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Apr 5 17

Legacy MLS

by Greg Robertson

I missed Jim Harrison’s post a couple weeks ago, but lots of good stuff here so I thought it was worth commenting on.

CEO’s Message: Launching the MLS of the Future Starts with Envisioning a New Legacy

“The MLS sector is currently having such an experience. In order to succeed the contemporary MLS must provide brokers, agents, and consumers with an MLS experience that is relevant, dependable, and completely compatible with their emerging technical, data, and informational needs. This, in turn, means that those legacy-based features and functionalities that do not meet the test must be either updated and enhanced or terminated.”

Today’s agents and brokers are demanding more, they want better solutions. Part of the sector was control the data but a vast majority just want software that is easy to use and helps them succeed.

Jim continues.

“The solution would be found when we changed the underlying assumptions, legacies, and culture under which we had been operating. It was time for a different approach to the MLSListings experience. The opportunity lies in joining the “app” movement and creating an MLSListings experience that would allow every brokerage and/or subscriber to customize their own “MLS” experience.

“Front end of choice”, “Alternative Front End”, and an “App” based system, the whole industry is buzzing. They all mean basically the same thing, providing developers/brokers an easy way (ideally standards based) to access the MLS database so they can build things with the data. Anyone who attended the Clareity Executive Workshop can attest is was all about “front end of choice”. It’s starting to happen. I believe Jim is using the phrase “App” meaning not just mobile applications but any software application (desktop or otherwise). But some of the same old challenges still exist as we move forward.

1. Support. These new apps need a support system, especially if being supported by the MLS. With W+R Studios’ front end of choice solution, Cloud MLX, a specific design requirement was we wanted agents to start using it without any training.
2. Adoption. Complaining about current MLS software systems is a favorite pastime of agents (and some bloggers). But the fact is they know how to use it. Doing a search on the MLS is, at this point, engrained in to their muscle memory.
3. Integration. I think another weak spot of traditional MLS vendors is integration with other applications. This is a huge opportunity. These new front end of choice solutions need to work with as many other popular apps as possible.

As I’ve written before, we are entering a new cycle in technology with the MLS industry in regard to data. Here’s how I see it…

-Word of mouth
-Index cards

Closed Network Systems
-Terminal based systems
-Text based menu driven system
-PCs running terminal emulator software access MLS via modem/frame relay

Distributed Database
-Remember Wyldfyre?
-GUI interface
-Need to install software and sync

Open Network Systems (The Internet)- WHERE WE ARE TODAY (BEEN?)
-Web based MLS systems
-Browser based, nothing to install

Front End of Choice/”App movement” – WHERE WE ARE HEADED (NOW?)
-MLS data available via APIs or RETS
-Roll your own software

Data is becoming front and center. That’s why you see so many vendors rushing to provide solutions.

Apr 5 17 hub bub

by Greg Robertson

I’m catching up this week. I was going to write something about Zillow’s recent announcement about their plans of re-launching as a portal designed for Millennials. But Greg Fischer on Twitter summed up my feelings exactly.

Mar 30 17

Have you heard of Dam yet?

by Greg Robertson

This is too funny….

Name withheld to protect the innocent.

Mar 30 17

Looking for a new gig?

by Greg Robertson

Director of MLS Compliance
Richmond Association of REALTORS®, Inc.

“Working with the Vice President of Professional Development and Compliance with Central Virginia Regional Multiple Listing System (MLS) maintain, develop and enforce MLS rules and policy. This position is responsible for the daily oversight of CVR MLS operations and serves as lead for external and internal inquiries on MLS policy/compliance issues and as a technical resource for Matrix and other MLS related services.”

To find out about this job and others please visit the Vendor Alley Job Board!

Mar 24 17

VC’s double down on Placester with $50M series D round

by Greg Robertson

Placester CEO, Matt Barba

Placester, a real estate tech provider, raises another $50 million

“Drawing on data partnerships with hundreds of multiple listing services (MLSs), Placester provides websites, lead management and marketing tools to agents. It also powers the property-search tools of many news websites. The latest raise brings the company’s total funding to $100 million.

The round “will support our aggressive product roadmap and address the full breadth of challenges and opportunities that define the future of digital for real estate professionals,” CEO Matt Barba said in a statement.”

$100M, that’s a lot of cheddar!

Here’s the thing, and I believe I written this before, what I like about Placester is it’s inclusive strategy. While Zillow only really wants to focus on “super agents” and “teams”, Placester says, come as you are. Real estate is an aspirational business and I think Placester realizes that fact.

Congrats to Matt and team.

Mar 22 17

HouseCanary preso at Google Next

by Greg Robertson

These guys are doing some very cool stuff in regards to home valuations. Check out this video of HouseCanary CEO, Jeremy Sicklick, giving a presentation at Google Next.

Here’s the press release.


HouseCanary’s predictive data analytics engine processes thousands of data elements spanning 40 years of historical data and one billion residential real estate transactions. HouseCanary indexes, standardizes, and analyzes the data to forecast home-price valuations and market trends for 3 million residential blocks, 18,000 zip codes, and 381 U.S. metropolitan areas. Using the latest machine learning and data modeling techniques, HouseCanary’s team of data scientists and engineers have developed the industry-leading approach to modernize the residential real estate market.

Mar 22 17

Kevin Greene talks Trestle

by Greg Robertson

A couple things to announce. Inman News will be the exclusive distributor of my podcast, Listing Bits. I’m super excited about this and my thanks to Brad for helping it find a wider audience.

Here’s my latest, an interview with Kevin Greene about how he started in the industry and about CoreLogic’s new initiative, “Trestle”.

Listing Bits: CoreLogic’s Kevin Greene talks Trestle upgrade

You will still be able to listen to Listing Bits on your favorite podcast app, but it most likely will be posted on Inman News first.

Mar 16 17

Industry Relations Episode 7: Greg Fischer Takes Us Back to the Future with NYC Brokers vs. Zillow

by Greg Robertson

We’re feeling a little déjà vu at Industry Relations as controversy brews between Zillow and brokers in NYC. Everything old is new again with the launch of the premier agent feature on leading real estate marketplace StreetEasy. For the last ten years, agents across the country have dealt with syndication – and it seems New York real estate’s time has come.

Today’s guest, Greg Fischer, serves as principal broker at Fred Real Estate Group in Bend, Oregon, and author of the blog Next in Housing. His unique background also includes work in the tech industry with real estate software companies Move, Inc. in San Francisco and Doorsteps in New York City. This makes him uniquely qualified to discuss the bruhaha as NYC brokers decide whether to pay the Zillow tax or boycott it.

**Audio alert.  Robertson’s audio track has an echo effect that we couldn’t get rid of in post.  But Fischer and Rob audio (which handle the majority of the discussion) sounds great.***

What’s Discussed:

How NYC brokers reacted to the premier agent feature on StreetEasy

How StreetEasy GM Susan Daimler justified the change

-Home shoppers deserve the option to connect with agent who represents only them

The explicit language used by the StreetEasy product to suggest a buyer agent

Why NYC should seek the counsel of brokerages around the country who have dealt with syndication

How Manhattan real estate does business differently

-Listing agents are used to owning all buyer leads

REBNY’s request for an investigation into the legality of advertising an exclusive listing

The potential to create an MLS in NYC

-Change in compensation model

-Dominance of top ten listing brokers

-Legal ramifications of only sharing data feed with REBNY

The differences among IDX, VOW and StreetEasy’s premier agent

The danger of dual agency

Fischer’s take on leads generated via third-party websites

-Inquiries rarely lead to sales

The evolution of Zillow’s playbook on generating revenue

Why brokerages need to get savvy on how ad tech works

The value of agents as local experts

Compass CEO Robert Reffkin’s concession to Zillow


Greg Fischer’s Premier Agent Blog Post

The Real Deal’s Premier Agent Article

The Real Deal’s Premier Agent Video

Vendor Alley Job Board

Connect with Greg Fischer:



Mar 15 17

Looking for a new gig?

by Greg Robertson

The Central Oregon Association of REALTORS®
MLS Technology Director

“The Central Oregon Association of REALTORS® located in the mountain community of Bend, Oregon is actively seeking an MLS Technology Director to assist in supporting the association and MLS in their technology and MLS support needs for approximately 2,000 members.”

To find more about this job and other visit the Vendor Alley Job Board.

Mar 14 17

Connecticut MLS providers set to merge this summer

by Greg Robertson

Two Largest MLSs in Connecticut Approve Merger

” The merger announcement follows the successful, unanimous votes of Directors and Brokers in both multiple listing services (MLSs) as well as the Board of Directors of Connecticut REALTORS®. “I could not be more proud of the Realtor® spirit of this merger whereby the combined leadership of the CTMLS and GFC CMLS Board of Directors made a conscious decision to stay focused on the best outcome for our Realtor® members and the clients they serve,” said newly named SmartMLS President Michael Barbaro, he continued “as a result we were able to make it to today’s announcement in record time of four months.”

This brings membership to over 18,000. Both are on Matrix. And it looks like Cameron and Kathy will serve as Co-CEOs of the new MLS. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that before.

In the meantime if you are looking to merge a few MLS providers and need to come up with a name that screams intelligence then time is running out!

BrightMLS and now SmartMLS are now taken. But Vendor Alley is here to help. Take your pick!

WhizMLS (personal favorite)