Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

MLSListings Live featuring Cloud MLX and Cloud Streams

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to demo our products. But, luckily and I was given the opportunity by the folks at MLSListings, on their MLSListings LIVE YouTube channel. I think it came out pretty good. We’ve added a few enhancements over the past couple of years and are super proud of these products.

W+R Studios launches Cloud Agent Suite hub

W+R Studios Launches New Product Hub

“On cloudagentsuite.com, new and existing subscribers to W+R Studios’ products can easily see what’s available in their market, try all products free of charge, view training videos and launch applications from a single place. Subscribers will have one login for all subscriptions.

“This will also better serve agents in areas where multiple products are site licensed by their MLS provider. With this new hub agents we be able sign up for all site licensed products with one entry. The best side effect of this process is that it will greatly impact adoption numbers across all W+R Studios’ products,” said Greg Robertson, co-founder, W+R Studios.

Super proud of the design team at W+R Studios, they really designed a gorgeous and functional site. W+R Studios has 4 products, developed at multiple times. So that meant four different websites. The new site does 3 things.

Number one is give the agent one place to go to find out about the products offered by W+R Studios and try them all (depending on the market) for free. Unlike most third party software vendors W+R Studios has always had a way for agents to come to the site and begin using its products without having to talk to a sales person first.

Number two is a “Launchpad” that gives agents quick and easy access to all products via one page. W+R Studios believes this will be super helpful with adoption in site license areas.

Number three is a place to learn. W+R Studios recently hired a full-time video producer. Her job is to create instructional, “how to” and “why?” videos that can be accessed from the “Learn” section of the site.

Pro Tip: Soapbox by Wistia

We are a big believer in video at W+R Studios and have used it effectively in our support and marketing efforts. Due to this we are also a big fan of Wistia, a video hosting company out of Massachusetts. They have a really wonderful company culture and their website if chock full of tip and tricks. I’ve attended their last few conferences (WistiaFest) and at this last one they introduced a great new tool called Soapbox. Basically it’s a quick and easy way to make screencasts just using Chrome. It’s free and so easy to use, you really have to try it to appreciate it.

I did one this morning so you could have an idea of how it works. You can also check out this page for more information.

Soapbox – Cloud Streams Product Update Sept 17

Not so fast Redfin…

Early last year my company, W+R Studios, did an internal test to see how fast Cloud Streams listing alerts were compared to major portals. It confirmed that Cloud Streams’ listing alerts were the fastest in the industry, the second closet was Redfin. Some of our tests from last year showed we beat Redfin by about 52 minutes. Even Inman News picked up on the story.

Flash forward to today, when Redfin released the findings about independent study done by SSRS (I wonder where they got that idea?). In a blog post titled, “Redfin Notifies Customers About New Listings Hours Faster Than Other Top Real Estate Websites“.

“Redfin was faster to notify subscribers in almost all cases, with 94% of notifications delivered faster than Zillow, and 99% of notifications delivered faster than Trulia and Realtor.com.

“Evidence from recent data for 20 major metropolitan areas nationwide shows that Redfin is significantly and uniformly faster to notify its subscribers about newly listed properties than other leading websites such as Zillow.com, Trulia.com, and Realtor.com. said Dr. Aniruddha Banerjee, Senior Vice President of Advanced Analytics at SSRS.”

Thanks Doc. This basically confirmed what I already knew over a year ago, performance of listing alerts on major portals suck.

So that got me curious. Did Glenn’s whiz kids do something to their listings alerts that made them faster than Cloud Streams? A few mins later I had my answer.

Winner. Winner. Chicken dinner. Cloud Streams is still faster than Redfin listing alerts. And if Dr. Anirudda Banerjee says Redfin is faster than Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com than that means Cloud Streams listing alerts are the fastest in the industry (see what I did there?) Boom.

One last thing. How did I know to check my email inbox about a listing alert? Because Cloud Streams sent me a text message. Does your MLS do that? Short answer, nope.

So instead of a listing alert sitting in my inbox for hours, I was notified immediately. Boom Boom.

The Evolution of MLS Technology, Front End of Choice & Cloud MLX

Awhile back I was asked to give a presentation about the “history of MLS technology”, at a MLS strategic planning session. I spent a lot of time on it and I liked what I had put together. I’ve been using parts of that presentation, and how it fits in with W+R Studios’s “front end of choice” product, Cloud MLX.

The video is about 20 minutes long. It’s not too polished, I have a few flubs, some “umms” and “ahhhs”, but overall I think the video does a good job of showing our thinking about Cloud MLX.

I would love to get any feedback you might have. Enjoy.


Can your MLS do that?

Agents are just loving Cloud Streams, here’s why

NARlando 2016

Many of you are already in Orlando, personally I don’t arrive till tomorrow afternoon. Which means I’ve got a jammed pack weekend! Here are some of things that we have going on.

W+R Studios booth!
Stop by and see our newly redesigned booth. Our booth number is 1185. No ping pong this year, but sit in on a demo and get a free t-shirt!

MLS Association Executives Session
November 4, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. (that’s this Friday)
Hyatt Regency, Windermere Ballroom Z

Brian Donnellan has asked me to moderate a panel with Mike Wurzer, Matt Cohen and Chad Curry on the future of real estate technology. We are going to geek out on future tech and what it means for real estate. (I’m just glad not to talk about Upstream)

AMP Presentation
November 5, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. (Saturday)
Katie and I will be demoing our Cloud Agent Suite (Cloud CMA, Cloud Streams and Cloud MLX) and highlighting recent integrations we’ve done with the AMP API.

ListHub Party
November 5, 2016 5PM-9PM
ICEBAR – 8967 International Drive, Orlando FL
W+R Studios is co-sponsoring the ListHub party. We will have a cool photo booth set up for attendees.

Corelogic Party
November 5, 2016 8PM-11PM
B.B. King’s Blues Club – 9101 International Dr. #2230, Orlando, FL
W+R Studios is also co-sponsoring the Corelogic party as well (what can I say, we like to party!)

Come by our Suite!
Katie and I will be in our Suite at the Rosen Centre giving private demos. We have a few slots open so reach out to Katie if you like to talk about adding the Cloud Agent Suite to your MLS or brokerage.

Other than that I’ll most likely be at the lobby bar (but you already knew that.)


See you soon!

P.S. We are going to miss you Skinny!


At the recent Apple WWDC keynote they announced a few tweaks to the new watchOS 3. After a year of feedback the focus of these changes is about “glanceability”. By their definition the user had to get the information (usually coming from some sort of notification) of what they needed in about “2 seconds”. And keep in mind this information was being delivered on a display the size of a watch face.

2 seconds.

This made me think of the process we went through when designing the email listing alerts being delivered in Cloud Streams. Here’s what one looks like on a smart phone.

iphone New Streams Alert

Look and feel are important but design is also how it works. So deliverability and having a clear call to action on these types of notifications is also very important.

Now here’s a recent one from Matrix.

iphone Matrix Alert New

Is there a word for something that is the exact opposite as “glanceable”? And trust me, this is pretty on par with most MLS systems out there now. If you are running an MLS or brokerage and think your members/agent deserve better, drop Katie a line. She can help. : )

And it looks like the portals are paying attention to this glanceabilty issue as well. Trulia just recently updated the look and feel of their listing alerts.

iphone New Trulia Alert

Looks a bit familiar to my eyes, but I guess imitation is the best form of flattery. : )

But they did make an interesting design decision. If you were given the choice of having a bigger property photo, or a smaller photo of the property and a map, what would you choose?

For me? I like big property photos and I cannot lie.

A brand new day

I’m very excited to announce something we have been working on for a long time. Back in October of last year we asked Damien Huze to join our leadership team at W&R Studios as our Chief Design Officer. Design has always been an important focus with our company and Damien, who had helped us launch W&R Studios back in 2008 with our corporate identity, product logos, and the original Cloud CMA UI/UX, seemed to be at a time in his life he wanted to make a change. We, and I think the industry, will be glad he was ready for that change.

Old Cloud CMA Logo
Old Cloud CMA Logo

Damien quickly hired another designer Jesus “Jay” Cardenas whom he had collaborated in the past. First up was to bring a brand new look and feel to our logos. We told them that nothing was sacred, the look, feel, naming conventions, everything was up for grabs.

Branding surveys were sent, pencil was put to paper, stylus pressed to glass, mouse was clicked to desk. Since Damien was the very person that designed the original Cloud CMA logo I was curious what he and his team were going to come up with.

I was not disappointed. But let me let Damien tell the story….

The New Face of Our Brand

Cloud Streams’ listing alerts beat all major portals

2832655241372408853I wanted to publish a little more background on Andrea V. Brambila’s article this morning on Inman News.

“How quick and reliable are portal listing alerts?”

W&R Studios did an experiment in the later part of 2015. They registered on all major listing portals, set up a saved search, and turned on their listing alerts. They started with two different cities – one covered by CRMLS in Southern California (Huntington Beach), and another city in Washington state (Auburn), covered by NWMLS. They choose these markets because they were on the same MLS system (Matrix) and wanted to test how these alerts would be affected by MLS providers that have direct data agreements with major listing portals.

In the case of Redfin and Estately they are both brokers as well as portals, so both have the advantage of getting a direct feed from the MLS. They fared well in the test, but still not enough to beat Cloud Streams.

In CRMLS listing alerts sent out via Cloud Streams came in (on average) 1 hour and 4min faster than Redfin listing alerts. Over 5 hour and 20 minutes (on average) than Zillow.

Check out the other results below:

Fastest alerts in the west

Does having a direct data agreement with the MLS make a difference? You bet. Check out below:

alert speed vs direct agreements

Also, what about “auto-prospecting” systems on the MLS? Wouldn’t these always be the fastest? Nope. Since most MLS systems send out alerts on a “Daily” basis and Cloud Streams sends alerts out in “real-time”, Cloud Streams wins again.

Plus when you add that Cloud Streams listings alerts can be sent out via text, instead of a buyer sorting through multiple emails, this increases the speed of when a buyer sees the listing.

Why does this matter? Two big reasons.

1. Being the fist to know when new listings (or updates) hit the market is a huge advantage to buyers. Especially in markets with low inventory or desirable neighborhoods.

2. This helps agents leverage their best asset, access to real-time MLS data, and gives their buyers a clear reason to use an agent, faster (the fastest) access to market data.

Want to help your MLS members compete with major listing portals?

We already have 40 MLS providers up and running with Cloud Streams. Over 200,000 agents who receive Cloud Streams as a free member benefit. Katie and I will be at Clareity’s MLS Executive Workshop this week to answer any questions. See you in Scottsdale!

Sponsored By Giant Steps Advisors