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Deep Linking Doo Doo

by Greg Robertson on February 6th, 2014

Solid Earth’s Spring platform provides ‘deep linking’ to brokers from public-facing MLS portals

Andrea V. Brambila from Inman News:

“Brokers who belong to multiple listing services that operate public portals powered by Solid Earth’s Spring platform can now add a “deep link” bringing consumers who find listings they represent on the portals back to listing detail pages on their own websites.”

I just think this is the worse idea ever. Why? You need to sweat the details. A good portal needs to have a coherent path; homepage, search results page, and property detail page. It needs to be consistent. If a consumer clicks on a listing and then it brings up a whole new website (different colors, different typeface, etc.) they are going to wonder, “what’s up with this?” and go somewhere else where they can get a better experience.

I understand the industry is trying to come up with ways to encourage “big brokers” (and lets be honest and just say Berkshire Hathaway, okay? -thanks) to participate in MLS public facing websites. But if that means making your existing website a shitty experience, then everyone loses.

  1. Greg, I actually think this idea can be very valuable in markets where there’s a lot of sensitivity to “who owns the lead”. The Montreal MLS = deployed this approach several years ago and it works really well for them to help brokers who want all of their lead traffic to hit their website instead of the MLS.

    From a consumer perspective I totally agree with you – it makes for a much more messy and inconsistent experience than landing on one site with a consistent UI and look and feel, but some markets feel that the compromise is worth it. I think it’s great that Spring has built in that functionality to address the needs of their diverse customer base.

  2. Imagine if we posted an update that Vendor Alley loved and RealtySouth hated? Now THAT would be some doo doo.

  3. Matt Cohen permalink

    The way Solid Earth has implemented it, it does not present a bad user experience. The way deep links had been done in the past by others – where the listing list or a truncated listing detail page linked to the broker site for more details – that was a bad user experience for all the reasons you indicated. That said, without going that problematic latter route there’s really no reason for the user to click “for more detail” to visit listing page on the broker site, and when they do they would be disappointed because there is (on ones I clicked through to) a less compelling experience there.

  4. @marilyn
    Anyone not providing the best consumer experience, isn’t going to last long. I’m with Greg on this one…

  5. Bill Rovillo permalink

    I applaud Solid Earth for deep liking directly to a Broker/Agent site. Anything that cuts out non Realtor sites (middle men) is a plus for Brokers everywhere.

    And the argument of “user experience” is highly over rated. The perceived issue of “different colors, different typeface” causing consternation is mute.

    For anyone hanging their hat on a a beautiful user experience as being paramount for consumer activity on a site , I have one word to debunk your myth-

  6. @Bill
    Here is what I predict will happen. They will send a bunch of traffic (maybe?) to broker websites. Most of those brokerage website suck at user interface & conversion. Brokers will then realize “oh shit…we can’t convert any of this traffic because our websites suck and we don’t know anything about building great websites”…lets pay SolidEarth to convert is for us, and only send us the leads rather than traffic.

    I’ve seen this play out before…

  7. Bill Rovillo permalink

    I can’t disagree with what you have stated above. The Broker sites may suck, and they may be bad at conversion of leads. But at least the Brokers will have the opportunity to learn and adjust if the leads are sent directly to them. Much better than the leads being generated within the deep abyss of say, Zillow, where 60-70% of all leads are lost and Brokers of the listings are not even aware they missed out on leads.

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