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Useful Listing Syndication Terms Learned at Mid-Year

May 16 2011

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Today I was present in various meetings (before the fire in my hotel, of course) and one takeaway I thought would be useful to others was information from the CMLS Workshop on listing data syndication. There are often terms out there that people don’t know exactly what they mean, so I thought it might help to get these written down in the blogosphere for others. Consider it my listing syndication dictionary thanks to CMLS and volunteers to helped pull the first “Brings It To The Table” meeting together. A special thanks goes out to the organizers for a provocative discussion.

Aggregator – a term used to describe an entity that compiles and stores listing data.

API (Application Programming Interface) – a set of rules and specs that allow communication from one software program to another.

Channel – a public (non-agent/broker) website to which syndicators distribute data; a.k.a. “portal.” Not regulated by MLS rules.

Derivative Works – use of information from a data set, other than the original intent; a.k.a. “re-purpose.”

EULA (End User License Agreement) – governs use by the individual user on a particular site, product or service.

Enhanced/Featured Listing – added content or premium placement provided as an up-sell to agent/broker by Publisher.

Extended Network – a shared search experience on a public website other than an original channel. Data doesn’t leave control of the original channel, but remains resident in the original database; a.k.a. “framing” or “powered by.”

Framing – surrounding the property search of Site A with the branding of Site B; data does not leave the control of Site A. See “framing” and “powered by.”

IDX (Internet Data Exchange) – website owned by an agent/broker wherein other brokers have given approval to each other to advertise listings. IDX sites are regulated by MLS.

Opt-in vs. Opt-out – in either instance, the broker is given the means to indicate their own choice as to the display of their listing data on a given national website/channel. Opt-in – the broker chooses to participate; Opt-out – all brokers’ listings are included unless the broker actively prevents it.


Portal – a public (non-agent/broker) website to which syndicators distribute data; a.k.a. “channel” or “publisher”. Not regulated by MLS.

Powered By – provider of information for a website; host or developer of website; property search of one national website framed to the branding of another.

Publisher – national website operator; a.k.a. “channel” or “portal.”

Re-Direct Link – link to the property detail page of the listing agent/broker’s IDX site.

Re-Purpose – other use than the explicit purpose for which it was provided, often unauthorized; a.k.a. “derivative works.”

Re-Syndication – when a publisher to whom listings have been syndicated forwards that content to another, typically for display on another website.

Syndication – method by which the broker can instruct the MLS to distribute their listing data to outside websites other than IDX and VOW.

Transient Download – method of displaying data on a website by pulling data from another server so that the data never leaves the original source (server).

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