Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

In which I announce RPR is alive and kicking.

I’ve been a little skeptical about RPR‘s prospects. Other pundits have made the statement that RPR was dead. But, the deals signed with CRMLS, and now MRIS signify a major turning point. The critisims used to be that RPR had a lot of MLS providers but the coverage had a lot of holes.  Slowly but surely that’s changing.

I think RPR is doing a decent job of implementing on their vision.  As I’ve said I’m sure they would like things to move faster, but this is the MLS business and things tend to take their time.

Major challenges still remain:

1. They still need to get the coverage up. CRMLS and MRIS are HUGE wins but, they need to take advantage of this momentum and keep signing larger MLS Providers.

2. I don’t hear of many agents/brokers using any of the RPR tools. Granted a lot of these tools are new in my area but I just don’t hear about them. Of course their revenue model doesn’t need this to happen.

3. “60 million to 80 million in annual revenue”. And when, and only when, they get their coverage up they have to accomplish this lofty revenue goal.  Ouch.

4. Runway. In the Inman article I caught something that I hadn’t heard before. “NAR must first recover roughly $21 million in RPR startup costs before it will discuss a revenue split, company officials have said.” You gotta wonder if/when RPR is going to have to go back to mommy (NAR) for more money.

Things that make me go hmmmmmmm: Does anyone think (despite what the Inman article stated) that Dave Charron/MRIS signed a deal with RPR that didn’t have a revenue share component?


Not me.

  1. I really like the RPR agent and broker products — well-designed, well-executed — and they’re industry relations strategy has been well done.

    I do wonder what market penetration assumptions go into the $60M-$80M projections, though. In other words, are they that confident in the increased effectiveness of the RVM that analytics-purchasers will jump ship from existing AVM vendors en masse? Or are they just assuming they’ll grab a small piece of the overall pie?

    The recent post extolling the virtues of the RVM leads me to believe they are confident they’ve built something that’s best-in-class, but if it’s just a 1-2% improvement over what’s already there, the switching costs for analytics-buyers may not be justified and could cut into their revenue potential. If that $80M turns out to only be $20M the next logical next step is to ask NAR for a dedicated dues increase.

    I’m hoping for the best for them. It’s a worthy idea that I hope gets some traction.

  2. (Disclosure: I work for iMapp and provide public records data to MLSs, therefore, I have not tried the RPR kool-aid)

    I can’t imagine a revenue share deal between RPR and any MLS unless it’s an if/then clause with a most-favored nation component. Anything more could create a major problem for the RPR business model.

    To my knowledge there still hasn’t been any evaluation of the RPR data in terms of depth, quality or timeliness. There are no RPR statistics provided relating to visitors, page views, time-on-site, etc. RPR’s PR team only provides a steady drip of the number of MLSs signed and number of agents to whom RPR is available.

    I think a growing web-based startup would quote their usage stats to show growth and acceptance of their product.

    Our iMapp product has overlapping coverage with RPR in a few areas. I expected to see some drop in traffic related to the introduction and ongoing use of their admittedly attractive reports, but the opposite has been true.

    Part of our traffic gains are due to increases in market activity but even with that factored in there has been no impact from the availability of RPR.

    There are two reasons that I doubt that any MLS, once signed, would ever drop RPR for lack of use.

    1) To my knowledge, usage stats are not provided to the MLS so they’d never know.

    2) There’s no line-item number on the MLS’s budget for RPR, “it’s free!”

    Part of RPR’s pitch to the MLS is to create a savings by eliminating the MLS’s need for a public records vendor (like iMapp), and that is not happening.

    Public records and mapping is not a one-size-fits-all business. REALTORS® require and demand timely data that has been through a rigorous QA program. Doing that at a national level would take much deeper pockets than are currently available in RPR’s budget.

    RPR will continue to add features to their reports either through development, licensing or acquisition (wink), but if REALTORS® aren’t using RPR because of data issues, what’s the point?


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