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The following Broker Bullet was sent directly to all NNRMLS Participants on September 23, 2014. Please contact Shelley Specchio, NNRMLS Chief Executive Officer if you have any questions: shelley@nnrmls.com

Syndication:  NNRMLS is negotiating for better display on 3rd party websites and protection against any display if the broker has opted out!

As you know, the leadership and staff of NNRMLS have spent most of 2014 educating ourselves and our members on Syndication. A good portion of our Brokers (Participants) attended at least one of our Broker Forums, we had a great response rate in our surveys, and several of you have contacted me over the months to discuss this initiative.  What you may not know is we have also participated in a great deal of negotiating with more to come.

Based on your input NNRMLS learned:

  • Members are frustrated by inaccurate data on 3rd party sites.
  • Your clients are frustrated by inaccurate or misleading information on 3rd party sites.
  • Inaccurate data on 3rd party sites reflects poorly – not on the site – but on the agent.
  • Members are frustrated that they are forced to spend money just to get their picture on their own listing on 3rd party sites.
  • Members feel forced to buy their own leads back from 3rd party sites.
  • Many members mistakenly believed that the MLS controlled the syndication of listings to 3rd party sites (it has always resided with the Broker).
  • Agents often employ virtual tour companies or other methods to send listings to 3rd party sites because they don’t know that their Broker is doing it for them.

Based on the information gathered from our Participants, the decision was made to stay with ListHub. But the Trustees of NNRMLS worried that although ListHub has consistently offered our members easy choice, good research material, guaranteed timely updates, and strong protection against re-syndication, to make no change would not address the very real issues that were so passionately discussed at our various meetings. And so they directed the NNRMLS staff to maintain our valuable partnership with ListHub and find improvements. The result is the NNRMLS Syndication Plan.

The NNRMLS Syndication Plan

NNRMLS Statement on Syndication: Each Participant has the right and responsibility to control the distribution of his/her listings on the Internet. Display of listing data on internet websites are initiated only at the direction of the Participant.

NNRMLS will:

  1. Provide a Dashboard whereby the broker may opt in or out of various websites.
    1. Currently that Dashboard is provided by ListHub.
  2. Negotiate directly with leading 3rd party sites for maximum attribution, display, update and accuracy of listing data sent – based on Broker option.
  3. Offer annual Data Management Consultations with each Participant.

Data Management Consultations

In person meeting where NNRMLS staff will provide the Participant with information on data licenses executed within the brokerage. The goal of this meeting is ensure that the data is flowing exactly as the broker intends and the broker knows all his options.

  • Discuss all Broker listing data options
  • Review all IDX licenses
  • Review VOW license, if any
  • Review any 3rd party software or back office software licenses, if any
  • Review broker only listing feeds, if any
  • Review Syndication options via the ListHub Dashboard
    • Confirm lead routing is set up as desired
    • Discuss various options within the Dashboard
    • Discuss Franchiser or Broker direct feeds vs NNRMLS ListHub
    • If a broker wishes NOT to distribute data to 3rd parties at all, that choice will be established and executed during the Data Management Consultation, as well.

That’s it, pretty straight forward.

Currently, we have begun negotiation with the leading 3rd party sites Zillow, Trulia and Homes.com.  In addition, I have been appointed to the realtor.com Executive Advisory Committee where I hope to be able to help our members as well as realtor.com by recommending improvements. It is essential that we engage with these large and powerful corporations. If we are not part of the conversation, how can we expect them to protect the best interests of the agent, the broker, and the consumer over their own bottom line?

We are asking for listing agent pictures and contact information be included, attribution to the listing broker, MLS listings to trump all other sources (except the Broker directly), updates to occur much more frequently, the full and correct status displayed, and if a broker has opted out of syndication to that particular site any instance of that brokers listings will be pulled from the display immediately and the MLS will be notified of the source.

These negotiations are on behalf of the Broker who sees the value of syndicating his listings onto the big 3rd party sites but has been frustrated and demands more.

For the Broker who sees no value in having his listings on those sites, I am negotiating for mechanisms that will pull your listings off the site if received from any source outside the broker or the MLS. NNRMLS is equally determined to protect your right NOT to display your listings on 3rd party sites.

Very soon I hope to announce that the first of 3 big negotiations will be executed and at least some of the frustration listed above will begin to find relief.  

Stay tuned! More to come on Syndication.