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Sep 28 15

Separate front end for Matrix? That’s old news says CoreLogic.

by Greg Robertson

I received an email from Lucie Fortier, Senior Director of Operations MLS Solutions, CoreLogic about their Matrix MLS system and it configurability ( I guess they been getting a few phone call lately for some reason).

” …I just wanted to confirm that Matrix has used a decoupled front end / back end architecture for more than a decade now. To achieve this flexibility, our engineers designed the system with an abstracted data connection layer that can utilize SQL, RETS, etc. Most any standard data source can be used with proper configuration. Since the early 2000s, MRIS has run Matrix against their own Oracle backend—the system was put together at the direction of, and in collaboration with, David Charron and his team. At MRIS, Matrix uses their Cornerstone relational database system as the sole repository of user-contributed information, including listings, offices, members, open houses… Anyway, this built-in capability of Matrix is not something we tout very often because most of our customers have had little interest in it. It’s just something we have always taken for granted…”

I had a conversation recently with some folks where we listed the top acquisitions in the real estate industry, and CoreLogic’s acquisition of Tarasoft and their Matrix MLS system has got to be number 1.

Sep 28 15

RealTime MLS, SFAR’s new MLS front end to help combat pocket listings

by Greg Robertson

The San Francisco Association of REALTORS (SFAR) is working on a new MLS front end system, dubbed RealTime MLS, to help combat pocket listings and increase agent to agent communication.

A video has been making the rounds featuring SFAR’s MLS Director, Jay Pepper-Martens, giving a presentation about the new front end system. The system focuses on active listings, has a Facebook feel, and hopes to offer an MLS alternative to “listing clubs” that have been up and running in the Bay Area. 11% of listing in SFAR are sold “Off MLS”.

I talked a bit with SFAR’s CEO Walt Baczkowski and he told me that while many MLS systems offer ways to mark listings as “coming soon” they really don’t facilitate agent to agent conversations which are key to pre-marketing. So he wants to give agents a legit way of pre market listings.

What I like about this approach is that Walt and his team aren’t trying to solve everything. They are focusing on a problem and trying to solve it. Which I think is a great approach, and something they can build on later.

You can view the video here.

BTW, I love the format of the video. It’s broken up in 3 parts. The presentation first. Then Jay answers questions from the audience given to him by a moderator and then end with a one of one conversation with an agent about the need for such a system.

Sep 21 15

Rapattoni confirms separate front end system in the works.

by Greg Robertson

Rapattoni confirmed was I reported a couple weeks ago.

Rapattoni Corporation Announces Next Generation MLS Software

“Rapattoni’s new MLS will separate the front end user interface from the back end database, offering unparalleled flexibility in meeting the evolving needs of real estate associations and their members. This versatile architecture will allow MLSs to pull listing data from multiple sources and present it in a single interface, enabling the new Rapattoni MLS to integrate seamlessly with Project Upstream, AMP, and other emerging technologies while leveraging industry standards such as the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) Data Dictionary.”

A few things I’ve been thinking since learning about this.

1. Upstream/AMP is really causing a lot of consternation in the MLS community.

2. “Front End” is now a thing. While Black Knight’s announcement is more of a parallel MLS system, SFAR is working on a front end solution (more about that in a later post) and you could even argue that MRIS/TREND initiative is a direct response to Upstream (or at least to brokers) plus I haven’t been shy talking about our upcoming new product, Cloud MLX.

3. Its still early, but I think there is going to be a lot of innovation in this space.

Sep 17 15

CRMLS adds Paragon MLS to give broker and agents two MLS systems to choose from.

by Greg Robertson

From Black Knight Financial Services:
California Regional MLS Adds Black Knight’s Paragon Platform Allowing Brokers and Agents Front-End MLS System of Choice.

““It is time to break through the barrier of being limited to one MLS platform,” said CRMLS CEO Art Carter. “We have wanted to do this for some time, and we are pleased to form this partnership with the Black Knight Paragon team. Our industry is constantly evolving, and we need to be more responsive to agents, brokers and consumers who are redefining the way they work. The result of this project will give our members better choices as the vendors vie for user selection.”

Very interesting news from CRMLS. A few initial thoughts…

1. There’s a bit of wordplay in the headline. This isn’t a “front end” per se, but a full blown MLS system. So effectively CRMLS will have two MLS systems running in parallel, Paragon and Matrix. In a previous post Rapattoni announced they were working towards separating the front end from the back end. Black Knight isn’t saying that here.

2. What Art Carter, CRMLS CEO, is doing by this move is effectively taking the “MLS conversion” question off the table. Keep in mind CRMLS’ mission is a statewide MLS.

“Are you on Matrix? No problem!” or “Are you on Paragon? No problem!”

To his south is San Diego (SANDICOR MLS) which is on Paragon. Check. To the north is Silicon Valley, MLS Listings which is on Matrix. Check. 3 other large associations in the Bay Area (CCAOR, Bay East, EBRDI) are on Paragon. Check. That’s the vast a majority of the agents in California. Checkmate? It’s still too early to say, but a super smart move by CRMLS.

3. Don’t forget about San Francisco AOR and MetroList Services (Sacramento, CA). Both are on Rapattoni’s MLS platform. MetroList Services is the largest MLS by geography in California (Sacramento and Central Valley). SFAR is rumored to be working on their own alternative MLS system as well.

4. You gotta give it up for Rich Lull and the team at Black Knight, super big win for them.

As an MLS geek I’m just super excited to see how all these moves play out. Some exciting times ahead!

Sep 16 15

Vendor Alley Ad Box Spot available!

by Greg Robertson

I have one Ad Box up for sale. Here’s your chance to support Vendor Alley.

If you have a product or service you want to promote to the smartest, best looking readers in the real estate industry please makes sure you contact me soon.

These don’t last long. Information can be found here.

Contact me at

Sep 14 15

Only 23 days till the CMLS conference in Kansas City!

by Greg Robertson

Where has the year gone?

Looks like CMLS will be bigger than ever, over 630 people have registered.

Are you ready?

Get the full rundown here.

Sep 11 15


by Greg Robertson


Sep 10 15

Details emerge on MRIS/TREND MLS consolidation, and its bigger than you think.

by Greg Robertson

Looks like my intel was correct. MRIS and TREND MLS are indeed consolidating. But I think there is much more to this than it seems. In a email Tom Phillips of TREND MLS stated:

“So I wanted to personally share with you that TREND and MRIS are announcing our commitment to consolidate, in order to fulfill a joint vision for the next era of MLS. This consolidation will go beyond a simple joining of forces. It will create an entirely new organization that welcomes other MLSs, associations and brokers who share this vision, to invite them to participate in the formation of the new organization.”

Along with this announcement was a link to a PDF what they call, “The MLS: Evolved”

Well written and concise. I especially like their mission statement, which was also in Tom’s email;

“To preserve compensation and cooperation, promote the expansion of an orderly and efficient marketplace, and provide participating brokerage firms greater control of and access to their listing content.”

So its pretty obvious they are going for a more “broker friendly” MLS. They think data share agreements are in the past. The report also talks about tiered level of MLS access with a base option and other options to add more products/services.

After I read the document a thought occurred to me, why stop at MRIS and TREND? The model they are creating and with the technology now (which was one of their points) why couldn’t this be the start of a national consolidation of MLS providers around the country? Both MLS providers are already in multiple states, so who says how many other states they could go to? 10, 20, 50?

The key here I think is that nobody has laid out a vision/plan. While admittedly this is more a beginning framework than a plan, they have taken a pretty clear leadership position.

So I think the MLS community should watch this consolidation with great interest. If David, Tom and the other stakeholders can execute this consolidation, and get broker buy-in, you might be seeing something entirely new, and possibly the future.

Sep 9 15

MRIS and TREND MLS in merger talks

by Greg Robertson

Boom! Word on the street is that MRIS and TREND MLS, two of the largest MLS providers in the country, are in merger discussions.

Just the fact that these two giants are actually putting egos aside and talking consolidation makes other much smaller MLS providers not considering consolidation look almost petty.

From what I understand they have agreed to start the process without deciding on what happens in the end (i.e. leadership, management etc.) That takes some guts.

Info is pretty light on this, if you know anything please share. You can hit me up on the tip page.

Sep 9 15

Constellation Software (the guys who bought Market Leader) acquire Zurple.

by Greg Robertson

Teke Wiggin from Inman News

Market Leader’s new owner also purchased CRM provider Zurple

“Market Leader provides a customer relationship management system and some online marketing products. Since Zurple basically does the same thing, the acquisition raises the possibility that Constellation might integrate or blend the two.

Zurple offers a website, a customer relationship management system and online advertising management. The advertising managed by Zurple drives prospective buyers and sellers to the Zurple-powered website where some register their contract information.”

It’s kind of getting lonely out here…. : )