TBT…The History of Listings on the Internet…

I was the first member of the first REALTOR .com team (when Realtor .com was a wholly owned subsidiary of NAR in 1995) and I was personally responsible for the first 20 or so contracts with MLSs to display their listings on REALTOR .com. I still have my original sales notebook in my garage as my job was to capture all of the listings in the US…our sales team grew in a few months to 4 people (Carl DeMusz Walt Baczkowski and Derry Davison, and then Roy Rainey joined us).

There is a lot to unpack here, but briefly, of the First Generation Portals, REALTOR .com started out as the first portal to obtain MLS listings in mass. San Diego was the first MLS to place its listings on REALTOR .com in 1995 (it was the demo MLS), followed by Austin and Miami.

The business model started as $2 per listing per month and before the first payment was collected from the first MLS to agree to pay (Austin), the model went to $1 per listing and then at launch (at the NAR convention in Atlanta) it went to free because of Home Advisor driving the price to $0 (Microsoft’s entry into the portal wars). This is when the Industry (Brokers and agents) made the mistake of thinking free was free, and turned the tide against themselves.

The other major First Generation portals were HomeSeekers, HomeAdvisor, CyberHomes, and Homes .com.

Zillow and Trulia were “Second Generation Portals. Zillow started with few to no listings (and “scraped” as I recall), but offered valuations to draw eyeballs.

At first, data license agreements were unrestrictive and short. The first data license agreements were data syndication models.

IDX Data Licensing started in the Northwest and Minnesota as “Broker Reciprocity.” My company, InternetCrusade, created the first IDX broker/agent site for Brian Larson’s MLS in Minneapolis (we only sold 1).

IDX (Internet Data Exchange) is the data license agreement by which Zillow and Homes and other national portals NOW obtain their listings, but it was not always that way and changed when REALTOR .com purchased Listhub and then Point2 in late 2010. I was CEO of Point2 when we began to syndicate MLS listings in 2008 and when Listhub and Point2 were sold, Point2 being sold first to Yardi in 2010.

VOW (Virtual Office Websites) rules were created as a result of antitrust litigation between the Austin MLS and e-realty, and then a 10 year DOJ/NAR settlement in 2008.

When REALTOR .com was spun off in 1996 (a vote by the NAR Directors at a special meeting in Chicago), it was restricted in what it could do and display by what we referred to as the “1,000 Page Operating Agreement,” which was amended over the years by NAR to allow REALTOR .com to remain competitive with the newer, “Second Generation Portals.” REALTOR .com was the number one, most visited real estate portal in the world for first 11 years of its existence.

Share This Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stay connected.

Get up to the minute updates and resources.

Other Articles

Stay Connected.

Get up to the minute updates and resources.