The ongoing battle between the giants of online real estate just saw its latest escalation, as Zillow (Z) disclosed that its listing agreement with Listhub will end on April 7.
Zillow made the disclosure in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission filed on Tuesday. In the SEC filing, Zillow said it is ending its four-year listing agreement with Threewide Corporation. Threewide operates Listhub. Threewide is owned by Move, Inc., which operates Realtor.com for the National Association of Realtors. And Move is now owned by News Corp (NWS).
“There is no dispute between the parties with respect to the agreement, and Zillow will not incur any early termination penalties as a result of the agreement’s expiration,” Zillow said in its SEC filing.
But a in a statement provided to HousingWire, Move said that it hoped to continue the listing agreement.
“ListHub has been negotiating in good faith a new listing distribution and reporting agreement with Zillow on terms that reflect the best interests of the brokerage industry,” Move said in a statement. “As communicated in public announcements, Zillow decided to end those negotiations and announced the launch of their own platform. Zillow chose their own route for their business model and interests.”
A Zillow spokesperson told HousingWire that it expects a “few hundred thousand” out of the 3.6 million listings currently on Zillow to be affected when the Listhub agreement ends, but said that Zillow is attempting to contact all of the potentially impacted MLSs to secure listing agreements to avoid any listings disappearing from Zillow.
Zillow is indeed launching its own platform for listing management, Zillow Data Dashboard, which the company announced Tuesday as well. Zillow Data Dashboard is a new listing management and reporting platform that puts increased control of listings in the hands of MLS members and brokers, Zillow said.
“MLSs and brokers who currently send direct feeds to Zillow can begin using the new platform for free when it launches in mid-January,” Zillow said. “In many cases, the new platform and reporting tools will replace third-party services, ensuring listings will be published to Zillow more quickly and be easier to update.”
Zillow added that that the new platform includes streamlined customer service options from a dedicated Zillow team.
Zillow said that it expects to directly connect with a total of 1.6 million for-sale-by-agent listings using the new platform. Over time, Zillow expects all listings published on Zillow to come through the Zillow Data Dashboard, the company said.
"As we enter a new year, we are cementing our commitment to be the best industry partner to the MLSs and brokers who send listings to Zillow," said Greg Schwartz, Zillow chief revenue officer. "The Zillow Data Dashboard firmly puts control of listings, and where their listings appear, in the hands of brokers and agents. The direct flow of listings from our partners enables us to provide the most accurate and timely listings to the millions of consumers who come to Zillow each month to find homes and connect with agents."
Zillow said that the “key benefits” of the Zillow Data Dashboard include:
- Single-click publishing of real estate listings directly to Zillow
- Automatic updates to listings information every 15 minutes
- Free daily reports to track how listings perform on Zillow in real time
- Ability to work with existing MLSs systems, including a single sign-on option for the hundreds of MLSs using Clareity Security software and the Clareity Dashboard
- Streamlined, seven-days-a-week customer service
The ending of the Listhub-Zillow relationship is the latest in a series of developments that have rocked the world of online real estate.
It comes right on the heels of the announcement of a new CEO at Move, with News Corp veteran Ryan O’Hara taking over this week for former Move CEO Steve Berkowitz.
With News Corp CEO Robert Thomson promising to “turbo-charge” Realtor.com, the online real estate market has never been hotter.
The two largest players in the space, Zillow and Trulia (TRLA), recently elected to stop competing with each other, instead choosing to team up in an effort to dominate the entire online real estate market.
The two companies announced in July that they had entered into a definitive agreement in which Zillow would purchase Trulia for $3.5 billion in a stock-for-stock transaction.
The two companies will remain separate entities, though real estate agents will be able to advertise on both sites and gain access to combined tech efforts, the company's CEOs said when the deal was announced. The deal is still awaiting regulatory approval.
And now with News Corp beginning to make changes at Move, the next skirmish in the battle for online real estate domination can’t be far behind.