Now that it has agreements to receive listings directly from more than 100 multiple listing services, Trulia says it’s working on getting more brokers to opt in to those feeds.
Trulia will enter brokers who authorize their MLS to send their listings directly to the site in a “Get Fresh with Trulia” sweepstakes, which will award one $5,000 cash prize in a Dec. 17 drawing. Agents can also enter the drawing by submitting their broker of record’s email address.
Like Zillow, Trulia gets listings from a variety of sources, including brokers, agents, franchisors and syndicators, which can complicate the task of providing timely and comprehensive listing data.
Trulia says a direct MLS feed provides listings from the authoritative source and increases the frequency of updates to as often as every eight minutes. Direct feeds help Trulia reduce its reliance on syndication platform ListHub, which is owned by realtor.com operator Move Inc., a competitor.
If Trulia doesn’t have an agreement in place with their MLS, brokers can still ask their MLS to provide a direct feed of their own listings to the site. Or they can use their own tech to provide a direct feed to Trulia, or use a syndication service like ListHub.
The primary benefit to brokers who send Trulia a direct feed is the more frequent updates, said Trulia’s director of industry marketing, Ginger Wilcox.
Listings sent to sites through ListHub are updated up to four times per day, Move spokeswoman Christie Wilfley said.
A direct feed also ensures that broker attribution and listing agent info shows up on property detail pages on Trulia, Wilcox said. Those features are standard and free for all Trulia brokers and agents, but if a listing doesn’t come via a direct feed, sometimes that info is left out, she said.
Trulia values direct feeds from brokers outside of the MLS, but it is now focused squarely on getting broker listings through MLSs, Wilcox said.
“MLSs are the best vehicles for getting listings,” she said. In addition to being an easier pathway for brokers to send their listings, it’s more cost-effective, she said.
Trulia and Zillow are signing direct feed agreements with MLSs at a decent clip, but many of them require member brokers to “opt in” to send their listings.
That’s a different system than the arrangement that realtor.com — thanks to its ties to the National Association of Realtors — has with more than 800 MLSs across the U.S. When MLSs provide direct feeds to realtor.com, all member brokers’ listings are included by default.
That setup gives realtor.com an advantage over its competitors. But Zillow and Trulia are working to chip away at it.
The opt-in nature of many of the MLS direct feed agreements requires Trulia and Zillow to proactively reach out to broker members if they want to have comprehensive listing coverage in those markets.
That’s just what Trulia is doing with the sweepstakes.
A broker of record entering the contest can indicate what information they’d like to provide directly to Trulia through their MLS — active/pending listings, sold data, or roster data — and fill out a form with the name of their MLS, their brokerage’s name, their name, their email address and office ID.
Some large MLSs have signed direct feed agreements with Trulia, including My Florida Regional MLS, the Combined Los Angeles/Westside MLS, the Austin (Texas) Board of Realtors, the Arizona Regional MLS and Boise, Idaho-based Intermountain MLS.
Zillow, which is set to acquire Trulia in 2015 if the proposed deal passes muster with regulators, has also seen some recent successes in its quest for direct feeds from MLSs. Zillow doesn’t reveal how many agreements it has, but earlier this week it signed up 10,000-member New Jersey MLS.