Bing Removes MLS Listings After Backlash

Bing Removes MLS Listings After Backlash

Last week, industry leaders raised the alarm after finding unlicensed data in a section similar to a portal on Microsoft’s search engine.

After industry leaders raised their concerns on social media this week, the dispute over Bing’s home listings appears to be settling down.

Microsoft’s looks very much like a portal. It displays homes for rent or sale in a neighborhood searchable format. Listings appear to be MLS data, and contain typical listing details such as prices, square footage, and building information.

Sam DeBord is the CEO of Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO). DeBord started the discussion on X, noting that was functioning as a portal for real estate but it is not a part of any MLS and shouldn’t post information derived from MLS listing.

DeBord wrote on X that “IDX data can’t be sublicensed by non-participants in MLSs.”

This led to outrage and calls to Microsoft to stop the practice. Industry consultant Victor Lund called it “a declaration war”. The campaign seems to have been successful: started removing data on its site for major markets starting Friday, June 7.

DeBord, on X, said: “Great work, good result, let’s go back to the office.”

A Microsoft spokesperson said that the company has nothing to say at this time.

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Why it matters

Search engines or other sites that display MLS listings in public are not only violating copyright laws but also reducing the value of multiple list services at a critical time.

MLSs owned by Realtors have already been hit with problems following lawsuits filed by the commission. They have until August 17 to update their platforms in order to comply with new rules mandated under the $418 million NAR Settlement. Some are also scrambling for subscriber training and education.

DeBord stated in an email that brokers spend a lot of time, money and expertise to create listing information and media. The MLS aggregation makes the data more valuable. This is proven by the fact that even the most valuable company in the world wants to monetize this information.

DeBord said that brokers are the owners of that value and that they have the right and ability to control how and where their listings will be displayed and redistributed.

They use it to help clients and build their business. The licenses created by brokers and their MLSs to share the value of this data must be respected. DeBord stated that enforcing licenses now can reduce future incentives to misuse data.

Zillow and Redfin: What they have in common

Two of the most popular home search portals were involved in this controversy. Many of the listings on the site had links that directed users to property listings at Zillow or Redfin.

Zillow, as well as Redfin, contacted Microsoft to ask the company to stop publishing the listing data on Bing. Zillow stated in a statement that there was no agreement between Microsoft and Zillow, which included its Zestimate.

Alina Ptaszynski is the corporate communications manager for Redfin. She said that Redfin worked with Microsoft and its MLS partners to ask Microsoft to remove these listings.

Redfin, as a brokerage firm, spends a lot of time and energy to ensure that our agents, our site, and our apps comply with all MLS policies and rules. We also have license agreements. Redfin has no data agreement with Microsoft,” Ptaszynski stated.