Pulling Your Listings: A Boycott or a Movement? Pt. 1

by James F. McClister

The Recorded Benefits

How Cyre-Leike’s Arkansas-based agents will fare following the removal of listings from Trulia and Zillow still remains to be seen, but the company can boast that in the first quarter of 2014, sales volumes were up in Memphis by 14 percent from a year prior, and overall transactions were up four percent. Additionally, Brown told Inman News that inventory is up nearly a percentage point and there’s been a huge increase to the company’s mobile traffic. Crye-Leike still sends its listings to realtor.com and Homes.com.

Brown told Chicago Agent that Crye-Leike’s decision to stay with the two listing sites come from how prominently their listings display the Crye-Leike brand, the agent’s name and the office number, all for free. What’s more, Brown says, is that realtor.com remains the most accurate site out there.

Edna Realty, which removed its listings from Trulia and realtor.com in 2011 and 2012, respectively, now claims to generate more traffic than any other broker-owned or non-broker-owned site in its immediate market. In the year after the brokerage left Trulia, visits to Edina Realty’s website, which includes mobile users, were up 21.7 percent, and unique visitors, meaning a person who visits a site more than once within a specific period of time, were up 17 percent, President and CEO Bob Peltier told Inman News.

Peltier admitted that some of the increases are likely attributed to what was at the time a healthier local real estate market, but adds that he believes “cutting off the flow of listings to national portals was the right move.” He says that consumers are exploring real estate through a variety of mediums, taking in data from multiple angles, and restricting information to a single channel will not modify their behavior.

Last year, Edina represented more than 29,000 buyers and sellers.

Two years after ARG made a similar decision, the brokerage remains satisfied with its decision to remove its listings from Trulia, Zillow and realtor.com. Abbott told Chicago Agent that since discontinuing syndication, the company has posted consecutive record-breaking years.

Shorewest declined to comment on its status following the decision to remove listings from Trulia.

The Other Side

The feedback from brokerages that have pulled their listings from popular syndication and moved them to local MLS services and their own personal websites have largely taken optimistic tones, touting volume and online traffic increases. Despite the results boasted by companies like Edina Realty and Crye-Lieke, there are still several in the industry who are quick to defend the big three.

Linsey Ehle, for instance, a career coach at Better Homes and Garden Real Estate in The Woodlands, Texas, told Inman News that she can’t think of a reason why agents wouldn’t want to use Zillow, Trulia or realtor.com. Ehle says that it’s the duty of every agent to showcase and market a property to attract prospective buyers, and, in today’s world, that means being online.

“If we don’t include the top three most popular websites for real estate,” she asks, “[then] what exactly is our marketing plan?”

Other agents, like Phil Faranda, broker-owner of J. Philip Real Estate and a member of the Zillow Agent Advisory Board, acknowledge the lingering issues of listing services, but say its better to work with them than go at it alone. Like Ehle, Faranda points to the ever-growing importance of online marketing to justify the services, suggesting that the gravitational power of the sites is just too significant to ignore.

  • Sedonia Phillips says:

    It seems a viable solution would be that the Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com should invest the time and capital necessary to update their records so that they are accurate. I have consistently had customers and clients calling me with information from these web sites that is outdated and inaccurate to the point of ridiculous.

  • Ben says:

    What I find disturbing is that they are now competing with us for listings. When a for sale by owner signs up for free on zillow they then push owners.com flat fee service on them. Furthermore, their are no other agents listed on the fsbo’s listing, just their contact info.. Guess its okay to take our listing data and sell it back to us, this is going too far. They are biting the hand that feeds them.

    I’m sorry but realtor.com is a joke and zillow is buying trulia. Time Realtors take back our website and cut the feed to these backstabbing husslers.

  • Connie Cabral says:

    It’s disgusting how Zillow and Trulia operate !!! At the level they rip agents off they should at the very least have their site updated daily. It’s horrific to have clients calling us about properties that no longer exist or that their home is listed as a foreclosure ect. Everyone should pull their listings and gain control of what’s ours.