Zillow Listings Feed - An Update

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Zillow

A few weeks ago, Zillow announced that we were going to begin accepting Broker feeds in the future. Since then a lot of development has been going on behind the scenes to be able to offer this functionality to Brokers. While we still have a lot more to do until we post the feeds live on the site, we have some updates to share with you.

First off, there is now an official URL to get the information you need to start the feed process, http://www.zillowfeeds.com/. We have centralized all of the available information on this page. Be sure to fill out the form and give us your contact information so we can continue to send you updates as more information becomes available. Also on the form, please supply your feed URL. We will then test the feed ensuring that when your feed get set live, your information will be properly displayed from the get go.

As we have been out talking to Brokers about displaying their listings online, we have heard a lot of great questions. We took the most frequently asked questions and compiled them into a convenient document called Zillow Listings Feed Guide, An Overview. Questions like "Why Should I Feed To Zillow" and "How Do You Handle Leads" are answered.

Next, we have posted the Technical Specifications for feeding to Zillow, called Zillow Interchange Format (ZIF), which will allow you to automatically create information rich listings. If you currently have your data in the Trulia Feed Format (TFF), we can accept this format as well. Simply supply the URL of the feed you wish for us to pull from and we will take a look at it. If there are any compatibility issues with the code supplied, we will let you know.

Finally, the Terms Of Service are also now available online. We tried to make these as non-lawyer speak and short as possible!

We are so excited to be partnering with Brokers to supply this marketing platform to the Real Estate community. We continue to work as quickly as we can to bring the automated feed to the market, as we have heard much demand for such a process. In the meantime, you can still upload your listings through the Post Homes For Sale page.

 

(Updated the Terms link on 9.17.07)

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Rainmaker
63,120
Craig Smith
Re/Max Achievers - Frederick, MD
Frederick MD Real Estate
A free place for listings is always nice (at least for now anyway) plus Zillow can be a valuable tools if used with caution
Sep 12, 2007 02:43 PM #18
Rainmaker
223,439
Brian Brumpton
Keller Williams Boise - Boise, ID
Boise Idaho Real Estate
Nice to know Zillow is working with us not against.  Thanks for clearing that up.
Sep 12, 2007 04:14 PM #19
Anonymous
C.J. Johnson
Zillow was founded by the people who started Expedia and lured the travel agent industry to work with them and them put the travel agents out of business.   So here's the business model.  You give them your listings to post for free and then later they sell you back advertising and upgrades via feature homes, banner ads, and feature agent spots.   REALTOR.com does the exact same thing. Truila is right up there too. Perhaps we should check our naive meeter here.  Many of the comments seem to be buying into this hook line and sinker. At least Sara was honest enough to tell us all that Zillow is an electronic media company that relies on us for advertising revenue.  Why then don't they pay us for our feeds and listings since without our product they don't have much to sell?  My Dad used to say "Why Buy the Cow When You Can Get the Milk For Free". Our industry as a whole may have missed the boat on the internet cruise.  
Sep 13, 2007 01:59 AM #20
Rainmaker
182,040
Sara Bonert
Zillow - Atlanta, GA
Real Estate Internet Marketing

C.J.- Thanks for the post, you bring up a lot of points to address in it. 

1- Yes, our founders did start Expedia however selling Real Estate is nothing like selling a plane ticket.  We have no intention to, or could we, ever automate the home buying process like a travel website does.  All agents know how much more involved the selling/buying process is.  Zillow does not want to be involved in the transaction.  We simply want to be a marketing platform for the professional/consumer relationship to begin and grow.  2- "without our product they don't have much to sell".  Zillow has been around for 18 months now and has been doing great selling advertising around all of the original content (namely Zestimates at this point) that we have created- without having a huge database of homes on the site today.  One of the main reasons we are creating this listing feed is because we heard from the real estate community that this is something you guys wanted.  Of course it will make Zillow a better site and we realize your listing information is valuable.  That why we consider it a partnership- you provide the listing data and we provide the platform of 4.4 million monthly uniques for free.  We are going to continue to build out all sorts of other content on the site, besides listings, which should in turn into more traffic and hopefully more exposure for you.  This is one of the big differences between Zillow and other real estate sites out there is that consumers have come to know us for so much more than a listing database.  3- "relies on us for advertising revenue" Yes, we do have an advertising model.  Actually today a majority of our big advertisers are not brokerages, but rather ancillary companies who want to get in front of our highly qualified audience, like Bank of America, Sears, and Comcast.  We would welcome Brokers as advertisers, but it isn't necessary to pay for banners as Brokers can get get exposure for their listings for free.  We do have our EZ Product, which is a low cost way for Agents to advertise in specific zip codes and have had almost 5000 real estate professionals take advantage of this product. 

I understand the history our industry has had with Real Estate websites and where some of your comments are stemming from.  However, Zillow is truly a partner with the Real Estate industry in that we simply want to be a marketing platform for your knowledge, expertise and listings and we will continue to work to bring the audience. 

 

Sep 13, 2007 02:21 AM #21
Rainer
49,883
David Nichols
The Nichols/Ersery Home Team, RE/MAX Heartland - Lee's Summit, MO
Leenulls Summit Real Estate
The real question is, "Can we trust corporate America to do what is best for our industry?"  I think the answer is no.  The ultimate goal of almost every person that starts a national website is to sell it and pocket the billions that big business is willing to pay for it.  What happens in 5 years when Zillow gets sold and is owned by someone else with different priorities?  Unless they are endorsed by NAR, i would not get in bed with them.
Sep 13, 2007 04:28 AM #22
Rainmaker
182,040
Sara Bonert
Zillow - Atlanta, GA
Real Estate Internet Marketing

If you read our terms of service, you will notice that 1) Feeds are free to do and 2) There is no required time-period commitment.  This means that if Zillow does anything you don't like from a business standpoint, you may simply remove your listings that day.  So if we want to maintain the listing inventory on the site, we need to make sure we are acting in your best interest.  In essence, by having such loose terms we are holding ourselves accountable to you. 

Sep 13, 2007 04:38 AM #23
Rainmaker
434,606
Adam Brett
The Adam and Eric Group - Fullerton, CA
The Adam and Eric Group, Fullerton's Finest
I have tried to use zillow for a while with no ROI.  I have hit the MAKE ME MOVE listings and found they are not serious at all, and I have never received anything from posting my listings.
Sep 13, 2007 04:41 AM #24
Rainer
11,328
David Gibbons
Zillow.com - Seattle, WA

Hi, it's David from Zillow,

Adam -

Thanks for the feedback. Many make Me Move postings are dream prices but some folks have sold their Make Me Move homes. When you say you've "hit" MMM sellers, have you introduced them to buyers or are you offering to list their home?

CJ -

Perhaps it's the paranoia-meter that needs to be checked ;-) 

Sep 13, 2007 04:49 AM #25
Rainer
53,819
Linda M. Cataldo
Dock Street Realty - Myrtle Beach, SC
Beach Destinations Realty Myrtle Beach
Thanks for the update.  I tried Zillow in the past but didn't get much from it.  I will check back after the updates are complete.  I appreciate all your efforts to get the information out to the consumer.
Sep 13, 2007 04:53 AM #26
Rainer
49,883
David Nichols
The Nichols/Ersery Home Team, RE/MAX Heartland - Lee's Summit, MO
Leenulls Summit Real Estate

Sara,

Yes the terms are very loose today. Will they still be that loose when you become ultra successful? Once you have the public "hooked" on your site, will it stay the REALTORS partner or will it evolve to another company trying to take our clients then sell them back to us?

I guess I'm just ultra sceptical of any web-based company that wants to be the REALTORS best buddy.  We have all been down that path before and they just keep raising the cost of doing business with them.

When we REALTORS look at all the problems that we already have with The U.S Government, I don't think it is wise to start allowing an outside company to become what essentially is another type of MLS.  They don't have the kinks worked out of their zestimates yet.  Many homes are not in there and a lot of the times their values are way off. 

I'm just not sold here.

Sep 13, 2007 05:27 AM #27
Rainer
14,805
Bruce Mullen
Carolina One Real Estate - Charleston, SC
I agree with many things that David says, but the reality is that this is where consumers are starting their seaches for real estate, whether we, as Realtors like it or not.  It's another tool, and we need to use it as such.  Remain skeptical, but it's up to us to educate consumers on the differences with these sites and obtaining an actual CMA from a real estate professional.  I have checked my own property on here and the price is way off from where it should be, but that is where we come in.  If you hear someone say they got their value off of Zillow, then that is just a starting point.  Not sure how my company or NAR will take on the new changes, might still be some resistance.  We'll see.
Sep 13, 2007 05:51 AM #28
Rainer
80,957
Patrick Harfst
Realty Executives - Phoenix AZ - Gilbert, AZ
In business, it is good to "trust, but verify". With many of the new models brought on by the internet, this can be tough to do. How DO we know what Zillow will look like in 5 years? We don't. Not even Zillow knows that. The next rule of business is "be skeptical". This holds ture right here. Sorry, Zillow.
Sep 17, 2007 04:39 PM #29
Rainer
11,328
David Gibbons
Zillow.com - Seattle, WA

Patrick -

I really hope your listings don't stay on the market for 5 years. ;-)

As Sara says, you can opt in or opt out of participating in Zillow whenever you choose. So, there's no good reason not to post your listings to Zillow today.  More than 80% of buyers start their search online. It costs you nothing to advertise your listings on Zillow.

Sep 18, 2007 03:11 AM #30
Rainmaker
67,920
Denise Allen
Resh Realty Group - Chesapeake, VA
Realtor@ Chesapeake, Hampton Roads
Again, why would you do business with someone who is trying to put you out of business?
Sep 18, 2007 09:10 AM #31
Rainmaker
182,040
Sara Bonert
Zillow - Atlanta, GA
Real Estate Internet Marketing
Denise-  How do you figure that we are trying to put you out of business.  The opposite is true.  We are trying to provide a platform that allows you to grow your business. 
Sep 18, 2007 09:14 AM #32
Rainer
56,841
Craig Bartels
The Indy Realty Shop - Indianapolis, IN

okay, I hear everyone talking about whether Zillow is our friend or not, BUT has anyone here actually got their listings to feed automatically??

If you have, who created your website?  I can't seem to find any websites that have these feeds setup.  I have 3 different providers with 3 different websites, and none of these are setup to "push" these feeds to zillow.com?

 

 

Jan 31, 2008 01:20 AM #33
Rainmaker
182,040
Sara Bonert
Zillow - Atlanta, GA
Real Estate Internet Marketing

Hey Craig- We are just starting to get a lot of the major feed partners in place.  Besides manually feeding to us or setting up your own feed, some of the services you may be subscribing to where your listings will find their way to our site include:  threewide, point2, postlets, The Real Estate Book, or Visual Tour.  We continue to add more every week. 

Please feel free to pass the the website of www.zillowfeeds.com on to your web providers and advise them you would like for them to feed to Zillow.  I am sure they have the inhouse resources to easily set this up.

Jan 31, 2008 11:56 AM #34
Anonymous
RJ Ponzio

I am starting to think that Zillow does not have many employees of it's own, I have been submitting a broker feed for my company for over a month now.  The feed has not been used yet by Zillow and I don't get any response from the email address listed.  I got one response on the discussion boards and was told they would "forward this to the proper department for further checking", but I have not heard anything after that.  There doesn't seem to be a phone number anywhere to contact a live person... 

"We're not really staffed up to answer calls or e-mails yet"  - Zillow Contact Page

I am starting to feel like I am talking to bots, and not any actual people.

http://www.zillow.com/forum/site/ViewThread.htm?tid=40475

Could anyone shed some light on this?

Aug 27, 2008 02:45 AM #35
Rainmaker
182,040
Sara Bonert
Zillow - Atlanta, GA
Real Estate Internet Marketing

RJ- Sorry, we definitely have a backlog of submitted feeds that we are trying to work through.  While it is automated to submit, a lot of manual work on our side goes into getting the data live.  For smaller feeds (say under 200 listings), I find it easiest for an agent or small office to work through a syndication service like listhub or point2. 

RJ - please contact me directly at sarab@zillow.comand I will personally help you get your feed going.   

Aug 27, 2008 03:27 AM #36
Rainer
25,555
Michael Hege
Beach Villa Realty,LLC - Kapolei, HI
R

good stuff

 

Feb 20, 2009 07:21 PM #37
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