MLS providers and NAR need to give real estate franchisors a fighting chance.
It’s convention season. Many of your are making the rounds at this year’s real estate franchise trade shows. Just like you I’ve been to a few already. I’ve been talking to a lot of other vendors and executives at major franchisors and have begun to better understand some of the issues facing them. I hit on this a little of this on my post “Inside Trulia’s Boiler Room”. I can break it down in to 2 different bits:
SEO is a BFD.
Due to the complexities, various display rules, MLS policies and procedures most modern day real estate franchisors contract with a vendor to handle their IDX services. But a few MLS providers still have rules that require a certain URL structure. To pass the MLS “smell test”, you must have the broker’s name, such as:
Well this totally sucks for SEO and long tail search. I won’t go in to details but by adding a sub-domain you really hurt the ability for the franchisor to grab any real SEO juice. And I have to say many MLS provider recognize this and do allow national franchisor sites some leeway, and some do not (I’m looking at you H.A.R.)
After a push last year from Realogy, NAR’s MLS policy committee changed its policy to allow national franchisors the ability to index IDX listings on their national home pages. This is a HUGE step in the right direction. But that brings me to my second point, because they added a certain restriction: No advertising around these listings.
Fighting with one hand tied behind their back.
When you break down Zillow and Trulia’s business model it comes down to two factors:
Great SEO drives traffic. Traffic equals more dollars from advertising.
Sound familiar? These two things are exactly the same things that many MLS providers and NAR are restricting. WTF?
The recent restriction by NAR’s MLS Policy Committee to not allow advertising surrounding the indexed IDX listings seems a bit expansive. Most franchisors and their vendors know there a smart ways of implementing advertising around these listings. These methods don’t effect the integrity of the site but do provide much needed revenue.
I think competition is a great thing. But let’s have a fair fight. MLS providers and NAR need to give real estate franchisors a fighting chance.