Technology

San Diego MLS taking listing syndication into its own hands

Sandicor partners with Bridge Interactive Group

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A multiple listing service serving more than 18,000 members in San Diego County, California, is taking listing syndication into its own hands with technology from Bridge Interactive Group.

The MLS, Sandicor, had explored taking over syndication last year. But when it learned that an agreement between Zillow and ListHub was up for renewal in April, it decided to make a move, said Sandicor President and CEO Ray Ewing.

Ewing wasn’t sure at the time that Zillow and ListHub  — the listing syndication platform that Sandicor used to deliver its members’ listings to Zillow — would not renew their agreement. But Ewing’s suspicions that they would not were confirmed in January, when news broke that the two would not sign a new agreement.

Ray Ewing.

Ray Ewing

So Sandicor turned to Bridge Interactive Group (BIG), which makes a direct syndication platform for MLSs complete with back-end tracking and daily reporting.

With the agreement between Zillow and ListHub set to expire on April 7, MLSs and brokers across the U.S. are scrambling to figure out how to make sure they have feeds to Zillow when ListHub’s connection to real estate’s most popular portal goes dark.

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Some are opting to send their listings directly to Zillow through the portal’s new “Data Dashboard” that makes it easy for MLSs and brokers to plug their listings into Zillow directly. Others are looking to solutions like BIG’s.

BIG introduced its direct syndication platform to the world in October 2013 with North Alabama MLS, a 3,000-member MLS based in Huntsville, Alabama. North Alabama MLS uses BIG’s technology to syndicate its more than 14,000 listings to Zillow, Trulia, realtor.com and Homes.com itself.

Like North Alabama MLS, Sandicor will have to negotiate listing agreements directly with publishers, a service that ListHub provides for its syndication partners.

BIG’s software goes beyond syndication. Its technology also makes it easier for brokers to upload their listing data directly to MLSs and for MLSs to share listings with each other, as the nation’s largest MLS, California Regional MLS, brought on BIG to do last March.

But with the ListHub-Zillow syndication deal expiring on April 7, Sandicor is 100 percent focused on the direct syndication application to make sure it has a Zillow channel open for its members’ listings in late March before the ListHub route shuts off, Ewing said.

“Our primary concern is getting the issue of Zillow (syndication) up and running,” Ewing said.

BIG’s syndication platform also gives brokers greater control over how their listings show up on the portals, Ewing said.

BIG’s software will eventually give Sandicor’s members the ability to fine-tune display preferences for their listings on a portal-by-portal and listing-by-listing basis, Ewing said.

If a broker wanted to send listing images watermarked with its contact info to one portal but clean images to another, for example, it could choose to do so with BIG’s back-end platform, he said.

“We’re giving that granularity of control back to the broker,” Ewing said. ListHub and the other popular syndication system Point2 don’t offer the same level of control that BIG’s platform offers, he said.

Turan Tekin

Turan Tekin

BIG provides a back-end system that gives brokers and agents an in-depth look into how their listings are performing across the sites where they appear, said BIG Vice President Turan Tekin.

It combines that visibility with a simple opt-in, opt-out platform that makes it easy for brokers to decide which portals they want to send their listings to, Tekin said.

He said BIG has seen an uptick in interest from MLSs in its direct syndication product since news broke in January that Zillow and ListHub were set to end their agreement.

North Alabama MLS and the Austin Board of Realtors currently use BIG’s platform to handle syndication, and five others are set to come on board early this year, Tekin said.

Questions or comments? Email paul@inman.com.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to note that the Austin Board of Realtors also currently uses BIG software to handle syndication itself.