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The 2011 Vendor Alley Awards

by Greg Robertson on November 7th, 2011

It’s just about the time of year when you start reading “top 10” lists of 2011. I thought I would start a new tradition here at Vendor Alley and rattle off my choices for top companies and people in the real estate industry for 2011.

I call them “The Vendys”.

1. The “Bob Hale” Award
The reason I call this the “Bob Hale” award is that it seems Bob is listed every year as one of the top influencer/innovators in the industry. So think of it as “besides Bob”, who really made a difference this year in the real estate industry. : )

And the winner is….Merri Jo Cowen

I’ve been a part of CMLS for many, many years and while other board presidents have set the stage for CMLS to take a larger role in the MLS community Merri Jo has been the catalyst to make those goals happen. It’s been a pleasure to have a front row seat to how CMLS has changed over the years and Merri Jo has been a huge part of that success.

2. Best new real estate technology/product. –Nest
What happens with the inventor of the iPod focuses his attention on real estate? Magic.

Runner up- I have to say that I really love Realtor.com’s iPad app.

3. Top MLS Provider. – MRED, LLC
All you need to do is take a look at the pressroom of MRED, LLC to see the transformation happening at MRED.

4. Top MLS Vendor – TIED: LPS and CoreLogic.
My basis for this was the CIVIX lawsuit. While I believe NAR painted themselves in to a corner with the settlement it was these two MLS vendors who stepped up and wrote the really big checks.

5. Top Real Estate Portal – Zillow
Their spectacular IPO and recent acquisition of Diverse Solutions only shows they are here to stay and poised to dominate.

6. Best new real estate vendor. – Goomzee
I’ve had many discussions with their CEO, Mike Sparr, and he is one of the new players that “gets it”.

7. Top company to watch – RED -Real Estate Digital
After a bold management buy-out, these guys are just getting started.

8. Most improved company – Inman News
The conferences are better, their site is better, Agent Reboot, InmanNext, the list goes on and on. Tim, Alice, Chris, and Katie and the rest of the team has done a spectacular job and can’t wait to see what’s next.

9. Best industry blog – 1000watt Blog
If I can’t pick VendorAlley.com then 1000watt Consulting gets my vote. Brian, Marc and Joel, offer equal doses of spot on analysis and inspiration all wrapped up in a beautifully atheistic and great writing.

10 Best company blog – RPR
While I have been known to poke some fun at these guys you can’t argue what a great job they do with their blog. One small quibble, I can’t view videos on my iPad.

11. Top MLS Provider CEO – Art Carter
Art Carter turned the fiasco that was California Association of REALTORS failed state-wide MLS effort (calREDD) into in the the largest MLS in country. I don’t think he’s done yet.

12. Best Industry Conference. – CMLS
Like with all my picks I’m a little biased but CMLS’ annual conference keeps getting bigger and better.

13. Best Real Estate Franchise – Keller Williams.
Sure their consumer facing website sucks but in the world of real estate franchisors its all about agent count and these guys are winning.

Well that’s it. Am I a “kiss ass”, “spot on”, “not even close”? What say you?

11 Comments
  1. Greg, I really like what you are doing here. There is value in pointing out the successful people who are truly making a big difference in our industry. While many are talking up the FUD stories, these exemplary leaders are showing and leading the way. I am proud to know these people and the teams they have developed around them to make it all happen. We need more of them and more of what you are doing here for the positive right now.

    Let’s accentuate all of the good things going on in our business this week in Anaheim. Yes we have issues — but a lot of it is just noise that distracts from what’s really going on. We certainly have a lot to be thankful for. Kevin

  2. Russ Bergon permalink

    Who am I to argue – especially when it is my a** you are kissing. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I DO want to say that you are spot on with your pick of Merri Jo. CMLS has been transformed under her leadership.

    Russ B.
    MRED

  3. Am impressive list to be part of so thanks for the recognition. I’d add a #14 Multiple Lightning Strikes Award and that would go to W&R Studios and their Cloud CMA. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    All the best and see all of you this week at NAR Annual in Anaheim.

  4. Chris Smith permalink

    Greg thanks for including Inman News. Always feels great when smart people notice your hard work!

  5. Thanks for the shout-out Greg!

  6. Marc permalink

    Any list should include a category of most provocative, no holds barred publication. VA would top it hands down. Thanks for keeping us entertained Greg and giving us the nod. It’s nice to finally make a list.

  7. Reggie Nicolay permalink

    Greg, thanks for recognizing the RPR blog!

  8. Greg, couldn’t agree more about Merri Jo. She is amazing โ€” and has really transformed CMLS into a thought leader. And thanks for the props for Inman!

  9. Fantastic list! I see a few on here I don’t know yet, so I am off to check them out… Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Great list. I love it. I agree with all of them.

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