Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

The Top 10 Vendor Breakthroughs

I was thinking about what are the top products/services real estate vendors have contributed to the industry. My criteria is the products/services would have to be ground breaking, innovative or just plain cool. I’m going waaaay back, see if you agree…

Number 10
Realtron
From knitting needles to the first online (300? baud modem) MLS!

Number 9
SuperTrieve
MLS Photos – I believe SuperTrieve or Realtreive (?) was the first online MLS to have property photos

Number 8
Lightning for DOS/Windows
Lightning was the first MLS access program (terminal emulator) that was compatible with both the Stellar MLS and Compass MLS system. Later Lightning for Windows was the first Windows-based MLS access program (terminal emulator) that was compatible with both Stellar and Compass (and photos.)

Number 7
Altaria (WyldFyre)
This product gave the TVI-950 menu driven Stellar MLS system a Windows search interace to the Stellar MLS system.

Number 6
TrueNorth Internet MLS System
Remember the boy geniuses Kevin and Curt? This was the very first web-based MLS system, they were later bought by GTE. Now Errol Samuelson (who was at GTE) runs Realtor.com and Curt is behind some of Move.com’s most innovitive stuff and Kevin is CTO of InstantService.com.

Number 5
Homeseekers.com
They were the first to have MLS (SoCalMLS) listings on the internet.

Number 4
XMLSWeb
This MLS system, created by Terradatum, was eventually sold to HomeSeekers, then FNIS (FNRES, whatever..) and is now the core system of many of the “home-grown” MLS systems out there today.

Number 3
MLS Alliance
The first implementation started in Northern California as a way for MLS providers within a close geographic region to remain independent but share data through a common search screen interface. It was ahead of it’s time then and now ready for prime time as the MLS data sharing vibe continues to acclerate in the industry.

Number 2
Realtor.com
Love or hate the site you’ve got to give credit to NAR for rising from the RIN ashes and weathering the accounting scandals of HomeStore to put up the number 1 real estate site on the internet.

Number 1
Broker Reciprocity /IDX
This product/services has many fathers. Companies like WolfNet and HomeSeekers with their CitySearch product really brought a lot of innovation to the mix. NAR set down policies and procedures and then the s*it hit the fan (DOJ).

Agree? Disagree?

  1. Hmmm. Here are some other possibilities. Marketlinx (the original) deserves some credit for truly bringing web MLS systems to the big MLSs. I remember Phil Graves going to every show, year after year, with one account, and then, boom!, they just took off. Similarly, I think we blazed the web trail for smaller MLSs. I also might make a mention of Pocket Real Estate. And, regarding IDX, I see that more as a policy than a technology. My guess is that MLS vendors have more search frames out there than any of the individual IDX vendors, though companies like Wolfnet provide a more sophisticated product (for now). 🙂

  2. Yeah, we had a tough one with IDX. We went back and forth, but in the end a lot of implementations of this technology, from vendors, forced NAR’s hand a bit.
    Pocket Real Estate is a good one. I don’t agree with Marketlinx, I believe XMLSWeb had a lot of big MLS accounts before them. Although Phil Graves was great, shame he had to die so young. FBS’s conversion to FLEXMLS and growth have been pretty significant, but right now I would say your whole employee owned structure is even a bigger deal. Then there’s SOAR MLS (eMLS?), I believe that was the first email drip product for active listings, Dave Huey eventually sold it to HouseValues, and it’s now called JustListed.

  3. I would’ve included Redfin since they were the first broker (that I’m aware of) that had AJAX/Flash Maps on their web site. In fact, I think they had them prior to the introduction of Google Maps.

  4. I guess the question is the criteria. I think you’re right that XMLSweb was something new, but I place more emphasis on actual impact and Marketlinx went from nothing to the market share leader in just a few years. XMLSweb is, for all practical purposes, dead.

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