Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

Why doesn’t MOVE just shut down ListHub?

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” – Sun Tzu

I had many great side conversations at last week’s Inman Connect in New York City. One of them imagines the premise that MOVE shutdowns ListHub.

Think about the consequences. It would basically cut off the largest source of listing data for Trulia and Zillow. At the same time Realtor.com would immediately become the largest single source of all listing data in the United States.

It also puts brokers back in the driver’s seat. For Trulia and Zillow to compete they would now have to do a full court press to brokers for data. Think about it, who would have the leverage in those conversations?

Brillant or batshit crazy?

  1. I’m in 100% agreement with you on this one Greg. It’s pretty baffling to me how Move gives the third party portals the data with which to compete against them on, and then turns around and complains about losing traffic and money to them. That would be like the Broncos giving the Seahawks Peyton Manning for the Superbowl game, losing to him, and then complaining about it afterwards (well duh, of course they have a great chance of beating you if you help them out).

    Something else must be at play here, as it just doesn’t make sense that they would essentially continue to enable their competitors to help beat them, when they could cut them off tomorrow and that would be the end of it.

    It also speaks to the importance of owning the data, which is why we’re so hell-bent on focusing on that ourselves 🙂

  2. Both brilliant and batshit crazy. Like Mark says about Manning…Why does Samsung provide Apple chips for iPhones? I’ve often wondered. Anti-trust concerns? Seems to easy…

  3. (My personal opinion) It would temporarily hurt small brokers who want to syndicate. The large brokers all have that ability to send direct anyway. Many large brokers would already be sending direct, but they like the premium reporting that ListHub is providing.

    The main thing that would happen is that small brokers would have to find a way to syndicate their listings. That means they would either pressure their MLS to syndicate, or they would start looking for affordable ways to syndicate direct. Currently, Trulia (and I assume, Zillow) are unable to provide syndication solutions to small brokers. But without a ListHub contract in place, they could certainly develop that pretty quickly.

  4. I would have to disagree with that Todd. Small brokers can already syndicate to the portals (for free) by using Postlets: https://postlets.com/syndication-partners. The current system that ListHub has set up with the MLS’s was really just to make it more convenient for brokers to not have to re-post in multiple places. If ListHub were to shut down tomorrow, any brokers/agents that still wanted to syndicate to Zillow/Trulia would just have to create the listing on Postlets, and they would be good (double the work yes, but no change in the end result). That’s one of the reasons why Zillow bought Postlets.

    Also, I don’t think Zillow and Trulia care as much about getting into the syndication game, as they do about getting the listing feeds directly from brokers for their own use. That’s why they’ve been so hell-bent on wooing brokers to list directly with them. Unfortunately for Zillow/Trulia, they’re providing no extra benefit to brokers by listing directly with them that they can’t already get through syndicators like ListHub and Postlets (other than “premium placement” that they’re offering to brokers). That’s why they’ve been for the most part unsuccessful in getting brokers to list directly with them. You have to offer some benefit (hint: like transaction management) if you want brokers to give you their data . . .

  5. Mark,

    There’s a long tail of small brokers who simply haven’t invested in building a syndication server because services like ListHub make it so much easier. All I am saying is that getting rid ListHub just takes that tool away from those brokers, and forces them to choose a new way to syndicate.

    It just seems to me that ListHub is too valuable for Move to just use them as a suicide bomber. They would probably hurt themselves more than their competition.

  6. I suppose there is some potential short-term backlash or badwill that Move would face by shutting it down. But I think in the long-term, they’re going to realize that owning the data is the only benefit of what Realtor.com offers over Z & T, so if they want to grow that platform, they’ll have no choice but to shut it down (when I say long-term, I’m talking 3-5 years out).

  7. I am with a small brokerage and if Move shut down ListHub, it would take us less than 24 hours to implement another solution to syndicate listings.

    Being small sometimes means you can react or change quickly…

  8. Brilliant Idea! Let ZT make money off other people’s data just like the rest of us….the old-fashioned way… Earn it (and pay for it).

    Move would double in market value in a week. Hard for a Move board member representing shareholders to ignore.

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