Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

See you in the Land of Enchantment!

patron-silver-picI’m heading out today to Albuquerque to the RANM (REALTORS Associaiton of New Mexico) fall conference. I’ll be moderating a panel on Listing Syndication. My panelist include Curt Beardsley from MOVE, Sara Bonert from Zillow, John Whitney from ListHub and Jason Reinking from Homes.com.

Should be an A-1 Day!

NAR Midyear recap link pack

IMG_4290What a week. The meetings, the parties, the dinners, and the drama is over. Or has it just begun? Here are a few takeaways.

CMLX was a hit!

The Council of MLS'(CMLS) new certification program, CMLX, was held last Tuesday. I spoke to several who attended and the feedback was terrific. I know that a lot of people put a tredmendous amount of effort to get this thing off the ground so congrats to all of them for pulling off a successful program. You can find out more here.

Quote of the week:

Dale Stinton

“You can’t ever talk about a national MLS without getting into trouble. You can’t talk about the number of associations without getting in to trouble. You cant ever talk about professional standards without getting in to trouble,” Stinton warned. “What I’m here to say on behalf of leadership is we’re ready to get in trouble.”

When I read this quote the first time I had to quickly check VendorAlley.com to see if Dale had stolen the brass balls on the right. They’re still there.

The big news you didn’t hear about.

There was some HUGE news that didn’t break at the conference. I’m surprised that the secret was kept. More on this later in the week.

Unleash the hounds.

Was it confusing to anyone else to hear early in the week that people loudly applauded “taking back realtor.com” to then hear this past weekend NAR may let realtor.com “do more“.

BOD Policy

The real reason NAR included MLS public facing websites as a basic service.

This may be obvious to everyone else, but imagine if the NAR Executive Committee amendments stuck and MLS providers could no longer charge members or promote their public facing websites. What would that have meant for realtor.com? Isn’t that NAR’s “public facing website”? Or was that the final goal of big brokers all the time?

Real Estate is back! Lets party.

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My thanks to ListHub for throwing a great party. Cloud CMA was a co-sponsor and the party was off the hook!

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Speaking of parties…

It’s John Heithaus’ rock and roll fantasy, we just live in it! Once again John’s band got everyone’s groove on at the RETechnology party. Thanks to John and Victor for throwing another great event.

Zillow as Craigslist

Zillow: The most comprehensive list of real estate for sale in America.

“In addition, we all know that every house is for sale. As a consumer, what better place is there to research homes that are not on the market? It doesn’t matter if the data is perfect. As a consumer, it’s the *best* I can find. Go ahead and tell me the data sucks. I don’t care. My bet is, neither do many of your customers.”

Spot on analysis from Todd. Looks like he doesn’t care to “find it first“. Also, I wonder why he used Zillow in his analysis instead of Trulia?

MRIS and MFRMLS choose reDataVault

This is the first press release from RED that, to me, really clarifies what reDataVault does, and how it can help MLS providers.

“reDataVault addresses the real estate industry’s pressing need to simplify, standardize and streamline the MLS listing data licensing process by offering a document workflow system for all licensing-related documents and contracts (e.g., IDX and broker participation agreements). The system also offers automated dashboard alerts and unlimited cloud-based document storage and retrieval for 24/7 access.”

It’s interesting to see how vendors are all approaching these challenges differently. But I’m still confused to the differences between, Clareity SAFE Syndication, OnBoard’s Listing360Insight, (does FBS’ new Spark platform fall in to this category?”. Somebody should make a chart.

Full Press Release Below
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Metropolitan Regional Information Systems (MRIS) and MY Florida Regional MLS (MFRMLS) Select Real Estate Digital’s reDataVault 
 
Service Gives Industry Professional Organizations (MLSs, Associations and Brokers) More Control Over Use of Licensed Listing Data
 
5.11.2012 – Aliso Viejo – Today, Real Estate Digital (RED) announced that MRIS, which serves more than 42,000 real estate professionals across the Mid-Atlantic region, including Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and parts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and MFRMLS, Florida’s largest MLS with over 32,000 members, have both signed agreements for reDataVaultTM, the industry’s leading real estate MLS data license management system.
 
reDataVault addresses the real estate industry’s pressing need to simplify, standardize and streamline the MLS listing data licensing process by offering a document workflow system for all licensing-related documents and contracts (e.g., IDX and broker participation agreements).  The system also offers automated dashboard alerts and unlimited cloud-based document storage and retrieval for 24/7 access. 
 
“MRIS is deeply committed to a secure and robust environment for our Brokers’ data,” said John L. Heithaus, Chief Marketing Officer, MRIS. “RED’s reDataVault meets and exceeds our requirements thus far.  We’re very pleased with the first generation of the product and look forward to the next generation of tools and resources to manage our most vital asset.”

“We are thrilled to be working with the professionals at Real Estate Digital. Implementation of reDataVault has been a great team effort. The new system offers us many advantages beyond simple document management and helps our staff better serve our members’ future need for properly licensed MLS data,” said Deanna Rogers, Vice-President of Business Development, My Florida Regional MLS.

According to Ira Luntz, Senior Vice President at Real Estate Digital, “data is one of the most valuable assets in the industry.  With reDataVault’s MLS-branded web portal, MLSs can upload and store agreements between Brokers and vendors, view account summaries and track all of their licensing and data transactions in detail.”

About Real Estate Digital
Real Estate Digital is the leading provider of integrated technology, media and data solutions to real estate franchisors, brokerages, agents and MLS organizations and associations. Some of its offerings include rDesk® Websites, Real Estate & Living Media®, reDataVaultTM, TransactionPoint®, DocCentralTM, FormCentralTM, MLS Portal, Neighborhood and School Reports, rDesk® CRM, rDesk® CMA and rDesk® IDX. The company has relationships with over 400 MLS organizations, 350 broker companies, nearly 60 settlement services companies and more than 250,000 real estate professionals. Visit us on the web at www.realestatedigital.com, and follow us on Twitter: @re_digital and “Like” us on Facebook.com/redigital.
 
About MRIS
MRIS is real estate in real time™, enabling its customers to list and sell nearly $100 million in real estate each day. In 2011, the company facilitated $33.6 billion in cooperative broker sales. A leading systems developer and integrator of real estate information technology and databases, MRIS connects its customers with timely, accurate and actionable data with a growing portfolio of technology solutions. This includes broker and agent software products, an industry-leading consumer real estate portal, HomesDatabase.com and many others. MRIS also showcases unique homes and offers tailored community information through its online television network, mrisTV.com. Behind the scenes, the CURE Solutions Group subsidiary of MRIS provides back-end technology to other MLS systems through CURE, a proprietary solution. MRIS serves nearly 45,000 real estate professionals spanning a 22,000 square mile section of the Mid-Atlantic region, including Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and markets located in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Visit MRIS at MRIS.com, “Like” us on Facebook.com/MRISonFB, and follow us on Twitter, @MRIS_REal_News.
 
About My Florida Regional MLS
Headquartered in Orlando, FL, My Florida Regional MLS (MFRMLS) is Florida’s largest multiple listing service (MLS) company with over 32,000 members in 13 central and southwest Florida counties. Owned by 15 shareholder Realtor® boards, MFRMLS offers a comprehensive suite of productivity and marketing tools to professionals in the real estate industry. To complement its core residential offerings, MFRMLS operates a commercial information exchange, called My Florida Commercial Real Estate, located at www.MFCRE.com.  MFRMLS also operates the consumer home and property search website www.MyFloridaHomesMLS.com.  For more information, please visit www.MFRMLS.com.

John Whitney Joins ListHub

It’s getting hard to keep track of all the personnel changes lately. Even for this industry things have certainly heated up. It’s like there’s a big game of musical chairs.

Bob and Jay took a seat a Zillow. Todd sat on it at Trulia, and now John has pulled up a chair at Move.com.

Seems like all of them have chosen a seat with a portal. Do they all know something we don’t know? Maybe I should look at buying back Dwellicious!

John left Sentrilock, a NAR owned company, so I guess with MOVE he is still technically part of the REALTOR family? I really think this is a good fit for John. His diverse resume gives him a very unique perspective on the industry.

I’m also hoping that John might enlighten our reader on how he found out about this new gig of him. I have my suspicions but looking for confirmation. : )

Full Press Release Below:

John Whitney Joins ListHub Industry Relations
Whitney Brings MLS Executive Experience To Syndication

MORGANTOWN, W. Va., April 17, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — ListHub, the leading listing syndicator and provider of online metrics, announced today that John Whitney will join the ListHub executive team as Vice President of Industry Relations. ListHub is committed to bringing industry-friendly innovation to the online marketing landscape. Whitney will play a key role in leading this evolution, and translating it into direct value for ListHub’s MLS partners.
Whitney has demonstrated twenty years of commitment to the real estate industry, including experience in the role of MLS executive director, as well as experience with technology in service to MLS organizations. His diverse background will bring new vision to the ListHub team, including personal insight into the unique business needs and challenges of the MLS community.

John Heithaus, CMO of MRIS commented, “The team at MRIS is looking forward to working with an alliance executive of John’s caliber. While we’re very pleased with the business relationship that we’ve built with ListHub already, John’s addition will undoubtedly result in further innovation and improvement of the syndication service we provide to our customers. In addition, as MRIS works proactively with the brokers in our system, John’s industry experience and consultative approach will be most welcome at just the right time for us.”

Whitney most recently served as Director of National Sales at Sentrilock, LLC, and he previously held the position of Executive Director at the Central Valley Association of Realtors and at the Southwest Multiple Listing Service. After graduating Cum Laude from Chapman University, Whitney started his career in active service in the United States Navy as a Database Installation and Training Manager. Whitney received the Navy Achievement Medal for outstanding performance of duty, and is a veteran of the Gulf War.
ListHub, a product division of Move, Inc., provides a platform to MLSs and real estate brokers to effectively manage every aspect of advertising listings online, including tools for making informed advertising choices, flexible options for routing consumer traffic and leads, and reporting for accurately measuring the results of their online marketing. Listing information is kept up-to-date to provide today’s homebuyers with the most accurate information available from the MLS. Currently, ListHub is the leading platform nationwide for listing management, serving more than 43,000 brokerage firms, and synchronizing listing information from over 400 MLS data sources with more than 100 publisher websites.

ABOUT LISTHUB
ListHub is operated by Move, Inc., MOVE -3.01% , the leader in online real estate. Located in Morgantown, West Virginia, ListHub provides seamless distribution of active listings to popular Internet sites where consumers search for property information. ListHub updates listings on their publisher site every 12 hours to provide today’s homebuyers with accurate information from their MLS. Multi-level reporting options for brokers, agents, and homeowners, along with unique customization tools make ListHub the premier solution for real estate listing syndication. Currently, ListHub powers listing distribution for more than 43,000 brokerages, 117 publishers, and 376 MLS sources nationwide.

ABOUT MOVE, INC.
Move, Inc. MOVE is the leader in online real estate and operator of REALTOR.com®, the official website of the National Association of REALTORS®; Move.com, a leading destination for new homes and rental listings, moving, home and garden, and home finance; ListHub, the leading syndicator of real estate listings; Moving.com; SeniorHousingNet; SocialBios; and TOP PRODUCER Systems. Move, Inc. is based in Campbell, California.
This announcement may contain forward-looking statements, including information about management’s view of Move’s future expectations, plans and prospects, within the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the results of Move, its subsidiaries, divisions and concepts to be materially different than those expressed or implied in such statements. These risk factors and others are included from time to time in documents Move files with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including but not limited to, its Form 10-Ks, Form 10-Qs and Form 8-Ks. Other unknown or unpredictable factors also could have material adverse effects on Move’s future results. The forward-looking statements included in this press release are made only as of the date hereof. Move cannot guarantee future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements. Accordingly, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Finally, Move expressly disclaims any intent or obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.
SOURCE Move, Inc.

Interview with Amy Geddes about SAFE Syndication

Full Press Release Below
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Clareity Security Announces New Customers for SAFE Syndication

January 30, 2012 – Scottsdale, Arizona – Clareity Security (www.clareitysecurity.com), the leading provider of data security and syndication solutions for the real estate industry, is pleased to announce the recent addition of the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island and Maine Real Estate Information System to its customer family. Each has signed a SAFE Syndication® agreement and will enjoy the benefits of the leading data distribution and compliance management tool for multiple listing services.

SAFE Syndication is designed to serve as a contract management, compliance and reporting tool for MLS organizations, brokerages and franchisors. SAFE Syndication provides a consolidated system for measuring and reporting on all listing distribution activity. In addition, the compliance tools in the product provide independent verification and reporting by the MLS and/or Clareity Security as a neutral, trusted third party. These features allow the MLS to eliminate unnecessary expansion of compliance costs and refocus internal resources on more strategic projects. Most importantly, SAFE Syndication compliments all existing and emerging syndication methods, products and approaches because the focus is on compliance reporting and complaint tracking, along with producing reports that help brokers and MLS organizations make better syndication and distribution decisions.

“SAFE Syndication is going to help us better organize and communicate our compliance and contract management efforts across the entire MLSLI organization. With Safe Syndication, each of our designated staff members will have web-based access to contracts, complaints, and audits for all of our data customers.” stated Jim Speer, Vice President of Operations.

Clareity Security would like to invite everyone interested in SAFE Syndication meet with our team. Contact sales@clareitysecurity.com to schedule a detailed presentation.

About Clareity Security:
Clareity Security, located in Scottsdale, AZ is the leading provider of security products and services for the real estate industry. It’s SAFEMLS® and SAFEACCESS™ products help MLS organizations and real estate professionals easily and effectively safeguard sensitive consumer information against unauthorized access and provides next generation strong authentication solutions for secure online transactions. Additional information is available at http://www.ClareitySecurity.com.

Contact:
Amy Geddes, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
480-444-0014 or Email

San Diego Broker, Abbott Realty Group, pulls listings from “3rd party syndicator sites”

ARG Announcement

UPDATED: Click on over to You Tube and check out the comments, a lot coming from Zillow and Trulia (they are going on batshit crazy over this).

Also interesting is the mention of Sandicor’s public MLS site. You can see it at about 7:02 in the video above. Then again at least it keeps them from going to this site (uuuuuuugly!).

And lastly they created a logo! The slogan is “Never Syndicated. Never Duplicated”. It kind of reminds me of the stamps you see on a side a beef.

When REN?

A few things have been written about MOVE’s latest announcement on the creation of the “Real Estate Network” (REN). MOVE’s says REN will “extend the syndication of property listings to highly trafficked websites operate by real estate franchisors and brokerage networks.”

I have to say I think this is a brilliant strategy on MOVE’s part. Here’s why:

1. Zillow and Trulia have already proven quantity (and quality for that matter) of listing data isn’t necessary to operate a highly trafficked real estate portal.

2. This further hedges MOVE’s position. MOVE currently depends upon its agreement with the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) for listings and does not run a national IDX network.

The big question is “who cares?” So I’m going to focus on a few tipping points that would cause a Franchisor or brokerage network to implement a REN feed on their respective websites.

1. SEO benefits
I think this is the weakest case. Most Franchisors running sophisticated IDX networks from vendors like Homes Media Solutions (formerly eNeighborhoods) and RED (formerly LPS Real Estate Group) have already figured out how to maximize SEO benefits using a platform designed to be a launching site for a “network of broker idx sites”.

2. Cost
This is a big factor. As I’ve stated Zillow and Trulia have already proven quantity of listings doesn’t matter. Aggregating MLS data from multiple sources managing all those different display rules and paying those MLS fees have a huge cost associated with it. What if RE/MAX is paying their IDX vendor $70,000 per month and MOVE is offering REN for $7,000 per month. Is it possible that a company like RE/MAX might opt to save the money? Maybe.

3. The MLS Two Step
This is also a potential decision point. Lets say that a particular MLS provider, for the purposes of this example the Houston Associaiton of REALTORS (HAR) has made is very difficult to display listings from their MLS. The Franchisor always has to jump thru a few extra more hoops when dealing with HAR. Will some Franchisors be willing to forego not having all Houston listings as long was they don’t have to talk to Sam Scott anymore? Maybe : )

4. Filling the gaps
The REN might be a great way for new and exisiting Franchisors to supplement coverage in areas where they don’t have a Franchisee yet. According to the rules they would still need a license in the state, but thats relatively easy. This makes Realty Executives participation as a charter member of REN a little clearer.

5. Exposure.
Search traffic to real estate portals is still heavily brand related. Long tail searches are a relative minor piece to the equation. It was announced recently that Century 21 is running a Super Bowl ad on February 5th. Depending on when REN would be implemented how ironic would it be when Realty Executives announced to their agents that all their listings would be advertised during the Super Bowl. Pass the chips!

In a way MOVE, with the announcement of REN, has changed the conversation away from IDX (something they are very weak in) to Syndication (something they are very strong in).

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Special Edition

Smart MOVE.

Speaking of listing syndication…

I sent this post out to Vendor Alley Private Newsletters subscribers last week but thought it was worth a re-post today.

I’ve been reading a few interesting perspectives on listing syndication.

Here’s the first one:

‘Think Before You Syndicate’

Jon Colie, President of Champion Realty – Guest posting on MRIS‘ blog, REsource

If you think about it, a national aggregator selling agents leads off of a website becomes less about the quality of the listing database and far more about the quantity. More listings mean more “eye candy” thus more opportunities to sell agent placement.

Champion Realty is a HomeServices Company, natch!

And the second comes from a comment made on a Vendor Alley post about Brookfield acquiring Prudential:

Brad Blumberg, Smarter Agent

Am I the only one who finds it amazing that the entire real estate relo and franchisor business of Prudential just sold for $110 million, and Zillow Market Cap on that day was over $600 million. Has the value of the real estate purchase shifted to the aggregators at the expense of the value of real estate brokerage businesses. Think Edina realty, when they pulled listings from Trulia, was thinking about creating local value in their brand instead of adding value to the aggregators?

Smart!

Canada selects Point2 as exclusive listing syndicator.

Oh Canada!

My sources tell me that the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has selected Point2 as the exclusive listing syndicator for all of Canada’s MLS listings. Word is Point2 beat out other potential companies, including ListHub.

Point2, which is headquartered in the Saskatchewan province of Canada, should announce something soon. While Zillow and Trulia do not operate in Canada at this time there are other sites such as Oodle and Zoocasa that do.

I think that International Real Estate is going to be a big topic in the upcoming years and Point2 is moving in the direction of providing multinational listing syndication services, which could differentiate themselves going forward.

Early congrats to Saul, Walt and their team for the win.

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