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Jul 30 15

Spacio Pro – The Paperless Open House

by Greg Robertson

11539559_1592807660974141_6043279572055338391_nLast year Dan and I were introduced to Melissa Kwan. Her company was developing an app called Spac.io. Spac.io’s slogan touted, “Bookmark Your Real Estate”. This was familiar to us because of an app we developed back in 2008 called Dwellicious. The premise of both apps leveraged the fact that people search multiple real estate sites, so why not make it easier for home shoppers to put all their favorite listings under one site, no matter where they saw it originally. You did this by bookmarking listings as you were searching on the web.

Due to various reasons Melissa has pivoted away from Spac.io’s bookmarking model and changed the focus to leverage “beacons”, but this seemed to me to be a bit too bleeding edge for right now.

But along the way she also saw an opportunity. Her new app is called Spacio Pro which is described as “the paperless Open House”. This might also sound familiar because of another app called Open Home Pro, developed by Andrew Machado, now owned by HomeFinder.

Both are similar in function, they help you capture buyer leads by having a iPad sign in form at an Open House. While Open Home Pro is a native app on iOS and Android, Melissa decided to build Spacio Pro as a responsive web app first. Which I think is very smart. They plan on releasing an iOS version soon.

The app is gorgeous and very well done. She has kept it really simple and it works fantastic on an iPad or any browser. Go check it out at SpacioPro.com. I believe its free for a limited time.

Good luck to Melissa and her team, and congrats on a great new product.

Jul 24 15

The death of “peoplework” – Zillow acquires dotloop.

by Greg Robertson

SellingOutSignA few thoughts after the smoke has cleared on the announcement that dotloop will be acquired by Zillow.

Why did Zillow buy dotloop?

I thought the aquistion was odd and said so in a tweet. But the simple answer is Zillow needs to charge more money for what it offers. The industry will collectively shit their pants with conspiracy theories but its all still hooey.

Spencer Rascoff’s response to my tweet summed it up.

How much did Zillow pay for dotloop?

We will find out soon enough (Zillow is a public company) but I would look to Zillow’s previous acquisition of RentJuice for some guidance. RentJuice was a “rental relationship management service for landlords, property managers and rental brokers that helps them market their inventory and client relationships.” Sounds a bit familiar doesn’t it? The acquisition was pre-IPO for Zillow and was for 40 million cash. $40 million seems very high and Zillow now has paper money. But I’m sure Austin will be able to buy a lot more v-neck sweaters t-shirts. BTW, RentJuice’s CEO, David Vivero, left Zillow just 13 months later.

What’s is dotloop’s future?

A lot of their customers are not happy with the deal. I heard one person quip–“Peoplework” is dead (a reference to dotloop’s much marketed mantra of “people work not paperwork”.) Despite many agents making tons of money working with Zillow it still garners a high degree of FUD factor from agents. Facebook has been blowing up with mostly negative comments, and 3 of 4 comments on dotloop’s own blog post announcing the acquisition were negative. Dotloop will have to do a lot of damage control with their agent and enterprise customers. Also my guess is that dotloop’s CEO, Austin Allison, will leave about 12 – 18 months after the acquisition is complete (Austin isn’t going to be a 4th banana).

What to expect next?
A lot of spin control as I previously mentioned. Also, if I were anyone at Instanet Solutions, Ziplogix, Reesio, or any other transaction platform that competes with dotloop I would be launching landing pages courting disgruntled dotloop agents now, with the messaging “Dotloop agents get XXXX free for XX days”, or “Dotloop agents can trust us with their business”.

Interesting times….

Jul 23 15

Broker Portal Project (BPP) chooses 1000watt

by Greg Robertson

Broker Public Portal Selects 1000watt as Brand and Creative Agency

“We are genuinely excited to be moving forward with a strong and respected creative partner like 1000watt to bring our vision to life” said Merle Whitehead, Chairman of the BPP executive committee. “Their team understands real estate, they understand branding and they are uniquely skilled at communicating.”

“This project aligns with our experience perfectly,” said Marc Davison, a founding partner at 1000watt. “We’ve helped innumerable real estate companies strengthen and communicate their brands, and have also helped launch dozens of new technology applications in our space. We are committed to supporting this really important initiative.”

Smart move. Brian, Marc and Joel are the brightest in the business. So now we know they are going to have a cool logo, the rest should be easy.

Jul 22 15

MetroList® and HomeSpotter® partner on RETS Data Dictionary 1.3

by Greg Robertson

MetroList® and HomeSpotter® are the first MLS and vendor partnership to improve listing accuracy with RETS Data Dictionary 1.3

Ohan Antebian, Chief Strategy Officer, HomeSpotter:

“HomeSpotter® and MetroList® are pleased to announce an exciting new partnership, which is the first to utilize the new Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) Data Dictionary 1.3, to provide MetroList Subscribers and Sacramento-area home buyers with an industry leading mobile app.”

Well done! Good to see the work MetroList did with Rapattoni, being the first to implement RESO Data Dictionary 1.3, is getting some use.

I’m getting more and more optimistic on RESO efforts. Great to see vendors and MLS providers work together to make this happen. Congrats to Aaron and Ohan for reaching over 250,000 agents. Also Tom, Rick, and rest of the MetroList team for showing what’s possible.

Jul 21 15

RealSatisfied passes 100,000 custom satisfaction surveys returned

by Greg Robertson

REALSATISFIED PASSES 100,000 CONSUMER SATISFACTION SURVEYS RETURNED, NOW HOLDS MORE THAN 4.1 MILLION PIECES OF REAL ESTATE SPECIFIC DATA

“We’ve seen consistent month-over-month increases in survey growth in the United States over the last year,” remarked Phil Kells, CEO of RealSatisfied. “Year-over-year survey return growth is close to 1000 percent. We could not be more thrilled. It means the platform is working for our customers.”

Congrats to Phil and Jeff. I really like the integration they did for Cloud CMA as well. Super simple.

Jul 17 15

Search, Results Details!

by Greg Robertson

I just love this video that the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver came up with. Video is such a powerful way of communicating when done properly. They’ve done a great job of highlighting new features of their new MLS system (Paragon MLS) and communicating important dates, all with a whimsical touch. Great job!

Jul 15 15

RE/MAX partners with Homes.com for wide reaching “Tech Next” initiative.

by Greg Robertson

Looks like this is a big win for Homes.com! Here are some highlights:

Homes Media Solutions will design and power a new remax.com site. To be launched sometime in 2016. At its core the new site will be designed to generate more referral-free leads. Homes.com is owned by Dominion Enterprises.

RE/MAX’s company owned regions (COR) will also get a brand new lead management solution/CRM, a re-designed Homes Connect, also powered by Homes Media Solutions. Part of the new Homes Connect platform gives every COR RE/MAX agent a mobile friendly single page agent website. Non-company owned regions can also participate.

So it looks like for COR Homes.com will power both the front end and back end.

Congrats to Andy Woolley and his team for making this happen. Since first signing a deal with RE/MAX, as part of eNeighborhoods(before they were acquired by Dominion Enterprises), they have kept the relationship and deals alive for over 10 years.

Jul 10 15

Brian Donnellan now COO of MRIS

by Greg Robertson

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Brian Donnellan, MRIS

“Brian Donnellan has been promoted to chief operating officer for MRIS, the Mid-Atlantic multiple listing service that facilitates nearly $125 million a day in real estate transactions.”

Congrats Brian!

Jul 6 15

ListTrac’s new breakthrough might be broken

by Greg Robertson

Billy Joel's Glass Houses

Billy Joel’s Glass Houses

Today ListTrac, a relatively new vendor, announced a “breakthrough”, which allows real estate professionals to “monetize listings”.

I’m not totally familiar with ListTrac’s revenue model ( I don’t think they have one currently) but this whole premise struck me as odd. Or maybe I just woke up in a weird mood today.

ListTrac Breakthrough Allows Real Estate Professionals to Monetize Listings

This quote from ListTrac’s CEO, Trent Gardner got me started:

“Just as musicians are compensated each time their song is played on the Internet, ListTrac wants real estate professionals to be rewarded every time their listing is viewed on the Internet,”

Wait, what? My local Realtor is now Billy Joel?

“For years, companies have taken listing content and assembled multi-billion dollar business models by monetizing the ‘eye-balls’ looking at this valuable content,” Gardner explains. “However, these business models don’t allow brokers to participate — so they have been sidelined watching others make millions of dollars in IPOs off of their content. ListTrac helps change that paradigm with a framework allowing real estate professionals to monitor and monetize their listing content.”

Don’t brokers receive exposure for these listings which then translate in to sales?

“Through its patented-approved process, ListTrac, working with MLS firms, help brokers monetize their listing content through the new standard of online advertising known as ‘programmatic advertising.’ Programmatic advertising allows brands to reach consumers at the right time with the right product and the right message — better connecting the advertiser and the consumer.”

Here’s a question. And again, it might sound a bit too weird . Do the portals get to participate in “programmatic advertising” revenue ListTrac is going to help generate for real estate professionals? Shouldn’t they? Why or why not?

I mean if nobody sees the listings (hears the song?), how is ListTrac going to generate revenue? I mean if I never hear Piano Man on the internet how do I know when to buy a piano??!!

Think about it. ListTrac’s whole business model depends on listing portals to install their tracking software on their sites. Without this software ListTrac can’t operate. I can’t imagine Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com or Homes.com is too thrilled to install any third party software on their own servers. I’m sure all of these site could provide tracking and metrics to any MLS without the need for ListTrac.

If I were ListTrac I would be playing very nice with all these guys.

But…

“Gardner notes that ListTrac went through an arduous process meeting with MLS tech committees, syndication task forces and MLS boards — all populated with agents and brokers — to ensure that no personal information would be shared and that no MLS listing content would be licensed or sold

Meeting with their customers is an “arduous process”? I wrote about this before but this whole entitlement vibe with newer vendors in this space is ridiculous.

I’m sure ListTrac has some smart people, so I must be missing something about this “breakthrough”. Or just as Billy Joel sang, “You might be right, I may be crazy”

UPDATE: Andrea Brambila, Inman News new “Deputy Editor” (congrats Andrea!) has a whole other take on ListTrac’s revenue model. Check out: ListTrac’s plan to sell agent and consumer behavior data

But last month, a Boston-based Internet data exchange (IDX) website provider, www.realestate Inc., contacted Inman, saying www.realestate Inc. had refused to implement ListTrac’s monitoring code in its websites for agents belonging to ListTrac customer Cape Cod and Islands MLS.

“Our business code of conduct prevents us from installing any third-party software we feel would harm you or others,” wrote the company’s founder, Mark Holt, in an email to its CCIMLS customers.

“We will not install monitoring software at the direction of any third-party without consent. We consider ListTrac’s ‘monitoring code’ dangerous at this time, therefore we will not install it.” ListTrac’s monitoring code is an “unknown back-door Trojan” that’s installed without agents’ express permission on their websites at the behest of their MLSs, Holt told Inman.

Ouch.

Jul 3 15

Pro Tip: Demoing your iPhone/iPad mobile app to a large audience.

by Greg Robertson

Presenting your mobile app to a large audience is a pain. There are apps out there that can mirror your device (I’ve tried most of them) but they are a pain to setup and not that reliable.

I feel a little stupid for not knowing this but if you’re an iPhone user using a Mac here’s a simple solution, via David Pogue. And apparantley its been a feature on OSX Yosemite since last year!

Cool! See Your iPhone’s Screen on Your Mac

“Here’s how to do it: Connect the iPhone or iPad (with its white USB cable) to the Mac. On the Mac, open QuickTime Player. From the File menu, choose New Movie Recording. And then, from the pop-up menu next to the Record button, choose the iPhone’s name (or the iPad’s). The phone/tablet’s image appears in the QuickTime Player window, nice and big.”

This cable would be a help too: Anker Lightning to USB Cable 6ft

Nice side benefit is that you can record the screen for simple how to videos.