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ListTrac’s new breakthrough might be broken

by Greg Robertson on July 6th, 2015

Billy Joel's Glass Houses

Billy Joel’s Glass Houses

Today ListTrac, a relatively new vendor, announced a “breakthrough”, which allows real estate professionals to “monetize listings”.

I’m not totally familiar with ListTrac’s revenue model ( I don’t think they have one currently) but this whole premise struck me as odd. Or maybe I just woke up in a weird mood today.

ListTrac Breakthrough Allows Real Estate Professionals to Monetize Listings

This quote from ListTrac’s CEO, Trent Gardner got me started:

“Just as musicians are compensated each time their song is played on the Internet, ListTrac wants real estate professionals to be rewarded every time their listing is viewed on the Internet,”

Wait, what? My local Realtor is now Billy Joel?

“For years, companies have taken listing content and assembled multi-billion dollar business models by monetizing the ‘eye-balls’ looking at this valuable content,” Gardner explains. “However, these business models don’t allow brokers to participate — so they have been sidelined watching others make millions of dollars in IPOs off of their content. ListTrac helps change that paradigm with a framework allowing real estate professionals to monitor and monetize their listing content.”

Don’t brokers receive exposure for these listings which then translate in to sales?

“Through its patented-approved process, ListTrac, working with MLS firms, help brokers monetize their listing content through the new standard of online advertising known as ‘programmatic advertising.’ Programmatic advertising allows brands to reach consumers at the right time with the right product and the right message — better connecting the advertiser and the consumer.”

Here’s a question. And again, it might sound a bit too weird . Do the portals get to participate in “programmatic advertising” revenue ListTrac is going to help generate for real estate professionals? Shouldn’t they? Why or why not?

I mean if nobody sees the listings (hears the song?), how is ListTrac going to generate revenue? I mean if I never hear Piano Man on the internet how do I know when to buy a piano??!!

Think about it. ListTrac’s whole business model depends on listing portals to install their tracking software on their sites. Without this software ListTrac can’t operate. I can’t imagine Zillow, Trulia, or is too thrilled to install any third party software on their own servers. I’m sure all of these site could provide tracking and metrics to any MLS without the need for ListTrac.

If I were ListTrac I would be playing very nice with all these guys.


“Gardner notes that ListTrac went through an arduous process meeting with MLS tech committees, syndication task forces and MLS boards — all populated with agents and brokers — to ensure that no personal information would be shared and that no MLS listing content would be licensed or sold

Meeting with their customers is an “arduous process”? I wrote about this before but this whole entitlement vibe with newer vendors in this space is ridiculous.

I’m sure ListTrac has some smart people, so I must be missing something about this “breakthrough”. Or just as Billy Joel sang, “You might be right, I may be crazy”

UPDATE: Andrea Brambila, Inman News new “Deputy Editor” (congrats Andrea!) has a whole other take on ListTrac’s revenue model. Check out: ListTrac’s plan to sell agent and consumer behavior data

But last month, a Boston-based Internet data exchange (IDX) website provider, Inc., contacted Inman, saying Inc. had refused to implement ListTrac’s monitoring code in its websites for agents belonging to ListTrac customer Cape Cod and Islands MLS.

“Our business code of conduct prevents us from installing any third-party software we feel would harm you or others,” wrote the company’s founder, Mark Holt, in an email to its CCIMLS customers.

“We will not install monitoring software at the direction of any third-party without consent. We consider ListTrac’s ‘monitoring code’ dangerous at this time, therefore we will not install it.” ListTrac’s monitoring code is an “unknown back-door Trojan” that’s installed without agents’ express permission on their websites at the behest of their MLSs, Holt told Inman.


  1. Greg, there is another story you and your readers should check out that tells the other side of this story:

    “ListTrac wants Realtors to get paid every time their listing is viewed, just like iTunes pays musicians” from Realuoso, here:

    Also, would you change your tune if you learned that in many markets, ListTrac is showing that MLSs are delivering more traffic and more leads than the big portals?

    Email or call Trent Gardner and so you can hear the entire ListTrac symphony and not have to judge it based on a couple of notes 🙂

  2. Paul Smithson permalink

    Full disclosure, Kevin Hawkins, that your public relations firm represents ListTrac, would be appropriate here.

  3. Thanks Paul. I thought I did that. Full disclosure: ListTrac indeed is one of my clients (which Greg knows).

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