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May 23 16

RED launches 3 new websites

by Greg Robertson

Looks like the team at RED (Real Estate Digital), (or is it XOME/Solutionstar/Mr. Cooper?) has been busy lately.

The new Long & Foster site is now fully responsive. But what I really thought was interesting was their “Smarter Home Search”

LF Smarter home search

I also liked the look of their search results page.

LF Search Results Page
Keeping in tune with their brand, the Berkshire Hathaway Home Services website now has multi-currency functionality. BHHS multi-lingual price

And it looks like BHHS Florida Realty website is keeping it simple while focusing it’s home page on seller leads.

BHHS FL home page

The valuation is driven by a company called Quantarium, which is new to me.

BHHS HomeWorth

I think these sites give a good perspective on how far franchisor and regional broker websites have come.

May 20 16

Cloud MLX named “Best In Show” in Clareity’s Midyear 2016 report

by Greg Robertson

Matt Cohen wrote an epic post recapping NAR 2016 Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo Report. It’s a must read for anyone who didn’t attend the show or was there but stuck in a lot of meetings. I’m bummed I missed the FBS Party which sounded perfect (live music, good food and great conversation).

Of course Dan and I are really stoked that Cloud MLX was named “Best In Show” in Clareity’s post. Here’s a taste…

“As with their other products, the focus is on striking the right balance between ease of use and functionality. This product looks anything BUT the same-old MLS technology.”

We are super proud of our team at W+R Studios for the hard work they put in to getting Cloud MLX launched.

Please get in touch with Katie if you want to schedule a demo.

May 18 16

BPP Selects Homesnap

by Greg Robertson

Broker Public Portal Selects HomesnapNew national home search imagined by people who sell homes, not ads

“The BPP launch will include an iPhone app, Android app, and mobile and desktop website. The experience will be free from ads and paid agent placement. Instead, consumers can easily collaborate with their own agent, or connect instantly to the listing agent, ensuring information and answers from a pro who truly knows the home, neighborhood and local market conditions.

For real estate professionals, the BPP launch will include Homesnap Pro, already the leading mobile app for agents to access real-time listing information, collaborate with their clients and work with each other.”

Nice scoop for RISMedia Inman News. I hinted about this on Twitter earlier this week. Good for them, I don’t think the “get one year free” model to MLS providers was working out too well. Although I’m curious how this will effect those agreements with MLS providers to provide HomeSnap Pro, the way this reads I’m not sure any MLS should be paying for HomeSnap Pro any longer or in the future. Which begs the question, what’s BPP’s revenue model?

UPDATE 12/18/2016 – 4:05PM PT

Looks like a post of WAV Group (Broker Public Portal Reveals Partnership and Plan) Blog lays out a revenue model.

“The price for MLSs to participate in the BPP is $1 per MLS subscriber per month – about the same that most MLSs pay today for just a mobile search solution. For this, an MLS can now provide”

$1 per agent per month seems extremely high price, especially at 500,000 agents. Kudos to them if they actually get that! From the previous article is appears they have yet to sign an agreement.

May 16 16

When you see it…

by Greg Robertson

This is the ad on the back of the latest edition of REALTOR Magazine.

REALTOR Magazine Ad2


May 9 16

Cloud MLX -Bringing sexy back

by Greg Robertson

mlx blog image

Yours truly…

W+R Studios launches Cloud MLX, an alternative front end to existing MLS systemsNew product can also serve as a hub for existing products, Cloud CMA and Cloud Streams.

“Greg Robertson, W+R Studios co-founder, stated “Real estate professionals can’t do business without access to MLS data, yet most traditional MLS systems are difficult to use and hard to navigate. We believe MLS members deserve more choices.”

Cloud MLX is designed to get agents up and running and searching the MLS with little or no training. It’s intuitive search bar, mapping, and the use of hashtags gives MLS members better tools to connect with other agents and work smarter with clients.

Super proud of the W+R Studios design and development team. The product is amazing. Cloud MLX follows what we always strive for in our software; simple, fast and beautiful. Here’s one of our on-boarding videos highlighting searching.

We are up and running in CRMLS and would love to add your MLS. We will be giving demos at NAR Midyear this week. Please get in touch with Katie if you want to schedule a demo (during or after the convention).

This release is just the beginning. I can’t wait to show all of you what we believe is going to be a great asset to your MLS.

May 5 16

“I like the look of hockey sticks.”

by Greg Robertson

Mike Wurzer on the success of their Spark API platform.

173% Growth For Spark API, More Coming

“This growth doesn’t include a variety of large MLS data shares we’ve implemented. If we include those, the current coverage expands to over 250,000 agents. Regardless, I’m pretty sure this means the Spark API currently is one of if not the largest MLS aggregation available through a single API.

Perhaps more importantly, because we’ve sustained this growth organically by adding new Flexmls customers, the Spark API not only includes listing information for all these customers but also what I think is the more valuable data for brokers and agents, namely saved searches, contacts, and portal activity data (e.g., favorites, messages, etc.). What this means is that, in addition to being the biggest, the Spark API also is the deepest MLS data repository and the only API that truly allows developers and MLS providers to have a front-end of choice.

Lastly, an important distinction between Spark and several of the APIs being touted in the media these days is that the Spark API is live right now and growing actual usage every day. I like the look of hockey sticks.

May 5 16

It’s raining APIs

by Greg Robertson

Mike Wurzer, CEO of FBS

Mike Wurzer, CEO of FBS

Mike Wurzer must be rolling his eyes every time he reads Inman News lately. Its 2016 and the industry has finally caught up with him and his company, FBS. Back in May of 2012 (yes you read that correctly, 4 years ago) FBS announced its Spark Platform, which includes the Spark API. Which gave software developers two great things, an easy way to get MLS data and permission to sell their products to any of their flexmls customers. The Spark API allowed us to get Cloud CMA up in running in “long tail” MLS markets that we may not have served due to size or some other challenge.

Now, along with AMP, two others have joined the fray. Zillow and CoreLogic. Zillow with its Retsly Connect initiative and CoreLogic with its Trestle initiative. So since a big component of these initiatives is to target software developers to make cool stuff, and I happen to run a software company that makes cool stuff I thought I would give a quick run down of the pros and cons of each.

Owned by NAR. RPRs effort to provide a back-end database to MLS providers has announced they have MLS providers representing over 200,000 agents interested in AMP. That’s a lot of agents, and as a software company I like the size of that market.
Owned by NAR. Nobody that I know have has seen any API documentation, and it still isn’t clear how the revenue model would work for 3rd party software developers integrating with AMP.

Zillow’s Retsly Connect
Owned by Zillow. Sexy technology, we used their Public Records API in Cloud Streams and were impressed. Retsly Connect looks equally cool, and lots of bells and whistles I think MLS providers would like (which is why I think Bob Hale signed up).
Owned by Zillow. They have a chicken and egg problem. They currently have only 6 MLS providers signed up (and I think a third of them are in Canada). So, they are going to need to get some sort of traction for developers to write for the platform, but also need more coverage to entice developers to do so.

CoreLogic’s Trestle
Big company. Knows data. They have over 300 MLS databases. Some of them the largest MLS providers in the country. That a HUGE market potential. If the Spark API provided the “long tail” MLS markets, CoreLogic would provide the freaking Elephant.
Big company. Not launching until Q3 of this year. No API info, no revenue model announced.

For the record our plans at W+R Studios is to be platform agnostic and make our products work on any platform our customers want. But, I still want to give
a couple words of advice:

1. Try and stay away from an App Store model. I’ve been a big proponent of an “Agent App Store” in the past but it has been very brutal to get agents to change their purchasing behavior. Maybe in the post “front end of choice” world things might change, but that’s a big if.

2. Your initiative must include data access rights AND permission to sell. Make it an opt-out for MLS providers. One without the other will not scale. If I build something fast and it takes 6 months to get approval from your MLS committee to sell it, then these initiatives are essentially worthless.

In the end competition is a good thing. I think the next few years are going to be very exciting times for real estate technology. Sometimes all it takes is just a spark.

May 5 16

Modern Family and N.A.R.

by Greg Robertson

Kudos to N.A.R. for this great product placement in Modern Family. So good!

More on this at ADWEEK
The National Association of Realtors Finds Its Perfect Pitchman in Modern Family Dad The integration explains the need for a real estate agent.

“We have done only a handful of integrations because they tend to be intrusive and frankly make the show look like it’s selling out,” Christopher Lloyd, co-executive producer of Modern Family, told Adweek. “This was actually one of the easier ones we’ve done, since it lent itself to a joke. Phil is bemoaning his career choice as a Realtor, and it’s his Realtor skills that ultimately save the day.”
Lloyd said he wouldn’t have approved the concept, “if it seemed like we were just wedging in a pro-Realtor’s Association testimonial. We only agreed to do it when we thought of a way to actually use the distinction between what a (NAR-certified) Realtor is and what a real-estate agent is in a funny way.”

May 4 16

CoreLogic announces Trestle Initiative

by Greg Robertson

CORELOGIC TO STREAMLINE ACCESS TO BEST IN CLASS DATA—Trestle Initiative to Provide an Industry-First “Data Mart” for MLS Content—

“Chris Bennett, general manager of real estate solutions at CoreLogic, commented that “The industry’s progress with RESO standardization was the perfect invitation to re-imagine the best possible solution, one that delivers both MLS content and CoreLogic property and analytic information content to support the industry’s expanding needs.”

Bennett also noted that “Because CoreLogic already aggregates and normalizes data for more than 300 MLS platforms, we have the scale and capacity to rapidly deploy Trestle, whether an MLS is on a CoreLogic platform or uses another vendor’s system or is even a homegrown solution.”

Over 300 of the largest MLS providers in country, representing over half a million agents, under one API? Holy shit. Yes, please.

May 3 16

Upstream CEO is Alex Lange

by Greg Robertson

Sheesh, nobody can keep a secret…

Who’s the new Upstream CEO? Inside information on one of the hottest gigs in the industry

“The mystery is over. Thanks to a reliable tipster, I learned that Alex Lange was tapped as CEO of Upstream, a platform for data entry, data storage and data distribution.”

Look like Alex is reading from the Ozonian playbook. First thing he should do is fire the guy writing their condescending Facebook posts.