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Silicon Valley classifieds start-up, Edgeio, has acquired a company that will allow Edgeio’s users to search significant amounts of real estate data.
If you think that is trivial, think again. Online real estate listings face a regulatory mess — related to the legally complicated Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system. The end result is that a Web site must have a direct relationship with an agent or with a regional MLS in order to show detailed data on homes. This has stymied many real estate sites, such as Zillow and Trulia, from getting the data they want. In fact, the Department of Justice is suing the National Association of Realtors, saying it colluded to prevent listings from appearing online, giving established brokers an advantage. The DoJ claims online brokers can deliver services more efficiently at lower prices. But it says the NAR policy of allowing traditional brokers to block listings to online sites inhibits that new technology.
Edgeio seems to be doing an end run around this system, but legally. Chief executive Keith Teare told VentureBeat Wednesday it has acquired the assets of Adaptive Real Estate Services, a company built over the past several years by father and son team Robert and Peter Meyer — and which has patiently built up relationships with brokers and agents in 70 of the top MLS organizations — and equivalent to about 70 percent of the MLS network nationwide. It has about 1.5 million homes listed for sale in the areas it covers. This means Edgeio can show these 1.5 million homes in its search results, and let users drill down to see the data details hosted on Web sites it has relationships with. And going forward, other brokers and dealers can opt into Edgeio’s network.
The key advance ARES made is that it automates the inclusion of listings via the IDX protocol used by MLS organizations. This is painstaking work as few MLS organizations share common data structures with others.
We last wrote about Edgeio here.