XML Feeds – What Are They and How Can They Benefit your Business?
‘What exactly is an XML feed and how do they work?’
When we launched the AIPP MLS networking system & the Property listings on AIPO, one of the most frequently asked questions we get is ‘what exactly is an XML feed and how do they work?’ XML feeds simplifying the process and time taken for members to deliver their properties to these two new services. Companies such as Property Portal Marketing (PPM) can do all this for you, their contact details below.
To help us answer this question, we’ve turned to Chris Thompson of PPM, who has put together a simple guide to help understand the magic behind the technology. As Chris says; “quite simply, an XML feed is a software bridge connecting one website to another, and allows information to be copied from one website to the other automatically, negating having to do everything manually (very time consuming….) get an XML feed to do it all for you. Not only will an XML feed add new listings, but it will also edit and remove listings from multiple portal websites, as long as that property has been added, edited or removed from your website first.”
Three ways to build your XML feed
Traditionally, there are 2 ways to build an XML feed, the first is via a direct connection to your database (which sits behind your website) and the second is a scrape of your website. There is a third option which is to build the feed from a source feed and (without getting too boringly technical), a company like Property Portal Marketing might get a source feed from a hosting company when neither a direct connection or a scrape is possible.
There are also a few options for adding properties to your chosen portals (dependent on the number of properties you can upload to the portal website). The first is that the feed will just select the most recent, the second is that you tick a box on the back end of your website and the third is that you give your XML feed provider a list of the properties you want on a weekly basis.
In most cases the XML feed will then refresh on the providers site overnight and be updated on the portal within a 12-24 hour period, however some portals, like Rightmove in the UK, operate a ‘real-time’ data feed which means that the XML file can update throughout the day.
How to get your own XML feed
In terms of the physical build process of the XML feed, you can speak with your existing web/hosting company or you can speak with a specialist XML feed provider, like PPM. Whichever option you choose, ensure they are familiar with the portal and the feed format required for that website. If you would like to contact Chris Thompson at PPM to discuss how his company could provide you with a bespoke XML feed, please email Chris at email@example.com or call him on +44 (0) 7704933301.
Chris Thompson Biography:
Chris was recently elected to the AIPP Advisory Board, British and based in Denmark. He has an extensive background in Sales and Marketing and launched PPM in 2016 to help international agents with property portals, social media and email marketing, XML feeds, websites and a CRM. PSN was launched in 2019 to help agents collaborate easier with each other locally, nationally and internationally. Understanding the needs / demands of both buyer and the trade, Chris is regularly working with trade clients in multiple countries.