takes a step closer to Trulia

Come spring, won’t have access to the Northwest MLS, so only houses from agents who pay to participate will show up., a site the “crawls” broker web sites to fill its database, will probably have more listings from western Washington from that point going forward (the NWMLS still has the most).

Usually I believe that access trumps all, but it is unseemly for an organization like the NWMLS to give its data away for free to a corporate giant, but block all other interested parties., I’d like to be the first to welcome you to the rest of the world, where you either have to work with a licensed broker and play by the rules, accept listings for free, or crawl the web to find listings.

25 thoughts on “ takes a step closer to Trulia

  1. First, the NWMLS went after agent and broker use of “MLS”, now withdrawing listings from Perhaps, it’s conceivable, they will start enforcing control over listings and go after the Trulia’s of the real estate world. Besides the NWMLS already has a public site allowing buyers unencumbered access without any ads or lead generation forms.

  2. On the one hand, I’ll be interested to see how this plays out. On the other hand, with the majority of MLSs still in the hands of the boards I’m not sure how earth-shattering this change will be. Except for the lucky agents in the Pacific NW who now become the exclusive source for the data.

    Does the NWMLS provide an IDX feed for members or is the blackout curtain being dropped fully?

  3. Ben, I don’t think they’ll go after the Trulias – agents should have and do have every right to advertise their listings wherever they want. Trulia does not use the NWMLS feed, never has, and doesn’t plan to.

  4. I know I work for the Move (which runs, so I should probably not be commenting on this article, but I have a really funny thought. Now that Windermere is sending all there listings to Google Base where anyone can pick them up through an API, wouldn’t it be a bit ironic if best source of NW listings in the future came from Windermere listings?

    (Note, this is in no way an endorsement of the idea that WILL lose NWMLS listings. Considering Marlow states that nothing is going to change until Spring, there is still lots of time for negotiations.)

  5. I guess I was commenting on the “crawling” term which I take as, Trulia acquiring automatically, without the website owners consent, the listings originating from the NWMLS. I agree, listing agents should advertise their listings on the mediums of their choice.

    Though, I just looked at some of the listings on Trulia and most are coming from small agent sites who aren’t even the listing agent of the listings Trulia is attributing to them. (Though, they may have the listing agent’s permission to do so).

  6. Ben,

    The NWMLS has a public site because the are REQUIRED to have one. But they clearly make it crappy enough so that they do not compete with the Member Broker Sites.

  7. I feel very sorry for the small companies on the coast and toward Canada that were talked into joing NWMLS. They JUST gained the exposure via as a result, and now are going to belong to the “big MLS”, but lose one of the prime advantages. The big companies won’t hurt, but these small companies will. The further out they are. The more remote they are. The more they will get hurt in this.

    I helped a small company sell a lot on the Pacific Coast, via, within months of their gaining access. So I know from where I speak here. I think the small companies are getting caught on this one. Back to “Big Boys RULE” rules, I guess. It’s a pity.

    Personally, I don’t believe it will happen in the end. I find it hard to believe it will really happen. My prediction…there will be a turn around vote before it comes to pass.

    Side note: Seattle Times Banner Ad FINALLY got fixed. John L. Scott took it over and fixed it. More “breaking news” on the “Search the MLS” front.

  8. Ben, that’s funny – Trulia says they make every effort to only show only an agent/brokers listings and not the listings from the various mls around the country.

    Dustin, that is a hilarious observation. Move should absolutely start pulling from Google Base – that data wants to be free! And I suspect that will work out a solution to keep NWMLS listings on their site.

  9. Ardell, perhaps those small companies of which you speak should put some effort into developing their own websites and try to become the “go-to” site for their locale. One can set up a nice template site through Superlative, Advanced Access, Uberator or Z57 for less than $200, get a feed from the MLS and apply SEO to quickly move up to a good position without much cost. Even if they don’t want to do that, I’m sure if the MLS/ umbilicus is cut, will still accept a feed from smaller, individual firms out there. I called Move to see if they would do that, but they had “no comment” as they’ve not been formally notified that their contract would not be continued, even though the vote by the Board of Directors happened several weeks ago. (Perhaps someone out there knows someone who works at Move? I’d love to hear something other than “no comment” :))

    And just as a side note, Trulia does not crawl or scrape MLS sites wthout permission. Those listings that are on their are with the express permission of the individual agents and/or brokerages.

  10. Actually, you can get a new website for even cheaper than $200. Steve Jagger with Ubertor is offering free real estate websites and charging only a $57.00/month hosting fee. To signup, go to: Uberator

  11. Thanks for the plug Marlow. Yes, we are running a promo where we can waive the setup fee. Anyone interested, please feel free to call me directly 1-800-209-2416 ext 708

    I’ve been following this conversation on quite a few blogs today. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

    To comment on the agents closers to Canada, I believe your talking about the Whatcom County agents as the Whatcom MLS was just taken over by the NWMLS. Overall this change was good for them. Their old MLS system allowed them to do a bit more, the 2 feed restriction was not a problem, but they seem to have pushed through it and now have access to more listings.

    This site is an agent in Bellingham (right near the border) that is doing what Marlow suggested.

  12. Dustin & Galen,

    It will all boil down to copyright. Currently when you load the photo of the listing into the mls you transfer the copyright to the mls. The mls can easily send a letter to that says you do not have permission to display our images please purge them from your system. No one will look at a websites without photos. As I have said many times image copyright is one of the easiest positions to defend.

  13. Here in the Bay Area, our MLS (REIL) and have an uneasy relationship as well. REIL, per NAR’s guidelines, prohibits displaying sold data, but, whose local feed comes from REIL, displays sold data. They appear to get away with it because their source for the that data is a 3rd party aggregator.

  14. More old news: For a while, two or three years ago, ARMLS in Central Arizona stopped feeding, with the only active listings coming directly from individual brokerages. I don’t remember how it was resolved, although obviously it was.

  15. Since I’m an equal-opportunity schill, both Z57 and Advanced Access will set you up with a website too. Z57’s cost is under $600 set-up fee and about $59 a month hosting fee. Advanced Access sometimes has $199 set-up specials and their hosting fee is $39 a month. There’s no reason for a brokerage NOT to have their own custom site. Both of these companies offer IDX solutions and templates, but they’re fully and easily customizable.

  16. On the bright side, if only 100 or so properties show on in the Seattle area, people looking there who are relocating, won’t think we are experiencing a bubble 🙂

    Another bright side, those who DO choose to advertise will have more of a chance of getting a call.

    Since the odds of getting a call may be heightened, more people may advertise with

    Let’s look for that silver lining!

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  18. Allen,
    Did I understand you correctly? I find it hard to believe that when a photo is uploaded to the system that all rights to that photo are lost. If a photographer provides a photo to an agent and the agent uploads it, the original copyright still belongs to the photographer, (in absence of a work for hire contract). I think the copyright that the MLS holds to that photo is only in the context of an aggregate database of photos. It would go against any fair use at all to assume that once the photo is uploaded, the owner no longer has any IP rights to it.

  19. It has happened a number of times in the past that an MLS (such as Hampton Roads, Central AZ, etc.) has withdrawn its listings feed from due to either a surge of protectiveness over its own data or some other contract issue. In these cases, establishes ways for local brokers in those areas to upload their own listing feeds, for those who would like to do so, and in many of these cases the result is generally not all that different to the browsing consumer. In some of these cases, the MLS eventually figures this out, realizes that it shot itself in the foot (in terms of free listing advertising for its membership) for nothing, and resumes relations with

    Whether this will be the case with NWMLS (or any particular MLS) is certainly difficult to say…

  20. On the photo item, NWMLS Rule 192, states the member irrevocably licenses the primary photo to the NWMLS, and licenses to the NWMLS other photos for the duration of the listing. Members do not transfer copyright of the photos to the NWMLS by uploading it to the NWMLS database.

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  22. Personally, I’d hate to see this happen as Windermere’s exclusion of it’s listings on has always been a huge help in a listing presentation.
    I would love to have been a mouse in the Board of Director’s meeting when the vote was taken. In fact, out of 20 members, 9 are Windermere, and 2 are Prudential which feeds, so there is a simple majority right there. The rest of the members are represented no more than 3 times each. Should we be looking into this as a self serving vote for all of the members. Maybe the NWMLS has become Windermere’s NWMLS. Remax has only one vote, so they, too may have voted to break with now that they have aggregated all the mls’s on their site.

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