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Data Syndication and Licensing Tool Kit. Contents. Glossary What is syndication? Who can syndicate listings? How are listings syndicated ? What are the concerns? Where do you expect your listings to go? What do members think? Resources and Contacts. Glossary.

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Data Syndication and Licensing Tool Kit

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Presentation Transcript
  • Glossary
  • What is syndication?
  • Who can syndicate listings?
  • How are listings syndicated?
  • What are the concerns?
  • Where do you expect your listings to go?
  • What do members think?
  • Resources and Contacts
  • Aggregator - A term used to describe an entity that compiles

and stores listing data.

  • API (Application Programming Interface) - A set of rules and

specs that allow communication from one software to


  • Channel - A public (non-agent/broker) website to which

syndicators distribute data; Portal. Not regulated by MLS


  • Derivative Works - Use of information from a data set,

other than the original intent; Re-Purpose.

  • EULA (End User License Agreement) - Governs use by the

individual user on a particular site, product or service.

  • Enhanced/Featured Listing - Added content or premium

placement provided as an up-sell to agent/broker

by Publisher.

  • Extended Network - A shared search experience on

a public website other than an original channel; Data

doesn’t leave control of the original channel, but remains

resident in the original database. Framing; Powered by.

  • Framing - Surrounding the property search of Site A with

the branding of Site B; data does not leave the control of

Site A. Extended Network; Powered by.

  • IDX (Internet Data Exchange) - Website owned by an

agent/broker wherein other brokers have given approval

to each other to advertise listings. IDX sites are regulated

by MLS.

  • Opt-in vs Opt-out - In either instance, the broker is given

the means to indicate his own choice as to the display

of his listing data on a given national website/channel.

Opt-in - the broker chooses to participate; Opt-out - all

brokers’ listings are included unless the broker actively

prevents it.

  • Portal - A public (non-agent/broker) website to which

syndicators distribute data; Channel; Publisher. Not regulated

by MLS.

  • Powered By - Provider of information for a website; host

or developer of website; property search of one national

website framed to the branding of another.

  • Publisher - National website operator; Channel; Portal.
  • Re-Direct Link - Link to the property detail page of the

listing agent/broker’s IDX site.

  • Re-Purpose - Other use than the explicit purpose for

which it was provided, often unauthorized; Derivative


  • Re-Syndication - When a publisher to whom listings

have been syndicated forwards that content to another,

typically for display on another website.

  • Syndication - Method by which the broker can instruct

the MLS to distribute his listing data to outside websites

other than IDX and VOW.

  • Transient Download - Method of displaying data on a

website by pulling data from another server, so that the

data never leaves the original source (server).

what is syndication
What is Syndication?
  • Syndication is a method for Brokers to authorize distribution of their listing data to consumer portals hosted by 3rdparties
  • Syndication allows a broker’s listings to appear on national portals such as Zillow, Trulia and other sites such as Hot Pads.
who can syndicate
Who Can Syndicate?
  • In most MLSs, any broker who is an MLS Participant may authorize syndication of his/her company’s listings only (Syndication is not like IDX).
  • IDX authorizes brokers to display the listings of other Participants on their company websites (and agent if approved, on agent websites).
how are listings syndicated
How are Listings Syndicated?
  • The most common syndication method is by brokers through the use of a 3rd party such as ListHubor Point2.
  • Some Franchisors also syndicate listings on behalf of their franchisees.
  • Other 3rd party software (such as Listingbook) offer syndication options as well.
  • Some MLSs offer a feed directly to consumer portals without the use of 3rd party syndication partners.
how does it work
How Does It Work?
  • Each major syndicator provides the ability for brokers to set up a free account through which they syndicate their own listings.
  • Typically there is a dash board for the broker to select which sites he/she wishes to authorize to display their listings.
  • Using the channel selections of the broker, listings are then distributed to the approved sites.
what are the concerns
What are the Concerns?
  • Duplication
    • Listings delivered from various sources
  • Outdated information
    • Some sources do not regularly refresh
  • Re-Syndication
    • Forwarding data on to another (unauthorized) site
  • Unauthorized uses
    • Have you affirmatively agreed to your data being used on “Powered by” sites
  • Use for 3rd Party Integration (Syndegration)
for consideration
For Consideration
  • There is no guarantee of accuracy when MLS is not the source of displayed listing.
  • Are you syndicating from more than one source?
  • Do you allow your agents to manually or independently syndicate?
  • Manually entered properties are often not updated and do not link to current info.
  • Are your listings going to places you are not aware of? (re-syndication)
  • Are your listings being used for solicitation by 3rd parties?
  • What risk might your MLS and/or your brokers have from incorrect info?
concerns duplication
Concerns- Duplication
  • Multiple copies of the same listing are received by publishers (portals).
  • Brokers may be syndicating through more than one party – as many as four/five
  • Agents submit listings manually (paid advertisements)
  • How does the channel publisher select the listing to display?
factors used by publishers in selecting the source
Factors used by Publishers in Selecting the Source
  • Publishers won’t tell us their selection process but hint at:
    • The one that was paid for as an ad
    • From other sources that they “scrape”
    • From syndicator (which one?)
    • Direct Entry vs. from MLS
    • From corporate franchisor
    • Direct broker feed
    • Direct MLS feed
    • Each has their own secret formula
channels extended channels
Channels →Extended Channels→

Concerns surround the use of MLS Listing data to power other websites via the data syndication to the approved Channel. Do you know where your data is being re-displayed? Example:

If you syndicate to:

Oodle via Listhub or Point2, expect to find your listing data on: ABC, Comcast, Cox Media, Washington Post, Facebook, Fox Interactive Media, Florida Press Association, Lycos Classifieds,, Media General,, MySpace, New York Post, New York Times, and Walmart.

Trulia powers: the Sun Chronicle, The Bakersfield Californian, Washington Post, KTVB, Killeen Daily Herald, KOMO News, St. Petersburg times, Press of Atlantic City, Bangor Daily News, Pegasus News, Kiplinger, and US News and World Report.

The list of sites powered by Zillow is too long to list but it centers around Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. providing listing data to numerous sites within 23 states.

Source: ListHub Channel Scorecard

channels derivative works
Channels →Derivative Works→

Also, many of the channels contracted through ListHub and Point2 use the listing data for Derivative Works. Meaning they use the data for purposes other than the stated display of listing content on their primary website.

It has proven to be extremely difficult to ascertain what those works are, but by reading the Terms of Use of each channel, an MLS can isolate those that have stated this intended use.

Within the Tool Kit,

CMLS has provided a

preliminary report of

which sites have this

provision in their

published Terms of Use.

what do members think about this survey conducted by clareity consulting 5 2011
What do Members think about this?Survey conducted by Clareity Consulting, 5-2011
  • 71% of Brokers surveyed support MLS syndication to publishers at broker's request - 11% are neutral and 19% are in opposition.
  • 53% participate in an MLS provided syndication service.
  • 46% syndicate both via the MLS and independently or through a franchise.
  • Among larger brokerage (over 26 agents), over 72% syndicate both via MLS and independently or through a franchise.
data accuracy awareness
Data Accuracy Awareness
  • 46% are aware that non-MLS syndication of listings is creating duplicate listings on web portals
  • 70% are aware that many non-MLS methods of listing syndication don’t provide methods of keeping listings up to date.
  • If you syndicate listings by means other than the MLS, do you keep them up to date and take them down when a property sells?

- 46% say ALWAYS

    • 22% say SOMETIMES
    • 32% say NEVER
data accuracy distribution concerns
Data Accuracy/Distribution Concerns
  • Are you concerned regarding the level of listing data accuracy on syndication portals?

- 78% Concerned

- 13% are neutral

- 9 % are not concerned

  • 79% are concerned regarding unauthorized re-syndication. Among larger brokerages, more than 83% are concerned.
  • 52% expect that MLSs will "very aggressively" police syndication portals and protect listing data. Another 25% expect MLSs will "somewhat aggressively" do so.
mls action items
MLS Action Items
  • Log in to your Dashboard for ListHub and/or Point2 – review your options and be selective about what channels you open to your membership.
    • Read the Terms of Use for each site you select
    • Research via ListHub’s Site ScoreCard
broker action items
Broker Action Items
  • Log in to your Dashboard for ListHub and/or Point2 – review your options and be selective about where your listings are going.
    • Read the Terms of Use for each site you select
    • Research via ListHub’s Site ScoreCard
  • Check with Franchisor (if applicable) to see if they are also syndicating your listings.
  • Check with Agents to see where they might be syndicating or manually uploading.
resources and contacts
Resources and Contacts

Clareity Whitepaper

“Syndication to Real Estate Portals: Problems & Solutions”

WAV Group Whitepaper

“Syndication: A Single Source Solution”

Clareity Survey

“Broker Survey on Syndication Issues”

WAV Group Whitepaper

“Listing Syndication Be Sure to

Read the Fine Print”

WAV Group Whitepaper

“Listing Syndication 2.0”

MLS Tesseract

“A Listing Syndication Discussion”


In addition to those listed on the resource and contacts page, CMLS would like to recognize the many volunteers who have contributed to the “CMLS Brings it to the Table” Workshop, this Tool Kit, and the many publications written on the topic of Listing Syndication for the good of the industry as a whole.

Merri Jo Cowen – My Florida Regional MLS President CMLS 2011

Greg Manship – Intermountain MLSPresident-Elect CMLS

Cathy Holefelder – Heartland MLS Secretary/Treasurer CMLS

Syndication Tool Kit Work Group

Melanie Blakeney – Memphis Area Association of REALTORS Past President CMLS

CMLS Directors

Amy Geddes – Clareity Security Syndication Tool Kit Work Group

Marilyn Wilson – WAV Group Syndication Tool Kit Work Group

Shelley Specchio – Northern Nevada Regional MLS Syndication Tool Kit Work Group

Monica Beck – Northwest MLS Syndication Tool Kit Work Group

Bob Bemis – Arizona Regional MLS

Art Carter - CRMLS Inc.

Kathy Condon – MLSPIN

Lauren Hansen – Information and Real Estate Services, LLC

Jay Gordon – Willamette Valley MLS

Kurt Von Wasmuth – RMLS Multiple Listing Service

Wes Wiggins - Regional MLS, Inc.