April 20, 2014

Dear Listing Aggregator…

dear aggregator...I’m really tired of most of you taking our data to fill out your site and then letting it sit there.  Maybe you’re under-staffed or underestimated the amount of time it takes to keep up data.  Having seen brokerages deal with that issue, I can sympathize.  But all but the most incompetent broker keeps an eye on an exclusive listing’s expiration date.  Because after that date, the broker can no longer promote a listing.

What’s the big deal about an expired listing still on your site you say? We could get a lead on an old listing – that’s just an opportunity to sell, right?  What part of an exclusive listing contract don’t you understand?  An agent can’t promote a listing for which they don’t have a valid agreement.  You’re not the one getting the call from the ticked off owner who wants to know why their sold/leased space is still “out there” as available.  Or the other broker who picked up the listing once it expired.

For years you think you’ve been covered by agents blaming other agents for being lazy.  But a large portion of your data is imported regularly from national/regional firms who take their listings and their reputations seriously.  It’s you that’s not keeping up. And if you’re one of those “site scraping” aggregators you can’t even use that excuse.  Whether you’re sending out robots, subscribing to site feeds or using real humans to collect listings, you’re not doing it often enough.

You say you have auto-expire set up but you just can’t push the button when you know half the listings will be gone – and you haven’t gotten around to collecting any new ones.  Or you’re falling behind because your systems are so poorly designed you just can’t figure out the “update thing.”

And don’t get me started on updates.  I’ve seen too many sites that have multiple versions of the same listing.  It’s usually because you use an “incremental” system, i.e., adding the new data on top of the old stuff.  There’s no duplicate checking at all.  Why is a data flush so difficult?  Is it because you want to keep everything just in case you can sell it someday?

I especially like how you get arrogant or defensive when I call you out on your poor data practices.  Like you’re doing us a favor by “accepting” our listings.  Or you never return my calls or respond to my emails. You were so attentive when you wanted our listings.  And we were willing to give you a boost to help you create some real competition for listing data.

It’s not like you’re making money so why keep up the charade?  What’s the point of a site with stale listings, no traffic and no leads?  So please put yourself and us out of our misery and pull the plug.

Photo by martinak15

Comments

  1. Remind me to never get you ticked off at me….

    My pet peeve, since we are on the subject here, are the IDX sites that basically skim the MLS system, post the data on their site, and pretend it is their own. Now most follow the rules. But the rules are pretty lame in my opinion. You just need one line saying who owns the lead, but you can wrap that data up with logos, company information, etc,. where it looks like your listing.

    A number in my area play this game well. They have done a nice job on SEO, so they do get found by the search engines. But when I get a call on a lead, and then when talking to the prospect find out they have no idea who the agent is, it irritates the heck out of me. The agent is simply taking floor calls from their website and using my leads.

    Personally, the IDX rules need beefing up, as they favor the larger compnanies who can afford a web site that scapes data, and utilize SEO. It should be noted, SEO techniques are not expensive, just that most people think they are (especially real estate people).

    Quit stealing listings and calling them your own. Get back to doing the hard work….