Trulia Questions Neutrality of ListHub Now That They’re Owned By Competitor Move

Sep 22, 2010  |  Michael Wurzer

Sami Inkinen, COO of Trulia, writes in a blog post yesterday that he’s worried about whether ListHub will be an honest broker regarding listing activity data now that it’s owned by rival Move, Inc. and

The previously independent ListHub platform (some called it the Switzerland of listing syndication) for listing reporting is now owned by one of the largest “channels”. What happens if there’s a dip in performance and’s numbers drop below those of its competitor sites?

It is difficult to imagine a world where JetBlue and Virgin America would be buying fuel from American Airlines in a fair and independent marketplace where American Airlines has full visibility into the demand from their competitors. Listhub owned by Move Inc, essentially creates this situation.

Sami then suggests that a possible solution would be to “create a committee made up of brokers, MLSs and major online real estate listing sites which will provide accountability to all customers they serve.” I’m not really sure who Sami is suggesting should form this committee, but, at least with respect to listing activity data, I think there’s an easier way.

Several months ago, I posted about a Listing Activity API we created to make it easy for third-party web sites to post listing activity data into the MLS system, which, in my view, is the obvious neutral party for collecting and reporting listing activity data (at least on an aggregate level). Shortly after publishing the API, I contacted both and ThreeWide to see if they’d adopt the standard for the benefit of our mutual customers, but I haven’t heard back from them and now that the merger is announced, I can understand more why that is the case.

Anyway, I think this API or something like it could easily answer Sami’s concerns at least on the neutrality of the listing activity reporting, and I think Sami’s concerns are a good reason why MLSs should be requiring all data recipients (syndicators, etc.) to adopt an API that reports back listing activity data.

10 Responses to “Trulia Questions Neutrality of ListHub Now That They’re Owned By Competitor Move”

  1. Maybe the best way to prevent the flood of bad data out there, and to be able to track the traffic is to never let the data leave the MLS, but instead only the MLS will be the keeper of the content, and when a site wants to display it they run a search against our servers and then pick up the info they need on an as needed basis. I know they will argue that they can’t control the performance that way, but I think that is a small piece of the puzzle and most of us have the ability to offer up higher and higher speeds (at least the large MLSs) and the smaller ones won’t have that much volume to actually impact the performance of the site making the request. But that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong. 🙂

  2. Although I do agree with letting the MLS host the data, it just won’t work. Sellers want their property to appear in as many places as possible, thus agents who either do not belong to the MLS or those who belong to an MLS that does not offer syndication are re-listing the data manually into the other sites (counter productive & not good for listing accuracy). Not to mention all of the FSBO’s that are being entered and co-mingled with MLS listings with nothing to differentiate. Even worse is that all of these sites appear to be syndicating to each other causing 7 of the same listings to appear, all from different sources… horrible marketing… Sadly I don’t know if there is a GOOD answer to the problem. 🙁

  3. PS: Dont get me started with Move and NAR… YUCK!!!

  4. Ron Stephan says:

    Who better to have oversight on the stats than NAR and the MLS’s that participate? As NAR sits on the Move Inc. board and MLS’s provide the data, perhaps this move (excuse the pun) could be the key to assuring that the data receipients (including R.COM) are required to report the data accurately instead of the spotty feedback MLS’s and brokers are receiving from these websites now. While Threewide did their best, I don’t really think they or any of the individual syndicators had the guns and ammo to require the data receipients to report accurately. We all know the sellers, brokers and their licensees want the listings advertised it would be really nice that in return the data receipients report accurately. Perhaps the utimate solution is for data receipients to receive the data from R.COM/Move and MLS’s be paid their fare share of the revenue stream.

  5. I think MoveHub would have gone along with your argument until the last sentence – although I agree with you. What I would like to see with MoveHub is that every syndicatee sign a 3-way agreement with Move and the MLS, and the site vendor paying the MLSs a licensing fee – it could be discounted from our normal fees since MoveHub would be doing a lot of the work.

  6. Ron Stephan says:

    Right on Russ! We collect license fees now from 15 to 20 vendors….i’m not sure why other than liking Rob Reid that we don’t syndicate direct to the other vendors now…….Oh I know….. they don’t use RETS……..Hhhmmm maybe I need to rethink this whole process!!!!

  7. Marc Brodeur says:

    Sammi wouldn’t have his own agenda now would he? I don’t think Zillow, Trulia, or whomever is exactly 100% altruistic in their own business behaviors either. Does he have any examples of egregious behavior on NAR’s or anyone else? While its nice to be proactive I also think its impossible to keep all players happy all the time.

  8. Art Bowen says:

    Move, NAR and any other company after our data that we gather at great time and cost wants to sell it back to us at great expense, ie, Showcase. As these companies gather more of our data, then sell it back to us, then gain control of our data, then offer the Buyers and Sellers to us at a 40% referral fee they begin to control and manipulate our business. Their grand plan is not in our best interest but only their own in gaining control of the information at our cost.
    I say beware.

  9. Can somebody explain to me where this “it’s our valuable data” idea came from? As I see it, an active listing is an advertisement. If sites are disseminating our advertisements at no or low cost to us, isn’t that a good thing? Don’t we want people to know about our listings so that we can sell them?

  10. Art Bowen says:

    As i see it we collect the information, take the photos, enter the information into the MLS then put up the sign, advertise it in different media. As the valuable data propagates to,, Zillow, Home Gain and many other web sites who want to collect this data so they can spam many buyers and sellers who answer them with an inquiry then the Site wants to sell it to you for a 35-38% referral fee for “finding” the client/customer.
    That is why I think it is valuable data. In my opinion we should be selling it to the collectors.
    I don’t know about you but MY time is valuable and so it the data.