Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt


Along with a lot of other vendors I got the email last week.

“Effective immediately we ask that you no longer use the SoCalMLS logo, name , disclaimer etc. I have attached the disclaimer that should be used from this point forward.”

My first thought, oddly enough, was about the SoCalMLS logo. From a design perspective I always liked the SoCalMLS logo. It has a badge type feel to it because its vertical not horizontal. Simple sans serif font, use of negative space, and good ole red, white and blue. I have other favorites, like this and this, but the SoCalMLS logo represented my hometown sports team.

You're Not My Father!!
My second thought was about the fact that without SoCalMLS I wouldn’t be here. That’s right you can blame Russ Bergeron for my real estate technology career (ponder that for a while!) Putting aside any Luke and Vader references SoCalMLS (or OCMLS as it was called back then) started out as a rival to my first software company IRIS and our software product, Lightning. Back in the day Orange County spilt in two. You had one half converted to the COMPASS MLS system (Moore Data) and the half, OCMLS, switched to Stellar (PRC). This was pre-internet (hell pre-Windows!) days. Realtors doing business in the area would have to purchase two different software program, StellarView and Viewpoint (both DOS based) to access each MLS. Our product, Lightning, was compatible with both. Needless to say, we sold a ton of Lightning, much to the chagrin of OCMLS. In fact one of my favorite moments was listening to reps at a OCMLS trade show booth correcting Realtor, after Realtor that the MLS system was called “Stellar”, not “Lightning”. Priceless.

As I traveled SoCalMLS was always the benchmark I gauged every other MLS Provider against. And it was a hard one to match. SoCalMLS was the first to put MLS listings on the internet (a feat that earned Russ the Inman Innovator Award). SoCalMLS was always out in front trying new technologies including on of the first web-based MLS systems. But mostly SoCalMLS was just fun to watch. You never knew what Russ and his team had up their sleeve next and when they did something they usually went big. Which reminds me of another story…

January 2004, 2004

How do you covert 26,000 MLS members to a new MLS system? Russ was asked this question and here what he said.

“We asked ourselves. What’s the most efficient and effective way to get the job done, and the answer was: Train everyone at once.” – Russ Bergeron.

What did that mean? It meant renting out the local sports arena, then known as the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim (now the Honda Center, where the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks play) and having two sessions (one morning, one afternoon) and train “everyone at once”. Like some awesome rock concert I can say, I WAS THERE. Looking back I wish they made t-shirts so I could point to physical proof on my MLS street cred.

That’s how SoCalMLS rolled, that’s why they were fun to watch.

Art Carter and CRMLS is putting together an awesome team. Adrese Roundtree and his SoCalMLS team now join Patty Connor (formerly of RMLS, FL.) along with the rest of CRMLS’s staff. Their future is bright.

But no email is going to wipe the memory of what SoCalMLS represented, what it accomplished, or how it helped move the MLS industry forward. For CRMLS, that is a tough act to follow.

  1. I’d have to challenge the point about SoCalMLS being the first with MLS listings on the Internet. I was the Lead Architect in putting atlantamls.com (from Georgia MLS) online in late 1994. When we did it then, we looked around and couldn’t find anyone else making it happen. Those were definitely Wild West days, though.

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