Lead generation is one of the topics any journalist can bring up that will tweak the ears of real estate agents, and used car salesmen for the matter. Leads are to sales people as ink is to newspapers. 'Well, sort of. Market Leader Inc., a company heavy into making things that can help brokers, has entered into the "software as a service" (SAAS) realm. Check it.
This latest news from Market Leader speaks of linking Internet Data Exchange (IDX) feeds that list some 1.6 million properties with selected agents within the company's matrix (network) to take advantage of exclusive leads and customer relationship features. At least this is the report from Inman News we read. That article goes on to reflect however, a much bigger story, one of territorial end-fighting and splitting of hairs even.
The company that bought RealEstate.com versus the other side of the Internet sales aisle, and all those accustomed to MLS listings and the current online listing model on the other. At issue is basically the what the National Association of Realtors allows as far as these feeds are concerned. RealEstate.com basically forces the issue of "how" IDX listings get listed, with ads or without, with lead generation forms or without, and so on. More critically though, the fact that brokers cannot "opt out" of being listed on RealEstate.com as is the case with Trulia and Zillow, this is the real rub.
To break this all down, an agency that has listings in a particular MLS, Multiple Listing Service Property Information Network Inc. (MLSPIN) is the Inman use case, is forced to show their listing via RealEstate.com by virtue of being in the MLS basically. In a very real way what Market Leader accomplishes here is a sort of game changing control dynamic, one that actually polarizes the real estate pro market too.
It all boils down to a somewhat controversial bout between real estate franchisers, who won a bid to the NAR to display the IDX listings of affiliated brokerages that was later rescinded when complaints flourished, and brokerages like HomeServices of America Inc. When all is said and done Market Leader, or any online real estate player, is in the game to push product. In the case of Market Leader, services like their websites for brokers, positioning and feedback from and on key sites like RealEstate.com, PPC campaigns, and other marketing offerings. Ian Morris's (video above) company has just about every end covered when it comes to sales leads.
Whether or not agents, buyers, and sellers find Market Leader's tactics with favor or not is not at issue for the moment, what seems more important is the pulling at straws that takes place within the industry. A technicality here, an uncrossed "t" there, when the housing market is still suffering its most crippling blow ever. One has to marvel at the big game being played for position. But then, that's what business is about, right? One thing you have to give Market Leader a lot of credit for is bringing RealEstate.com down to the local level. Not many big time players have done this well.
More on real visibility as the story grows. Oh, and Market Leader, if you really want more solutions for leads... mail me. 🙂
Oh. One hint too, don't profess Pinterest, G+, Twitter, Facebook or any expertise you are not entrenched in. Now Inman News? They have Pinterest down.