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Mar 17 14

Vendor Alley Ad sponsorships are coming available.

by Greg Robertson

You see the ad boxes on the right hand of this page? I’ve got 2 that will be available soon. More details can be found here. They typically sell out quick, and most buy the whole year. Holla! http://www.vendoralley.com/sponsorships/

Mar 17 14

Industry relations….

by Greg Robertson

NAR just sent out this message to its membership.

“NAR: We stand with those who respect our Realtor® members
NAR is joining a lawsuit filed by MOVE Inc., against Zillow and new Zillow Chief Industry Development Officer Errol Samuelson. In addition to NAR and MOVE, the plaintiffs include RealSelect, Inc., Top Producer Systems Company, and Realtors® Information Network, Inc.

NAR’s relationship with MOVE and realtor.com® is based on a mutual respect for Realtors® and their efforts to bring online home buying and selling resources to consumers, and the defendants named in the lawsuit have not demonstrated that same respect.”

If Zillow’s intentions of hiring Errol and now Curt was to improve industry relations it sounds like the plan may have backfired. Time will tell.

Mar 17 14

Curt Beardsley joins Errol Samuelson at Zillow

by Greg Robertson

Holy Shit Squared!

From Zillow:

Zillow Names Curt Beardsley Vice President, Industry Development

This is right after MOVE just announced they are filing suit against Zillow over Errol’s departure! This is basically Zillow telling MOVE to take their lawsuit and shove it up their ass.

I gotta say I like Zillow’s style, but it might cost them, on “industry relations”.

This is, as they say, “Going to the Mattresses“.

Mar 17 14

MOVE files suit against Zillow and Errol

by Greg Robertson

From Inman News
NAR and realtor.com operator Move Inc. file suit against Zillow, Errol Samuelson.

“Move Inc. and the National Association of Realtors have filed a lawsuit against Zillow and former Move chief strategy officer and realtor.com president Errol Samuelson for alleged breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets, among other claims”

Total bullshit if you ask me. MOVE needs to move on. The best revenge is success. Focus on that.

Mar 17 14

Happy Birthday Dave Howe!

by Greg Robertson

Dave Howe

Happy birthday, to “the hardest working man in the MLS business”!

Mar 12 14

Scottsdale goodness.

by Greg Robertson

I was lucky enough to attend Clareity Consulting‘s MLS Executive Workshop last week.  As usual, Gregg Larson put on a great event.  A perfect mix of fun and learning (and great weather).  Here’s a few highlights.

Of course a lot of the buzz was centered around Errol’s departure to Zillow.  This was announced the first day of the conference and made some interesting conversations at the kickoff cocktail party.  Not sure if Zillow’s timing on this was on purpose, but it certainly got everyone talking.

Gregg started off the conference by mentioning that we all thought that 2014 was going to be a transitional year and so far things are proving out that way.

Along with the normal shtick on pocket listings, syndication, REDPLAN, anti-scraping, I really liked the presentations about MLS providers focusing on their subscribers.  Amy Geddes gave a great presentation on maximizing subscriber experience.  Which along with Matt Cohen’s presentation on Improving Subscriber Communication and even Gregg’s daughter Amanda Larson got in the mix about using social media channels in business.  Maybe its because I recently attended a Email Marketing Summit by Marketing Sherpa but Matt’s presentation really resonated with me, you should read his summary here. I mentioned via Twitter that I think there is room for a consulting agency  just focused on helping MLS providers with membership communication.  So important.

A lot of hub-hub was created by Jon Green‘s informal study of non-MLS listings.  You can read Andrea’s article here at Inman News, although I think her title of “Study suggests MLS played little or no role in nearly half of 2013 home sales” is a bit sensational.   The founder of “Producers Forum”, Eric Trailer, spoke about their agent network and advocated for an off-MLS listings network.  I found his speaking style hard to follow.  To me the issue of off-MLS listings are a fad, not a trend.  As soon as the inventory creeps up to a normal level you’ll find these networks faded away to cocktails hours.  In my opinion they serve more as a marketing vehicle for pretentious sellers and their agents.

Gregg also interviewed Dr. Michael Sklarz from Collateral Analytics.  There has been some controversy about CA and having Michael there to take questions from the audience was a constructive thing.  The main objections I heard were from MLS providers who didn’t think AVMs are the same as a BPOs or CMAs.  Underlying some of that contreversy was that many of the brokers who are utilizing CA were not exactly being forthcoming on the usage of the data to MLS providers when requesting data.  Whether this was due to ignorance or something else remains to be seen.  One take-away, from a vendor’s perspective, is even if you are following all the rules, you have to make sure the clients who have contracted you are also doing the same.

Lisa Larson and Jeff Nieto did a bit of an “App Shoot-Out” that I thought was fun.  About 80% of the apps they previewed I hadn’t heard about and most of them were really cool.  I’m not sure if Lisa has published the list but maybe you can reach out to her or Jeff and get a copy.

Then of course was the presentation of the 13th Annual MLS Customer Satisfaction Survey.  Matt kept the presentation short this year (which I liked) and just went over the highlights.  In a nutshell LPS (now Black Knight Financial Services) and FBS are killing it.  CoreLogic is dealing with some focus problems but promise to fix them by doubling down on Matrix.  Rapattoni looks to be improving on overall customer satisfaction and Solid Earth is heading in the wrong direction, fast.

The event is also known for giving away some of the nicest raffle gifts.  Many attendees left all types of the latest gadgets and gizmos.

 

Dan Sales, Lucky Winner!

Dan Sales, Lucky Winner!

Homes.com did something special this year I thought was a good idea.  They gave away an all expenses paid return trip to conference next year.  That includes, registration, airfare, and hotel.   Dan Sale, CEO of  the Capital Area REALTORS of Springfield, IL was the winner.  A prize I’m sure every attendee, including me, would have loved to receive.

Many thanks to Gregg, Matt and Amanda for putting on a fantastic conference and their wonderful hospitality.

 

 

Mar 11 14

Where in the world is Sami Inkinen?

by Greg Robertson

Trulia Co-Founder Sami Inkinen, has found a way to spend his millions….fighting sugar.

File this under: You can’t make this shit up.

 

Mar 10 14

Errol

by Greg Robertson

“If you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long.  Just figure out what’s next.”  - Steve Jobs

errolThe whole industry is abuzz on Errol leaving MOVE and joining Zillow.  I think most of us were shocked.  Some have criticized the way he left, some are downright angry).  I haven’t spoken to Errol but the quote above from Steve Jobs seems appropriate here.  It was just time for Errol to figure out… what’s next.  And let’s not forget what Errol has accomplished already.

Errol was key in bringing MLS systems on to the web.  That’s when he met Curt and his then business partner Kevin at True North Technologies; the first company to actually have an web-based MLS system.  While Errol was working at GTE they acquired True North, and the rest is history.

After joining MOVE he successfully led the Top Producer team to revamp their line of agent CRM and productivity products and consolidate MOVE’s other agent solutions.

He was promoted to president of realtor.com and since have held various positions at MOVE.  He successfully got the operating agreement with NAR changed a number of times, led the effort to make some key acquisitions like ListHub, Social Bios and Doorsteps.

I’m sure there’s more, that’s just what I think of right off the top of my head.  And its a lot.

Errol is an extremely competitive person.  He wants to win.  I can only imagine his daily frustrations dealing with an industry so unwilling to change, until it was too late.

I’m rooting for Errol.  He’s been a good solider.  He’s done everything he can to make change happen “from the inside”.  Maybe he can serve as a bridge to the industry to better understand and work with Zillow.  If not, then he shouldn’t worry about it.  Which brings me to another quote (unfortunately I can’t cite the author  Francis Skamser of 10K Research has done the leg work and has confirmed this was said by Dylan McKay of the original Beverly Hill 90210 ) I also love.

 “May the bridges I burn, light the way.” – Dylan McKay of Beverly Hills 90120

Mar 5 14

Errol Samuelson leaves for Zillow

by Greg Robertson

Holy shit, things just got real.  If you haven’t heard the news Errol Samuelson, former President of REALTOR.com and chief strategy officer for MOVE, Inc. just announced he left to join Zillow as their Chief Industry Development Officer.  Details are sketchy but here’s what I’ve been able to dig up.

1.  It was a total blindside.  Not even Errol’s closest friends knew.
2.  This represents a tectonic shift in the industry.  Unlike like the other poaching that Zillow and Trulia have been doing this represents a whole other level.  Brilliant move by Zillow.
3.  I don’t think it was just about money.  But I’ll save that analysis for another post.

From a larger sense I think that Zillow was losing ground to Trulia. To me Trulia was winning the “industry friendly” game.  Zillow didn’t seem to care, hell I don’t think I know anyone that thinks Bemis got a fair shot.  That has cost them.  Seems that industry relations does matter and Zillow is coming back around to understand that.

But the more interesting narrative I think is this, what does Errol know, that we don’t know?  This kind of move doesn’t happen without something else lurking out there.  And that’s the real story.

 

Developing….

 

UPDATE:

Move, Inc. Announces Curt Beardsley Has Been Promoted To Executive Vice President Of Industry Development; Errol Samuelson Resigns

Feb 27 14

MOVE/Realtor.com looking for Chief Economist.

by Greg Robertson

“Move and realtor.com has an exciting opportunity for a Chief Economist responsible for developing and translating real estate data and trends into consumer and industry insights for a variety of audiences.

Our ideal candidate has a strong background in economics and analytics and other appropriate disciplines. You are comfortable speaking and presenting diverse material with influential audiences in various stages of the home ownership life cycle, the financial press, academics and agencies.”

 

Read more about it on the Vendor Alley Job Board