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Is Zillow’s alleged pack of lies tricking brokers into giving up direct data feeds?

Zillow is allegedly calling brokers to let them know their listings aren’t showing up on Zillow, but ListHub says they have confirmation that Zillow already has the full feed…

move acquires point2

ListHub has sent out a letter to their MLS partners in response to concerned calls from brokers who have allegedly been contacted by Zillow, causing confusion. In the letter obtained by Realuoso, ListHub General Manager, Celeste Starchild states that brokers are being told that some of their listings are missing from Zillow, suggesting that a direct listing data feed could be provided to Zillow. The only problem is that ListHub says they have confirmed Zillow’s reception of said listings.

zillow letter

That’s one way to get broker feeds.

ListHub tells their MLS partners that they have tested “numerous examples of these cases” and found that not only were the listings submitted from ListHub to Zillow, but ListHub has confirmation of reception of the listings. They also found that the listings were in fact, not displayed on Zillow.

ListHub has notified Zillow and requested “prompt resolution,” and as of publication, Zillow has not responded to our request for comment.

The “unintended consequences”

In the letter to MLS partners, ListHub warns that there may be “unintended consequences” to brokers sending a direct feed to any publisher, including “disruption to consolidated reporting available through ListHub,” as well as disrupted lead management, disruption to their traffic routing, and “loss of the benefit of the protections that ListHub requires of publishers related to usage of listing content.”

The Northeast Florida MLS sent out an alert to members today, entitled “Don’t Be Deceived,” telling members that “these calls from Zillow are simply sales oriented,” adding that “They are offering additional services in exchange for getting your listing data direct from you, the broker, instead of via ListHub.”

This particular MLS is urging their members to have an attorney review any agreement they make with Zillow, and asserts that no one is required to put their listings on Zillow, calling it no more than an “internet marketing decision.” They close with a recommendation to use the reports on ListHub to best understand each real estate search site’s policies to determine which are best for business.

The takeaway

Now that Zillow and Trulia are joining forces, many in the industry are focused on the real estate search site. The real gold for them is to handicap ListHub, which is owned by Move, Inc. (which not so coincidentally operates realtor.com, Zillow/Trulia’s main competitor).

There has been a race to get brokers’ direct feeds for some time, but if this is how Zillow plans on doing it (confusing brokers or making false claims), the industry backlash might be more severe than they ever intended…

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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