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Listing Syndication

Why Zillow didn’t get Austin Board of Realtors’ feed, but Trulia did

As the Austin Board of Realtors opens the spigot for Trulia under their new data standards, will Zillow be next?

austin trulia

As of May 7th, brokers in Austin will be able to opt-in to share their listings directly with Trulia, as part of the ink drying on a new direct data license with the Austin Board of Realtors (ABoR). Although we opined that focusing on the minutiae surrounding listing data is looking into the wrong end of the telescope, this particular move is extremely relevant.

Why? First and foremost, ABoR has severed ties with ListHub, and that syndication agreement is nearing an end, so the association is balancing their next moves carefully and through highly engaged committees.

Second, Trulia is the first publisher to sign a data license agreement under ABoR’s new data integrity standards which are known to be quite stringent, pushing for listing data to be displayed accurately, responsibly, and ethically.

Third, smaller associations look to ABoR for direction, as this particular board tends to be progressive in nature, so this syndication agreement with Trulia could have a trickle down effect to other local associations.

Reactions from Trulia and ABoR

“We’re excited that Trulia has joined ABoR’s commitment to improving the quality of listing information available to Austin-area homebuyers and sellers,” said Lisa Messana, Chair of ABoR’s MLS Advisory Committee. “By leveraging ABoR’s data quality standards, this partnership with a top listing advertising portal will bring the broad exposure that home sellers desire and protect against homebuyer frustrations from poor data quality.”

“The Austin Board of REALTORS® has demonstrated leadership in the real estate industry by establishing standards that support timely, complete and accurate listings information,” said Alon Chaver, Trulia’s VP of Industry Services. “In addition to REALTOR® websites, homebuyers and sellers can now also trust that the Austin-area listings found on Trulia are accurate and up to date.”

Will ABoR syndicate to Zillow next?

The natural question is what steps ABoR will take next. If they syndicate to Trulia, won’t they syndicate to Zillow? As it stands now, it doesn’t look likely. Sources directly involved tell us that Zillow requested and was granted a meeting with the task force (comprised of members) and Board executives.

Sources describe the meeting as “bizarre.” The team from Zillow presented in an “arrogant” manner when asking for the full feed and were “confrontational” when they were asked about the possibility of removing For Sale By Owner listings so as not to be in violation of ABoR’s data integrity standards, and Zillow brashly said that would never happen.

Still asking for the feed, Zillow also rejected the removal of Zestimates in live sales, “rudely” saying that it was ABoR’s fault for not reporting sales data (missing the fact that Texas is a non-disclosure state, which has nothing to do with ABoR).

Further, Zillow wouldn’t budge on how listing agents are featured within listings, asserting that their current format (which visually promotes agents paying to advertise instead of the listing agent) will not be changed for Austin or any city.

Under current circumstances, it does not appear possible for the two entities to agree and join forces, especially given that multiple sources tell us that Zillow’s attitude is that ABoR needs them, and not the other way around.

Sources also tell us that they were confused by the surprise last minute meeting granted to Zillow, and confused as to why no video or audio setup was allowed at the meeting (which we’re told is abnormal).

Regardless, Zillow is persistent, so we suspect they will find other ways to obtain the data they’re seeking.

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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