A Fistful of Feeds

The man with no nameCue up the Ennio Morricone music and head for the hills! There’s been some recent talking among the town folk, about the feeding frenzy that’s happening out there on the wild web of the west. Let’s just say San Miguel will never be the same once the schema with no XSD enters town.

Just when you thought it was safe in digital listing land, it’s going to get a little wilder. You see, Jesse ‘Zillow’ James has got a new six shooter and is getting ready to take your listings, publish them for the world to see, and give the town sheriff something else to think about. Right now, Jesse is just at target practice, but high noon at the O.K. Corral is coming soon enough.

Even better, Jesse has been taking marksmanship lessons from Wild Bill Gates’ old play book. It’s every bit as clever as the lead shield old Clint used in the movies. You see, Zillow’s doing 2 things which show they’ve learned the “embrace and extend” tactics from yesterday’s web slinging masters.

First, Zillow is embracing Trulia’s feed format – This move means that anybody who already has a Trulia listings feed will be able to get their listings onto Zillow with than less than 10 minutes of effort (the amount of time it takes to fill out a form with your feed url). It’s entirely possible that by doing this, Trulia’s feed format will become the “de-facto” industry standard. (Which wouldn’t be all bad)

Secondly, Zillow’s extending the purpose of Trulia’s format, by coming out with their own feed format – OK, some of you are already thinking, oh great, another XML format I need to implement and support. However, I think Zillow will be able to garner support for their ZIF format because of the following reasons.

  1. Their spec is simple to understand. Unlike GoogleBase & edgeio, which seem to be trying to win an Obfuscated XML code contest with their name spaced RSS mess, Zillow’s feed documentation is every bit as clear as the current industry feed leader, Trulia.
  2. Their spec is comprehensive. The only industry schema that compares to the breadth and depth of the Zillow’s XML Schema is RETS. Except Zillow has the benefit of not having to getting 900 MLS boards to play nice together.
  3. Doc ‘Trulia’ Holliday is not dumb. A master gun fighter in his own right, nothing is preventing Trulia from embracing the Zillow feed standard as their V2 spec. If that happens, RETS may suffer the same fate as Lester Moore. Out here on the wild web of the west, there’s the quick and the dead.
  4. Oh yeah, they also get about 4+ million monthly visitors on their web site.

Anyway, grab the popcorn; it’s going to be show!