Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

Sponsor: ListHub

My thanks to realtor.com and ListHub for sponsoring Vendor Alley. ListHub is hosting on webinar on Wednesday, November 15th. Click on this link to register => “How 3 Websites Grew Their Business in Record Time.

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Zillow settles lawsuit with MOVE/NAR

Andrea Brambila reporting for Inman News

Zillow and Move settle trade secrets lawsuit for $130M

$130 million smackaroos is all it took.

“Before the settlement, the case was scheduled to go to jury trial today. None of the parties admitted any liability, wrongdoing or responsibility in the settlement agreement, according to a Zillow Group public filing.

Move’s co-plaintiff, the National Association of Realtors, is entitled to 10 percent of the settlement proceeds after deduction of Move’s litigation-related costs and fees, with the remainder being paid to Move, according to a News Corp. public filing.”

All I can say is thank goodness. This was a huge distraction for everyone involved. I’m so happy for Errol, Curt and their families. This had to cause such undue stress on all involved.

I hoping that everyone involved can move forward and forgive and forget. I thought is was bullshit when MOVE and NAR first filed the lawsuit against Errol, especially in an industry where people seem to move from different companies on a regular basis.

But, I was also worried about Zillow’s timing and the aggressive way that they hired Curt. It seemed pretty ruthless.

This industry needs as many smart people involved in the conversation as possible. So NAR, let Zillow Group participate in trade shows and events.

Zillow, the last time I saw Spencer give a talk they asked him what was one of things he would have changed in the past. He said he would have reached out more to the industry. Well, you talked the talk, now walk the walk.

I’m also excited to see what is on the horizon for online real estate. You can bet the competition between MOVE, Zillow Group, Redfin and other is going to be fierce.

I glad were are back to innovation instead of spoliation.

News Corp promotes Celeste Starchild.

From Inman News, Celeste Starchild promoted to SVP of professional software at Move

“In her expanded role, she helps drive Move’s family of professional software offerings ranging from lead generation and response tools to CRM and transaction management,” said Move in a statement, adding that Starchild will continue to serve as ListHub’s general manager.”

Looks like she also keep her current responsibilities at ListHub as well.

Congrats to Celeste!

CRMLS wins “Most Innovative MLS” award from Inman Inman. Celeste Starchild from ListHub also honored.

Congrats to Art Carter and the rest of the CRMLS team for winning this year’s Inman 2015 Innovator Award winner for “Most innovative MLS”. Inman news cited “has been clawing away at getting local MLS organizations to participate in its shareable database of listings, which will expedite innovation.” I think what made the difference for CRMLS was the well crafted messaging, videos and social media around their #ItsMyBiz campaign.

Also happy to see Celeste Starchild being recognized as one of the “four women who have shown leadership in the constant pursuit of innovation. Susan Daimler from Zillow, Chelsea Goyer from Redfin, and Dottie Herman from Douglas Elliman Real Estate. I’d like to see this list kept going and expanded next year, there are many others deserving to be recognized.

“Whistleblower” stirs things up between Move, NAR and Zillow.

Whistleblower alleges Zillow is stealing listing data from agent websites

Andrea Brambila from Inman News:

“In court filings today, Move said it received the letter yesterday, April 9. The company, along with fellow plaintiff the National Association of Realtors, is calling for the court to grant third-party discovery in the case, saying “The defendants simply cannot be trusted to be the sole source of evidence in this case regarding their conduct.”

Move declined to comment on which third parties would be involved.

“The plaintiffs have complained for months that the defendants are systematically hiding evidence in secret non-Zillow email accounts and file-sharing services,” attorneys for Move and NAR said in the court filing.

“The defendants have denied the claims, deriding them as ‘silly’ conspiracy theories and claim they have produced everything. The whistleblower’s letter appears to confirm, however, the plaintiffs’ worst fears.”

This is getting very ugly. The letter itself is pretty detailed. It doesn’t just focus on Errol and Curt but Spencer Rascoff, Zillow’s CEO, and Greg Schwartz, Zillow’s Chief Revenue Officer, and a bunch of other Zillow employees.

I think the letter was written by someone who had an executive position in the company (Zillow). I’m betting it’s a former employee, with an axe to grind, and I bet Zillow knows exactly who he is.

But its hard to believe any of the stuff the letter suggests. Its either blown out of proportion, not relevant, or taken out of context. Is having a rolodex a crime? Zillow has been kicking realtor.com’s ass without any sort of help, why risk it?

Z2K

Well I just got back from AEI 2015, held in Vancouver B.C. Beautiful city and those Canadians are a pleasant bunch. The meetings are still going on and I had a great time catching up with everyone. And of course the main topic on everyone’s mind was the Zillow-Trulia-ListHub listings kerfuffle. Lots of activity and discussion happening in this area especially since the court bitch-slapped Trulia. In a ruling that Move commented they were “extremely pleased and delighted with the court’s ruling” and had agreed to the new cutoff date.” I’ll say.

April 7th is the new date for both Trulia and Zillow. I was kibitzing with a few other vendors who commented that it kind of felt like the hysteria back in 2000, dubbed “Y2K”. Of course in this scenario its more like “Z2K“. : )

But Zillow isn’t satisfied with just the listing data. They appear to want to win the hearts and minds of MLS providers. And that appears to be the aim of its next “invite only” event being held in Las Vegas. Zillow is footing the bill for travel and airfare of some of the most influential MLS executives in the industry. “Vegas Baby!”

Speaking of MLS providers, Zillow Group just announced a list of 18 new MLS providers that have signed direct feed agreements. And there are a few biggies.

“New partners include:

Alaska MLS – Anchorage, Alaska
California Regional Multiple Listing Service, Inc. – Los Angeles, Calif.
Golden Isles Association of REALTORS® – Brunswick, Ga.
Greater Lansing Association of REALTORS – Greater Lansing, Mich.
Greater Las Vegas Association of REALTORS – Las Vegas, Nev.
Gulf Coast MLS – Mobile, Ala.
MIBOR Service Corporation – Indianapolis, Ind.
Middle Georgia MLS – Macon, Ga.
North Central Mississippi Realtors – Oxford, Miss.
North Carolina Mountains MLS – Fletcher, NC
Northern New England Real Estate Network– Concord, NH
Northwest Mississippi Association of REALTORS – Nesbit, Miss.
Russellville BOR – Russellville, Ark.
Santa Fe Association of REALTORS Inc. – Santa Fe, NM
South Central Board of REALTORS – Rolla, Mo.
Tillamook County MLS – Tillamook, Ore.
Western Arizona Realtors Data Exchange – Lake Havasu City, Ariz.
West Central Association of Realtors MN – Willmar, Minn.”

This is a much better list that the previously announced on March 4th, which was kind of a joke.

Who else is tired of all this drama?? The feeling I get from other vendors is they can’t wait till April 8th (but I have the feeling we are only getting started). All this Zillow Group stuff is clogging up THEIR deal pipeline. Amen to that.

Syndication Shitstorm

FMFU

Yesterday MOVE slapped the newly formed Zillow Group with the news that as of next week they won’t be providing listing to Trulia any longer. This seemed to be in response to Zillow’s earlier rebuke of continuing the ListHub agreement past the contract date.

Now it appears that Zillow is seeking a restraining order to keep listings flowing to Zillow.

Oy Vey!

A few observations:

Welcome to the team!
Tough first week for Paul Levine, newly appointed president of Trulia.

The Velvet Glove
I’m going to start calling Celeste Starchild, “the velvet glove”, because she always seems to be delivering the bad (good?) news, but tries to downplay the consquences.

Shit Sandwich
And going back to Zillow’s earlier refusal to re-sign with ListHub, can you really blame them? ListHub was basically forcing them to use a data feed their very own company won’t use on its own site (realtor.com). Zillow take is that ListHub was was serving them a shit sandwich, telling them to eat, and that they better like it.

Lobby bars
Good thing the Clareity’s MLS Executive Workshop next week is serving great popcorn, because the show has just begun!

Celeste Starchild pens letter outlining ListHub/Zillow offer and term sheet.

Wow. I fucking love this.

ListHub Releases Details, Terms of Listing Deal Proposed to Zillow.

“Following the announcement, we knew it was important to directly speak with a number of our partners and customers to make sure we had the benefit of your views on the situation. One of the most common requests we received during these discussions was for the terms that were encapsulated in our term sheet with Zillow. In the spirit of transparency, we have included a summary of those terms here: http://www.listhub.com/zillow-agreement-proposed-terms/.

Kudos to Celeste and ListHub for being open about what went down. The letter is well written too. Here’s a couple of tidbits.

– Price wasn’t a factor, since the term sheet didn’t include anything about price.

– Zillow didn’t even bother to counter the term sheet. That’s straight gansta.

– In fact Zillow didn’t bother to respond at all. The first response ListHub heard was when Zillow publicly announced their Data Dashboard product.

More evidence that Spencer Rascoff is really Frank Underwood.

Zillow making progress with MLS direct feeds.

Word on the street is that Zillow is making progress with getting MLS direct feeds. I expect a big announcement next week. Getting some of these larger MLS Providers are key.

What is less clear is the adoption rate of how many of these MLS providers will use/implemet the much touted Zillow Data Dashboard.

Another thing that did strike me is what it must be like at Zillow’s HQ with the end of ListHub agreement coming to an end so soon. Which prompted this tweet:

Good times.

He said, she said.

This post from HousingWire.com is a good one to read to get a better (another?) perspective on the Zillow and ListHub kerfuffle.

Ben Lane at HousingWire.com: Zillow ending listing agreement with Listhub

““ListHub has been negotiating in good faith a new listing distribution and reporting agreement with Zillow on terms that reflect the best interests of the brokerage industry,” Move said in a statement. “As communicated in public announcements, Zillow decided to end those negotiations and announced the launch of their own platform. Zillow chose their own route for their business model and interests.”

It reminds me of a breakup where both parties claim that it was they that broke off the relationship, not the other way around.

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