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Knoxville Area Association of Realtors stops syndicating real estate listings

After seeing brokers pulling their listing data from individual aggregators like Zillow, Trulia, and, a Tennessee trade group has followed suit, but there is no consensus as to whether this is a positive or negative event.



KAAR Board of Directors makes a big decision

In an email provided to AGBeat by a Knoxville Area Association of Realtors (KAAR) member, the Association announced the following:

“At last week’s Board of Directors meeting, upon a recommendation from the MLS Committee, the Directors approved to stop syndicating all MLS listings to Zillow, Trulia, Hotpads and Yahoo Real Estate. This action was taken because of numerous complaints from agents and sellers regarding inaccurate listing information on the sites.”

Real estate listing syndication has long been a contentious industry issue, but as more boots on the ground have learned the full implications of data and data accuracy, the last year has proven to be especially heated and controversial. Companies as small as two agents all the way up to mega franchises have been making decisions about whether or not to syndicate, and reasons for pulling listings have begun to vary this year, led by Edina Realty, one of the first to publicly pull the plug, and others like Prudential Kansas City, ARG, and others have made similar decisions, with some pulling all syndication, and others picking and choosing winners between the aggregators.

Until now, however, Associations have mostly left the decisions up to individual brokers, but with KAAR’s decision, we will likely see a handful of others following suit – monkey see, monkey do, after all.

The move has seen praise, but has also generated many questions from industry insiders. Russ Bergeron, CEO of Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED) asked in the AG Facebook group, “Does this mean that prior to this all listings were being sent from the MLS to these sites regardless of the brokers wishes? Or does this just mean that the MLS will no longer facilitate the shipping of listings at their brokers’ requests? Is the MLS still sending listings to ListHub and/or Point2 and allowing brokers to make their own decisions as to where their listings should go via those distributors? Is KAAR instituting a rule that brokers can no longer display their listings on any of these sites? What about other sites like,, AOL, msn, Homefinder, et al?”

Is this a means to block syndication? It doesn’t appear so…

Celeste Starchild, VP of Sales and Marketing at ListHub said in the group, “ListHub continues to be available to all Knoxville brokers. In the past, this MLS syndicated to several sites automatically by default. Now, listings will only be syndicated if the broker creates a ListHub account and makes these choices proactively. For those Knoxville brokers who already created a ListHub account, settings will remain intact and syndication will continue according to the ListHub account.”

John Whitney, President of Industry Relations at ListHub added, “The MLS decided to not make choices on behalf of their brokers. But, everyone still supports broker choice… that MLS sourced data is the most accurate. We don’t want to create an environment that depends on listings from other sources. The best thing we can do is give brokers a wide variety of options, tools to make informed choices, a single platform to manage their online marketing activities, and deliver quality data to those sites to create the best consumer experience possible.”

Industry opinion on syndication pulling

Past KAAR President and current member, Jim Lee made a keen observation, noting that “If not every broker in KAAR chooses to go the Listhub route then Trulia, Zillow, Hotpads, and Yahoo Real Estate won’t be able to say they have ALL the listings for sale in the KAAR MLS.”

Arizona Realtor, Jonathan Dalton said, “Bold prediction… pulling listings from Zillow and Trulia will have exactly ZERO impact on the Knoxville real estate market. Sales will take place at the same pace, for the same prices and in the same amount of time post-syndication as they have pre-syndication.”

Elsewhere, Dalton wrote, “from the way it reads, the association didn’t pull the plug on syndication because it believes in broker choice. To say a decision on the MLS level is insignificant is short-sighted.”

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  1. JonathanDalton

    September 24, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Here’s my extended train of thought … Zillow has gotten where it has largely on the back of public relations. The data’s mediocre, the Zestimates are wildly inaccurate and finding a real home for sale is like bobbing for apples. Yet it continues to be quoted in the MSM because it puts itself (and Spencer) out there for anyone with a microphone.Having an MLS pull out, even if the brokers still can syndicate, makes for poor public relations – “if it’s such a wonderful place to sell homes, why would any MLS not support it?” Remember, no one cares about the details else Z wouldn’t be where it was.  

  2. Ozarksagent

    September 24, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Some MLS’ syndicate to Point2Homes and they provide Trulia, Zillow and dozens of other sites with listings so what is to be gained by not making sure they all just get correct info instead of second-hand info that creates the problems they are upset about?

  3. Rob McCance

    September 24, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    I’ve long said that this data is created by and belongs to the Agents that populated it….for our own use.
    And our own use includes using it as bait in search engines on our sites to generate leads for OURSELVES.
    Why anyone would just give this data to companies like this in the first place is beyond me…
    Rob in Atlanta

  4. J Philip Faranda

    September 25, 2012 at 8:16 am

    So now agents must opt in via Listhub instead of having the feed sent automatically. This is not that earth-shattering.  

  5. joemspake

    September 25, 2012 at 10:25 am

    It sounds to me like this is just a transition from broker opt-out (from a comprehensive feed to List Hub) to opt-in.  Seems to be a healthy choice for  all boards and MLSs to have a look at.

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Business News

Ageism: How to properly combat this discrimination in the workplace

(BUSINESS) Ageism is still being fought by many companies, how can this new issue be resolved before it becomes more of a problem?



Ageism void

Workers over the age of 55 represent the fasting growing sector in labor. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that 25% of the labor force will be over age 55 by 2024. A 2018 AARP survey found that over 60% of the respondents reported age discrimination in their workplace. The figure is even higher among older women, minorities, and unemployed seniors. Age discrimination is a problem for many.

Unfortunately, age discrimination lawsuits aren’t uncommon. We have covered cases for Jewel Food Stores, Inc., Novo Nordisk, Inc., AT&T, and iTutorGroup, all alleging age or disability discrimination in some form or fashion. This could be from using vocabulary such as “tenured,” hiring a younger employee instead of promoting a well-season veteran, or pressuring older employees with extra responsibilities in order to get them to resign or retire early.

How can your organization create an age-inclusive workforce?

It is difficult to prove age discrimination but fighting a lawsuit against it could be expensive. Rather than worrying about getting sued for age discrimination, consider your own business and whether your culture creates a workplace that welcomes older workers.

  1. Check your job descriptions and hiring practices to eliminate graduation dates and birthdates. Focus on worker’s skills, not youthful attributes, such as “fresh graduate” or “digital native.” Feature workers of all ages in your branding and marketing.
  2. Include age diversity training for your managers and employees, especially those that hire or work in recruiting.
  3. Support legislative reforms that protect older workers. Use your experience to create content for your website.

Changing the culture of your workplace to include older workers will benefit you in many ways. Older workers bring experience and ideas to the table that younger employees don’t have. Having mixed-age teams encourages creativity. There are many ways to support older workers and to be inclusive in your workplace.

What steps are you taking in your organization to reduce ageism in your workplace?

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Business News

AI-generated content is against Google’s guidelines, so what now?

(BUSINESS) Google’s Search Advocate, John Mueller, says that AI-generated content is against webmaster guidelines. What does mean for content strategy?



Google homepage on computer representing AI-generated content.

John Mueller, Google’s Search Advocate, stated that AI-generated content is against Google’s webmaster guidelines in a weekly online question and answer session.

Let’s review what that means for you and your content strategy going forward.

First of all, what is AI Generated Content?

Simply put, Medium defines it as

“[a]utomatically generated or Auto-Generated content is content that’s been created with the help of machine learning and artificial intelligence tools.”

Tools like writesonic or jasper are examples of AI content creation tools made to create content for a blog, social media, etc. If you check these websites, you will find that Google is listed as one of the many companies that use their services.

So, Google can use it but others will be penalized for using it. Can Google recognize when a user takes advantage of AI-generated content services for use on the web?

In the video Q&A, Mueller doesn’t confirm or deny whether or not Google is capable of recognizing AI-generated content. He is quoted as stating,

“I can’t claim that. But for us, if we see that something is automatically generated, then the webspam team can take action on that.”

After countless searches about the Google webspam team and what actions they can take, it’s not immediately clear, but what seems to be the consensus is that it could negatively impact Google rankings and SEO.

What can you do?

If you are already using AI-generated content, the first thing to consider is do you need to do most of the heavy lifting or are you using it to generate ideas or a starting point? If you’re using it to fully write your next blog post, you need to reconsider this position and be sure to have a human add personal touches to your online content.

According to Mueller, using AI-generated content in ANY capacity is considered unacceptable. He states,

“[c]urrently it’s all against the webmaster guidelines. So, from our point of view, if we were to run across something like that, if the webspam team were to see it, they would see it as spam.”

Your best bet is to keep doing it yourself because right now Google has all the power over search and rankings. At least, until something changes.

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Business News

Social media and depression go hand-in-hand, studies show

(BUSINESS) Maybe this won’t come as a surprise, but the statistics sure are telling- having depression and social media usage are linked.



Upside down photo of man holding iphone case saying "social media seriously harms your mental health" representing dopamine.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania believe they have found evidence of a link between depression and social media use. Many studies have attempted to show that social media use can be detrimental to your mental health, but the parameters of these studies are often limited in scope or were unrealistic situations. The UPenn study collected usage data tracked by the phone rather than relying on self-reporting.

Psychologist Melissa G. Hunt, the author of the published study, says the bottom line is: “Using less social media than you normally would lead to significant decreases in both depression and loneliness. These effects are particularly pronounced for folks who were more depressed when they came into the study.”

It should be noted that the study participants were college students who were randomly assigned to either use social media as they normally would or be in the experimental group that limited time on the three most popular platforms, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. Hunt doesn’t believe that it’s realistic not to use social networks at all, but it is important to find a way to manage your use to avoid negative effects.

Depression is a serious problem for Americans, but is social media responsible?

The CDC reported that between 2013 and 2016, 8.1% of Americans over the age of 20 experienced depression in a 2-week period. About 80% of these people had difficulty with daily activities due to depression. However, “over a 10-year period, from 2007–2008 to 2015–2016, the percentage of adults with depression did not change significantly.” On the other hand, social network use increased exponentially during this time.

There have been other studies that link social media use and depression. It might be that the more platforms accessed increase the risk for depression. Another study found that it was the way people used social media that increased depression. Using it to compare yourself to others or feeling addicted to social media increased the feelings of depression.

But it’s unknown whether depression or social media use came first. Studies haven’t quite agreed on whether it exacerbates existing problems, or creates them.

How should we approach social media use?

Another report suggests that Facebook knew from the start that they were creating addictions. The people closest to tech believe that there are inherent risks for their children to be on social media. Scary? It should make you think about how and why you use tech.

If you find yourself having negative feelings after using social networks, consider limiting the amount of time you spend on those platforms. Get out and connect with others. Relationships can often reduce the risk of depression. Get involved in your community. It’s important to find balance in using social media and having connections with others. Spend time on what makes you feel better about your life.

There are still a lot of questions about how social networks and technologies affect society. In the meantime, pay attention to how you use these sites and be conscious of not getting sucked into the comparison trap.

If you are depressed and lonely, there is help available, and we ask you to make that difficult step and reach out – call the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline at 800-950-6264 or text NAMI to 741741. You can also visit their website to find your local NAMI.

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