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Sep 18 18

Southeast Minnesota REALTORS joins NorthstarMLS

by Greg Robertson

Second Largest MLS in Minnesota to Join NorthstarMLS

“SEMR worked with real estate industry consultant Matt Cohen, Clareity Consulting, to help its MLS and Association leadership evaluate strategic options, to research and provide recommendations for addressing concerns, to help educate and collect feedback from broker participants, to engage with NorthstarMLS, and to create a communications plan which will be executed as the MLS operations merge.

“We are pleased to welcome SEMR as a shareholder,” said NorthstarMLS CEO John Mosey. “NorthstarMLS is implementing changes to better accommodate SEMR members’ needs and we expect these will make our service even better for our current customers. We hope that other associations in our multi-state market region can see how committed we are about collaborating to create a more efficient marketplace for our brokers and agents and continue to be open to further dialog on MLS cooperation in any form.”

SEMR serves over 11 counties in Minnesota. Nice win for both groups. Also cool to see a shout out for Matt Cohen in the press release.

Sep 18 18

5 MLS Providers launch new venture, MLS Aligned.

by Greg Robertson

MLS Aligned: Five Leading MLSs Launch a Single Platform to Solve Data Problems in the Real Estate Industry

We are proud to announce the launch of MLS Aligned, LLC, a new company created to address the data efficiency problems facing multiple listing services. Formed and owned by 5 of the most innovative MLS organizations, with more expected to join, MLS Aligned has developed and launched a functioning platform for tools and software that will solve many of the pain points currently experienced by brokers, real estate product vendors, and multiple listing services.

ARMLS (serving Arizona), MetroMLS (serving Wisconsin), MLSListings (serving Silicon Valley), RMLS (serving Oregon), and UtahRealEstate.com (serving Utah) came together with the idea to change how data is distributed and to offer a platform for their individually built products. The platform, which is operational and has been validated by a large national vendor, uses a proprietary method to manage and distribute data without needless replication.

They have set up a website at MLSAligned.com which includes a brief whitepaper. I have to say I’m intrigued, but still have lots of questions about this “sharing but not sharing” concept.

When you look at BrightMLS, MLS Grid, Front End of Choice, ARMLS-MetroMLS, and now MLS Aligned you can see a lot of innovation in the MLS space. But I also worry that in an industry that is already fragmented we might even further separating ourselves. That being said it good to see that many MLS Execs are not standing still. I think its important to get as many ideas out there and flesh them out. Looking forward to hearing more about MLS Aligned and these other initiatives at the CMLS Conference next week.

Sep 12 18

bridgeMLS adds dynaConnections’ connectMLS as system of choice option

by Greg Robertson

bridgeMLS Selects dynaConnections’ Highly Acclaimed connectMLS

“bridgeMLS announced today that it has selected dynaConnections’ responsive MLS solution, connectMLS, to offer its subscribers. With a suite of mobile-friendly features including search, reports, contact management, and an embedded TMS, connectMLS will provide bridgeMLS subscribers greater flexibility as well as the ability to customize their MLS environment.
dynaConnections specializes in MLS technology and has consistently earned the highest ratings in industry studies. Its flagship product, connectMLS, maintains full functionality on any device, and its interface automatically adjusts based upon screen dimensions to provide an optimal user experience. The robust yet intuitive solution will be a valuable asset to bridgeMLS’ increasingly mobile subscribers.

This is a very interesting move by bridgeMLS. Mostly I see MLS providers offer a “system of choice” option to help with consolidation efforts with other MLS Providers in the same geographic area. That was certainly the case when MLSListings (which primary MLS system is Matrix) launched Paragon. The idea is it’s easier to consolidate if members didn’t have to learn a new MLS system. That doesn’t appear to be the case here with Bridge since dynaConnections’ closest installation of connectMLS is at MRED, LLC (Chicago, IL).

I have a theory about what is going on here. But I’ll save that for another post.

But let me end by congratulating Tim and his team at dynaConnections!

Sep 6 18

Alain Pinel chooses Cloud CMA

by Greg Robertson

Alain Pinel Realtors Unveils Dynamic, “Best Of Breed” Technology Strategy

“As sole proprietors of their own business, agents deserve the confidence of knowing that their data and tools belong to them exclusively. We have chosen a model that gives agents flexibility and options without extra cost on their part,” said Zane Burnett, Vice President of Digital Innovation & Technology at Alain Pinel.
APR has inked partnerships with the following companies:

ActivePipe: Automated email marketing with exclusive property feed integration

Adwerx: Automated, geo-targeted social and display advertising of property listings

Cloud CMA: Deep property, comparable sale and buyer reports presented in a branded format

RealScout: Collaborative home search between agents and buyers and email alerts powered by “computer vision”

Contactually: An intelligent CRM that automates common tasks required of agents

Several of these applications are integrated; all will be available to APR agents through a single sign-on (SSO) dashboard within the company intranet.

Smart guys.

Sep 5 18

KW acquires SmarterAgent

by Greg Robertson

Keller Williams is building a new consumer-facing app to challenge Zillow and Redfin

“You’ve heard Gary [Keller] talk about the agent-enable tech versus the tech-enabled agent, and so the idea of a Zillow or Redfin coming in and buying SmarterAgent then having access to all 400,000 agents’ mobile apps out there being used by millions of people was something that was concerning to us,” Team said.

Team said the acquisition is a signal to Keller Williams agents that the company is serious about its investment in technology and revealed that the company has quietly acquired a number of other tech platforms in the past four months.”

Nice scoop for Inman News. It’s starting to feel like 1999 again. But the quotes from Mr. Team seem a bit all over the place, the quote above is a good example. Maybe they weren’t ready to announce yet? No mention of SmarterAgent’s patents. I know they did a deal with CoreLogic but I’m not sure if any of their patents were covered by CIVIXX.

I am happy for Brad and Eric they have been at this quite awhile and created a great business. Congrats!

Sep 4 18

Looking for a new gig?

by Greg Robertson

Digital Marketing Analyst – W+R Studios

“We are seeking a talented and motivated individual to empower the organization to be more data driven across the Marketing, Finance, and Product teams. A successful candidate will have a strong understanding of data manipulation, data relationships, spreadsheets, queries, and business intelligence tools. The position will perform deep analysis of performance data for internal consumption as well as relentlessly pursue better ways to incorporate analytics into content related projects and processes.

For more information on this job and other please visit the Vendor Alley Job Board today!

Sep 4 18

Thoughts on NAR’s iOi Summit

by Greg Robertson

I had heard about this event a few months ago, and had been asked if I was going to attend. I was skeptical about it, but when I received an invitation to apply to participate in the “pitch battle”, I went ahead and applied. As I previously mentioned I was surprised that we were selected.

The event was designed by Bob Goldberg, NAR’s CEO to bring the disruptors “inside the tent”. To foster “innovation, opportunity & investment”. Basically Mr. Goldberg wanted NAR to be part of the conversation.

Color me impressed. Not only was the event very well produced, but I enjoyed meeting and seeing other vendors, some old (like me) and some new in the space. I loved vendors pitching agent safety apps, new CRMs, new front end of choice apps, 360 photo apps to help with disaster recovery efforts, real estate photo augmentation, using lockboxes help with in-home medical care, and a way to level up agent performance. What I found most impressive is none of these new startups seemed to be making money by selling ads. Bliss!

BoxBrownine won the “Pitch Battle”. And KW Labs won the Hackathon. You can read more about them here.

And true to his word, Mr. Goldberg did bring in a few heavy hitting investors to the conference too. Of course Mr. Goldberg couldn’t help himself in touting NAR’s own success in the investment arm of his organizations, Second Century Initiatives and REach. He interviewed Ron Hirson, Chief Product Officer from DocuSign. Which recently went public and made NAR a small fortune.

As Mr. Goldberg hit the stage to wrap up the conference, I was thinking about what was missing about the event. And then it hit me. Zillow. I heard nary a mention about Zillow from any of the presenters, or startups in attendance. Not from some sort of mandate, but just…because.

Which to me was the most impressive. Bob Goldberg did seemingly the impossible. He held a tech conference where nobody was talking about Zillow.

Aug 28 18

UtahRealEstate.com releases Amazon Alexa Skill

by Greg Robertson

Available Now – UtahRealEstate.com’s Amazon Alexa Skill

URE is changing the way consumers find homes for sale and interact with real estate professionals. Users with an Alexa-enabled device can enable the URE skill, called UtahRealEstate.com, and then make requests such as “Alexa, ask Utah Real Estate about homes for sale in the city of Salt Lake City for the last week.” The Alexa-enabled device will then read back listing details, and if there is a screen available on the device, the skill will display results visually, including photos of the property. The skill also provides credit to the listing agent and brokerage for every property.

So fun! I just hope it complies to IDX rules. 😂

Aug 27 18

RPR lays off 10% of staff

by Greg Robertson

Dynamic changes on horizon for Realtors Property Resources®

“NAR CEO Bob Goldberg established a clear vision for the Association and RPR moving forward,” said Young. “RPR’s core mission is clear, ensure that REALTORS® remain essential to the transaction through access to tools, features connected to nationwide parcel-centric data and reports. RPR’s growth in the future will be driven by programs which refocus the RPR team to develop a deeper understanding of the daily life and business of agents and brokers.”

Over the course of several months, RPR conducted internal assessments of its technical processes, organizational structures and strategic initiatives. As a result, the platform will reduce its overall staff count by 10%, allowing it to meet its 2019 budget directives, while reimagining its market level communications and support programs with its network of broker, MLS and association partners.

Aug 27 18

See you at NAR iOi Summit this week

by Greg Robertson

A few weeks ago I received an invitation to apply to compete in the “Pitch Battle” at NAR’s inaugural “iOi Summit“. I thought it was a long shot but maybe good opportunity to get the word out about Cloud CMA’s new feature, Cloud Investor Connect. Surprisingly I made the cut. I’m told there were over 100 applications, but they choose only 16 to compete.

CRMLS, MRED and SFAR have sponsored to another portion of the event, a hackaton.

So if you are going to be in SF, I leave tomorrow morning, drop me a line.