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May 18 / Nick Teel

Market Leader Joins Zillow and Trulia in Selling Leads on Agent Listings

Just as brokers are wising up to the alarming tactics of third-party sites like Zillow and Trulia, Market Leader pulls a strategic about-face and joins the ranks of listing aggregators that are bypassing brokerages to extort money directly from their agents.

Now that it owns, which it purchased in 2011 for $8.25 million, Market Leader is apparently trying to pay for the acquisition with an aggressive email marketing campaign in which it’s selling leads to agents that pony up ad dollars to become “city experts” on the site.

That’s right. Market Leader is the latest third-party player to take agents’ listings and use them to make money by selling access to competing agents. The company’s breathless marketing emails this week stated that the company “has sold close to 2,000 cities” and it’s planning to rev up the sales campaign “soon” with a mass-media ad buy.

It’s an especially shocking turn of events given the company’s recent PR fluff about its strategic partnerships with brokerages and its commitment to helping brokers grow their businesses.  I thought selling zip-codes and leads was the company’s old business model – but apparently they haven’t changed a thing.

What kind of partner gets in between brokers’ relationship with their agents? What’s helpful about making agents pay to get leads on their own listings?  What’s fair about charging agents protection money to keep other agents from getting leads on their listings?

Nothing, but that isn’t stopping Market Leader.


  1. Gregg A / Jul 5 2012

    5 July, 2012

    I get bombarded daily by market leader too several of my e-mail accounts, I would estimate 3 to 4 e-mails daily. Selling zip codes and towns/cities under the umbrella of exclusivity is absolute nonsense and a financial waste of money for any agent. I made the mistake of buying into this nonsense with trulia a couple of years ago and it cost me upwards of $1500 for zero closings. The leads that come in generally have bogus e-mail and or phone number contact points. The ones that are legit remain evasive when asked for specifics about their real estate needs and timetables. The only ones truly profitiing from this propoganda are zillow, market leader, blackwater etc. Save your money and use your time more prudently.

  2. Gregg A / Jul 5 2012

    Correction: it was ZILLOW not trulia that cost me $1500+.

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