Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

Can you modify/add compensation info to an IDX feed, on your own listings?


“We already have a feature that allows them to enhance their listings, add other photos, and do other stuff. So really, I thought to make an extension of that would be pretty easy and add another field that allows them for their own listings only to display the compensation.”

Morgan Carey in an interview with Michael Catarevas of RISMedia

Is this kosher under the new settlement rules? From my understanding if you are receiving a feed from the MLS you can’t have compensation information, even on your own listings. Although, I think this would be hard to enforce.

I believe if you manually entered a listing and added your own compensation that would be cool. But the fact you are receiving a feed from the MLS limits you. Maybe a VOW/BBO feed would be okay? Love to hear from anyone who has a good take on this.

HowardHanna.com switches to VOW, and raises questions on IDX and national portals

This is a head-scratcher. I’m not sure I fully understand what is going on here but I’ll try and explain. From the video, HowardHanna.com appears to be leaving IDX. Currently, they are showing only HH listings and you must register to see more.

So is Howard Hanna pulling out of IDX? Is there some sort of selective listing opt-out mechanism? Mr. Hanna also says they will “still be partnering with the national portals, and figuring what the strategy will be with them.” I can’t for the life of me figure out how since most of the national portals use an IDX feed. Can you blend an IDX feed with a direct feed from a broker?

Genius or bat-shit crazy? I don’t yet understand the strategy fully until some of these questions are answered. I guess if they are super dominant in that market then it might make sense.

But if I’m a listing agent in Ohio that is competing with Howard Hanna the first thing I would bring up at a listing presentation is something to the tune of, “Howard Hanna won’t promote your listings on all websites, I will”.

I’ll be hosting a Twitter Spaces on this subject today at 1PM PT. Join us!

“My listing, my lead is a scam”

Great thread on Twitter from @gregfischer

It seems like everyone chimes in on this thread. Good discussion and I think Greg is spot on with some of his observations (including the one above).

Now that CoStar is a broker, is their way of “hijacking” IDX listings better than everyone else? You be the judge.

In an interview with Brad Inman, Andy Florance, CEO of CoStar said Zillow was “hijacking” listings and also compared them to the Mafia. His analogy was as follows:

“An agent puts up a yard sign, and then another company pulls up, spray paints over the sign, and puts a new agent’s name on the sign. Florance said no one would tolerate such behavior in the real world.”

Here’s what I’m picturing from Andy’s description.

In a recent post about the divorce of Homesnap and BPP Homesnap’s co-founder Steve Barnes stated…

“Homes.com and Homesnap.com will also offer paid preferred placement for listings in search results.”

Would this be tolerated in the “real world”?

REcolorado approves commingling

REcolorado Approves Commingling of Listings on Broker IDX Sites

“REcolorado is dedicated to and passionate about creating a transparent, pro-consumer marketplace that empowers brokers of all sizes with robust data,” said Gene Millman, president and CEO of REcolorado. “The MLS makes the market work. To accelerate the advancement of our industry it is critical for us to embrace a forward-thinking mindset that streamlines access to all available data in the market for brokers and consumers.

Listings from REcolorado MLS that display on broker IDX websites are required to prominently display certain fields including listing broker attribution and the IDX logo, which distinguishes MLS listings from non-MLS listings. Commingling of listings is an optional policy of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)”

Some of the sacred cows we have in the industry need to be challenged. If not, how will we as an industry drive innovation? Hats off to REcolorado for their leadership here.

Reminds me of a song.

“And the walls keep tumbling down…and the walls keep tumbling down..tumbling down…tumbling down, tumbling tumbling dooooooooooooooown.” – John Mellencamp

The whole magilla!

Look Before you LEAP

“I can’t say I’m an expert in content licensing outside of real estate, but I’m having a hard time thinking of content licensing where the cost isn’t driven by usage volume. For example, pretty much every RE site licenses Google or some other mapping content, and we pay based on usage. APIs like Walkscore (owned by Redfin) are based on usage and other terms. Even beyond content licensing deals, all the cloud providers, such as AWS, Azure, etc., all have usage based pricing. Given this, why is it that real estate content is licensed without terms of use based on usage?”

Interesting response from Michael Wurzer about the new LEAP Policy being floated around. This part is interesting.

“If MLSs would treat the aggregated content as the value it is with proper licensing terms, almost all of the problems LEAP is trying to address would go away. And, more importantly, there would be a sound basis for addressing the wide differences among the sites using the data. Let’s just be clear about this: There’s a HUGE difference in value being derived from the licensed MLS content by Zillow or Realtor.com versus a single agent IDX site. Treating those the same is crazy.”

Really good points here (as usual from Mike). Lots to think about.

OJO Labs acquires WolfNet

OJO Labs acquires WolfNet Technologies

“Specific financial terms were not made public but the deal involved a mix of equity and stock.

The founders of both companies, who had previously been working together on a partnership wherein OJO was using multiple listing service (MLS) data from Wolfnet, said that the deal made sense because of the synergies to be found between them, merging a new consumer-facing property search tool in the form of OJO with a trusted agent-and-broker focused software and data company in the form of WolfNet.”

Seems like every week a deal gets announced and this is a pretty big one! I con only think of one other vendor that currently aggregates the amount of MLS data WolfNet does. I don’t know much about OJO Labs but they are VC backed.

Joel is definitely an O.G. in the industry and a big congrats to him and his team.

Florida MLS provider kicks Homesnap to the curb

Florida’s Space Coast listing service ditches its Homesnap site

“In an Oct. 2 announcement and email to members, Space Coast MLS said the Homesnap-powered public search on its new association website “wasn’t the right fit for our needs” and had been replaced by a search tool from Financial Business Systems’ (FBS) Flexmls, a previous vendor, while Space Coast MLS works on a permanent solution.”

Looks like Space Coast was iframing Homesnap as their public facing site, which according to Steve Barnes..

““This is really kind of a fringe case related to Homesnap,” Barnes said in a phone interview, adding that none of the other MLSs that iframe Homesnap’s site have chosen to turn it off.

“What it might say is a very local MLS needs unique flavor and a more seamless [tool]. Iframe might not be the best solution for them, but it’s not something that’s actually core to the Homesnap brand,” he added.”

But here’s the rub. According to the article whether you iframe or not you still can’t filter on pools? WTF?

Also, something else. Did you know that you can’t get listing alerts via Homesnap? That’s right you have to login on to the site run a saved search manually (like a caveman) and then find out if properties match your criteria. Unless of course if you just wanted a home with a pool because there is no way to do that currently.

Think about it, it’s 2018 and Homesnap can’t

1. Search for homes with pools
2. Create and send listing alerts (which is ironic because this.)

2 things, I’m sure 99% of IDX vendors have been able to do, for the last 19 years.

Who the fuck cares about “fair display guidelines” if you can’t search for homes with a pool or get listing alerts?

And this is supposed to be “the real estate’s industry answer to third party sites like Zillow and realtor.com”.

I bet they are laughing their asses off in Seattle and Silicon Valley.

But hey, “downloads”, right?

The Controversial Pivot to API with RESO CEO Jeremy Crawford

One of the great things about RESO is how the community comes together for the benefit of the industry. RESO recently honored some of the volunteers. You can read the full press press release here.

While at the recent RESO Spring Conference I got to sit down with Jeremy and discuss some of thing they are working on. He’s really done a great job. Hope you enjoy.

‘…You’re building a new infrastructure. You’re building a brand new interstate, and one of the hardest things is the off ramp and the on ramp.’

RETS has been a solid technology standard for fifteen years, and many vendors are resistant to make the change to API. But as the needs of mobile shift the industry, a new ‘interstate’ is necessary. Today’s guest is prepared to discuss the details of this controversial pivot.

Jeremy Crawford is the CEO of RESO, the organization responsible for the creation, promotion and adoption of standards in the real estate industry. RESO seeks to fuel innovation and help streamline the real estate transaction. Crawford has been involved with RESO since 2010, serving on its Board of Directors and co-leading the Education and Outreach Workgroup. He has a unique combination of talent and experience, with an extensive background in information technology and corporate management. After graduating from East Tennessee State University with a degree in computer science, he landed an IT position with Safeco Insurance. From there, he worked in network management for BB&T Corporation and MarketLinx (a division of CoreLogic). His resume also includes leadership roles as CIO of SANDICOR, CIO and COO of MLSListings, and COO of Aculist.

Crawford explains the need for a pivot away from RETS to API, the benefits of saved search portability, and the progress of the transition to date. Listen in to understand the steps being taken to improve the permissioning process and who might play a role in further advances.

What’s Discussed: 

The controversial pivot to API
– Resistance from traditional vendors
– Interstate analogy (on and off ramps)
– Shifting needs require API
– Parallel uses of both RETS and API likely
The progress of the move to API
– Distribution piece complete
– Updates component under development
The vendors who are taking advantage of API capabilities
The benefits of switching to API for established vendors
– API built to access data on the fly
– Can still replicate data, but have option not to
– Saved search portability
Progress with regard to the challenges of permissioning
– Standardized data licensing agreements
– NAR turnaround time policy for IDX access
– Access to developmental data feeds to facilitate product development
Who is responsible for permissioning process
– RESO R&D Workgroup drafting best practices
– Brokers must help shepherd process along



Agent Inbox

Connect with Jeremy Crawford:


“635” – A conversation with Joel MacIntosh of WolfNet

LIVE from RESO Spring Conference 2017!

Pioneering Innovation in Real Estate Tech with WolfNet CEO Joel MacIntosh
Talk about being at the forefront of new technologies… Today’s guest was working to develop ecommerce in the mid-1990s, streaming video in 1998, and consolidating MLS data in 2000.

Joel MacIntosh is the CEO of WolfNet Technologies, a real estate tech pioneer offering highly configurable IDX and VOW property search applications, MLS data standardization services, and property search API services. WolfNet accesses data from 600-plus MLSs in North America, offering the most accurate and up-to-date MLS data in the business, and the company serves national franchises, brokers, agents and MLSs.

After graduating from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management with a BS in Entrepreneurship and Business Management, MacIntosh founded WolfNet in 1996 as a work-for-hire web development company. WolfNet moved into the real estate space in 2000 when a broker approached the firm with an interest in Broker Reciprocity, and they have been developing groundbreaking products and services for the industry ever since.

MacIntosh was recently named one of the 200 Most Powerful People in Real Estate for a reason, and today he shares how WolfNet stays on the cutting-edge of real estate software innovation. Listen and learn about their flagship products and services as well as projects in the works around photo image categorization and AI.

What’s Discussed: 

WolfNet’s journey from work-for-hire web development to real estate tech
WolfNet’s flagship products
Why MacIntosh favors the consulting aspect of his work in the data space
How WolfNet pioneered data sharing among MLS systems
– Up and running in Minnesota since 2001
– Big growth from 2008-2012
– Just added 635th MLS
Why most bigger players prefer direct database access over RETS
The benefits for WolfNet of building their own API
The two main WolfNet customer profiles
– Established companies who want the data
– Newer ‘bootstrap’ firms who want a transactional API
The ‘magic number’ of MLS markets at which point a company benefits from aggregating the data itself
How the numbers validate the concept of consolidation
– Fewer than 10 MLSs have more than 100,000 active listings
– 118 MLSs have 25,000-plus active listings
– It takes 234 MLSs to get to 90% of the listing inventory
– 500 MLSs comprise roughly 8.6% of the inventory and just 3,000 listings
WolfNet’s client base
How the data services component of WolfNet was conceived and productized
The built-in permissioning WolfNet offers
How WolfNet’s additional features connect data points to add significant value
– Photo processing to generate thumbnails
– Address data processing
– Acquiring public records data
What is involved in WolfNet’s image categorization and tagging project
– Identifies the category of room pictured in a photo (i.e.: kitchen, mudroom)
– Distinguishes specific attributes (e.g.: white kitchen with stainless steel appliances)
– Utilizes technology trained via neural network and human tools
– 100,000,000 photos processed
– MacIntosh anticipates release at the end of next quarter
WolfNet’s new data loader product
Vendors introducing AI in the real estate software space that impress MacIntosh

Connect with Joel MacIntosh:

WolfNet Website

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