should make it far easier to build bridges with the real estate agent community,” StreetInsider.com reports.
Zillow announced Wednesday that it had hired Samuelson, who became president of realtor.com in 2007 and Move’s chief strategy officer in April 2013, to fill the newly created position, “chief industry development officer.”
“We believe the position was created by Zillow to improve relations with the industry and enhance the data quality on its site through more direct MLS partnerships,” Merwin said in a note to clients. “By improving the accuracy of its data, we believe Zillow will eventually be able to further consolidate audience market share — and ultimately real estate agent marketing budgets — as the need for consumers to find the highest-quality data on competing MLS sites diminishes in time.”
Zillow hired Bemis, who had been an outspoken and influential leader of one of the nation’s largest MLSs, as president of partner relations in February 2012, saying his “deep industry knowledge” would help the company engage with brokerages and MLSs.
That summer, Bemis sent emails to 50 MLSs that were providing listings data to Zillow through Move’s listing distribution platform, ListHub, asking them to consider providing direct feeds to Zillow instead, with the goal of improving the accuracy and timeliness of listings on the portal.
Although Zillow has had success obtaining listings from brokers, during his time with Zillow, Bemis was able to secure only three MLS feeds.
“I was frustrated with the lack of inroads we made in the MLS community,” Bemis said when he parted company with Zillow last year.
In announcing Samuelson’s departure, Move said it had promoted Curt Beardsley to serve as executive vice president of industry development. Beardsley will “continue in his role in leading the company’s long-standing relationship with the National Association of Realtors and the more than 800 multiple listing services” that provide listings data to realtor.com, the company said.