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Greg Schwartz
Greg Schwartz

SAN FRANCISCO–Zillow has taken heat from real estate professionals in recent weeks over its new “Coming Soon” feature, with some claiming that its one way for the Seattle online real estate powerhouse to bypass multiple listing services.

But Zillow Chief Revenue Officer Greg Schwartz — speaking today at the Real Estate Connect Conference — says that’s not the intention.

According to Schwartz, the feature was a reaction to activity that was already taking place.

“It’s happening, and it’s on Zillow, so we need to create a mechanism for handling that,” he said.

The “Coming Soon” service allows brokers to build buzz for home before it is formally listed on a MLS.

Some agents have decried the launch of “Coming Soon,” saying that the Seattle-based company wants to make an end-run around traditional brokers and MLSs. But Schwartz has a clear message to them: “I don’t want to be a MLS.”

Instead, Schwartz said that Zillow wants to work together with the multiple listing services, and will offer them a feed of “Coming Soon” listings if they want it. In addition, he said that the company will work with brokers to prevent their agents from using the service if that’s what the broker wants.

That’s what is occurring in the Seattle area where the “Coming Soon” feature is actually prevented by rules from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Of course, it’s not clear how much Schwartz’s words moved the audience, which seemed fairly ambivalent about Zillow’s products. One member of the audience asked Schwartz why Zillow acquired Retsly this week, a company that compiles MLS data.

Schwartz said that Zillow won’t be using the Retsly data itself, but wants to support the company in the hope that it will enable young startups to work in the nationwide real estate market without building up a staff of industry relations people.

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