Holy shit, things just got real. If you haven’t heard the news Errol Samuelson, former President of REALTOR.com and chief strategy officer for MOVE, Inc. just announced he left to join Zillow as their Chief Industry Development Officer. Details are sketchy but here’s what I’ve been able to dig up.
1. It was a total blindside. Not even Errol’s closest friends knew.
2. This represents a tectonic shift in the industry. Unlike like the other poaching that Zillow and Trulia have been doing this represents a whole other level. Brilliant move by Zillow.
3. I don’t think it was just about money. But I’ll save that analysis for another post.
From a larger sense I think that Zillow was losing ground to Trulia. To me Trulia was winning the “industry friendly” game. Zillow didn’t seem to care, hell I don’t think I know anyone that thinks Bemis got a fair shot. That has cost them. Seems that industry relations does matter and Zillow is coming back around to understand that.
But the more interesting narrative I think is this, what does Errol know, that we don’t know? This kind of move doesn’t happen without something else lurking out there. And that’s the real story.
“Move and realtor.com has an exciting opportunity for a Chief Economist responsible for developing and translating real estate data and trends into consumer and industry insights for a variety of audiences.
Our ideal candidate has a strong background in economics and analytics and other appropriate disciplines. You are comfortable speaking and presenting diverse material with influential audiences in various stages of the home ownership life cycle, the financial press, academics and agencies.”
Read more about it on the Vendor Alley Job Board
Is the issue complicated? Sure. Does that mean to sit still and do nothing. That doesn’t sound like Annie to me. She runs a huge MLS (that is growing) in the middle of the largest MLS provider in the country (CRMLS). She developed and maintains her own MLS system (THEMLSPRO). And her members happen to represent some of the hottest real estate in the country, if not the world. And she’s been successful doing this for close to 20 years.
And now there’s this latest development. TheMLS/CLAW sent out a communication to its members.
My advice is not to underestimate. It looks like CLAW’s claws are starting to show.
Word on the street is Katie Johnson will be named NAR’s new General Council, replacing Laurie Janek. Katie comes in a interesting time in the industry and has some big shoes to fill.
Smart move by Trulia. Trulia, and the other portals, are dead in the water without good data. Guys like John know that world and have solid relationships with MLS providers. It’s clear that Trulia is trying to set itself apart as being the more industry friendly portal.
Here’s the announcement.
Trulia Welcomes Industry Veteran, Expands Effort to Ensure High Quality Data
Trulia has hired John Whitney as the company’s new Director of Business Development for the Industry Services group. With over 20 years of deep real estate industry experience, John will advance Trulia’s already broad effort to ensure consumers find the best available information on Trulia’s website and mobile apps.
John is widely respected and has deep connections in the real estate community. His integrity and passion for helping his customers makes him a perfect fit for Trulia as the company expands its partnership with the industry.
John Whitney, Director of Business Development, Trulia Inc.
Trulia continues to invest in providing the best listing data because accurate listings are not only fundamental to a good consumer experience, but generate the highest quality of leads for agents and brokers. As part of Trulia’s value exchange for listing information, real estate professionals can generate leads on their listings at no cost to them.
Trulia’s other efforts around data accuracy include an enhanced data processing framework that processes data and updates listings every ten minutes. The company has also added filters to ensure inactive listings are removed.
Behind this effort is a large team of dedicated engineers, customer support, and product managers already in place dedicated to accurate data.
John’s day-to-day focus will be working closely with Multiple Listing Services and expanding the relationships with organizations like ListHub and Point 2 to improve coverage and accuracy on Trulia and provide brokers with the most effective choices for marketing their listings.
“We’re excited to welcome John to the Trulia team,” said Alon Chaver, Trulia’s Vice President of Industry Services. “Improving the accuracy and timeliness of listings data helps agents and brokers generate both a higher volume and a higher quality of leads. John will play an instrumental role in furthering our data initiatives and deepening our relationships with key syndication partners like List Hub to make it easier for brokers and agents to market their listings for the benefit of their sellers.”
The Trulia team is confident that strengthening its relationships with these organizations will help the company and its partners deliver better service to homebuyers and home sellers alike.”
“She watched surfers young and old enjoy the ocean.
“I’d see those little ones with their blue lips and their wetsuits, walking down the street after their surf lessons,” Kotsch said in a 1988 article. “If that doesn’t melt your heart, I don’t know what does.”
Mike Sparr, CEO and founder of Goomzee, just wrote great post about the challenges and decisions vendors face in this business. It’s a long post but worth the read.
I’ll add to his advice with a bit of my own. Mike talked about the challenges investing in a sales team.
“Now they could make 400 calls per day, automate the voicemail part, reach 90 people daily, do 30 demos and close 1-2 sales. Agents then averaged 20-22 sales/month, bringing my CAC down to about $135. This means at $20/mo product after 7 months of service I pay for my cost of sales and begin earning revenue for the actual product, support, and ongoing R&D. If I wanted to scale sales of this product, I’d have to set aside enough cash to float realistically the first 10 months of every rep’s paychecks before expecting to break-even. You really want to recapture your investment per rep within 2-3 months. Either raise your prices, lower your wages, or roll the dice.”
I would say that adding a Yearly Plan or Two Year Plan, where the agents pay up-front, can help you finance your sales team growth. I’m not sure if Mike meant this when he stated “raise prices”. Good stuff.
My congratulations to Marty Reed for being selected to join the Board of Directors of the Council of MLS Services. CMLS has some huge momentum going and its great to know a person of Marty’s caliber, experience and class to help them accomplish their goals!
Congrats again Marty!
See full Press Release Below:
For more information:
Black Knight Financial Services
Black Knight Financial Services Vice President Marty Reed
Appointed to Board of Directors for the Council of Multiple Listing Services
- Marty Reed is the first MLS vendor appointed to the CMLS board
- Reed will serve for a three-year term
- Reed’s focus will be on forging stronger partnership relations in the organization by engaging more vendors to support, resolve and drive adoption of CMLS initiatives.
- The CMLS is a premier forum and resource for MLS organizations across North America
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Feb. 12, 2014 — The MLS Solutions division of Black Knight Financial Services (formerly the LPS MLS Solutions division), announced that Marty Reed, the division’s vice president of business operations, has been appointed to the board of directors for the Council of Multiple Listing Services (CMLS) for a three-year term, which will run through Dec. 31, 2016. Reed is the first MLS vendor to be appointed to the CMLS board.
The CMLS is a volunteer-led organization that serves as a premier forum and resource for Multiple Listing Service (MLS) organizations across North America to provide information and ideas to members and their constituents about the challenges of changing technology, legal issues and organizational structures in the MLS industry. Reed has been a CMLS member for 11 years.
“I am deeply honored and humbled to be chosen to work with the board on CMLS initiatives,” Reed said. “The MLS industry is facing significant challenges right now, and CMLS is providing essential guidance and resources to all the organizations that touch and depend on the MLS. I hope to continue to forge stronger partnership relations in the organization by engaging more vendors to support, resolve and drive adoption of CMLS initiatives. By helping to build on the mutually beneficial, collaborative relationship that real estate professionals and vendors share, both groups can operate more effectively and work collectively for the greater good.”
Reed has extensive business and MLS experience. Prior to her current position in overseeing Black Knight’s Paragon MLS systems, Reed served as CEO of Cooperative Arkansas Regional Multiple Listing Services, Inc. for almost 15 years. As a longtime member of the National Association of REALTORS®, Reed served on the Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee and on the Business and MLS Technology Committees for the Arkansas REALTORS® Association.
“Marty is a respected leader who understands the MLS and real estate industries and excels at consensus building,” said Art Carter, president of the CMLS and CEO of the California Regional MLS. “Marty’s drive and talent will be invaluable to the board as we work together toward our vision of the CMLS as a ‘go to’ resource for common interests across all MLSs, such as branding data integrity; improving agent competency and relevency; and increasing MLS value to brokers.”
About Black Knight Financial Services, LLC
Black Knight Financial Services, a Fidelity National Financial (NYSE:FNF) company, is the mortgage and finance industries’ leading provider of integrated technology, data and analytics solutions. Comprised of technology offerings from the union of LPS and ServiceLink, Black Knight Financial Services offers leading software systems; data and analytics offerings; and information solutions that facilitate and automate many of the business processes across the mortgage life cycle.
Black Knight Financial Services helps clients in the mortgage industry and beyond achieve their strategic goals, realize greater success and better serve their customers by delivering best-in-class technology, services and insight with a relentless commitment to excellence, innovation, integrity and leadership. For more information on Black Knight Financial Services, please visit www.bkfs.com.
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