Is Real Estate Syndication Taking Advantage of Local Brokers and Agents?

UPDATE: Scroll to the bottom for a link to the Sandicor website with their update. 

I was doing some research into real estate agent marketing tools today when I came across this article from a San Diego based Realtor® and broker, Greg SchieringRealtors Push Back Against Zillow and MLS Listing Syndicators – which of course got me wondering if there really is a problem with the real estate syndication process and the marketing tools that derive from it.

Schiering makes some excellent points in the article, he speaks directly to the methods that Zillow, Trulia, and other deep-pocketed media conglomerate sites use to potentially mislead the public, including potential buyers and sellers.

Poorly maintained data scraped from sources besides the MLS database, such as, mean that the information available may be incorrect, out of date or outright fraudulent. This jeopardizes the reputation of the real estate industry as a whole, and colors the perception that prospects have of agents and brokers who might be put in the position of delivering bad news about these bum listings to excited potential purchasers.

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It will be interesting to see what Sandicor, the San Diego association, as well as the Denver association, do to enforce their new policies that require syndicators to either treat the agents, especially the listing agents, with a bit more respect, or lose access to their feed.  Given that the material is copyright protected, as he mentions in the article, it’s entirely enforceable on the part of the MLS agencies to prevent an entity from re-publishing that feed. 

I’m also finding that it’s very difficult to get package pricing from the syndication companies in any sort of online format for much more than an ‘agent website’ when I peruse Zillow, Trulia, etc.  The argument Schiering makes about the aggregators packaging free content they’ve gleaned from the MLS feeds and then selling advertising on that content back to the originators is a strong statement.  I was attempting to determine what the average agent pays monthly for marketing services from the real estate syndication sites.

But is for sure is one that definitely needs some organized reaction on the part of the local brokerages to put the brakes on before its too late and they become irrelevant. 

Sandicor posted this update to their site; they’ve pulled their listings from Zillow, and so far, Zillow has not been agreeable to working out terms.