MLS & Associations

Direct MLS feed puts Zillow in a ‘friendlier’ light

Cape Cod MLS the latest to send listing directly to top real estate portal

Zillow continues to prepare for the day when it will no longer receive listings from listing syndicator ListHub come spring. The top real estate portal said today that it had signed an agreement to get listings directly from a multiple listing service in a high-end real estate market in Massachusetts.

The 2,300-member Cape Cod & Islands Multiple Listing Service Inc. has become the latest MLS to join a direct feed program from Zillow called the Zillow Partnership Platform. Starting in mid-February, CCIMLS members will send their listing data to Zillow as often as every 15 minutes, which the company says ensures that current, active listings always are up-to-date and in sync with the MLS data.

CCIMLS has about 4,100 active listings, and brokers will be automatically opted in to the program, Cape Cod & Islands MLS CEO Ryan Castle told Inman.

Last month, active listings for all property types on CCIMLS were listed for a median asking price of $524,198, according to MLS statistics.

A direct feed to Zillow will help CCIMLS’s members market their listings more efficiently and effectively in a fast-moving housing market, said Curt Beardsley, Zillow’s vice president of industry development, in a statement.

“Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard have always been attractive places to live and work, and recent home value growth in the area reflects that inherent desirability,” he said.

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The CCIMLS board of directors voted last spring to create a data syndication task force to investigate the ways in which its data was released to third-party websites and, after surveying its members, decided to enter into direct feed agreements with select listing sites, Castle said.

“This decision was made because brokers want greater control and easier access to control where they send their data. They also wanted to ensure the data was coming directly from the MLS or the broker, which this agreement ensures,” he said.

“In addition, our brokers were frustrated with certain operations of Zillow and this agreement moves Zillow into a friendlier role with our brokers and really looks at them as partners and the source of the information.”

CCIMLS members will now be assured prompt removal of inaccurate information and the inclusion of listing broker and/or agent attribution, ensuring that prospective buyers are informed of the source of listing information, Castle said.

In addition to free leads, listings will now also be updated more frequently and link back to brokerage websites, he added.

CCIMLS currently has syndication agreements with ListHub and Point2, whose syndication arm is owned by ListHub, Castle said. ListHub is owned by Move Inc., operator of Zillow rival realtor.com.

“We plan to continue to use syndication to give brokers great control over where they want their listings to be sent, but have not made decisions as to what service and what portals to be opt-in or opt-out,” he said.

Come mid-January, CCIMLS, like others in Zillow’s direct feed program, can choose whether or not to implement the Zillow Data Dashboard, a new listing management and reporting platform the company says puts more control of listings in the hands of brokers.

The free dashboard will allow brokers to opt in or out of sending their listings to Zillow with one click; keep customized MLS fields; and automatically update their listings every 15 minutes. Brokers will also be able to set lead routing rules; include links to individual listing pages on their website; and get free daily reports of listing performance metrics such as search result impressions, total listing views, and total leads delivered.

CCIMLS did not know about the dashboard or the upcoming expiration of the Zillow-ListHub agreement before signing on the dotted line, Castle said.

Nonetheless, he said the dashboard was “an attractive feature” for participation in the Zillow Partnership Platform and Zillow’s announcement this week “further validates … our leadership’s decision and thought process over the last several months.”

Zillow said earlier this week that “a few hundred thousand listings” of the 3.6 million currently displayed on Zillow would be disrupted if the ListHub contract ended today, but that the company expects to sign up direct feeds for those listings before the contract’s expiration on April 7. The company anticipates that, over time, all listings published on Zillow will come through the Zillow Data Dashboard via direct feeds.

So far, Zillow is receiving direct feeds from “dozens of MLSs” and 4,000 brokers, according to the company.