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Scottsdale goodness.

by Greg Robertson on March 12th, 2014

I was lucky enough to attend Clareity Consulting‘s MLS Executive Workshop last week.  As usual, Gregg Larson put on a great event.  A perfect mix of fun and learning (and great weather).  Here’s a few highlights.

Of course a lot of the buzz was centered around Errol’s departure to Zillow.  This was announced the first day of the conference and made some interesting conversations at the kickoff cocktail party.  Not sure if Zillow’s timing on this was on purpose, but it certainly got everyone talking.

Gregg started off the conference by mentioning that we all thought that 2014 was going to be a transitional year and so far things are proving out that way.

Along with the normal shtick on pocket listings, syndication, REDPLAN, anti-scraping, I really liked the presentations about MLS providers focusing on their subscribers.  Amy Geddes gave a great presentation on maximizing subscriber experience.  Which along with Matt Cohen’s presentation on Improving Subscriber Communication and even Gregg’s daughter Amanda Larson got in the mix about using social media channels in business.  Maybe its because I recently attended a Email Marketing Summit by Marketing Sherpa but Matt’s presentation really resonated with me, you should read his summary here. I mentioned via Twitter that I think there is room for a consulting agency  just focused on helping MLS providers with membership communication.  So important.

A lot of hub-hub was created by Jon Green‘s informal study of non-MLS listings.  You can read Andrea’s article here at Inman News, although I think her title of “Study suggests MLS played little or no role in nearly half of 2013 home sales” is a bit sensational.   The founder of “Producers Forum”, Eric Trailer, spoke about their agent network and advocated for an off-MLS listings network.  I found his speaking style hard to follow.  To me the issue of off-MLS listings are a fad, not a trend.  As soon as the inventory creeps up to a normal level you’ll find these networks faded away to cocktails hours.  In my opinion they serve more as a marketing vehicle for pretentious sellers and their agents.

Gregg also interviewed Dr. Michael Sklarz from Collateral Analytics.  There has been some controversy about CA and having Michael there to take questions from the audience was a constructive thing.  The main objections I heard were from MLS providers who didn’t think AVMs are the same as a BPOs or CMAs.  Underlying some of that contreversy was that many of the brokers who are utilizing CA were not exactly being forthcoming on the usage of the data to MLS providers when requesting data.  Whether this was due to ignorance or something else remains to be seen.  One take-away, from a vendor’s perspective, is even if you are following all the rules, you have to make sure the clients who have contracted you are also doing the same.

Lisa Larson and Jeff Nieto did a bit of an “App Shoot-Out” that I thought was fun.  About 80% of the apps they previewed I hadn’t heard about and most of them were really cool.  I’m not sure if Lisa has published the list but maybe you can reach out to her or Jeff and get a copy.

Then of course was the presentation of the 13th Annual MLS Customer Satisfaction Survey.  Matt kept the presentation short this year (which I liked) and just went over the highlights.  In a nutshell LPS (now Black Knight Financial Services) and FBS are killing it.  CoreLogic is dealing with some focus problems but promise to fix them by doubling down on Matrix.  Rapattoni looks to be improving on overall customer satisfaction and Solid Earth is heading in the wrong direction, fast.

The event is also known for giving away some of the nicest raffle gifts.  Many attendees left all types of the latest gadgets and gizmos.


Dan Sales, Lucky Winner!

Dan Sales, Lucky Winner! did something special this year I thought was a good idea.  They gave away an all expenses paid return trip to conference next year.  That includes, registration, airfare, and hotel.   Dan Sale, CEO of  the Capital Area REALTORS of Springfield, IL was the winner.  A prize I’m sure every attendee, including me, would have loved to receive.

Many thanks to Gregg, Matt and Amanda for putting on a fantastic conference and their wonderful hospitality.



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