Zillow and NAR Come Out on Top in REX Antitrust Lawsuit

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Key Highlights

  • Judge denies REX’s allegations of antitrust conspiracy against Zillow and NAR
  • Zillow had to comply with NAR’s“no commingling” rule regarding MLS’s policy

REX Filed Antitrust Lawsuit Against Zillow and NAR in Marc

In its founding vision to drastically reduce real estate commissions, REX filed an antitrust lawsuit against Zillow, Trulia and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) in March of this year.

Why?  Because, according to REX’s complaint, under NAR’s rules that are enforced by multiple listing services (MLS’s), sellers must pay a buyer broker’s commissions.

REX, considered almost uniformly to be a discount broker by the industry as a whole though not by REX, argued that Zillow,now powered by an IDX feed, downsized its feeds to approximately 600 from the 1,000’s of listings it formerly included prior to the company’s commitment to an IDX feed.

Results of Zillow’s Shift to IDX

Now, Zillow’s listings website includes listings from the MLS and also sends its “own” listings (its agents’ listings, its iBuyerlistings) to members of the MLS.  Now, non-agent listings are excluded on Zillow’s mobile app as a default.  Consumers using Zillow’s mobile app can, however, switch between agent and non-agent listings themselves.

And, by the way, this recent switch made by Zillow renders the company in compliance with local MLS rules.

REX’s Complaint Alleged Lack of Competition

According to the complaint filed by REX against Zillow, Trulia andNAR,  REX contended that “Zillow’s recently implemented website changes make non-MLS listings accessible only via a recessed, obscured, and deceptive tab that consumers do not see, and even professional real estate agents find deceiving.”

In addition, REX contended, “The result is that REX’s listings are losing significant traffic, severely impacting REX’s reputation, its ability to execute its innovative and disruptive business model, and driving consumers away from REX and back into the MLS regime, ensuring higher commissions that benefit NAR’s members.”

Judge Ruled Against REX Last Week

Last week, a Seattle federal court judge, Thomas Zilly, ruled in favor of Zillow, Trulia and NAR concluding that REX had not proven “a likelihood of irreparable harm” not did the defendants threaten REX’s existence.

The judge also contended via the ruling that the defendants did not violate antitrust and consumer protection regulations.

 

  • Thanks to HousingWire and Inman.

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