Joe Ferrara asks whether listings are like airline tickets in his post about American Airlines pulling its ticket listings from Kayak:
Are home listings like airline tickets to be freely given by listing brokers and agents to any and all third party listing sites? Do listing brokers have any reason to complain so long as they get exposure of home listings to consumers and a link to their websites?
My take is that home listings are completely unlike airline ticket listings for one very important reason: the listing broker does not own the underlying property.
For American Airlines, who provides the actual service of transportation, to get pissy with Kayak is its decision. If the decision to pull its ticket listings from Kayak results in fewer sales of American’s seats, that only affects American Airlines and its shareholders.
In contrast, a listing broker who pulls listings from TruZillia or some other online aggregator has to answer to the ultimate client: the home seller who has engaged the listing broker to represent his property. If pulling listings results in fewer leads and fewer inquiries and therefore a lower sale price than might have been possible, I’m 99.99% certain that any court anywhere in the United States would be finding for the homeseller plaintiff against his “fiduciary” broker.
I note that there is a difference between failing to list on some website (which could theoretically be justified as there are a plethora of websites out there, and the broker might not have heard of XYZ listing aggregator) and pulling listings off of a site. I would think that the broker would have to show that the listing aggregator was 100% ineffective at generating additional leads, so that pulling listings from it had no impact whatsoever on the exposure (and ultimately the offer) that his client received on his house. And how in the world do you show that?
In short, pull listings off of aggregators at your own peril, brokers.