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May 5 16

“I like the look of hockey sticks.”

by Greg Robertson

Mike Wurzer on the success of their Spark API platform.

173% Growth For Spark API, More Coming

“This growth doesn’t include a variety of large MLS data shares we’ve implemented. If we include those, the current coverage expands to over 250,000 agents. Regardless, I’m pretty sure this means the Spark API currently is one of if not the largest MLS aggregation available through a single API.

Perhaps more importantly, because we’ve sustained this growth organically by adding new Flexmls customers, the Spark API not only includes listing information for all these customers but also what I think is the more valuable data for brokers and agents, namely saved searches, contacts, and portal activity data (e.g., favorites, messages, etc.). What this means is that, in addition to being the biggest, the Spark API also is the deepest MLS data repository and the only API that truly allows developers and MLS providers to have a front-end of choice.

Lastly, an important distinction between Spark and several of the APIs being touted in the media these days is that the Spark API is live right now and growing actual usage every day. I like the look of hockey sticks.

May 5 16

It’s raining APIs

by Greg Robertson

Mike Wurzer, CEO of FBS

Mike Wurzer, CEO of FBS

Mike Wurzer must be rolling his eyes every time he reads Inman News lately. Its 2016 and the industry has finally caught up with him and his company, FBS. Back in May of 2012 (yes you read that correctly, 4 years ago) FBS announced its Spark Platform, which includes the Spark API. Which gave software developers two great things, an easy way to get MLS data and permission to sell their products to any of their flexmls customers. The Spark API allowed us to get Cloud CMA up in running in “long tail” MLS markets that we may not have served due to size or some other challenge.

Now, along with AMP, two others have joined the fray. Zillow and CoreLogic. Zillow with its Retsly Connect initiative and CoreLogic with its Trestle initiative. So since a big component of these initiatives is to target software developers to make cool stuff, and I happen to run a software company that makes cool stuff I thought I would give a quick run down of the pros and cons of each.

AMP
PROS:
Owned by NAR. RPRs effort to provide a back-end database to MLS providers has announced they have MLS providers representing over 200,000 agents interested in AMP. That’s a lot of agents, and as a software company I like the size of that market.
CONS:
Owned by NAR. Nobody that I know have has seen any API documentation, and it still isn’t clear how the revenue model would work for 3rd party software developers integrating with AMP.

Zillow’s Retsly Connect
PROS:
Owned by Zillow. Sexy technology, we used their Public Records API in Cloud Streams and were impressed. Retsly Connect looks equally cool, and lots of bells and whistles I think MLS providers would like (which is why I think Bob Hale signed up).
CONS:
Owned by Zillow. They have a chicken and egg problem. They currently have only 6 MLS providers signed up (and I think a third of them are in Canada). So, they are going to need to get some sort of traction for developers to write for the platform, but also need more coverage to entice developers to do so.

CoreLogic’s Trestle
PROS:
Big company. Knows data. They have over 300 MLS databases. Some of them the largest MLS providers in the country. That a HUGE market potential. If the Spark API provided the “long tail” MLS markets, CoreLogic would provide the freaking Elephant.
CONS:
Big company. Not launching until Q3 of this year. No API info, no revenue model announced.

For the record our plans at W+R Studios is to be platform agnostic and make our products work on any platform our customers want. But, I still want to give
a couple words of advice:

1. Try and stay away from an App Store model. I’ve been a big proponent of an “Agent App Store” in the past but it has been very brutal to get agents to change their purchasing behavior. Maybe in the post “front end of choice” world things might change, but that’s a big if.

2. Your initiative must include data access rights AND permission to sell. Make it an opt-out for MLS providers. One without the other will not scale. If I build something fast and it takes 6 months to get approval from your MLS committee to sell it, then these initiatives are essentially worthless.

In the end competition is a good thing. I think the next few years are going to be very exciting times for real estate technology. Sometimes all it takes is just a spark.

May 5 16

Modern Family and N.A.R.

by Greg Robertson

Kudos to N.A.R. for this great product placement in Modern Family. So good!

More on this at ADWEEK
The National Association of Realtors Finds Its Perfect Pitchman in Modern Family Dad The integration explains the need for a real estate agent.

“We have done only a handful of integrations because they tend to be intrusive and frankly make the show look like it’s selling out,” Christopher Lloyd, co-executive producer of Modern Family, told Adweek. “This was actually one of the easier ones we’ve done, since it lent itself to a joke. Phil is bemoaning his career choice as a Realtor, and it’s his Realtor skills that ultimately save the day.”
Lloyd said he wouldn’t have approved the concept, “if it seemed like we were just wedging in a pro-Realtor’s Association testimonial. We only agreed to do it when we thought of a way to actually use the distinction between what a (NAR-certified) Realtor is and what a real-estate agent is in a funny way.”

May 4 16

CoreLogic announces Trestle Initiative

by Greg Robertson

CORELOGIC TO STREAMLINE ACCESS TO BEST IN CLASS DATA—Trestle Initiative to Provide an Industry-First “Data Mart” for MLS Content—

“Chris Bennett, general manager of real estate solutions at CoreLogic, commented that “The industry’s progress with RESO standardization was the perfect invitation to re-imagine the best possible solution, one that delivers both MLS content and CoreLogic property and analytic information content to support the industry’s expanding needs.”

Bennett also noted that “Because CoreLogic already aggregates and normalizes data for more than 300 MLS platforms, we have the scale and capacity to rapidly deploy Trestle, whether an MLS is on a CoreLogic platform or uses another vendor’s system or is even a homegrown solution.”

Over 300 of the largest MLS providers in country, representing over half a million agents, under one API? Holy shit. Yes, please.

May 3 16

Upstream CEO is Alex Lange

by Greg Robertson

Sheesh, nobody can keep a secret…

Who’s the new Upstream CEO? Inside information on one of the hottest gigs in the industry

“The mystery is over. Thanks to a reliable tipster, I learned that Alex Lange was tapped as CEO of Upstream, a platform for data entry, data storage and data distribution.”

Look like Alex is reading from the Ozonian playbook. First thing he should do is fire the guy writing their condescending Facebook posts.

May 3 16

Amy Gorce (formerly Geddes) promoted to President of Clareity Security

by Greg Robertson

Clareity Promotes Amy Gorce to President

“Amy has proven herself to be a fantastic leader inside Clareity and a well respected executive and thought leader in the industry. I am personally elated to promote Amy and have her expand her leadership role at Clareity Security,” said Gregg Larson, Founder and CEO, “especially as we are now, more than ever, poised to broaden and deepen our product offerings.”

Over the last two years under Amy’s product leadership, Clareity Security developed and implemented a new and much improved biometric-based security platform (SAFEMLS PLUS), built and upgraded its entire customer base to its new V3.0 SSO Dashboard, designed a content management system (CMS) module for the new dashboard, and recently launched a new Broker Dashboard product line.”

This is the best news to show up in my inbox in a long time. It’s great to have Amy as a colleague and a friend. She is just someone that I really trust and have gone to for advice over the years and I really could not be happier for her and the Clareity team. Can’t wait to see her and the team in D.C. to congratulate them in person.

May 2 16

The talk of T3

by Greg Robertson

I had a major case of FOMO last week, missing out on the T3 Summit. While Stefan was gracious enough to include me on their Power 200 list I had way too much going on (i.e. launching our new Cloud MLX product) to make the trek.

Rank-45-HeadshotWhile there were a lot of sessions covering some of the most talked about topics (Upstream, AMP, etc.) I’ve talked to a few people who attended the event and the one speaker/person who kept coming up and that everyone was impressed by was Amy Bohutinsky, the Chief Operating Officer of Zillow. She previously ran the marketing at Zillow and took the new role right around when they closed Trulia.

If anyone else has anything to share please say something in the comments. I tried following on Twitter but couldn’t keep up.

Well, there’s always next year. Word is they will hold it at the Four Seasons again in Westlake Village. This year the event sold out fast.

May 2 16

Property Panorama’s “InstaView” reach grows.

by Greg Robertson

Record Number of MLSs and REALTOR Associations Launch Property Panorama’s InstaViewMore than 140 Will Offer Their Members a Site License to the Number One Virtual Tour…

“Within the next 30 days, 7 more multiple listing services and REALTOR® Associations will offer their members Property Panorama’s InstaView, the enterprise software solution that delivers totally hands-free, state-of-the-art virtual tours…..InstaView creates a hands-free, high quality tour experience for their customers. InstaView’s package includes the Branded Virtual Tour, Unbranded Virtual Tour, Branded YouTube Video, TurboText, along with Branded PDF and Virtual Flyers”

I missed this a couple of weeks ago. I remember speaking with Mike Barnett, CEO of Property Panorama, awhile back and was impressed with the number of MLS providers up and running with Property Panorama and the number of virtual tours they have created, which is now over “5.5 million”.

May 2 16

Kevin Hughes joins Centralized Showing Services (CSS)

by Greg Robertson

Clareity Security customers got an announcement today notifying that longtime employee/partner Kevin Hughes will be leaving the company later this month. Kevin is joining CSS as their VP of Sales, Marketing, and Business Development (no word on janitorial duties as of yet). CSS is headquartered out of Kansas, where Kevin lives. From what I hear the news was a bit of shock to Clareity, but they are happy for Kevin and his new challenge. Looks to be a great opportunity, the online showing space has received a lot of attention in the past few years, with competitor ShowingTime making some big time acquisitions. Congrats to Kevin and CSS.

Apr 28 16

Susan Young joins Real Safe Agents(r)

by Greg Robertson

DC 2011

RSA Hires Susan Young

“Susan Young has been a fixture in the industry for more than 16 years, most recently serving as Director of Industry Relations at Realtor.com® for 10 years. Prior to that Susan served the industry as a Realtor®, Sales Manager, and CEO of a regional MLS in Ohio.
Susan stated, “I’m very excited to join the team at Real Safe Agent©. I have so many dear friends in this industry, and have seen the impact crime has on our community. Knowing that Real Safe Agent can prevent crime and the industry finally has an answer, joining the team feels more like a mission than a career move.”

Congrats to Susan and Lee!