Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Real Estate Syndication Chaos

There was recently a very good post on our messageboard that is applicable to a very wide audience. It was posted by Shelly and David Sheffey:

What happens when one of our listings is submitted to Trulia or any of the others via more than one source?As an example, when we put our listing in the Keller Williams listing service they automatically submit our new listing to Trulia, then we put it into P2 and they send the listing to Trulia, and now that we decide to advertise this listing in the Real Estate book they stick it up there too. Which one wins? Does a new version bump an old version? Do multiple sources cause the listing to disappear altogether?I would suppose the answer might be different for each of the destination sites, but could this be a cause of our missing listings?

It's is a really good question and it's one of the biggest challenges we tackle around here. All syndication partners handle duplicates differently:

  • Some post both copies of the listing
  • Some filter and take an authoritative feed based on their own criteria [Franchise, MLS, Broker, Agent, 3rd party]
  • Some post paid listings first
  • Some will use the most recent feed and replace the existing listing with that newest feed.
  • Some will take the feed with more information.

For all these reasons, the reports on your status tab will become more and more important over time. We are working with each syndication partner to do what we can to ensure that the feeds from our members are the ones being published. It's a very complicated and politically challenging problem which is why many simple feed solutions are insufficient for this industry.

There may be some people that see that larger picture that exists here. The challenge is identity. How do listing sites identify feeds from franchises, MLSs, brokers and agents? How do brokers ensure their business rules are protected? There needs to be commonality established to for online marketing and there needs to be better identity solutions. How does franchise and MLS feeds provide brokers and agents the statistical feedback they need for marketing and reporting feedback for troubleshooting?



Jay Thompson said...

This is indeed quite the challenge! It's pretty darn important to know how these sites handle multiple listings/feeds. I know you guys will be all over it.

On a *completely* off-topic note, how was Cancun?

Jeff Tomlin said... !!!


Lucia Brooks said...

I am not seeing the "proof in the pudding" when it comes to free listing exposure.

I have several listings syndicated on my P2 site and my syndication reports show that the majority of the free syndication sites do not pull any traffic or views at all.

What's up with that?

Jeff Tomlin said...

Lucia, you've got a valid concern that deserves a very complete answer.

Firstly, you do receive free advertising that you can view in the manage listing area of your online office. From your free advertising for this listing, for example:
- 1265 Grace Hadaway Lane
Your view from the Manage listing console shows 203 views from syndication.
- 5560 Grove Place Crossing
Your view from the Manage listing console shows 426 views from syndication

I consider all of that free exposure.

Now, I can see that you are not seeing all the benefits that others might see and there are a lot of reasons for that. To provide a more complete answer, i'm going to put together another complete post on the blog.

But at this point, i will show an example. You don't see any traffic from Trulia. There area a lot of different reasons why a listing might not show up on any one syndication partner site, but in this case, your listing is not displaying from your feed because your company sends a feed to Trulia. Trulia filters duplicates and takes an authoritative feed.

So rather than clicking through to your listing:,

Trulia displays the listing from your company:

and click through to your company site. Thus, you will not see referral in your online office stats.

Jeff Tomlin said...

I should just add a footnote that the issue I just explained for Lucia, is a perfect example of what I would outlining in the original post.

Simply, the complexities around listing distribution prevent some from seeing the full potential or receiving the full benefit of syndication.

Joseph Ferrara. Sellsius said...

This is valauble information. You bring up 2 valid points with feeds: duplicity and routing.

If multiple feeds are sent to an aggregator/search engine, the aggregator/search engine faces the challenge of which to publish---the CHOICE can't be avoided.

Second, whoever controls the feed, controls where the lead is routed. It may be to the agent, it may not be.

We believe the best method for an individual agent's listings, in terms of control/update/accuracy and leads from the listing, is via manual input. Google Base does it, NY Times online, craigslist. It is time consuming if you have a lot of listings but they are totally within your control. And you get the leads.

We do not accept feeds on for these reasons. Also, the mere posting of listings may not be enuf. Blogging has taught us that traffic to information, provided by an agent invariably hired after listing window shopping, is perhaps more important. That's why we allow our members to contribute content which attracts consumers. One of our members was listed #1 & 2 on Google for mold inspector under his zip code---by virtue of his profile and content--not a listing.

We are exploring new ways to get consumers to agents, not listings.
Listings are foreplay and agents are (you can fill in the blank).
We've also devised a new tool to measure traffic from your print media ads (Sellsius link). It also works for postcard or other mailings.

Fred Simanek said...

Speaking of syndication, I sent you an inquiry a few weeks back via your site regarding syndication of commercial listings with my company I received no response. Should I take this as a "no, we are not interested" or something else? Please advise.

Fred Simanek
The MyNextDeal Team
1471 Lawrence Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
ph: 805.492.9105
fx: 805.493.5605
em: fred at mynextdeal dot com

Justin - RealtyTech said...

I recently received a lead from my free listings. After advertising my website for so long with no results, this was a great relief.