Attention Brokers: Regain Control of Your Listing Data

Clareity Security has been leading the charge to improve and simplify the management of listing syndication for MLS organizations and brokers.  With the firm belief that knowledge is power, it has been our mission to continuously educate the real estate community about this ongoing challenge.   REAL Trends recently published the following article that mentions Clareity Security’s new SafeSyndication™ product which we are sharing here with their permission.

Attention Brokers: Regain Control of Your Listing Data

Over the past few years, REAL Trends and Clareity Consulting have been working together to identify flaws in the listing syndication arena and have surveyed numerous brokers in joint studies to identify problems with the current model.  While most brokers would agree that their control has diminished these days, a new technology solution is on the horizon to help broker’s regain control of their listing data.  We are advocates for this new system.  To start the introduction of this solution, we must first identify the problem:

Listing syndication has run rampant and with so many publishers out there, it is virtually impossible for a broker to stay on top of all the sources.  Terms of use is another area that is virtually impossible to monitor and stay on top of a changing environment.  You may think you’re sending your listings to one web site that you really want your listings on, but due to their terms of use you are actually sending to, in some cases, a couple hundred additional sites where data accuracy may not be of utmost importance.  This is causing a problem when the data becomes outdated or posted inaccurately.

The good versus the bad: With so many online publishers and all of them operating differently, how can a broker possibly know all of the defining characteristics and business practices of each publisher?  For example which publishers send you traffic, which post listing agent data, which post listing agent data above “preferred agents,” and which offer you search engine optimization value and which take all of it for themselves?  This list can go on and for a broker this can be overload.

At REAL Trends, we attempt to listen to and empower our broker audience and in a joint study published with Clareity Consulting in 2010, through a national study on this topic, identified these four areas for improvement many of which overlap with the growing problem I have identified above.

1) Provide brokers more insight and control;

2) Enhance MLS security and control over where the listings were syndicated;

3) Enforce syndication integrity and accuracy;

4) Ensure the information wasn’t used to sell leads back to brokers.

Enter SAFE Syndication Proposed Solution from Clareity Security

SAFE Syndication is a technology solution that addresses most of the major concerns and the growing problems that have been identified above. Clareity Security’s SAFE Syndication solution includes an integration partnership with ListHub making it simpler for brokers to benefit from additional reporting on the sites they syndicate listings to. SAFE Syndication delivers value to brokers by offering:

  • Improved data accuracy which improves REALTOR brand and image
  • Consolidated reporting and compliance management as it relates to data display rules and syndication agreements.
  • A publisher report card which can be integrated with ListHub data that measures the listing portals/publishers on criteria defined by the Broker (such as the Clareity Bill of Rights).

How SAFE Syndication Works

The SAFE Syndication system is essentially a solution that allows brokers or franchises to better monitor the portals or publishers that they syndicate their data to.  Clareity has identified a bill of rights (see below) on behalf of real estate brokers that can be used to implement a scoring or rating system.  Brokers can customize their own criteria as well and use this ranking system to determine who is using your data in a manner most advantageous to you and your own interests.  Using an objective set of criteria to measure publishers and portals allows brokerage leaders to make better informed decisions for their business and thus increases the quality control that is a must in our industry.  This scoring system will also bring some of the power and leverage back to the brokers in negotiating their terms of use for sites they syndicate to.  SAFE Syndication also makes auditing and complaint tracking and resolution simpler which ensures the utmost data accuracy for your listings. Listing accuracy is a growing problem as many brokers don’t fully understand the implications or in many cases the number of “other” syndicators that are using their data. From personal experience in my recent home search, I used several listing syndicators to identify homes I wanted to see with my REALTOR.  In multiple circumstances I sent lists of 10+ properties to my REALTOR only to be discouraged that less than half of the listings were current!  This created a frustrated consumer and an inefficient waste of valuable time for my REALTOR.  The SAFE Syndication tool offers easy access to data that helps brokers better monitor their listing syndication agreements and measure how publishers and portals are performing against the criteria established by the broker.  It will become a one stop destination for empowering and informing a broker in the ultimate goal of regaining the control of listing data.

The Future of Your Data

In the next two months, SAFE Syndication will be launching and beta testing with several brokers. Clareity Security has your best interest in mind, it is a great idea to stay on top of this and if you are interested in becoming a beta tester or would like to get more information regarding SAFE Syndication by Clareity Security feel free to contact Travis Saxton at 303-741-1000 or tsaxton@realtrends.com.  As always REAL Trends will continue to monitor and stay on top of the cutting edge trends that impact the residential brokerage industry. We will update this story as more information and the launch of SAFE syndication is complete.

 A note from Clareity:  Thank you to the REAL Trends team for your support!

Gregg LarsonAbout Gregg Larson
Gregg Larson, President and CEO, has 30 years of experience in the MLS and real estate information industries, including new product design, online security, mergers and acquisitions, strategic planning, MLS regionalization, MLS system and vendor selection, and internet consulting. Larson has worked for organizations such as Multi-List/McGraw-Hill, the National Association of Realtors, DATOR, Moore Data Management, Homebid.com, and Move.com. During his tenure at Moore, Larson led new product development and created CyberHomes in 1995, the first real estate advertising web site to be updated daily from MLS systems. In 1996, he co-founded Clareity Consulting, an internationally recognized real estate information and internet consulting firm. He has consulted for many of the nation’s largest online companies including AOL, MSN, MapQuest, Classified Ventures and Realtor.com on strategy and content acquisition. Larson has also provided security, technology, new product, organizational and strategic consulting to many of the nation’s largest brokerages, franchisers, title companies, lenders, information providers, regional MLSs, and MLS vendors. Larson is also an experienced public speaker, with numerous professional speaking engagements before real estate audiences worldwide. He also created Clareity’s Annual MLS Executive Workshop held in Scottsdale each year. Larson is highly respected for his leadership, vision, creativity, product design, marketing skills, and technology and internet strategies. Larson graduated from the University of Denver and went to business school at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Larson also serves as CEO of Clareity Consulting.