Court rules ListHub must continue to provide listing data to Trulia

Zillow Group wins the first round

Realtors, real estate agents and brokers who were worried that their listings were going to disappear from Trulia by the end of the week can breathe a sigh of relief, at least for now.

That’s because the latest round in the contentious battle between Move and the Zillow Group (Z) over Move-owned ListHub’s decision to terminate its listing agreement with Trulia has gone Zillow’s way, with a California judge ruling that ListHub is required to continue to provide listing data to Trulia until at least March 12.

The Zillow Group threatened legal action against Move, which is owned by News Corp (NWS) and operates for the National Association of Realtors, after it informed Trulia last week that it was immediately terminating its listing agreement with Trulia, effective Feb. 26.

But that’s not going to happen now, because Judge Ernest Goldsmith of the San Francisco Superior Court granted Zillow Group’s request for a temporary restraining order and set a court date of March 12, which will keep ListHub listings flowing to Trulia until at least that date.

Trulia was predictably pleased with the court’s decision.

“The court’s order is a win for brokers, agents and the home sellers they represent. Since News Corp announced its decision on Friday to prematurely cut off the listing feed to Trulia, we’ve received an influx of calls from MLSs and brokers who were concerned that they and their clients wouldn’t be able to effectively market their listings ahead of the home shopping season,” Trulia’s president, Paul Levine said in a statement.

“We’re very pleased with this preliminary decision, and hopeful the court will grant us the further time necessary to make this transition in an orderly way,” he continued. 

The fight over the ListHub listings is more than a little interesting, considering what Zillow Group CEO Rascoff said last week. “When we announced we were parting ways with News Corp, we were constrained on being reliant on a competitor for listings,” Rascoff said Wednesday morning. He said ListHub sent inferior listings to emphasize that Move’s had “higher quality listings.”

Rascoff also called the separation from Move a “liberating moment.”

Zillow’s previously announced decision to cancel its own listing agreement with ListHub was a surprise to Move, which expected the listing agreement to continue. As it stands now, ListHub listings will disappear from Zillow on April 7.

Sources inside Zillow have told HousingWire that the fight to keep ListHub’s listings on Trulia is not about whether the listings themselves continue to flow to Trulia into perpetuity, the fight is over the short lead time that Move gave Trulia before pulling its listings.

Sources at Move told HousingWire that the Zillow Group should have been prepared for this move and questioned whether Zillow has the ability to simply push all of its listing data to Trulia to replace the ListHub data.

Move sources also told HousingWire that Rascoff’s claims of “inferior data” being provided to Zillow are untrue. The sources told HousingWire that all ListHub customers receive the exact same data, regardless of whether the site is a competitor of or not.

As for Move, the company said it’s ready for the next fight.

“We look forward to another 'liberating moment' for Zillow on March 12, when we will have the opportunity to make our full case in court,” Move said in a statement. “In the meantime, we are happy to continue supplying the industry’s best data."

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