Why did Metrolist — the largest Multiple Listing Service in Colorado — cut ties with Zillow-owned Diverse Solutions?
Online real estate watchers, including several on GeekWire, have been wondering about the motivations of that decision ever since word spread earlier today.
I was curious as well, so I touched base with Metrolist marketing director Melissa Olson today for an explanation.
Olson tells GeekWire that the decision was borne out of a desire to streamline vendor relationships when it came to Internet Data Exchange (IDX) vendors.
“It is not the Diverse Solutions isn’t a good fit, it is that Diverse Solutions was acquired by Zillow, and our content and … services are not assignable, which means that Diverse Solutions can not just assign a contract to Zillow,” Olson said. “We chose not to add Zillow as a different IDX vendor to our market at this time. We’ve got probably over 100 current IDX vendors in our marketplace, and that is a lot of options for our members.”
Of the more than 4,400 real estate Web sites running an IDX in the Denver metropolitan area, Olson said only about 40 are using Diverse Solutions. All of those members that were using the Diverse Solutions’ product for listing feeds have been individually notified of the changes, she said.
“We have a couple other bigger market players here, and we just decided not to keep adding and adding and adding and growing the list of 100+ vendors,” she said. “Diverse Solutions didn’t have big market share to begin with, and when we looked at our overall offering in terms of vendors we have partnered with, we have a lot of options.”
In Colorado, Olson said that they have a “local favorite” in IDX provider Hillside Software. More than 200 real estate companies are using Hillside’s product, with Olson saying it has a number of unique features. Nonetheless, she said there’s no real leader in terms of IDX providers among the Metrolist membership of 14,000. “We have a lot of diversity,” she said.
Asked why Diverse Solutions wouldn’t be part of that diverse group, Olson reiterated that it was more about paring down vendors.
“It is not a matter of Diverse Solutions, it is really a question of how many vendors can you have, and should the number be unlimited?” she said. “At some point, we have to start taking a look at our current offering and how many vendors really make sense in our marketplace.” Olson noted that they plan to take a closer look at other vendors as well.
She discounted theories that the elimination of Diverse Solutions had to do with Zillow’s growing power in the real estate industry. And she expressed some surprise that the topic had catapulted to a national issue, noting that many of the people who are upset about the issue aren’t located in the Denver area.
“I think the discussion is happening among a small group of people, ” she said.
At the end of the day, Olson said that they decided not to go ahead with Zillow-owned Diverse Solutions “because we have so many other options that are here.”
Previously on GeekWire: Backlash continues against Zillow as real estate group cuts ties with Diverse Solutions