Trulia has built a system to make sure it’s listing inventory is accurate. It’s simple, clean, and easy for the average MLS to setup.
On one hand I’m thinking: Congratulations! This is what we’ve been waiting for and something so desperately needed.
On the other hand I say, It’s about time! Why is it that these sites have been around since 2004 and 2005 and we’re just now getting attention paid to the details. Consumers demand accurate data, and the Realtor ends up looking like the bad guy when they have to explain to a client that the data is wrong on these sites. Even Trulia themselves believe that up to 8% of their inventory is inaccurate with a major item such as status or price.
I’ve been railing on this point for two years now. I sat down in the early days with representatives of Zillow and suggested to them a similar system using a Pin Code on each listing that the MLS would send to authenticate accuracy. I was so passionate about providing this level of data accuracy to these sites, Tribus actually at one point considered obtaining a patent on a listing accuracy system. (I’m intrigued to see if Trulia’s auto correcting system will provide a very high level of matching? I always worry about trying to match Street with St. and ST and St or better yet Saint with the same letter combinations!) Honestly I believe that if Zillow ends up implementing something similar they will then have some of the best data in the industry on real estate market trends. The reason their data is so bad right now (up to +/- 20% in my home market of St. Louis, MO) is because they have old data and no data on certain homes for sale. If that changes how good will their model become. It also makes me start wondering, Trulia has a decent collection of market reports however they don’t push it often. With their data getting better, will they make a run at Zillow’s Zestimate?
In thinking about this however, I wonder if many MLSs will participate in Trulia’s Direct Reference platform. With their data getting better it’s possible that they (or Zillow if they build something similar) would have a lot of push back from MLSs and Realtor organizations due to their investment to push the Realtor Property Resource, or RPR.
No matter what, better data in any way is better for the consumer, so cheers to Trulia for taking the first step!
Update: Ironically when we posted this to Facebook, we replied to Trulia and Zillow. I was lead over to the Zillow page to find the below:
Notice the “Again.” This is unacceptable.
Listing syndication sites, these sorts of problems are frustrating to us all. Please let’s work together to fix this!
TRULIA LAUNCHES “TRULIA DIRECT REFERENCE” ILLUMINATING A NEW PATH FOR LISTING DATA QUALITY ONLINE
Initial Results Show Over 8% of Listing Data Distributed for U.S. Homes Have Inaccurate Price or Status Information
SAN FRANCISCO, March. 3rd, 2011 – Trulia.com, a leading site for real estate professionals, homebuyers and sellers, today announced Trulia Direct Reference, a quality assurance system which uses Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data to ensure the accuracy of online real estate listings. Participating MLSs provide accurate reference data (e.g., list price, status, etc.) about their listings; then Trulia identifies data discrepancies between the MLS data and that provided by 3rd party syndicators and other non-MLS sources. Trulia automatically reports data discrepancies back to the MLS, broker and listing agent, providing full transparency into the data Trulia publishes in its search index. Trulia welcomes MLSs to participate in Trulia Direct Reference whether or not they are syndicating their listings to Trulia.