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    Listing Syndication: 101

    Some would say listing syndication is the word du jour, or the real estate advertising pièce de résistance. But like listening to a word spoken in a different language, it is not completely understood, and can instill a sense of confusion.


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    To give you that savior faire (know how) on the subject, TREND explains listing syndication, and explores its benefits and options, including:



    What is Listing Syndication?

    Obviously we all know what a "listing" is. It's the word "syndication" that makes us scrunch up our noses and go, "huh?" But if we check a dictionary, we'll find it's not all that complicated.

    The verb "syndicate" means to publish simultaneously, or supply for simultaneous publication, in a number of newspapers or other periodicals in different places.1 Think of cartoons found in national newspapers, or columns like "Dear Abby." These are syndicated.

    Add the word "listing" to that definition and you get something like this: providing listing information to many places. However, with this syndication, we're not talking about printed newspapers.

    About.com defines "listing syndication" as the process of getting a listing's information displayed on other [web] sites around the Internet.2


    Where Do Listings Go When Syndicated?

    The "sites around the Internet" (also called channels) where listings can go when syndicated are sites like: Google Base, Yahoo! Real Estate, Cyberhomes, Trulia and Zillow, to name just a few. These sites are incredibly popular with the home-buying and selling public today, and are often the first place consumers go to find their next home.
    • Trulia has more than 4.5 million unique monthly visitors. Seventy-two percent (72%) of which, plan to buy a home in the next 12 months.3
    • Zillow had 5.5 million visitors in October 2008. Ninety percent (90%) of Zillow users own a home, and two-thirds are either actively buying or selling, or plan to within 12-24 months.4

    Why Would I Want to Syndicate My Listings?

    By syndicating your listings, you will get practically the most widespread on-line exposure possible!
    No matter how stylish, easy-to-use and full of information your website is, the average real estate brokerage website doesn't get 4-5 million visitors a month. Those millions of website visits are amassed on national portals and search engines,5 like the ones listed above. By syndicating your listings so they appear on those channels, your listings will get exposure to those consumers. It's practically the most widespread on-line exposure possible!

    Once the listings are on these channels, they will link back to your company website. Having your listing on many channels can increase the traffic to your site, and help get your company brand and information in front of the consumer.

    There are lots of sites where you can go and manually enter in the listing information yourself. But listing syndication is most effectively when done through a process automated between the MLS and a syndication product. The MLS can send your listing to a syndication product where it will be distributed to the sites you choose. And you will have only entered the listing information once - when you entered it into the MLS. Additionally, when the listing information comes directly from the MLS, the accuracy of your information on the Internet increases. As you update the listing in the MLS, it gets updated on all the syndication channels.

    Finally, syndicating your listings can be of little to no cost to you.


    How Do I Syndicate a Listing?

    • You register with or subscribe to a syndication product.
    • At that time, you tell the product where you want your listings to appear.
    • You add your listing to the MLS.
    • The MLS sends the listing to a syndication product.
    • They send it out to the Internet.
    Each product has a variety of sites where they send listings. But the best benefit of syndicating your listings is CHOICE. You get to choose which sites you want to display your listings. You can try each of these sites without a long term commitment because it's so easy to add or edit which destinations you select. And you don't have to send your listings to all the sites. Simply look at the registration page, and check only the ones you want.


    How Do I Choose Which Sites to Syndicate To?

    With all this choice, it's hard to know where to begin. A visit to each of these sites will get you started. Check out the design, flow and features each one provides. Look at other listings that appear there. See what appeals to you. Then learn a little about their business models (do they charge for leads?) to see which ones you feel comfortable aligning yourself with.

    Experiment by syndicating your listings to one, a few or all of these sites. Then see what's working. Are new leads coming in? Are you noticing additional traffic to your website? How is one site's performance compared to another?

    As part of their base service, many syndication products provide statistics and reports from the end websites. These reports show how many clicks the listing got, and how many leads you got from the listing appearing on that website. Some syndication products offer your basic reports for free. If you want to get more detailed reports or reports with graphs, then you can upgrade your subscription for an additional fee.


    Conclusion

    TREND now offers brokers a syndication product through ListHub. The basic product for ListHub is FREE, with upgrades available at a low cost.

    Hopefully, with basic information on listing syndication in your repertoire (range of skills), hopefully the naĩveté (lack of understanding) you may have previously felt will be gone. Now that a product is available, you will be able to make an informed decision that best helps your business.


    1 syndicate. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved November 07, 2008, from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/syndicate
    2 James Kimmons. (n.d.) Real Estate Listings Syndication. About.com. Retrieved November 07, 2008, from http://realestate.about.com/od/sv/g/syndication.htm
    3 Trulia. (2008). Trulia Media Kit 2008. Trulia.com. Retrieved November 7, 2008, from http://trulia.mediaroom.com/file.php/91/TruliaMediKit.pdf
    4 Zillow. (November 3, 2008). Zillow Stats. Zillow.com. Retrieved November 7, 2008, from http://zillow.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=175
    5 James Kimmons. (n.d.) Real Estate Listing Syndication - How to Get It Done. About.com. Retrieved November 07, 2008, from http://realestate.about.com/od/realestatewebsites/a/syndication_too.htm



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