There’s more news to report this week on the ongoing battle among the real estate search giants. Zillow disclosed this week in an SEC filing that its listing agreement with Listhub will end on April 7.
In the filing, filed Jan. 6, Zillow revealed it will not renew its four-year listing data share agreement with Threewide Corporation. Threewide operates Listhub and is also owned by Move, Inc., which operates realtor.com® for the National Association of REALORS®. Move was acquired by News Corp, Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, last year, which some speculate has influenced Zillow’s decision not to renew the agreement.
In the filing, Zillow stated, “There is no dispute between the parties with respect to the agreement, and Zillow will not incur any early termination penalties as a result of the agreement’s expiration.”
However, in a statement provided to RISMedia, Move said that it has been negotiating a new listing agreement in hopes of maintaining it.
“ListHub has been negotiating in good faith a new listing distribution and reporting agreement with Zillow on terms that reflect the best interests of the brokerage industry,” said Move’s statement. “As communicated in public announcements, Zillow decided to end those negotiations and announced the launch of their own platform. Zillow chose their own route for their business model and interests.”
Zillow announced that route this week with its Zillow® “Data Dashboard,” a new listing management and reporting platform that the company says puts increased control of listings in the hands of MLS members and brokers. Zillow confirmed to RISMedia that “a few hundred thousand” of Zillow’s 3.6 million listings would be affected by the Listhub agreement ending, which Zillow says the Dashboard platform will ultimately account for.
MLSs and brokers who currently send direct feeds to the service can begin using the new platform for free when it launches in mid-January, and in many cases, the new platform and reporting tools will replace third-party services, like Listhub. This, Zillow says, will allow listings to be published more quickly and be easier to update.
Zillow expects to directly connect with a total of 1.6 million for-sale-by-agent listings. Currently, Zillow receives direct feeds from dozens of MLSs. Over time, Zillow expects all listings published on Zillow to come through the Zillow Data Dashboard.
These latest developments follow a yearlong series of massive changes in the online real estate space. In July, Zillow announced the acquisition of former competitor Trulia for $3.5 billion.
In October, Murdoch’s News Corp announced the acquisition of Move, Inc. for $950 million. In in-depth interviews, NAR exec Bob Goldberg and then-Move-CEO Steve Berkowitz talked about the effect the acquisition on the industry and benefits to REALTORS®
In December came the news that News Corp was replacing Berkowitz, who led the company since 2009, with company veteran Ryan O’Hara as CEO. In an exclusive interview with RISMedia Berkowitz talked about his transition and his thoughts on the future of Move under new direction.
O’Hara was due to take over at Move on Monday and Tuesday, Murdoch tweeted this photo with O’Hara at a meeting during his first week in San Jose.
Meanwhile, Zillow continues to inch toward completion of its acquisition of Trulia. Shareholders of the two firms have approved the acquisition, though the deal is still awaiting regulatory approval by the Federal Trade Commission, which could happen after Feb. 1.
Stay tuned to RISMedia for ongoing reports on this new era of online real estate.