It's Good News: Clarification on the RealBird Zillow and Trulia Listing Syndication Status

We are writing this post to provide clarification on the status of the RealBird listing syndication feed to Zillow and Trulia.  We have been receiving inquiries about this matter from our members, they were worried that the recent manual listing upload changes announced by Zillow may also affect RealBird’s  syndication feed.

We are pleased to let you know that we just received confirmation from Zillow that our service is in good standing  and they have no plans to shut our feed down. So the good news is that our vendor feed will not be affected. You can continue to use RealBird as before.

There is an important new rule for Zillow/Trulia syndication: Zillow no longer allows branded photos to be syndicated with your RealBird listing, nor self-promotion in the property description. Please make sure that you don't upload branded photos for your RealBird listings and avoid personal promotion in the main property description, otherwise your listings can be blocked by Zillow. So while we don't suggest the usage of the branded photos on the main RealBird site (and syndication), it's very valuable tool on other media: your website, social media, emails etc.

You can find your branded list of syndication destinations in your RealBird member area, in the dashboard, under "My Listing Syndication Network".  This is a pdf flyer that you may print out for your listing presentation to showcase your property marketing capabilities as a RealBird PRO member.

For any questions please contact us.

-- The RealBird Team

www.realbird.com


Updated referral statistics

The updated pie chart below shows the relative click-thru traffic from major real estate portals; i.e. consumer destination sites where RealBird listings are syndicated to (automatically or manually). It is based on the web analytics data of the last 200,000 click-throughs to RealBird single property websites:

Referral-stats-RealBird


Some notes and assumptions:


  • Craigslist is a manual distribution option for which we provide all the instructions and code. However, - due to the fact that it requires agents to manually post their listings after entering them in RealBird - the number of RealBird listings published on Craigslist is much less than the number of listings automatically syndicated to portals (Trulia, Zillow etc.). The traffic ratio of Craigslist would be way higher if all RealBird listings were published there as well by our members.

  • Trulia and Zillow consumer traffic is comparable (see Compete.com) but the click-through traffic from Trulia is almost three times as much. I suspect, that this is due to the fact, that Trulia has a big, prominent button "See more photos and details" linking to the RealBird property sites, while Zillow has a smaller, regular link on their property pages. In other words, Trulia's property page is more click-through friendly, hence more consumers actually end-up on the RealBird listing websites.

  • Since our number of syndicated listings is relatively small compared to the whole for-sale, active, US listing dataset, this chart does not implies in any ways the importance of those sites in terms of consumer traffic or the level of exposure your listing will receive. Statistically speaking, this chart can not be used as a base for making projections on traffic of the included portals. Our dataset is not a representation of such information. It only shows the distribution of traffic sources to the RealBird dataset. Use Compete.com or Quantcast.com for more accurate info on this.

    Update: Based on the conversation with Sara from Zillow (see comments below), I'd like to emphasize it again, that the chart shows the ratio of referral traffic only, which does not have direct relationship with other metrics, like lead conversion etc. For example: one may receive more leads directly on the sites we syndicate to, without the user ever clicking-thru to the RealBird listing website (hence no referral traffic is tracked).


  • It is interesting to see that the click-throu traffic from Overstock.com is higher than the traffic from Vast.com, even though OverStock.com's real estate classifieds are powered by Vast.com. It is probably due to the fact, that Overstock has way higher traffic than Vast.com (See Compete.com for details)

  • We decided to include ActiveRain traffic that is not click-through referral, but impressions of RealBird widgets embedded on ActiveRain. It may artificially improved the relative rank though. We did so, because we wanted to emphasize the importance of posting listing widgets on ActiveRain, and because we could not find an easy way to separate the two types of web analytics data

Other notable sources of traffic are: Geebo.com,Walmart Classifieds and recently, StumbleUpon

Thank you for Juliet Johnson for making us create an updated chart :)


-- Zoltan
RealBird.com


RealBird Listing Publisher 3.0 released

It's been a while since our previous major feature release of the RealBird Listing Publisher single property website and listing syndication service. We have been adding and improving features on-going, like support for the Google Street View widget and Microsoft Bird's Eye View, embedded slideshow and new default theme, and today, we have a major upgrade to announce with many unique and powerful presentation and marketing features. See below the list with examples.

Virtual open house - Live chat with your visitors

Chat widgets For the first time, you can use your single property websites as interactive presentation tools; effectively: virtual open houses. You can engage your visitors right on the spot, interactively, real-time, before they browse away to check out other listing websites. The new Listing Publisher provides you a way to add  3rd party chat widgets of your choice. Just like with the 3rd party video and slideshow support, we do not limit you to a particular provider, use one of our recommended services or add your favorite chat application. You can use Plugoo.com, Meebo, or Kyte.tv for audio and video chat, LivePerson.com for proactive chats or any other services you prefer. Many of these chat services also run on mobile devices so you will be able to participate in conversations even while you are on the go.

Tip: You can even provide live shows and market reviews using ustream.tv or similar services. Just like with syndicating the embedded RealBird MLS search tool, and getting additional real estate services one step closer to potential clients, you can  use the distributed single property websites to capture traffic for your live real estate shows. The options are pretty much endless.

I highly recommend to add the Plugoo.com chat widget to your RealBird sites, at least. With Plugoo, you can keep using your regular IM (Google Talk, MSN, Yahoo Messenger) to interact with your property websites' visitors, even from your mobile devices.

Example: Tina Merritt's listing : Popular Baylake Pines

Real-time market stats and lead capturing - powered by Altos Research

Market stats We met the guys at Altos Research more than a year ago, and we have been talking about integration ever since, but never got the time to actually do it. This time we pulled it off! For over 6,000  zip codes in the US we are now automatically include a "Market Stats" tab, a large, up-to-date median price chart for the zip code and a lead collector for your visitors to request more market research data. Within 1 hour of the release, one of our client received the first lead via this service. IT WORKS !  This is one of my favorite new features. New markets are added ongoing, so even if it is not yet available in your market, keep this feature on, we will include the charts automatically as soon as your market is available.

Example: Stunning Custom Home in Keller, Texas - www.705wickhamcourt.com

Mini Single Property Website widget to embed in sites and blog posts

The Mini Single Property Website is a new, powerful listing widget in your viral marketing toolset. If you like the original slideshow widget, you will love this one. Besides being nice and effective it has two major improvements. It is a viral widget: it provides you and your audience a way to quickly and easily grab and share it on social networks, social bookmarking sites and through email. The widget also maintains the visual theme of your single property website including the unique photo backdrop feature and custom color theme. No more boring widgets, spice it up as much as you wish. Stay tuned for new  RealBird viral marketing widgets coming soon. We are already working on some. See the current set of real estate widgets RealBird provides.

Example courtesy of Janie Coffey

Update: Embedded widget removed due to some bug with the Typepad blog hosting platform. Thanks for Rick at Phoenix Real Estate to point this out. We found the fix. the widget is back again below

See it in action on Janie's Horse Properties blog or see one embedded in this Philly real estate blog

What's nearby: powered by Google

This new feature turns your single property website into a local information hub. Your visitors can easily map any points of interest around your property with the built-in Google Local Search. Most importantly: schools and city amenities. Check it out on Bill Gassett's Medway, MA single property website. E.g. Enter "schools" in the text box on map and get instant nearby results.

Bargain alert - Notification if your list price is below Zillow's Zestimate®

Bargain alert The new Zillow API mashup will show a bargain alert on your site if your list price is below Zillow's Zestimate®. It is an automatic marketing pitch for grabbing the attention of the visitor, using the industry standard Zillow Zestimate® for emphasizing bargain pricing. If you property is priced above the Zestimate®, the feature becomes automatically hidden. We only use Zestimate® when it helps you with your online marketing efforts. This is an optional feature, you can turn it on and off, just like with most of the RealBird features, but I think this is an excellent tool as it merges the best of the features of RealBird and Zillow and only used when it benefits your marketing efforts.

Example: Highlands Ranch, CO listing  or Wonderful Ranch Home


Printable flyer with a twist - private labeled driving directions included

Printable flyer Many of you have been asking for it and now we have the solution: a printable version of your single property website. We also added an invaluable tool to it. You clients can print driving directions together with your flyer branded for you with your photo, logo and contact information. A new editor is provided in the member area which lets you configure the description and feature highlights. Having an optimized content for printing helps you create a flyer which prints pretty without changing the content on your full-featured property website and also helps you with search engine marketing by providing a second version indexed by search engines with related by slightly different content.


"Listing slug" - excuse us for the name, but this is powerful SEO

We borrowed the term from the Wordpress blogging platform, which uses "post slugs" for blog post Url customization. The concept is the following: having relevant keywords in the Url may increase search engine ranking. Having some variation between your property title's keywords (also important SEO content) and your Url keywords may increase ranking even more.  Besides helping you getting better ranking, this feature can also help you with better click-through rates once your property site is found by search engines.  Google and the other search engines also highlight keywords in the Url on the SERP (Search Engine Result Pages) which increases click-through rate. By default we use your property website's title in the Url, but for even better keyword targeting, you can override the single property website's Url keywords with related, but slightly modified terms. This is an advanced feature. If it is confusing, you can just skip this feature. RealBird will generate this for you automatically using your listing's title. To access this feature, use the configure tab in the listing editor.

International distribution

Through our syndication partnership with DotHomes ( a UK company ), we are now bringing international exposure for your listings. This is an automatic syndication feature. Publish your listings on RealBird and they will be automatically distributed to DotHomes.com (They are in the final stage of the implementation so it may take a few more days from the date of this post to have your listings appear)

Tracking more details of the property website activity

For those of you who are crazy about web analytics, we added more tracking via Clicky's new Ajax tracking code. Please note that this feature is only available for Premium Clicky subscribers.

Private labeled real estate yellow pages

Last but not least, we have released our first service of a series of upcoming team marketing tools. The RealBird Private Labeled Yellow Pages lets you private label the RealBird real estate yellow pages portal at SearchOnMaps.com. See the example below. Enter a US city, zipcode or address and see the private labeled portal.

Benefits:

  • Branding and lead generation
  • Team marketing - the RealBird community markets each others' listings
  • Backlinks to your site and blog from a portal with high PageRank
  • Single property websites are co-branded also
  • It's free

Example widget:

See it also on Katy Schaff's blog embedded in the right sidebar

If you like to be featured on this blog by showing one of these features on your own RealBird listing sites, just comment on this post with your RealBird link included or send us an email.

-- Zoltan Szendro
RealBird.com


"Just Listed" widget with custom colors

"Just Listed" widget

A new version of the RealBird "Just Listed" featured listing sidebar widget has been released. The upgrade lets you  customize the color scheme of the widget to match your website and blog design.

Many thanks for Christoph Schweiger for this feature request. See the implementation on his blog under the "Just Listed"  header on the right side. Christoph: thanks for the  kind words about us in your recent blog post.

The widget configuration tool is not yet available in the member area. In the meantime use the Url syntax listed below for setting background and link colors (the example is using Christoph's listings)

http://listings.realbird.com/justListed.aspx?id=D2B1E3A3&rb_bg=FFE1A4&rb_ac=CC0000&rb_tc=000000 &rb_lh=150&rb_f=0

rb_bg is the hex color code of the background
rb_ac  is the hex color code of underlined link
rb_tc is the hex color of the second text line (also a link but not underlined)
rb_f=0 hides the RealBird logo (the logo is not transparent, so this has to be set when using background colors other than white)

Your RealBird listings on Zillow.com

We are glad to let you know that your listings published via the RealBird Listing Publisher is now also automatically distributed to Zillow.com for additional exposure.  With over 4 million unique visitors in August 2007 - according to the Zillow - this is a marketing exposure you can't refuse.

-- Zoltan Szendro
RealBird.com