Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

The streets of Fresno run like a river with calREDD's blood, sweat and tears…

Some quick observations:

Professional

1. All MLS conversions are rough, with few exceptions. But more times than not the MLS provider and vendor make it happen. I’ve never heard of a MLS provider going back to the old MLS system. What happen at Fresno MLS is unprecedented in the MLS industry.

blamer

2. One of the unwritten rules about businesses competing against each other is “not to bash the competition“, make it on your own merits.

Check out this web page on calREDD web site. It’s basically a litany of Rapattoni bashing. And it doesn’t end there, Mike Silvas keeps up the Rapattoni bashing on this blog. Bad form calREDD. Instead of blaming others, own up to your mistakes, learn from them, and make sure your next installation goes smoothly.

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3. There have been a few comments that I have had to remove or block from this blog. They were just too hateful in nature. Not to mention the many anonymous postings. If you have something to say, own up to it.

innovation

4. What is still not clear to me is the MLS system itself. It’s unfortunate that Rich Igou and his team will, most likely, not be able to make a statement about what happen. Reports are the Concentric MLS system is very innovative. And we need more innovation in this industry.

  1. @Michael I think the main thing is the use of Adobe Flex. I’ve heard of other larger MLS vendors are experimenting with Adobe too. Certainly not all innovation is necessarily good, I’ve heard reports that the Adobe solutions are very taxing on bandwidth and the user’s computer.

  2. Not pointing fingers at who but analyse what caused the problems and what the results have caused. You have a start up MLS with no track record, anxious to get their first customer up and running, but neglected to anticipate the results. It seems you have a MLS BOD that has CAR ambitions, lack of transparency with their brokers/agents, and has now lost credibility. It would have been easy to run paralel and avoid the problems until everything was worked out. It would have made the next roll out easier. But it appears in CARs haste, FAR ambitions, and lack of agent concern, there was failure. Perhaps running an MLS isn’t as easy as it looks. Perhaps their is a reason why the best run MLSs in the country have been around for a long time. There are a lot of lessons coming out of this. Lessons for MLSs, AORs, CAR directors, and most importantly brokers and agents. We all want inovation and change as long as it is properly analysed and will not hurt the business of the users.

  3. Greg, my two cents is that vague statements like that are what led to the Fresno fiasco. Choosing Adobe or any other development platform isn’t innovation, rather it’s what features are built with the dev platform that creates the possibility for innovation. More specifically, how does Adobe Flex sell more houses? Answer: It doesn’t.

    I’m only chiming in here because I’ve heard the same mantra many times over the last several months about Adobe Flex and that mantra is just misleading to everyone. Stepping back from the hype and focusing on facts and reality is important so people don’t waste precious time and money.

  4. I’m with Michael on this – both good and bad software is written on every platform. On the calREDD platform, the 4 megabyte download before the login (unless you have cached that Flash) was certainly a non-ideal starting place to using the system. The eye-candy graphs on the post-login page? Not so helpful to doing business. The ‘multi-tasking’ feature? Sure, that’s a good trend we’re seeing across many MLS systems, and I like how Concentric did it. As for the statement on the calREDD website that Rapattoni doesn’t have multi-column sort – I don’t believe that is accurate – that’s a very common feature among MLS systems.

  5. I would like to agree with Matt in that Michael is correct the platform/language a system is developed in hardly makes it revolutionary. Some of the features such a multi-tab search were innovative but other features such as the auto-count after every field while it was cool in demo clearly became irritating after a while.

    From a performance standpoint; load from empty cache left much to be desired taking upwards of a minute to load even on a broadband connection. Speaking to the developers they had a lot of good ideas including use of the akami CDN for perfomance, developing offline applications using air, and giving the user greater control over their working space. However in their quest for the cool they left some pretty big holes including no idx export (when I saw it demoed), separate tax even though it was to be a parcel based system, and their security strategy centered on adobe’s built in “hardening” great for preventing casual scraping but not a security solution in its own right. From a user interface perspective Wizards are great for beginners but Wizards are actually designed to slow you down. For example developers could put all the information necessary to install a program on one screen but they don’t for two reasons first to prevent the end user from being overwhelmed and secondly to slow the process so proper choices where made. That is why I was surprised that the designers took a Wizard based approach to much of the features including listing input as a user advanced in their knowledge of the system they would feel constrained by the work flow.

    Back to the point though, when I think of innovative I think of FlexMLS and their data layer approach to mapping or their early adotpion of Spidermonkey in order to improve server side javascript performance. I also consider Metrolist which is on the Rapattoni system and their recent integration Dwellicious. MLSListings and their development of RETS mapping engine for data aggregation. There are countless examples of innovation and many of them on well established systems. When I go to conferences and someone says “we are on the web 2.0 standard” or “it is developed from the ground up in Adobe/Flex” my immediate questions center around how does this make your system better.

    At the risk of sounding churlish I think that people got caught up in the cool. It was an attractive system after all. Unfortunately it appears obvious that they (Concentric, CalREDD, and the FAORMLS) failed to properly load test the system early on. It is one thing to load records into a database and run server side performance tests and quite another to load those records in and actually have 100 plus users searching them at one time.

    That said it is easy to stand on the sidelines and cast stones. Personally I believe the board of FAOR should be commended for seeing the opportunity that CalREDD offered. There is a lot of duplication of effort at every level. The consumer is getting information as fast as the agent/broker but they lack perspective and experience. In the right hands a fully functional CalREDD will give an agent/broker an unprecedented view into properties and trends across the state.

    If there is innovation at work here it is in these conversations and the market pressures that a service like CalREDD is putting on established vendors and MLS providers alike. Across the state data consolidation efforts are moving forward at an increasing pace and more vendors are announcing enhancements such as map based searches, mobile and cross platform compatibility and third party api inclusion such as walk score and dwellicious within the MLS.

  6. @Mark Great input! One of the best comments we’ve had on this discussion and not just because you mentioned Dwellicious twice ; )

    I think a battle is brewing between MLS vendors who choose an Adobe/Flex platform and others who don’t (HTML 5 anyone?).

    I keep asking @danwoolley to write a post about this. I think it’s a great subject and ripe for someone to really layout the pros and cons of each approach. This thread and your comment is a great start.

  7. I really think that our industry if it going to move forward and progress, we need to pressure our vendors (who ever they are), to stop locking us down to Internet Explorer and Active X. Winforms, Rappatoni, etc.

    Rapattoni needs to provide better reporting functions and fix the errors they have in some of the algorithms generating statistical data.

    I wrote about a big data flaw in Rapattoni here http://homebuysblog.com/2009/09/20/multiple-listing-service-flawed-data/

    Docusign gets it. Pick your browser. I have no idea what browser my clients are going to use on the other side of the Docusign transaction. What if Docusign was as myopic on browsers and I had to make sure every client was using IE? That is just bad form.

    I look at my site traffic. IE is the least used browser per visitor.

    I really don’t care if CALREDD sucks or is great, we need our other vendors help us move forward which means they need to make their products better annually like real software vendors do.

  8. Igot3socksThatSayRets

    Rapattoni bashing?
    Perhaps it was deserved… ?
    Instead of taking on new products and half-arsing them as Rap did, perhaps Rapattoni should focus on fixing its MLS product rather than adding layers of Band-Aids to what they already have.
    Their support is horrid… Everything is the MLS operators fault or the Agent’s fault. Support can take anywhere from one day to two months for system issues to be resolved… They have some super, great core staff.. but with substandard support they will eventually loose following for their product until they eat a slice of humble pie and drink a big glass of shut up and listed to all of your customers. (If a vendor looses enough small customers… It eventually equals a big customer and a huge loss of revenue.)
    I have said it over and over to my colleagues.. After leaving the last industry I was is and coming into the real estate business, I have never seen so much lag in the innovation of technology.
    There are only a very small handful.. Wait…. I can count on one hand… Wait, scratch that.. I can count on one finger the vendor who is truly cross-browser compatible… I mean.. Are you actually serious?
    People.. That is like reverting to IE 3.1 vs Netscape… When you actually were forced to select one browser or the other back in 1996 …… That’s THIRTEEN years ago… And MLS vendors think they can actually make a good product staying in OLD technology?
    Since Andy left the helm of the mothership, the ship is sinking fast…. The new captain and cio could be related to two, three year olds trying to put together an erector set.

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  10. Our association just signed up with calREDD and I absolutely hate it. I don’t think it’s innovative, I think it’s 3 steps backwards. You can’t print a spread sheet, there are no summaries. Only one report view for the client. You look up properties by zip codes rather than areas, it’s very time consuming. What use to be a click of the mouse is now 5 steps. We are told if we have problems tell them and they will correct it, and abilities we have with current mls system are not available on calREDD or are coming soon. It reminds me of the story of the Emperors New Clothes, wonderful vision, has not yet materialized. Good for you Fresno!!

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