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May 2 17

Zillow launches new

by Greg Robertson

Zillow Group Launches, Gives First-Time Home Buyers New Way to Search for HomesAllows buyers to search by “All-In Monthly Price” to get a fuller picture of cost of homeownership

” “ is designed to equip the next generation of home buyers to find a home that suits their needs and budget,” said Jeremy Wacksman, CMO at Zillow Group. “We know from our research that affordability is a huge driver for home buyers, and that first-time buyers are more likely to go over budget. By tailoring the home search experience on around a home’s monthly cost, we hope to make the home buying experience less daunting and even more transparent for first-time buyers.”

Some initial thoughts…

Andrea at Inman News reported that this might be something they were looking at doing. The ideas aren’t that new. John Holley of NTREIS had a similar idea I posted about a few years ago. And of course there’s Krishna at TLCengine who took it all to a next level.

A few quibbles.

1. What’s up with the white board explainer video? What is this 2006?

2. Cats? Seriously

It’s all about execution. I haven’t had time to dive in to the site yet, Teke at Inman News has a good breakdown of the site and its new features. All in all it does have some very interesting aspects to it.

Apr 21 17

Industry Relations Episode 8: Upstream, Millennial Branding and Other Hot Topics in Real Estate Tech

by Greg Robertson

If you ask Wiktionary, to swim upstream means ‘to opt for a difficult course of action when a simpler alternative is available.’ And if you ask Rob and Greg, real estate’s Upstream venture is a prime example of doing things the hard way.

Today Rob and Greg discuss the MLS response to the brokerage community’s push for data sharing and the probability of Upstream’s success. They also cover other hot topics in real estate technology news, including Zillow’s new Millennial consumer brand announcement, the extraordinary capital raised by Placester, and Realogy’s recent changes in management.

Listen in as Greg explains how to think about the ‘real estate ecosystem,’ and Rob outlines the inevitable development of a new brokerage model.

What’s Discussed:

Zillow’s recent announcement regarding its launch of new consumer brand

Why Zillow is likely adding as a search portal

The real estate industry’s ‘Millennial worship’

-Half of new home buyers under 36

The stereotypes associated with Millennials vs. the reality

What a site designed for Millennials might look like

The staggering capital being poured into the industry

-Placester raised $50M in March, bringing its total to $100M

Placester’s recognition of the aspirational nature of real estate

-Willingness to take any agent

Why Zillow focuses on ‘super agents’ and teams

Placester’s role in the ‘real estate ecosystem’

Realogy’s recent changes in management

How technology undermines the idea of a ‘real estate ecosystem’

The necessity for transformation of the current brokerage model

The mammoth undertaking that is Upstream

The feasibility of Upstream clearing all the hurdles it faces

How MLSs have responded to the brokerage community’s call for consolidation

Rob’s suggestion to add representatives from the broker community to the CMLS Board


“Zillow Group to Launch New Consumer Brand” on RISMedia

“Placester Continues Growth with $50 Million Capital Raise” in HousingWire Magazine

Connect with Rob and Greg:

Rob’s Website

Greg’s Website

Apr 19 17

Bridge Interactive add new MLS providers

by Greg Robertson

Bridge Interactive Adds New Multiple Listing Services Partners

“”We are pleased with the growing adoption of Bridge Interactive within the industry,” said Errol Samuelson, Zillow Group chief industry development officer. “Listing data management is a complex challenge for MLSs and brokers. For more than 10 years MLSs have relied upon Bridge’s innovations to simplify listing management significantly for everyone involved.”

The new MLS partners will be implementing Bridge’s Compose™ product, which incorporates the RETS 1.8 Update data standard, providing the MLS and its members with an efficient single point of entry process.”

Nice progress(?)

Apr 19 17

Looking for a new gig?

by Greg Robertson


Clareity is leading the search for a new President (MLS Executive) for MARIS.

MARIS provides the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for 11,500 subscribers in Missouri and Illinois, and is headquartered in St. Louis. MARIS provides its subscribers with a variety of products and services that assist them in the process of assisting the public buy and sell real estate.

The current executive is retiring near the end of the year and applications are now being accepted.”

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

Apr 17 17

Looking for a new gig?

by Greg Robertson

MLS Director
Eastern New York Multiple Listing Service, Inc.

“The Eastern New York Multiple Listing Service, Inc. is seeking an MLS Director who will administer operations from it’s Albany, New York headquarters. Reporting to the CEO, the ideal candidate will manage this newly formed multiple listing service in accordance with NAR policies and procedures, state and Federal laws and regulations and local Rules and Regulations”

For this job and more please visit the Vendor Alley Job Board!

Apr 13 17

The Evolution of MLS Technology, Front End of Choice & Cloud MLX

by Greg Robertson

Awhile back I was asked to give a presentation about the “history of MLS technology”, at a MLS strategic planning session. I spent a lot of time on it and I liked what I had put together. I’ve been using parts of that presentation, and how it fits in with W+R Studios’s “front end of choice” product, Cloud MLX.

The video is about 20 minutes long. It’s not too polished, I have a few flubs, some “umms” and “ahhhs”, but overall I think the video does a good job of showing our thinking about Cloud MLX.

I would love to get any feedback you might have. Enjoy.

Apr 12 17

Looking for a new gig?

by Greg Robertson

Digital Strategies / Webmaster Director
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Carolinas Realty

Raleigh, North Carolina


Winston-Salem, North Carolina

“Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Carolinas Realty, one of the leading residential real estate services providers in America, has an opening for a Digital Strategies / Webmaster Director who will report to the President/CEO. Successful candidate will have three to five years digital marketing experience and possess these traits:self-starter with high energy, creative, innovative, enterprising, collaborative–and values being a key player on a successful award winning team that is committed to redefining residential real estate services.”

To find out more about these jobs and more please visit the Vendor Alley Job Board!

Apr 10 17

RIP Ken Duke

by Greg Robertson

Ken Duke passed away in his sleep this past Friday, he was 6168. I knew Ken. He was as a straight a shooter as they come.

I’ve asked Michael Hayes to write something.


Ken Duke – a quiet visionary of our real estate industry passed away Friday, April 7th. He had a heart attack. Ken was not afraid of change and great challenges. As a real estate professional, he saw how an MLS could better empower agents and left that part of the industry to take over his local MLS. He quickly recognized that by regionalizing a number of associations in the Palm Beach area, local REALTORS would have access to more data and more services in their fast growing market place. Ken was instrumental in putting together Regional MLS. In early days of the consolidation he used the revenue on services instead of a fancy office. The first office was in a low budget strip mall and very small. Serving the members took the highest priority. The successes of Regional MLS lead him to attempt to take the real estate industry to the next level. Consolidating real estate data for revenue beyond subscriber dues. He was the CFO for REBIG. This idea was before its time and failed. He then moved his family to run Maine Real Estate Information System. He spent the rest of his professional career as a commercial broker in Palm Beach.

I found Ken’s bucket list on his Facebook page and it made me smile. (See below)

His list missed a number of important items. To list a few:
Affect an industry for the better.
Teach someone to love the game of golf and business can truly happen on the links.
Teach a rookie in our industry how to sell to MLS CEO’s.
Change real estate software business from units to a site license for all members.

One of Ken’s lines during a round of golf that I like to repeat frequently; “I may not know how to play great golf but I do know how to drink.”

This Budweiser is to you Ken.

With a heavy heart,
Michael Hayes

Please consider adding your favorite Ken Duke story to the comment section.

Ken Duke’s Bucket List as of 2009
Things you have done during your lifetime:
(X) Gone on a blind date
(X) Skipped school
(X) Watched someone die
(X) Been to Canada
(X) Been to Mexico
(X) Been to Florida
(X) Been to Hawaii
(X) Been on a plane
(X) Been on a helicopter
(X) Been lost
(X) Gone to Washington, DC
(X) Swam in the ocean
(X) Cried yourself to sleep
(X) Played cops and robbers
(X) Recently colored with crayons
( ) Sang Karaoke
(X) Paid for a meal with coins only
( ) Been to the top of the St. Louis Arch
(X) Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t
(X) Made prank phone calls
( X) Been down Bourbon Street in New Orleans
(X ) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose & elsewhere
(X) Caught a snowflake on your tongue
( ) Danced in the rain-naked
(X) Written a letter to Santa Claus
(X ) Been kissed under the mistletoe
(X ) Watched the sunrise with someone
(X) Blown bubbles
(X) Gone ice-skating
(X) Gone to the movies
(X ) Been deep sea fishing
(X) Driven across the United States
( ) Been in a hot air balloon
( ) Gone snowmobiling
( ) Lived in more than one country
(X) Lay down outside at night and admired the stars while listening to the crickets
(X) Seen a falling star and made a wish
( ) Enjoyed the beauty of Old Faithful Geyser
() Seen the Statue of Liberty
( ) Gone to the top of Seattle Space Needle
(X) Been on a cruise
(X) Traveled by train
(X ) Traveled by motorcycle
(X) Been horse back riding
(X ) Ridden on a San Francisco CABLE CAR
(X) Been to Disneyland/ Disney World
(X) Truly believe in the power of prayer (well, I guess you could call it prayer)
( ) Been in a rain forest
( ) Seen whales in the ocean
( ) Been to Niagara Falls
() Ridden on an elephant
( ) Ridden on a Camel
(X ) Swam with dolphins
( ) Been to the Olympics
( ) Walked on the Great Wall of China
( ) Saw and heard a glacier calf
( ) Been spinnaker flying
(X) Been water-skiing
(X) Been snow-skiing
( ) Been to Westminster Abbey
( ) Been to the Louvre
( ) Swam in the Mediterranean
( ) Been to the Great Pyramid in Egypt
( X) Been to a Major League Baseball game
(X) Been to a National Football League game.
(X) Been SCUBA diving

Apr 9 17

Annie Ives, The MLS/CLAW CEO, featured in Los Angeles Times

by Greg Robertson

How I Made It: Annie Ives, CEO of MLS/CLAW

“With 50 employees, the Beverly Hills company is a customized real estate technology provider that enables its 17,000 members to share information on listed properties. They have access to millions of market listings, including 95% of the ones in Southern California through its data share programs and California Real Estate Technology Services.

Great article, must read. At 10 years old she worked at a book store in Tunisia and now is the CEO of a software company in Beverly Hills. We have some amazing people in our industry.

Apr 7 17

Restaurant UI/UX

by Greg Robertson

Maybe this is something that has already happen to you, but it was new to me.

Last night at dinner the waiter came by and asked a late arrival at our table, “Sparking or flat water, sir?” The guest answered, “Sparkling, please” and the waiter removed his glass and left the table. My assumption was he was going to get his glass filled. Almost as quickly as the glass was removed it was quickly replaced by another glass by someone else on the wait staff.

I thought it was a simple mistake, another waiter thought the glass was missing from the place setting. But then we noticed that the new glass had a slight tinge of blue. While others at the table (the ones who had requested flat water) had no color.

We quickly realized that from now on any member of the restaurant staff could fill each guests glass with the right type of water without asking.

How cool is that!