After battling it out in the public, in the press and in the courts for months, the tumultuous relationship between the Zillow Group (Z) and Move is mere hours or perhaps even minutes from being over.
Online real estate’s D-Day is finally here.
By the end of the day April 7, any and all real estate listings provided to Zillow and Trulia by Move-owned ListHub will disappear forever, unless Zillow Group has consent from the listings supplier to keep the listing on Zillow.
Zillow and ListHub have been at war over listing data for months. It began in January, when Zillow announced its decision to cancel its listing agreement with ListHub, which is owned by Move - itself owned by News Corp (NWS) - and operates Realtor.com for the National Association of Realtors.
The feud escalated when Zillow completed its $2.5 billion acquisition of Trulia in February, positioning Move and the Zillow Group as the principal combatants in the battle for online real estate supremacy.
Shortly after the Trulia deal was finalized, HousingWire reported that ListHub informed Trulia that it was terminating its listing agreement with Trulia, effective in five business days, meaning that any ListHub-provided listing on Trulia.com would have disappeared on Feb. 26, citing Zillow’s acquisition of Trulia the cause for the cancellation.
The Zillow Group threatened legal action against Move, in an attempt to keep the ListHub data flowing to Trulia.
Eventually, the two sides settled, agreeing to the termination of the ListHub agreements with both Zillow and Trulia on April 7.
Now, April 7 is here and the any ListHub-provided listing will soon be gone from Zillow and Trulia.
When Zillow canceled its agreement with ListHub in January, Zillow said that it expected to lose a “few hundred thousand” listings when the Listhub agreement ends, but Zillow has spent the last few months engaged in a campaign to sign multiple listing services to direct listing agreements that will keep the stream of listings flowing to the sites.
Zillow has found success with the campaign, saying last week that its campaign to sign multiple listing services to direct listing agreements has been so successful that Zillow and Truliawill soon host more listings than ever before.
“Notwithstanding seasonality and market inventory fluctuations, as a result of the increase in direct feeds, Zillow and Trulia will have a larger percentage of active listings than they would have if the ListHub contracts had not ended,” the Zillow Group said in a recent release.
Given Zillow’s recent success at securing direct listing agreements, the actual number of listings that will disappear from Zillow and Trulia is unknown. A representative from Zillow told HousingWire that they could not comment on the nature of their contracts.
What is known is how many listings ListHub sends to Zillow on a daily basis. On an average day, ListHub provided Zillow Group with approximately 2 million listings sourced from more than 550 MLSs and 50,000 brokers across the country, Lexie Puckett, Move’s senior communications manager, told HousingWire.
As for Zillow, last week it celebrated a “record-setting” week, adding 33 new MLSs total.
"The momentum continues to build," Errol Samuelson, Zillow Group’s chief industry development officer said last week. "The industry has been incredibly supportive in working with us to create direct listing feeds, for the benefit of brokers, agents, home buyers and sellers. We are working hard to keep up with the demand. Not only has the number of MLSs sending us a direct feed skyrocketed, we also are getting more listings in those markets than before."
On Monday, Zillow announced it signed 14 more MLSs to direct listing agreements, including Chicago-based Midwest Real Estate Data.
"For every new partnership we build with an MLS, the experience on Zillow and Trulia gets better for everyone - from brokers and agents to home sellers and buyers," Samuelson said. "It's a very exciting time for Zillow Group as we are helping more brokers and agents than ever. We appreciate the support of the MLSs who are joining us to work for the benefit of their members."
As for Move, the focus now shifts to the continued development of realtor.com.
“Realtor.com is extremely well positioned to compete and thrive in this environment of industry consolidation and data-driven customers,” Move CEO Ryan O’Hara said in an email to Move’s employees, which was obtained by HousingWire.
“We offer the most comprehensive and accurate listings in America, and we generate the highest-quality leads in the business,” O’Hara continued. “On top of this (perhaps because of it) we entered 2015 with impressive business momentum – brand awareness up more than 25%, web and mobile traffic up more than 30%, and 11 consecutive quarters of year-over-year revenue growth.”
O’Hara also said he believed that consumers and real estate professionals were “awakening” to the realization that Zillow and Trulia’s promises of shortcuts and discounts actually cost them more in the long run.
And Move hopes to be properly positioned to capitalize on those opportunities.
“Move is moving full steam ahead on its mission of putting real estate at the fingertips of consumers and connecting them with the indispensable services of real estate professionals,” Move said in a statement to HousingWire.
“The stakes just got higher for Zillow Group,” Move continued. “Not only is it facing the daunting challenge of integrating two businesses, it now has to attempt to duplicate ListHub’s comprehensive and accurate listings database. Meanwhile, realtor.com continues to strengthen its position as the best digital real estate destination for consumers, advertisers and agents and brokers."