Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

Clareity MLS Executive Workshop 2013 – A Vendor Alley Recap

A few take aways from last week’s Clareity MLS Executive Workshop.

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The content was excellent this year. Clareity does a great job of providing a fun, informative and all inclusive show. The hard work they put in to the event showed. Let’s dive in…

Zillow on a roll


Gregg Larson kicked off the show with a keynote focused on Zillow. It seemed like a love-fest and many felt that because Zillow was a (first time) sponsor of the event Gregg had drunk some of their Kool-Aid. But I disagree. Zillow is kicking ass and its hard not to be impressed with their performance thus far. But I’m sure this isn’t a very popular opinion with most of the MLS crowd. Most, if not all the attendees, are still irked at Zillow’s lack of coverage and accuracy, but so far consumers don’t seem to care.

Cage Match

If consumers don’t care about accuracy then it makes me think that the whole premise of Realtor.com’s strategy might be flawed. But in a later session Curt Beardsley from MOVE appeared to double down on their accuracy and coverage strategy. He talked about how MOVE was beefing up their marketing efforts of getting the accuracy message out more clearly. To be fair NAR doesn’t give MOVE much room. How innovative can you be when you have to go ask Mom and Dad (NAR) for permission anytime you want to implement something new? NAR needs to realize that MOVE is in the fight of their lives.

They did what?

One thing I did find disturbing was the revelation that Zillow was sending Google a data file of all “their” listing content. Bob Bemis said this was to “facilitate indexing”. That statement drew cackles from the audience. I’ll leave it to the brokers and MLS providers to determine if this is acceptable or not.

Pocket Listings

One fascinating presentation was given by Robert Bailey, Chairman of MLSListings, on pocket listings. He gave some incredible statistics on “listing clubs” and the impact of pocket listings in the market. As an example, 2012 had 4,598 “off MLS” transactions. But he did say their research showed homes sold on the MLS sold for a higher price. While these numbers are shocking I get a little ho-hum about the subject. The pocket listings debate heats up every up cycle and then disappears.


MLS Consolidation

MLS Consolidation is always a topic at these types of events and made for a good panel this year. Gregg made the case that smaller MLS providers cost more money and have a lower quality of offering and services. But it was clear that technology is never the hurdle, just politics.


Matt Cohen did an incredible job of reviewing many of the mobile apps available for real estate. This is on the heels of Clareity’s own research last year on the subject. He recapped the major mobile vendors and their offerings. Some of his analysis was pretty brutal. But the overall message was spot on, just searching and displaying listing information is not enough anymore.


Matt also did a brief summary of the new IDX rules in regard to social media. He highlighted some of the new products being offered to agents such as Facebook listing pages. But it seems that everyone is tired/numb of the myriad of new rules and policies that are really very nuanced and complicated to follow. But his fear is valid and can be summarized in the old adage, “silence gives consent”.

Changing landscape of Real Estate Franchisors

I also really liked Stefan Swanepoel‘s presentation on the consolidation of the real estate franchisor industry. This is an industry going through a lot of consolidation. His tactic of matching office space floor plans to business models was very revealing and was one of the best presentations of the event. On a side note Stefan is holding his own conference (T3) in Las Vegas (April) of this year. You can find out more at: http://t3summit.com. He had me at “Las Vegas”, see you there!

Clareity’s MLS satisfaction survey

LPS (Paragon and Paragon XL) and FBS (flexmls) had the top 2 spots on the survey. While FBS has always been a solid and consistent performer on the survey the real story was LPS’ surge. Kudos to Rich, Marty and the rest of their MLS Services team for a great year.

Other tidbits.

Rapattoni attended the event for the first time in 8 years. It was good to see them represented. They also showed gains on the MLS Customer satisfaction survey as well.

Matt Fagioli of Xplode had a tough time on the golf course. It seems he got very dehydrated and had to be taken to the hospital. He recovered fully and relayed a funny story. As he was being taken away, one of the attendees ask him for his drink tickets. Rough crowd! And no, it wasn’t me!


There was an awful lot of “fist bumping” at the conference. Seems that many, like myself, had at least two bouts of the flu and were cognizant of not wanting to catch anything again. I know some went home early or didn’t show up due to illness. Couple more flu seasons like this and we all may be bowing to one another like the Japanese do.

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Thanks again to Gregg, Matt and the rest of the Clareity team for an awesome conference!


  1. When ListHub saw the Google Now – Zillow announcement, we immediately reached out to Zillow to determine how the listings were appearing on Google. Zillow assured us that they were not sending (i.e., resyndicating) listings to Google. They stated that Google was simply using its database of indexed search results from Zillow to power Google Now. Based on Greg’s statement above regarding the comments by Zillow’s Bob Bemis, we will look into this further. ListHub does not permit resyndication and we take this matter very seriously.

  2. Luke, you asked me to follow up with Zillow, and I did – I was assured a data file was being provided and specifics were discussed.

  3. Greg, Thanks for the great overview – and for the shout out (I think 🙂

    btw, I think what I had was stomach flu + desert dry + no water + alcohol = oh crap

    — and I promised Gregg that I would remain vertical at Clareity 2014!

  4. Pingback: How NAR and Google can partner to build a member centric real estate “portal” | Realty Nex.us

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