Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

Microsoft agrees to take down Bing Homes Portal


Bada Bing

Microsoft Bing Real Estate Portal in Violation of Copyright Infringement – MLSs Must Act Immediately

“It seems like Zillow and Redfin started a relationship with Microsoft to leverage innovative OpenAI technology to deliver some interesting consumer benefits to people searching for homes on Zillow and Redfin. It is hard to ascertain how this relationship started with Bing Chat and evolved into Bing.com/realestate providing a full listing display breaking so many MLS rules, that links out to advertisers, and points to Zillow and Redfin as the sources of the data rather than the brokerage or MLS. It’s not Zillow or Redfin’s data to give!”

Victor Lund, WAV Group

Great write up from Victor regarding the Bing controversy, go read the whole thing. Sam DeBord was the first to start posting about this and Marian at Inman News did a story as well. Good reporting.

Okay so let’s first let’s get something straight right from the top, Bing.com/realestate is a mother fucking real estate portal, not a search results page.

  • I can like properties
  • I can save a property
  • I can setup a saved search
  • I can see multiple photos (sans watermark) – WTF?
  • I can “claim ownership”
  • I can see an “estimated value”
  • I can even get a mortgage!

And it appears that Zillow, Redfin and Realtor.com may be complicit in powering Bing. From Victor’s post,

“Here is how easily Zillow and Redfin can stop bing from accessing and republishing content – code courtesy of OpenAI “<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>.” Inventory is turning in 30-90 days in most markets, rendering search on Bing irrelevant in a short period of time. If current listings are not displayed to active home buyers in today’s tight market, consumers will abandon them. Of course, this would be a poison pill for Zillow and Redfin who rely on search engines for a significant amount of their consumer traffic.”

Victor Lund, WAV Group

Shout out to Homes.com for not being a part of this scheme, as Victor also points out.

But MLS organizations need to step up, more from Victor.

“MLS must protect the assets contributed by each broker, or firms will simply contribute their content to OpenAI for free, and access the listing content of other brokerage firms using OpenAI. CMA vendors like Inside Real Estate, Delta Media and dozens of others can stop paying $5 Million a year in Data License fees and access the data from OpenAI. An OpenAi driven CMA would work like Cloud CMAs revolutionary 1 Minute CMA, only it would be almost instant. Moreover, consumers could simply run their own CMA without a professional.”

Victor Lund, WAV Group

“AI” is the new “lion over the hill”. If MLS orgs want to protect their data licensing revenue you need to nip this in the bud now.

Can you modify/add compensation info to an IDX feed, on your own listings?


“We already have a feature that allows them to enhance their listings, add other photos, and do other stuff. So really, I thought to make an extension of that would be pretty easy and add another field that allows them for their own listings only to display the compensation.”

Morgan Carey in an interview with Michael Catarevas of RISMedia

Is this kosher under the new settlement rules? From my understanding if you are receiving a feed from the MLS you can’t have compensation information, even on your own listings. Although, I think this would be hard to enforce.

I believe if you manually entered a listing and added your own compensation that would be cool. But the fact you are receiving a feed from the MLS limits you. Maybe a VOW/BBO feed would be okay? Love to hear from anyone who has a good take on this.

HowardHanna.com switches to VOW, and raises questions on IDX and national portals

This is a head-scratcher. I’m not sure I fully understand what is going on here but I’ll try and explain. From the video, HowardHanna.com appears to be leaving IDX. Currently, they are showing only HH listings and you must register to see more.

So is Howard Hanna pulling out of IDX? Is there some sort of selective listing opt-out mechanism? Mr. Hanna also says they will “still be partnering with the national portals, and figuring what the strategy will be with them.” I can’t for the life of me figure out how since most of the national portals use an IDX feed. Can you blend an IDX feed with a direct feed from a broker?

Genius or bat-shit crazy? I don’t yet understand the strategy fully until some of these questions are answered. I guess if they are super dominant in that market then it might make sense.

But if I’m a listing agent in Ohio that is competing with Howard Hanna the first thing I would bring up at a listing presentation is something to the tune of, “Howard Hanna won’t promote your listings on all websites, I will”.

I’ll be hosting a Twitter Spaces on this subject today at 1PM PT. Join us!

“My listing, my lead is a scam”

Great thread on Twitter from @gregfischer

It seems like everyone chimes in on this thread. Good discussion and I think Greg is spot on with some of his observations (including the one above).

Now that CoStar is a broker, is their way of “hijacking” IDX listings better than everyone else? You be the judge.

In an interview with Brad Inman, Andy Florance, CEO of CoStar said Zillow was “hijacking” listings and also compared them to the Mafia. His analogy was as follows:

“An agent puts up a yard sign, and then another company pulls up, spray paints over the sign, and puts a new agent’s name on the sign. Florance said no one would tolerate such behavior in the real world.”

Here’s what I’m picturing from Andy’s description.

In a recent post about the divorce of Homesnap and BPP Homesnap’s co-founder Steve Barnes stated…

“Homes.com and Homesnap.com will also offer paid preferred placement for listings in search results.”

Would this be tolerated in the “real world”?

REcolorado approves commingling

REcolorado Approves Commingling of Listings on Broker IDX Sites

“REcolorado is dedicated to and passionate about creating a transparent, pro-consumer marketplace that empowers brokers of all sizes with robust data,” said Gene Millman, president and CEO of REcolorado. “The MLS makes the market work. To accelerate the advancement of our industry it is critical for us to embrace a forward-thinking mindset that streamlines access to all available data in the market for brokers and consumers.

Listings from REcolorado MLS that display on broker IDX websites are required to prominently display certain fields including listing broker attribution and the IDX logo, which distinguishes MLS listings from non-MLS listings. Commingling of listings is an optional policy of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)”

Some of the sacred cows we have in the industry need to be challenged. If not, how will we as an industry drive innovation? Hats off to REcolorado for their leadership here.

Reminds me of a song.

“And the walls keep tumbling down…and the walls keep tumbling down..tumbling down…tumbling down, tumbling tumbling dooooooooooooooown.” – John Mellencamp

The whole magilla!

Look Before you LEAP

“I can’t say I’m an expert in content licensing outside of real estate, but I’m having a hard time thinking of content licensing where the cost isn’t driven by usage volume. For example, pretty much every RE site licenses Google or some other mapping content, and we pay based on usage. APIs like Walkscore (owned by Redfin) are based on usage and other terms. Even beyond content licensing deals, all the cloud providers, such as AWS, Azure, etc., all have usage based pricing. Given this, why is it that real estate content is licensed without terms of use based on usage?”

Interesting response from Michael Wurzer about the new LEAP Policy being floated around. This part is interesting.

“If MLSs would treat the aggregated content as the value it is with proper licensing terms, almost all of the problems LEAP is trying to address would go away. And, more importantly, there would be a sound basis for addressing the wide differences among the sites using the data. Let’s just be clear about this: There’s a HUGE difference in value being derived from the licensed MLS content by Zillow or Realtor.com versus a single agent IDX site. Treating those the same is crazy.”

Really good points here (as usual from Mike). Lots to think about.

OJO Labs acquires WolfNet

OJO Labs acquires WolfNet Technologies

“Specific financial terms were not made public but the deal involved a mix of equity and stock.

The founders of both companies, who had previously been working together on a partnership wherein OJO was using multiple listing service (MLS) data from Wolfnet, said that the deal made sense because of the synergies to be found between them, merging a new consumer-facing property search tool in the form of OJO with a trusted agent-and-broker focused software and data company in the form of WolfNet.”

Seems like every week a deal gets announced and this is a pretty big one! I con only think of one other vendor that currently aggregates the amount of MLS data WolfNet does. I don’t know much about OJO Labs but they are VC backed.

Joel is definitely an O.G. in the industry and a big congrats to him and his team.

Florida MLS provider kicks Homesnap to the curb

Florida’s Space Coast listing service ditches its Homesnap site

“In an Oct. 2 announcement and email to members, Space Coast MLS said the Homesnap-powered public search on its new association website “wasn’t the right fit for our needs” and had been replaced by a search tool from Financial Business Systems’ (FBS) Flexmls, a previous vendor, while Space Coast MLS works on a permanent solution.”

Looks like Space Coast was iframing Homesnap as their public facing site, which according to Steve Barnes..

““This is really kind of a fringe case related to Homesnap,” Barnes said in a phone interview, adding that none of the other MLSs that iframe Homesnap’s site have chosen to turn it off.

“What it might say is a very local MLS needs unique flavor and a more seamless [tool]. Iframe might not be the best solution for them, but it’s not something that’s actually core to the Homesnap brand,” he added.”

But here’s the rub. According to the article whether you iframe or not you still can’t filter on pools? WTF?

Also, something else. Did you know that you can’t get listing alerts via Homesnap? That’s right you have to login on to the site run a saved search manually (like a caveman) and then find out if properties match your criteria. Unless of course if you just wanted a home with a pool because there is no way to do that currently.

Think about it, it’s 2018 and Homesnap can’t

1. Search for homes with pools
2. Create and send listing alerts (which is ironic because this.)

2 things, I’m sure 99% of IDX vendors have been able to do, for the last 19 years.

Who the fuck cares about “fair display guidelines” if you can’t search for homes with a pool or get listing alerts?

And this is supposed to be “the real estate’s industry answer to third party sites like Zillow and realtor.com”.

I bet they are laughing their asses off in Seattle and Silicon Valley.

But hey, “downloads”, right?

Sponsored By Lone Wolf