Now that Zillow has closed its acquisition of its biggest rival, Trulia, another deadline is looming: the expiration of its agreement with listing syndicator ListHub.
That April 7 deadline has spurred Zillow and MLSs alike to scurry to ink direct feed deals before ListHub’s listing pipeline to the top portal dries up.
The latest MLS to sign up is Dallas-based MLS North Texas Real Estate Information Systems Inc., which has 24,000 members in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area and surrounding North Texas counties.
“In light of upcoming changes to the syndication agreement, NTREIS participants that wish to send listings to Zillow would be required to find an alternate means of delivery,” the MLS said in a blog post.
“By approving a direct agreement, the NTREIS directors have ensured that marketing of North Texas listings for sale will not be interrupted.”
For Zillow, the deal is a way to ensure home shoppers are seeing “the most complete and accurate inventory of listings” within North Texas’ “incredibly attractive” market, said Curt Beardsley, Zillow vice president of industry development, in a statement.
There is no timeline yet for when the direct feed will be live, NTREIS spokeswoman Cindy Miller told Inman.
Currently, about 60 percent of NTREIS’ 22,500 active residential listings are being distributed to Zillow via a ListHub feed for specific brokers, Miller said. Those listings will now be included in the direct feed.
Brokers who do not want their listings sent to Zillow or other third-party sites will continue to have the choice to opt in or out, she said, though all of the MLS’s feed agreements, including this one, default to opt-in. Brokers will be able to opt-out for all of their listings or on a per-listing basis, she added.
NTREIS has an agreement with Point2, whose syndication arm was acquired by ListHub in September. The MLS is in the process of moving its syndication feed from Point2 to ListHub and plans to keep an agreement with ListHub in place for distributing listings to other publishers. (ListHub says it syndicates listings for more than 50,000 brokerages, synchronizing feeds from over 500 MLSs that it provides to more than 140 publisher websites.)
The direct feed deal with Zillow is an opportunity to make syndication choices more transparent to the MLS’ brokers, Miller said.
“Having a choice for Zillow specifically rather than ‘syndication’ makes that selection more transparent on input,” she said.
NTREIS has not worked out specifics yet on whether and how Zillow’s new listing management and reporting platform, the Zillow Data Dashboard, will integrate with the MLS’ systems. Zillow announced the dashboard in January as an alternative to ListHub for Zillow’s direct feed partners.
When asked how long Zillow had been trying to obtain a direct feed from NTREIS and whether Zillow will be paying NTREIS for the listings, Miller declined to comment. She also would not say whether NTREIS charges a data access fee to third-party vendors in general.
“We will not discuss terms of any of our vendor agreements or negotiation timelines for reasons of confidentiality,” Miller said.
Zillow recently landed direct listing feed deals with two Florida MLSs, but one of those deals may land the company in legal hot water.
The Jupiter-Tequesta-Hobe Sound Association of Realtors has said it has the right to send the listings of another association, the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches, to third parties, including Zillow, but the Palm Beach association disagrees and has warned Zillow that it could take legal action if the portal displays its data without its permission. That feed has not gone live yet.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to note that all of the NTREIS’ feed agreements, including the one with Zillow, default to opt-in and that brokers will be able to opt-out for all of their listings or on a per-listing basis.
Questions or comments? Email Andrea V. Brambila.