State of Web Scraping Data Theft Across Real Estate Websites & MLS Data

October 2, 2015

MLS executives are key to the success of the real estate industry in addressing screen-scraping. These leaders help set priorities with the MLS vendors, collectively set NAR rules for IDX and VOW, and manage the MLS data license agreements with advertising portals. 

  • 95% agreed that IDX sites should be subject to rules specifically mandating web scraping protections—a critical next step for our industry.
  • While 99% say compliance with rules protecting misuse of MLS data is important, the majority do not perform compliance testing. 
  • There is a strong need for standardized tests to facilitate anti-web scraping compliance reviews and 98% indicated they support the development of such standardized testing methodologies. 

Implementing anti-web scraping protections that protect against modern, sophisticated real estate data scrapers should be a priority for MLS vendors. 

  • 96% of MLS executives rate it important that their vendor implement anti-web scraping solutions
  • 94% of MLS executives indicate a vendor’s information security practices, including sophistication of anti-web scraping technology, are important to them when selecting an MLS  data vendor.

There is still a lot to do to raise awareness of the scraping issue and affordable and effective solutions. Compliance with MLS rules is clearly the most important factor in having IDX/VOW vendors implement an anti-web scraping solution, so focusing on changing MLS data policy and rules, as overwhelmingly desired by MLS executives, is of paramount importance. 

Most software providers (MLS, IDX, VOW, advertising websites) are currently using reactive and obsolete monitoring mechanisms and are also using old methods of trying to stop web scrapers, ineffective against modern, sophisticated data scrapers. Implementing a testing method for the industry that calls attention to these ineffective methods is also important, if we want those vendors to upgrade to effective solutions.

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