Ok, Active Rainers, I would LOVE some input here to address the serious issue of properties on Zillow being marketing as For Sale, but are really Sold or Expired.
Some background: Very often we'll get a single listing from multiple data sources (for example: a broker,a mls, postlets and a virtual tour company). Right now we have trumping logic to know which data to use as the source, it goes: agent entry, broker feed, mls feed (including Listhub) and then syndication services.
Typical reason for sale listings are on the site even after they've sold: Say a listing is coming to us via a Broker feed, then it sells and comes out of the feed, and we in turn pull it off the site. However, the agent doesn't take it out of all the syndication services they are using. So while it comes out of the Broker feed, it then starts gets sourced by a virtual tour company until it comes out of that feed.
I would LOVE your input on how we can solve this, because right now we are simply just displaying the information that we receive.
Here are some ideas to get the juices flowing, but please feel free to shoot holes in them or offer your own solution. One thing to note, because I am sure someone will just say to only use MLS data, is that only about 1.7M (rough guess) of the listings on the site are actually sourced by straight MLS data- as many MLSs do not feed to us directly.
1) If a listing comes out of an agent, broker or MLS feed - ignore it in any syndication service for two months. (would this hurt you from a pocket listing perspective?)
2) Once we get data from the country that home is Sold - ignore it regardless of if it is active in any feed. In some counties this would work well, in others, it wouldn't increment data quality at all.
3) If a listing is on the site for 180 days with no changes at all, pull it down. (what is right time period?)
4) Stop taking feeds from partners who have a high percentage of stale listings in their feed (stale being defined at listings unchanged for more than 180 days). (but this means we would be cutting off some agents' syndication strategy?)
5) Your idea?
We really want to improve this situation on Zillow. We recently made a big change to the site that helped clean a number of these stale listings up, which I talked about here. But I know there is still more we can do. I just want to make sure we do things that help clean up the data, but don't sacrifice your listing marketing opportunities.