There’s always something to howl about

Realbird’s Free IDX Alternative: (Eeeee….aaaaahhhh…aahhhhahhhhhhah)


I just recently realized that Realbird offers the syndication based total IDX solution on the cheap for Real Estate Agents that I was talking about here a little while back.


Considering the whole MIBOR thing that went down a few months back, here below is how we might expect some local MLS board officials to be reacting to the product?

[Click to play obnoxious but hilarious vid in new tab/window….]
Caption: Local Boards React To Free Real Estate Data For Real Estate Agents

Shouldn’t the freak of nature that is a free, framable, “google based” solution for displaying all that precious real estate property data have a whole lotta folks up in arms somewhere?

Oh well…doesn’t matter. Dead horse maybe… The important thing is this. I found a relevant way to share that video.

That and…

The Realbird search can likely replace your current idx solution, and is pretty darn feature rich for the money. An ad supported version is free, and to remove ads and allow tight, framable integration with your website costs an easy $99/year (That’s $99/12 per month, if you’re doing the math.)


Sure, I know… it’s not every listing in the local MLS system. Even though Realbird’s property search results appear to be limited to what’s available in google base, it’s enough in my opinion. All our search page needs to do these days is keep my visitors engaged for a while until they fall into one of our nifty lead capture traps, right? I’d argue that the day has pretty much arrived when a 3rd party providing a partially complete snapshot of local real estate market inventory based on data provided by syndication partners is pretty much as good as what most fully populated with local board data idx solutions have to offer.


To see what I mean, check out Central Pa’s cheapest and arguably most comprehensive Real Estate Search portal at Central Pa Living.Com.


And keep in mind just a few of the features on that page which the local board prohibits from being displayed on that page:


  • The ability to display property description remarks within the listings!
  • RSS feeds for Search Results…
  • Keyword Search!


That and … I didn’t have to pay the local board for the feed. In fact, I’m not even a local board member yet….Which highlights perhaps one of the coolest features of Realbird’s property search. If you live in an area with a lot of different boards, all with their own special nonsensical data requirements, you can bypass all the noise, membership fees, and confusion by truly adding “millions of listings to your website.”  Go ahead, try searching Phoenix Real Estate on CentralPaLiving.Com… A whole lot of it will be there…



So… will agents everywhere  catch on pretty quick that Realbird’s free idx alternative is the way to go? Will Trulia and Zillow soon follow with a framable something of their own?  “99 a bucks a year, or you and your site visitors have to see our ads.” – Good call Realbird…


17 Comments so far

  1. Greg Dallaire July 30th, 2009 10:44 pm


    I’m glad you brought this option up. It can be used in so many different ways my mind is racing. 🙂 Think about expanding into other marketplaces? What a perfect way to test the market.

    Like you mentioned in your article there’s only so many listing’s and not the whole mls if they do register it provides you a great opportunity to supply them with more relevant information which you can use to build rapport and get more sales.

    Neat tool i’ll be looking into this

  2. Janie Coffey July 31st, 2009 3:55 am

    I’ve been using this feature of RealBird’s since it was introduced (I am a die hard RealBird groupie)

    The embeddable search is awesome, you can customize it and embed it in blogs, you can post links on twitter or your facebook page, you can send it to clients. In my area where we have 5 boards who almost ALL send their listings to Google Base, the end user has so many options to look through, there is no difference to them than looking through an idx site.

    The fact that you can make a full page link or a sizeable widget with whatever search results your targeting, including KEY WORDS from the description, is over the top.

    I ditto the props to RealBird.
    The video above (still going), intersting!

  3. Barry Bevis July 31st, 2009 4:46 am

    Ryan- Iteresting site/product. I’m going to sign up for the free trial….

    But I Hate you right now for not giving us a pause button.

  4. Ryan Hartman July 31st, 2009 5:47 am

    Sorry Barry. I know… no option on the embed from… 🙂

  5. John Rowles July 31st, 2009 7:52 am

    I am not a fan of IDX for a lot of reasons.

    MIBOR as the poster child for the control a regressive MLS has over use of that data is exhibit A.

    The fact that it generally produces a lousy consumer experience (See the WAV study on that, it is an eye opener) would be exhibit B.

    That said, consumers want to see *all* the listings on the market, and since Realbird uses GoogleBase data (why wouldn’t a consumer simply use the new GoogleMaps Real Estate search?), it just doesn’t have the depth of a real IDX site.

    Here is a search for “Newport RI multi family” on GoogleMaps (same data as Realbird): 86 listings.

    Here is the same search on, a site we built that uses Google Enterprise technology to make IDX feed keyword searchable: 126 listings.

    We also do an embeddable search that our clients can iframe into any blog or other site that gives them access to HTML, and we create localized versions of the search engine and network them together, which produces legitimate Google Juice that brings users in from “Big Google” which is really the #1 RE search engine (sorry, which enables our clients to compete for direct traffic in the Google results, which is where everyone else gets most of their traffic, too.

  6. […] you’re bouncing over here from the BloodhoundBlog post, I apologize for the link out. This video is set to autoplay and loop with no option to pause or […]

  7. Renee Caperton July 31st, 2009 10:39 am

    What an interesting new idx solution. Thank you for pointing it out. Its certainly a new idx approach that will expand the market.

  8. RealBird July 31st, 2009 11:05 am

    Thanks Ryan for the post about us. I kept my speaker on for a full 3 minutes 🙂

    Regarding the number of listings issue, there is one very important thing to emphasize: Many MLSs are already sindicating their listings into Google Base and hence their full, opt-in inventory appears on the private labeled RealBird Property Search service as well. Including very prominent, large MLSes such as MRIS (47,000+ listings), MLSPin (20,000+ listings), SOCALMLS (41,000+) and more. In some markets, the data may be less full, than the one provided by the local IDX feed, but the important thing is the trend. More and more MLSes will push their data to Google Base in the upcoming years and hence the service will trend toward providing as good of information to consumers as IDX-based solutions – while maintaining and increasing the value proposition for agents and brokers.

    Thanks again for the write-up.

    — Zoltan

  9. Al Lorenz July 31st, 2009 1:12 pm

    Realbird is very fun. I think I love John Rowles solution though! Having all that information google searchable on my site would rock. John, would you share it with a few folks, or the whole bloodhound gang?

    Funny, yesterday I had been playing around with doing more with Craigslist. Postlets was alright, but I want more. The Realbird flyer/posting solution is very nice also. I’ll talk more about it in a bit.

    Thanks Ryan!

  10. […] BLOODHOUNDBLOG UNCHAINED There’s always something to howl about « Realbird’s Free IDX Alternative: (Eeeee….aaaaahhhh…aahhhhahhhhhhah) […]

  11. Celeste Decker July 31st, 2009 4:46 pm

    I’ll have to agree RealBird is a great site and Zoltan sent me over just to have a look at your crazy video!! LOL!!! 😀

  12. […] Trulia, Yahoo!, Google and many others.  One of the more interesting twists on this phenomenon is RealBird’s “IDX” solution based on listings in Google Base.  Tying these altogether, let’s say that Rob’s vision of big brokers pulling out of […]

  13. Brian Larson August 4th, 2009 1:11 pm

    Hmmm… I’m wondering. If Broker A sends listings to Google (i.e., gives Google permission to advertise them), then Realbird ‘scrapes’ (or whatever) Google’s site (without Broker A’s permission), and then displays the listings on Broker B’s site (again without permission), isn’t this a case of Broker B advertising Broker A’s listings without permission?

    I know no one here cares for MLS rules, but in most states I’m aware of, you have to have the listing broker’s or seller’s permission to advertise a listing as a matter of state law. The Code of Ethics has the same requirement. IDX provides that permission in the MLS context. Who is providing it here?

  14. Ryan Hartman August 4th, 2009 5:42 pm

    Brian (I mean, “Father of IDX” sir 🙂 )…

    Your stance probably makes total sense in light of current mls rules. I mean, you helped shape them right?… But shouldn’t some one ask for the “seller’s permission” before assuming he/she doesn’t want her phoenix listing on my pennsylvania website?

    The answer to all this mess could probably solved with a quick revision to the standard listing contract in most states.

    Maybe an option like: “Seller permits broker, at broker’s discretion, to not expose property to as many perspective buyers as possible.” ?

    Or maybe a straighter (less smartassy) disclosure like: Seller is aware that broker might not syndicate listings to 3rd party websites.

    You’re right… the issue here is that consumers aren’t being given proper choice or disclosure in the matter, (no matter which side you look at it from.)

    Wouldn’t it be better for NAR to quickly revise some policies or whatever so that this doesn’t become an issue that comes back to hurt the generally not so stellar reputation of its members even further?

    Real Estate marketing has changed… shouldn’t real estate marketing contracts should change with it?

  15. Brian Larson August 5th, 2009 7:26 am

    @Ryan: Just call me Dad. 😉

    First, there is the question of the way things ARE, and then there is the question of the way they SHOULD BE.

    I did not shape the MLSs rules regarding listing brokers needing to give permission other brokers to advertise their listings. That’s been a feature of MLS rules, the Code of Ethis, and state laws as long as I can remember. And as long as those things are true now, you need permission to advertise other brokers’ listings (at least in most states). It does not look like Realbird is getting that permission or that brokers using Realbird have that permission (but I’m hoping Realbird will chime in here if I’m wrong).

    As for how things SHOULD BE, I think your argument assumes that a listing appearing on more web sites is always beneficial to the seller and that it comes at no cost to the seller. I don’t think either of those things is demonstrably true on a general basis, and in specific cases I’ve seen, they were not true at all.

    The seller hires the broker to market her property. The broker selects where the listing appears, at least theoretically, based upon the broker’s professional judgment. (Don’t worry, I’m not arguing that brokers are actually giving this enough thought – many are not.) Saying that the listing broker should disclose each option to the seller and get her consent to pursue each course of action is a problem because the seller knows even less about real estate marketing on the web than her broker (and if she knows more, you can count on her to tell her broker where she wants to see her listing). She’s PAYING the listing broker to make these decisions.

    Even if I were to agree that the listing broker should give consent to almost anyone who asks to market the seller’s listing on the web, it does not appear that Realbird, or the brokers using it, ARE asking the listing brokers OR the seller for permission. (Again, I’m hoping Realbird will chime in here, if I’ve got that wrong.)

    You’re not really arguing that Realbird should be able to take listing data without seller OR listing broker permission, just because YOU think it’s in the seller’s best interests, are you?

  16. Ryan Hartman August 5th, 2009 7:53 am

    -Brian (dad)

    No, I’m actually with you. I just think the seller should be informed about where the listing is or isn’t being advertised.

    Question is — Is not syndicating a listing (without permission) a violation of the broker’s duty to the seller to competently market the property? Don’t sellers deserve the choice? And shouldn’t they know when a broker is intentionally holding back on some marketing tools out of self-interest, with disregard for what’s best for the seller?

    I know in PA, the standard listing contract has the seller consent to placing the property in the mls. Why not include an option for “3rd party syndication” or something?

    Seems a better course than attempts to pull the plug on idx, syndication, or indexing altogther because a few of the big guys aren’t inclined to keep pace…

    Plus, if the consumer gets wise to the “Realtor’s” (NAR’s) attempts to limit their marketing options… they may just decide to cut out the middle man altogether?

    And man, if this isn’t all about the “way things should be” instead of the “way things are”… what fun is that? Reality is, the way things are, folks generally don’t trust us (Realtors) anyway. Why risk making it worse with anti what’s-best-for-the-consumer thinking?

  17. Sue Zanzonico August 6th, 2009 7:53 pm

    Realbird is an interesting site..I’ve been using it on and off for about 6 months and even recently discovered some new cool features. Not sure if they were always there or they keep improving. Whatever…keep it up, its obviously appreciated.