Is this the end of Zillow's Premier Agent Program?

By Marc-Henri J. Kijner - Real Estate Broker | Published on May 18, 2018 at 12:00AM
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According to the latest article from Florida Realtors, the New York Department of State may create new problems for real estate ad websites such as Zillow, Trulia and Street Easy which "re-launched" the much controversial "Premier Agent Program" in 2017 in New York City.

For a refresher on the controversy, please view Ryan Serhant's public call to Street Easy (Zillow's parent company) regarding the Premier Agent Program.


In short, before March 1st, licensed real estate salespersons were able to upload their listings either via their local MLS syndication on or via the RLS feed for Manhattan agents who are members of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). Street Easy would then showcase the agent's listing with a contact box below with the exclusive agent contact information as well as with 3 additional Premier Agents. These 3 agents had paid to be featured in that particular zip code and obtain leads from the program. Consumers were given the option to go with the exclusive agent or with the Premier Agents who are supposdely expert of the neighborhood.

We could argue that those so called "expert" Premier Agents, are simply agents who have higher marketing expenditure and are buying impressions/views and may receive a lead from the actual hard work of another exclusive agent. The controversy arose when the program decided to remove the exclusive agent completely and features only those Premier Agents. 

Obviously, many exclusive agents, such as Ryan Serhant felt that it was unfair and a potential violation of their rights. Others argued that agents could simply opt out from Street Easy syndication and not advertise their listings with the Zillow group as the Universal Co-Brokerage agreement only required them to share their exclusive listing with REBNY member via the RLS and its myriad of related IDX system vendors.

In realty, all RLS syndicated listings under REBNY management, syndicate to Street Easy and the Zillow family as REBNY doesn't offer a public website for consumers to search exclusive listings from REBNY members unlike does for NAR members. This lack of consumer-oriented tool explains the quasi market leadership of Zillow, and the reliance by most Manhattan agents, who are REBNY members as well, with ad websites such as Street Easy, Naked Apartment and the more conventional Zillow/Trulia to advertise to the public.

To read more about the latest rules and proposed regulation by the New York department of State, please click on the photo below:


To share your thoughts on these new online real estate advertizing rules, please contact us at [email protected].

Tags: Zillow, Premier Agent, Ryan Servant, NY DOS, Online rules, Exclusive listings, Restrictions

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