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Luke Glass of ListHub, shares their intentions with REN in a special guest post on Vendor Alley.

by Greg Robertson on March 8th, 2012

This is a guest post from Luke Glass General Manager of ListHub….


There has been a lot of productive discussion lately within the industry about the role that syndication plays in today’s real estate experience. The decision to syndicate property listings ultimately lies with the broker who is entrusted with acting in the best interests of the listing agent and the selling client.

At Move we believe managed syndication benefits both home sellers and home buyers, providing each with the widest range of options available.

I wanted to share our intentions in providing the ListHub solution, and why we recently launched The Real Estate Network.

The ListHub platform is focused on 3 principles: (a) Controlled access to listing data – the brokers have the ability to choose where they advertise their listings; (b) a Managed Marketplace – the brokers have access to information on how their listings will be used; and (c) Tools and Reports – providing brokers visibility into the effectiveness and benefits of their advertisements.
ListHub is a platform that provides brokers with a complete solution for managing the advertisement of their listings on real estate websites. ListHub does this by connecting to MLS listings and offering a point-and-click dashboard for brokers to syndicate listings. This dashboard contains the list of publisher sites, tools to help brokers make informed decisions – including a scorecard that clearly shows where publishers stand on key usage issues, and access to reports to help brokers determine the effectiveness of their advertisement activities.

Recently, ListHub launched The Real Estate Network (the REN). The Real Estate Network is an array of websites operated by real estate franchise organizations and similar broker organizations that are now available to brokers in the ListHub platform. The REN is a natural extension of our vision to support brokers’ ability to effectively market listings and connect with consumers. Brokers will have the opportunity to participate with no paperwork and no fees, using the same ListHub dashboard that they use to send their listings to an array of other real estate search websites.

Last year, we all followed the changes to the MLS IDX policy that set the stage for The Real Estate Network. For years, franchises and similar organizations have been operating their websites under strict rules that did not give them the ability to utilize IDX listings as an MLS participant is able to do. This has compromised their ability to maximize SEO value and provide a first class consumer search experience, both of which are necessary to compete and attract consumers.

The MLS Policy Committee ultimately decided that the rules would stand as they apply to franchise organizations being non-participants. As an alternative, NAR spoke out in support of syndication as an option for franchise organizations – as well as brokerage networks – to display listings, as long as brokers can opt-in and opt-out freely.

The Real Estate Network makes this vision a reality. REN participants will be able to operate their websites more effectively and with fewer restrictions. We see real estate franchises as part of our real estate family, and now we look forward to providing them with a model for acquiring listing information that gives them a stronger footing for connecting with consumers.
From the MLS perspective, the REN provides a no-cost, plug-and-play solution for offering members the NAR-recommended option to syndicate listings for display on franchise and brokerage network websites. Our MLS partners have looked to us for a solution, and we are responding to their immediate need for an engine to support syndication to franchises. More than 350 MLSs participate in ListHub today in order to provide a flexible and reliable platform for advertising member listings. MLSs who currently partner with ListHub will automatically gain access to REN.

The key to success of REN is use of a standard set of display rules []. REN was created to enable brokers and franchises to better compete in the online marketplace through differentiation in the consumer experience they offer. There is no difference in the terms and rules surrounding the display of syndicated listings among the REN participants. We have accepted a vast amount of input from industry participants including MLS leadership, franchise leadership, and consultants to assemble a set of display rules that satisfy needs of the multiple parties. The Real Estate Network participant sites, franchises, brokers, and MLSs can all participate in REN with a clear-cut understanding of the exchange of value between all parties, including consumer usage metrics from all sites receiving listings from the Network.

We believe everybody is a winner here. Franchises benefit from the ability to create a better experience for consumers. MLSs benefit from having a utility that immediately supports their ability to implement the NAR IDX rules, and brokers benefit from the ability to have more choice when it comes to advertising their listings online. The ultimate goal remains the same, to produce the greatest amount of transactions so that home buyers can find a home they will love to live in and home sellers get a fair price for their home within a reasonable amount of time. The Real Estate Network is designed to serve both these purposes while leaving control with the listing brokerage. We look forward to continuing to conversation on this within our ever-evolving industry.

Editor’s Note: If you would like to write a guest post please don’t hesitate in contacting me. – gr