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MLS and The Mob

by Greg Robertson on February 7th, 2012

Is there anything more cliche than members complaining about an MLS switching vendors? It seems like a right of passage an MLS executive must go through to earn their stripes. The game is always the same. For months you send out emails notifying them the existing system is going to change, you hold training classes, you visit offices, and you ask for feedback. After all this preparation you finally make the switch. Then what happens? Pandemonium!

“I never was told!”
“Nobody consulted us!”
“The new system sucks!”
“Why did we have to change!”

If you want to see the actual “shit REALTORS say” just head over to the Facebook Page that was created by a disgruntled REALTOR at ARMLS, “Bring iMapp back to ARMLS“. (How much you wanna bet there was a similar outcry back in the day when they switched from another vendor to iMapp?)

ARMLS is one of the best in the business when it comes to communicating with their members but Corelogic didn’t do them any favors this time when their Realist product suffered an outage (for most of yesterday). Within a few hours people were on Twitter and Facebook and the blogosphere complaining about the switch.

Scary stuff. The level of rancor is even surprising to me.

Makes you think, what if this was an MLS conversion gone wrong? Wait a sec, I seem to remember something about that.

But the real question is If Twitter and Facebook can bring down the leadership on Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Komen then an MLS provider should be easy!

I expect this situation at ARMLS will blow over rather quickly. But I’m sure it’s caught the attention of many MLS execs out there: Beware the Mob.

  1. I recall sitting on stage with you on some particularly comfortable chairs at the CMLS conference hosted by John Mosey and is MLS team in Minneapolis a few years back.

    I made a statement that will forever curse me with MLS vendors. “Never change vendors unless you have no other way out.”

    My point there is that there must be a very compelling reason to switch vendors for any product. Chief among them is system stability and customer service. At the time, the foundation for my suggestion was founded on the notion that most change happens for “features” or for “price,” rather than “system stability” or “customer service.”

    It is typical that when an MLS switches vendors because of features, the vendor they are leaving launches the killer feature they had-to-have right around the time that the conversion is finalized. As for price, unless the price is radical, the cost of conversion and the disruption is not worth the savings.

    I know for a fact that the data in Realist and the data in iMapp are equal. Like you, I also am witness to the expert effort the ARMLS and REALIST teams put forth to alert and train users.

    The fact is, all change causes rebellion among today’s real estate professional. As a majority, they are what technologists call Laggards, or Late Adopters. It is a sad reality.

  2. clearly it is too early for me to be commenting on blogs. sorry for the typos and bizarre word choice

  3. Bill Rovillo permalink

    Victor, you may have been bamboozled into testing data to make it seem as though the data sets are no different. They only allowed you access to 1000 records. That is not a test, that’s a sample.
    Clearly CoreLogic is missing much much more than we provide.
    The members noticed immediately. Check it out at :

  4. Rosemary Scardina permalink

    de ja vu

  5. *Comment deleted for the most artful use of profanity ever witnessed on this blog or any other*

  6. De Wogahn permalink

    Great post. Good examples of mob rule (including the calREDD debacle)The rules of the game have changed now that a small fraction can create a loud voice using social media, and other similar tools.

    I recall another example a few years ago when ARMLS switched to another MLS vendor. I suspect now, that if they were to switch to another vendor, you’d get another set of bitcher and complainers.

  7. FlexMLS will probably get a lifetime contract after this.

  8. I have to disagree with @Victor’s statement that iMapp and Realist data are equal.

    At iMapp, we source and process data very differently and it shows, and as the agents are finding out.

    Quick example:

    iMapp reports there are 315 properties set for auction today in Maricopa County today and Realist shows 240.

  9. Greg Robertson permalink

    @Robert Too funny!

  10. I am the “Disgruntled Agent” that created the facebook group. First let me respond to Victor’s comment. I would hardly say that I am a late adopter or one that doesn’t want to learn new technology. I have previously held my Microsoft Certified System Engineers Certification, am proficient in numerous programming languages and have always been on the bleeding edge of technology. So this isn’t about a bunch of non-techy agents not wanting to change.

    Second, I completely disagree with the data from Realist being equivelent or better than that supplied by iMAPP. You can read the reasons why on the facebook page that I have discovered, but nearly all properties have the wrong sqft listed, foreclosure data is months behind, wrong property owners are being shown (my house shows the owner from 4 years ago, even though it went through two foreclosures and 3 owners since then and before we bought it), and the list goes on and on.

    Yes this change was announced months ago, yes they have offered training classes. The problem is with the new system, it simply doesn’t work as efficient as thee old system. Working trustee sales, I research 100-200 properties every single day. With iMAPP, I could do this research with fewer than 5 clicks and would take me 1-2 minutes property. With Realist, it takes me 5-7 minutes and I still can’t see all the data I did with iMAPP (county documents for example). That is adding 3-4 hours of workload per day for me and I know how to use realist.

    Is change going to come about because of the group? I really have no idea. I created thinking that I was one of a handful of people that were bummed by the change. I never expected it to grow to 600+ people. At the very least this is an interesting Social Media experiment. I welcome everyone to check out the facebook page and contact me with any questions.

  11. Gary Sattelberger permalink

    I find this article short sighted and one sided. Yes, I am a disgruntled ARMLS user. I am also, one of the moderators of our Facebook group, I’m not some “Laggards, or Late Adopters”, and I suspect that the majority of users who are active in our group are not either. That is why we are upset. We get technology.

    Yes, there will always be unhappy campers when there is a change but when the change is for the better things quickly smooth over.

    However, that is not the case with ARMLS’s switch to Realist.

    First, the switch was made and Realist crashed for about 14 hours. There was no access at all. No access means no work gets done. One would think that proper planning and execution would have been done to insure that at least things work when the switch is turned on. Not exactly confidence inspiring. Realist didn’t even so much as issue an apology, not publicly anyways.

    Second, when Realist was working a significant amount of data was in error, incomplete or missing altogether. And still is as of today. This again smacks of poor planning and execution. This brings into question competence.

    Third, the interface that we as ARMLS users are given is significantly crippled compared to that of iMapp, the previous vendor. It takes 5-6 clicks to accomplish the same thing it took 1 click to do in our iMapp interface. Additionally, load times are so slow I can open iMapp in a separate window type in the house number and street name and have the results load in the same time it takes to get the Realist web page to load. Plus, the fact that the interface is programmed in Flash does not allow for iPad/iPhone access. One would think a vendor would have been selected with at least the same level of usability as we had previously.

    Fourth, even the agents who attended advanced training are finding the system lacking.

    Last, at least for the sake of this comment, in all of this commotion NOT one word has been uttered by Realist. NOT A SINGLE SOLITARY WORD! Over 600 agents have joined our group on Facebook. There have been hundreds of posts and probably well over a thousand comments and NOT one word from Realist. Certainly not the customer service relationship one would expect from a new “partner.”

    There is talk that Realist was chosen because it could provide statewide data, where iMapp did not. Not exactly relevant given that we don’t have a statewide MLS. Realist could have been chosen because it was a lower cost, but this hasn’t been disclosed as far as I know. It could be that ARMLS was sold a bill of goods by a slick salesman, maybe but no one has come forward to tell us about the selection process. In fact, no one from ARMLS, to my knowledge, has bothered to explain why Realist was chosen over other vendors. Given the items listed in this comment and others elsewhere it is hard to comprehend why Realist was chosen at all.

  12. @Dane & Gary thank you guys for your time
    Spend on this matter that does affect our agents and industry in general i love technology and am very good at changes but this was just an step backwards again as stated in my multiple post we need Simple, fast and accurate info …. Not fancy flash loading pages with WRONG info.

  13. De Wogahn permalink

    Interesting open letter to ARMLS users from iMapp’s Bill Rovillo:

  14. Greg Robertson permalink

    @De Wogahn How does it make any sense to get in to a pissing contest with ARMLS? This he said/she said stuff is less than boring.

    iMapp should focus on making their solution the best in that market regardless of who has the MLS contract. With their new revenue model they have a shot at doing just that.

    The best revenge is success.

  15. De Wogahn permalink

    As opposed to a pissing contest with your MLS members? Probably doesn’t, in either case. It’s probably ego and pride. But at what point do you at least try and clarify inaccuracies. You can’t just ignore all the open discussion going on? It’s a fine line for all sides… Transparency isn’t always so great! 😉

  16. Bill Rovillo permalink

    @Greg, no one wants things to be the way they are. There were much better alternatives, but no attempts to facilitate them. Then we get nailed socially and like @De Wogahn said, you can’t ignore all the inaccuracies being discussed, displayed, posted, retweeted,………

  17. Bill Rovillo permalink

    …and the fact that about 8500 broker/agents lost a day or two of work because of it and maybe thought I caused it. I’m glad one of them wasn’t my broker/wife. I’d be shacking up at your place for a spell. 🙂

  18. Just as an update, the group now has over 1000 members. That is hardly a small minority reporting problems.

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