The thing about true disruption is that it hits you from the blind side. You think X is going to happen and Y slaps you in the face.
Take for instance the big fear out there that Zillow/Trulia‘s “master plan” is to become a real estate broker. Nope. Here’s why.
Uber famously states, “We are not a taxi service.”, they just connect people who need to get somewhere with drivers you can get them there.
Trulia is not a brokerage. Trulia just connects people who want to buy a home with real estate professionals who can help them complete a transaction.
See what I did there?
No? Let me paint a picture for you….
“Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced today that it has entered into an agreement to buy Nest Labs, Inc. for $3.2 billion in cash.
Nest’s mission is to reinvent unloved but important devices in the home such as thermostats and smoke alarms. Since its launch in 2011, the Nest Learning Thermostat has been a consistent best seller–and the recently launched Protect (Smoke + CO Alarm) has had rave reviews.”
Now that’s an expensive smoke detector.
Inman News has a story of Market Leader (now owned by Trulia) having entered in to a multi-year deal with NRT, which as over 41,000 agents, to provide a white-labled version of their product at a “modest” fee.
Not sure what they mean by “modest”. When Market Leader did a deal with Keller Williams back in 2011 they announced that 80,000 of KW agents would pay $15/ month for “eEdge”. Not sure how much of that was going back to Market Leader either. But somehow I think this NRT deal is even more leveraged to the back-side. Meaning the up-front fee is minimal, and conversion to a “premium version” is where they make money.
Market Leader has similar deals with other Realogy brands, Century 21 and Better Homes & Gardens. NRT, as you may know, is operated by Realogy.
These freemium (or close to freemium) deals are tough. Agents are fiercely independent. It’s up to the vendor to do the leg work of first getting adoption and then converting them to a a premium version. Based on my experience the franchisors are going to little or next to nothing to help out.
It would be interesting to see what type of conversion percentages they have with each brand. The article mentions Trulia having 25K “premium subscribers”, which based on my math, and agent count, is 27% of their existing deals. Based on my experience even half of a 27% conversion rate is pretty amazing (and a good deal). My guess it would be Keller Williams first and C21 and BH&G a distant second and third (as a percentage of premium upgrades). But I do think the NRT deal with be closer in conversion percentage with KW than C21 or BH&G.
Looking for a new gig? If you know if anyone that may be interested please have them contact Anne Gardner the CEO:
anne [at] caar dot com
TITLE: MLS & Information Technology Administrator
REPORTS TO: Director of MLS Operations
Position Concept: The MLS & Information Technology Administrator is an important and visible position as the chief administrator of MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and IT operations for the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® of Virginia (CAAR).Primary responsibilities include operational issues within the MLS system, ensuring accuracy and usefulness for members and knowledge and mastery of superior technology services and business tools for the association. Duties are technical in nature and include trouble shooting and resolving customer service problems with MLS in coordination with the vendor. In addition, administration of inter-office technology, software and equipment needs to ensure the smooth IT operation of CAAR. Key success markers include the ability to communicate technical issues to those who may not be as proficient in technology. Also responsible for identifying and championing services and tools for REALTOR® members to become and remain successful in today’s real estate market, consistent with the CAAR mission & vision.
AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY
MLS Operations – Delivery of MLS activities to ensure a superior MLS system for subscribers. Ensure CAAR system is compliant to current industry technology standards and employs best practices and efficiencies. Conduct analysis and present recommendations for approval by appropriate member groups. Maintain vendor relationships and support contracts. Off-hours support coverage as needed to assist MLS subscribers. Support
Board of Directors in MLS policy violation interpretations as requested.
• Provides keen oversight of the MLS and Technical needs of the Association.
• Secondary staff Liaison for MLS Group.
• Is fully knowledgeable of the MLS Rules and Regulations, Lock Box Rules and Regulations and Policies of CAAR.
• Trouble shoots MLS problems and communicates with MLS vendor to ensure member’s needs are met.
• Assists and Develops a plan to provide training to users on MLS system.
• Identifies and successfully resolves MLS listing problems.
• Liaison between Service and MLS vendors in relation to technical support for the office or individuals.
• Technical Support for system, including inputs, RETS data feeds, member IDX compliance
• Reviews daily “hot sheet” for accurate data and as necessary corrections to agents/brokers.
• Ensures Office equipment, technology and services are operational and provide support to staff training and problem solving.
• Evaluates new programs and products for implementation (to remain on the cutting edge of technology).
• Purchases office equipment for staff computers, training room and meeting room needs as approved by supervisor.
• Stay informed with NAR/RAMCO and VAR technology initiatives and recommend appropriate integrations with association activities.
• Look for ways to offer training via web and other progressive learning opportunities.
• Ensures supervisor and management team is informed of any problem with the system or membership.
• All other duties as assigned by supervisor.
Duties Include, but are not limited to:
A. Daily/Weekly Tasks/Responsibilities:
• Change listing status of listings on demand.
• Investigate MLS listing complaints for rules compliance.
• Investigate issues with MLS system and submit trouble tickets as necessary
• Assist Members with questions relating to MLS listing input
• Modify MLS membership status on notification of Membership Director
• Investigate issues with membership records, and submit trouble tickets as necessary
• Update database for newsgroup
• Verify Statistics report ran for REW, and rerun if necessary
• Update Exchange Global Address list
B. Monthly/Biweekly Tasks/Responsibilities
• Verify full backups completed
• Copy backups to external media, and transport to safety deposit box
• Correct listings flagged by RBI Stats
C. Quarterly/Annual Tasks/Responsibilities
• Create RETS feed
• Add user to phone system
• Update Voting website
• Assign credentials to alarm system.
• Add user to active directory / email.
• Investigate firewall issues
D. Program Tasks/Responsibilities
• Assist supervisor with administrative duties as requested.
• Assist with all staff projects and functions as requested.
• Learning appropriate software/training as needed.
• Development of team/personal goals.
Program tasks are not related to a specific daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly time frame. These tasks are ongoing and overlap according to the program schedule. It is possible to be involved in any aspect of all tasks according to program needs.
EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS: A Bachelors Degree is preferred. Relevant certifications required.
EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS: Minimum of three (3) years recent experience in management of heterogeneous network, project management or equivalent discipline, with priority given to REALTOR® association MLS experience. Previous experience with Active Directory and oversight of rules and compliance systems, and managing deadline driven processes in membership-focused organizations is ideal. POSITION REQUIREMENTS: The MLS & Information Technology Administrator spends time attending meetings, researching and writing reports, interfacing with members and maintaining vendor relationships. A working condition can be demanding and fast-paced. Demands include limited local travel for meetings, some on evenings and weekends and off-hours system maintenance availability as needed. Must have reliable transportation to meetings and assignments.
1. Ability to communicate in both the written and spoken word. Superior customer service skills.
2. Well organized and able to interpret relevant insights from various resources and produce error-free reports and correspondence.
3. Strong interpersonal skills and time management skills are critical.
4. Maintains a positive attitude, and possesses the ability to interact well with members, staff, ability to well represent the Association and real estate industry.
5. Management abilities helpful, need to coordinate member activities, work well with fellow staff members, etc.,
6. Must be self-directed, able to identify projects, develop strategies to conduct projects, and see projects to completion.
7. Strong communication and presentation skills, articulate and professional.
8. Ability to interact effectively with executives at all levels and represent the organization with a high-degree of integrity.
9. Highly motivated, with ability and initiative to work independently, set priorities and handle multiple tasks with good judgment.
10. Capable of budgeting, planning, and producing within a budget.
Looking forward to heading out to New York City next week for Inman Connect. I’m doing a “Quick Hits” preso on the main stage (Wednesday at 10:25am) on “The Best CRMs in the Business: what should you use?”.
I’m also going to be participating on a panel moderated by David Charron dubbed, “Who Owns What? The Protection of Intellectual Property in Today’s Market”.
Also on the panel will be:
Ann Bailey, President, Pranix, Inc.
Constance Freedman, Managing Director , Second Century Ventures, NAR
Jay Gaskill, President, Real Estate Digital
For more information on the panel check out this video:
If you haven’t registered, and thinking of going let me know, I’ve got a link for a big discount.
See you there!
WILMINGTON REGIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® PARTNERS WITH SHOWINGTIME TO PROVIDE APPOINTMENT CENTER SERVICES TO MEMBERS
NEW SERVICE TO LAUNCH BY JANUARY 7TH, 2014
Chicago, IL – January 6, 2014—The Multiple Listing Service of the Wilmington Regional Association of Realtors® announced today that it selected ShowingTime, the real estate industry’s leading showing management technology provider, to provide appointment center services for its 1,650+ Realtor® members beginning Tuesday, January 7.
“The ShowingTime Appointment Center’s extended hours, two-way text messaging capabilities, branded calls and emails, and overall use of technology to automate the scheduling process is exciting,” said MLS President Sandy Beals. “I am looking forward to a long relationship with ShowingTime. I am so confident they will exceed members’ expectations.”
ShowingTime’s technology-rich Appointment Center, along with its online scheduling system available 24/7 in the MLS, will enable WRAR members to call to schedule showings from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern time, seven days a week, or login to the MLS anytime to schedule showings. Members can also use smart phones, tablets and the ShowingTime Mobile App to request and manage showings and feedback.
ShowingTime products – currently used to schedule more than 2 million showings per month in more than 190 markets representing 400,000+ real estate professionals – use technology to improve efficiency and streamline the appointment scheduling process, resulting in quicker showing confirmations and less phone tag. The Multiple Listing Service of the Wilmington Regional Association of Realtors® is ShowingTime’s 70th market-wide subscribing customer.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Wilmington Regional Association of Realtors®,” said ShowingTime President Michael Lane. “WRAR members will have access to many unique features that will help them be effective, including our patented two-way text messaging system for homeowner approval of showings. Our services will equip the members of WRAR to provide great service to buyers and sellers.” he added. “We’re also pleased to be able to offer job opportunities to many of the appointment specialists from the prior showing service that lost their jobs prior to the holidays.”
ShowingTime equips MLSs, Associations, offices, brokers and agents with tools to schedule showings, generate feedback and report on activity. Its products are used by more than 6,000 offices nationwide and integrated with 190+ MLSs to manage two million showings every month. Visit http://www.showingtime.com for more information.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, contact Tom Denk, ShowingTime, 312-568-8001 x130 firstname.lastname@example.org
This story just keeps getting more bizarre. Charles Smith, former CEO of eShowings, is about to head to jail. Charles had the brilliant idea of not paying payroll taxes and pocketing the money. Now his wife is taking over the company.
Andrea Brambila of Inman News:
“Lanouette Smith is the wife of eShowings founder and former CEO Charles Smith. Lanouette Smith was on the payroll before the company shut down, but did not have an official title or duties at the company, according to several former employees.”
It also seems like former employees (or current?) that were ripped off by the company have taken matters in the their own hands.
Andrea Brambila of Inman News:
“Lanouette Smith said eShowings had been the target of a “purposeful and planned destruction” that included the robbery and theft of payroll checks in one office, communication of misinformation to employees in both call centers, unauthorized and inaccurate communication to clients, and “sabotage” to call center equipment and computer systems in Newark.”
Sabotage indeed. Seems like the real sabotage began with Mr. Smith didn’t pay his payroll taxes.
Meanwhile, this leaves their largest client, the Wilmington Regional Association of REALTORS, in a lurch. Who for some insane reason are still using eShowings.
The answer,to all the problems clients of eShowings are having, can be solved very quickly. Find a new vendor. There are a few out there. Here’s a start:
mlane [at] showingtime dot com
Inman News’ list of the 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders contains some familiar and new faces.
Russ Bergeron, CEO, Midwest Real Estate Data, LLC (MRED)
Art Carter, CEO , California Regional Multiple Listing Service, Inc. (CRMLS)
David Charron, CEO and President, Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc.
Merri Jo Cowen, CEO My Florida Regional MLS (MFRMLS)
Amy Geddes, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer Clareity Security
Ben Graboske, CEO CoreLogic MarketLinx
Ernie Graham, Senior Director of Product Management realtor.com
Bob Hale, CEO Houston Association of REALTORS
Rebecca Jensen, CEO UtahRealEstate.com
Carrie Kendall, General Manager Indiana Regional MLS
Gregg Larson, President and CEO Clareity Consulting, Clareity Security
Victor Lund, Founding Partner WAV Group
John Mosey, President Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota Inc. (NorthstarMLS)
**Greg Robertson, Co-founder W&R Studios and publisher of VendorAlley.com (My 5th year in a row- Thanks everyone!!)**
Errol Samuelson, President, realtor.com
Andy Woolley, Vice President, Homes.com
I’ve highlighted most people involved in the MLS world. Congrats to everyone! Check out the full list here: Inman News’ 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders