And you thought Zillow was the only syndication site making high-level acquisitions?
Advantage – Move, Inc.?
In a clear response to Zillow’s $3.5 billion acquisition of Trulia, Move, Inc., the company that manages NAR’s realtor.com website, has acquired the listing syndication business of Point2 in an effort to increase its market share and prominence.
Though the details of the acquisition have not yet been released, the effects will be substantial – ListHub, Move’s listing syndicator, will now take over Point2’s syndication arrangements with 112 MLSs across the U.S.; that will add 900,000 listings to Move’s ranks, and ListHub will now have 600 data sources and roughly three million listings nationwide (that’s close to 85 percent of all residential listings in the country).
Luke Glass – “A Critical Step”
Luke Glass, the executive vice president of industry platforms for Move, called the Point2 acquisition a “critical step” for the company.
“This is a critical step toward our vision of a single industry platform to manage listing, agent, lead and other analytics information in a single platform, which is an important component for the largest brokerages and franchises that span multiple MLS markets,” Glass said.
“Once the transition is completed,” he continued, “these listings will be protected under ListHub’s stringent terms that guide the responsible and fair exchange of value between content owners and publishers, while brokers will have a single point of control through their dashboard. This model offers significant advantages to the industry in improved online listing accuracy, a single platform for MLSs and their largest brokerages and franchise members, and streamlined service for the publishers who strive to serve the industry through marketing websites and other software solutions.”
In a subsequent interview with RISMedia, Glass added that there was “a fair amount of duplication” between the ListHub and Point2 systems, which made streamlining the platforms – which will occur over a six-month window – beneficial for agents.
The Right Move?
The Point2 acquisition represents a doubling down on both Move and NAR’s long-term strategy, which has been an embrace of data accuracy and brand recognition; unfortunately, that strategy has not benefited Move in the past, so it remains to be seen if its acquisition of Point2 will reverse its fortunes.
The numbers could not be more clear – in May 2014, there were nearly 54 million unique visitors to Zillow and nearly 31 million to Trulia, compared to 23.7 million for Move’s network. In other words, Zillow and Trulia received 85 million visitors, more than three and a half times the network of Move, before an acquisition was even on the table.
Such numbers clearly communicate that Web users prioritize usability and design over data, and that no matter how inaccurate the information on Zillow and Trulia may be, it’s not enough to divert Web traffic to Move’s network of sites. Will even greater accuracy, though, reverse that trend? We’ll have to wait and see.