Is Zillow, the #2 real estate website, slowly positioning itself to replace our MLSs?. The first sign appeared when Zillow acquired Diverse Solutions in November 2011. I stumbled upon this news while speaking with Diverse Solutions about providing the IDX (Internet Data Exchange) for our company website. The IDX allows Real Estate Brokers to publicly display MLS properties on their website. Diverse Solutions does not currently have access to my MLS, but if they did, my company would have selected them to provide our IDX. They have some impressive features and I was disappointed we could not use them.
The second sign appeared February 14th, when Robert Bemis joined Zillow as their VP of Partner Relations. Bemis was chief executive officer of Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service, Inc. (ARMLS), one of the largest and most influential MLS in the nation. Bemis said, “I am looking forward to the challenge of building bridges to Zillow’s current and potential partners in the industry, including MLSs, Associations of REALTORS®, brokers, agents, appraisers, title companies, mortgage lenders and other service providers.
Here’s my concern. Realtor.com, and other sites, pull information from MLSs around the country through Broker Reciprocity. This information is available to the public via their website or mobile App. Realtor.com will only display most of the property features and only 4 images of a property for free. A premium plan must be purchased, by the broker, for an additional 25 images to appear on Realtor.com. Not all Real Estate Brokers agree with Realtor.com’s Fees, especially when Realtor.com receives their information and charges them to display it. But, we’ve come to accept this relationship as a cost of doing business.
What does Zillow have in store for us? Is Zillow working towards becoming a public MLS? With their recent hire and acquisition, Zillow should announce to the Real Estate Community their agenda. Do you think Zillow is trying to replace our MLS?