In less than 90 days, Zillow’s agreement with ListHub will come to an end making it more difficult for Zillow to keep up with the most current MLS listings across the country. Essentially, the go-to real estate website will have to secure separate agreements with brokers and MLSs.
This move seems to have been inevitable ever since News Corp. bought Move which just happens to own ListHub. Because Move competes directly against Zillow, logic points directly to News Corp. and Rupert Murdoch electing to make it as difficult as possible for Zillow to compete with Move, Inc.
Before we proceed, ListHub is the platform used by MLS systems across the country to distribute real estate listings from franchises, brokers, etc. Most every real estate listing website gets its information from ListHub. The real bugaboo is that Zillow has become an online real estate listing giant using the same listing information from ListHub that Move does. It has a large revenue stream coming from selling the leads it generates back to agents. Now that News Corp. has bought Move, it also owns ListHub – see where we are going with this? Talk about dipping your pen in company ink!
On the surface, Zillow does not seem too concerned about this separation. In fact, according to an article written yesterday on Inman.com, Zillow says that it “has direct agreements that will allow it to continue to display most of its current listing information.” Furthermore, Greg Schwartz, Zillow’s chief revenue officer, said “Zillow has commitments or agreements with “double-digit numbers” of the top 50 MLSs in the country and is also negotiating agreements with hundreds more.” As it has to acquire such a high number, it could turn into a digital paperwork nightmare.
Over the next few months as Zillow’s agreement with ListHub nears its expiration, new portals and sites should probably begin to pop up as franchisors, brokers, and MLSs develop their own. And when it comes to potential buyers wanting to search listings in a city or neighborhood, let’s face it…they are not as concerned about where the information originates, they just want information so they can begin their own home search.
So, it looks like we just need to sit back and watch the action unfold. For users, Google will figure out which sites have the most pertinent information and distribute the search results accordingly.
Learn more about implications for traditional brokerages and the potential for launching a vacation rental side of these business in our previous blog post “Potential Implications for Vacation Rental Industry with Zillow’s Acquisition of Trulia.”