Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

The 2020 Swanepoel Power 200 list keeps it interesting

Rich Barton took the top spot from Ron Peltier this year, with Gary Keller coming in at number 2. So that means two “technology companies” CEOs are on top of the list. ????

I count about 18 MLS Execs making the list this year, which I think is up 2 from last year.

Bob Hale, CEO of the Houston Association of REALTORS was the highest MLS exec, moving up 1 spot to #26.

The list also includes Art Carter, CEO of CRMLS at #35, up 1 spot from last year, Brian Donnelan, CEO of Bright MLS #75, John DiMichele, CEO of Toronto Real Estate Board, Teresa King Kinney, CEO of the Miami Association of REALTORS #108, Rebecca Jensen, CEO of MRED, LLC, #120, Merri Jo Cowen, CEO of Stellar MLS (formerly MFRMLS) #121 Kathy Condon, CEO of MLSPIN #130, Matt Consalvo, CEO of ARMLS #131 , Dionna Hall #141 CEO of Realtors of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale, Jim Speer CEO of One Key MLS (formerly New York MLS) #146 Jeremy Crawford, CEO of First Multiple Listing Service, Tom Hurdelbrink, CEO of Northwest Multiple Listing Service, Anne Marie DeCatsye CEO of Charlotte Regional Realtor Association and CarolinaMLS at #179, John Mosey CEO of Northstar MLS #180, Emily Chenevert, CEO of Austin Board of REALTORS, #183 Brad Bjelke CEO of UtahRealEstate.com, #184, Chris Carrillo, CEO of MetroMLS #185,

Sam DeBord, CEO of RESO was listed at #154 and Denee Evans, CEO of CMLS was listed at #181.

Notable vendors include Errol Samuelson of Zillow Group at #38 (up two spots from last year), Chris Bennett of CoreLogic at #56. Mike Wurzer went up a few spots to #87. Morgan Carey, CEO of Real Estate Webmasters is listed at #129, Grier Allen, CEO of BoomTown is at #133, Joel Macintosh CEO of WolfNet #142, David Anderson, President of LionDesk went from the “Watchlist Group” last year all the way to #148 on the big list, right in front of yours truly, Greg Robertson at #149 (woohoo!). Charles Williams, CEO of Buyside, #157. Brian Boero and Marc Davidson of 1000watt #161, Mark Schacknies & Leo Pareja co-founders of Remine made the list at #164, Andrew Flachner, co-founder of RealScout at #168, Marilyn Wilson and Victor Lund of the WAV Group at #169, Mitch Skinner of LarsonSkinner up a few spots at #173, Suzanne Mueller of Realtor.com #188, John Mazur, CEO of Homesnap came in #199.

Congrats to everyone! I apologize in advance if I missed anyone.

Merri Jo Cowen awarded the Peter Shuttleworth MLS Executive Award of Excellence

Merri Jo Cowen Named Peter Shuttleworth MLS Executive Award Of Excellence Recipient

The Peter Shuttleworth MLS Executive Award of Excellence is an annual award that recognizes leaders who, through a rigorous nomination and review process, are determined to have observed the highest qualities of leadership within their organizations and demonstrated a dedication to excellence by making substantial contributions to the MLS industry.

I’m still catching up with news after a long trade show season. I was lucky enough to be at the MLS Executive Session to the surprise on Merri Jo’s face. Read the entire post from CMLS, she has accomplished so much and I have a feeling she is just getting started. Well deserved. Congrats Merri Jo!

Zillow’s new Consumer Housing Trends Report is pure gold

screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-8-39-04-amIf you’re like me I can’t wait to get NAR’s Survey of Buyer and Sellers and their annual Membership Profile. Swanepoel Trends Report is also a winner. All of these are huge for anyone creating products that will be used by buyers and sellers of real estate and any vendor selling to real estate agents.

But it looks like Zillow Group’s gone a couple order of magnitudes better.

Zillow Group just dropped it’s new Consumer Housing Trends Report. If you attended Inman Connect SF you got a sneak peak of some of the insights of the report by Amy Bohutinsky, COO of Zillow Group. I’ve just skimmed it but I can already tell its going to be gold for real estate vendors.

I can only imagine what this cost (in time, money and energy) to put this together. Once I get through it I’ll post what I think are some important points as it relates to designing better real estate software.

In the meantime, thanks Zillow!

Hunger makes the best sauce

Dan and I want to send a big thank you to Brad and everyone else at Inman News for the unexpected honor of winning this year Most Innovative Technology Award for Cloud MLX. We also want to thank all of you who have supported us over the 25 years we’ve been in real estate technology. We are just getting started with Cloud MLX and can’t wait to show you more. Thanks!

P.S. Looks like Katie was pretty stoked too.

Cloud Streams now available free to all CRMLS members

Cloud Streams LogoWhen we (W&R Studios) launched Cloud Streams earlier this year we were basing it on the same precepts that made Cloud CMA successful. Find something that has heavy usage on an MLS system but could be done much better. MLS systems are amazing pieces of software but they can’t do everything right.

We immediately saw an opportunity with listing alerts and “client portals”. It was a new product category for us, but still kinda of the same, “…making agents look awesome in front of their clients”.

That’s why I’m so proud to announce that CRMLS is now offering Cloud Streams as part of their basic MLS service. Launching any new product can be scary but based on the response, our instincts were right.

So many thanks to Art Carter and his team as CRMLS for their confidence and support. What a great way to end and start a New Year!

P.S. We’ve got a few more of these deals in the pipeline, and would love to talk to any of you who are looking to give your MLS members (Site license or otherwise) a great alternative to what your existing MLS system provides. Give me call at 714-240-3895 or via email at greg [at] wr-studios [dot] com

P.S.S. Inman News also did a story on the deal. I really should remember that I’m talking to a reporter when I’m opening my mouth. : )

MLS listing alert tool aims to give agents an edge over top portals
-Nation’s largest MLS is first to offer Cloud Streams as free member benefit

Full Press Release Below:

CRMLS to Offer Cloud Streams to Association Members

SAN DIMAS, Calif. (December 30, 2014) – California Regional MLS (CRMLS) has reached a partnership agreement with W&R Studios, in which California Regional MLS will offer W&R Studio’s product: Cloud Streams. Cloud Streams is an innovative listing alert and collaboration tool that allows agents and brokers to set up and provide branded MLS listing alerts to their clients.

Cloud Streams allows clients to receive listing alerts by email and/or text in real-time via desktop, tablet or iPhone app. Listing alerts link directly back to the client’s personalized communication stream. Brokers and agents benefit from the branded, photo-rich content delivered through Cloud Streams.

“We are partnering with W&R Studios because we wanted to align ourselves with a proven provider that can deliver a product that will strengthen collaboration between real estate professionals and their clients.” said Art Carter, Chief Executive Officer of CRMLS.

“We think agents and their clients will enjoy using Cloud Streams. We wanted to create somehing that gave agents an edge over the listing portals. Cloud Streams is fun to use, provides the best property information there is while keeping them engaged with their clients. said Greg Robertson, Co-Founder of W&R Studios.

“We are confident this partnership with W&R Studios will help deliver more creative products for real estate professionals”. said Mr. Carter. “As the industry leader, will continue to add to our suite of products those that assist in making agents and brokers relevant to today’s consumer”.

Founded in 2008, W&R Studios is a privately held web software company located in Huntington Beach, California. W&R Studios focuses on creating the next generation of software solutions for the real estate industry.

For more information on California Regional MLS membership, products and services, visit www.crmls.org.
About California Regional MLS

California Regional MLS is the nation’s largest and most recognized subscriber-based MLS, dedicated to servicing over 73,000+ real estate professionals from 34 Associations, 3 Boards of REALTORS® and 1 MLS. CRMLS is the industry powerhouse and thrives on providing the most relevant products and services to its subscribers.




My thanks to Trulia for sponsoring Vendor Alley. If you are interested in learning more about Trulia’s MLS programs just click on their ad (green box) to the right.


Dan and Andy Woolley
Dan and Andy Woolley

I owe so much to both these guys. The industry is lucky to have such talent. #NARANNUAL

MLS Cloud Conference 2011 Recap

I wanted to put down a few thoughts and observations about last week’s MLS Cloud Conference hosted by Bob Hale and the Houston Association of REALTORS.

Additionally I uploaded a bunch of photos from the event. You can see them at the Vendor Alley Flickr Photo Stream

When I first got there I did hear a few of the attendees muttering if they would gain anything by attending a conference held so closely to NAR Midyear meetings in Washington D.C. That combined with it being held the week after Memorial Day seemed to heighten the crowds expectations. But from what I could tell those expectations were soon met.

Bob Hale came up first to set the tone. Bob does a great job of honing in on the important issues and serving up some plausible solutions to these issues. He spoke about giving consumers what they want and about how the MLS needs to engage with NAR and others. But I can’t confirm or deny I heard him speak about forming a “National Association of MLS.” : )
To me a key measurement of a good speaker is how many other speakers reference them in future talks and in the hallways of the ballrooms. By that measure Bob was king.

This business would be great if it weren’t for the damn customers.

Brad Inman was the first keynote and talked about the “post PC” world we are living in. He told us to all get an iPad and kiss our towers and notebook computers goodbye. He had some interesting observations about the employees of his new company, Vook. Apparently nobody at his company likes to sit at a desk anymore, they like to stand, and not eat meat apparently. Although I thought one of the funniest moments (unintentionally) was when Brad made a remark of how he didn’t like the way that some NAR staff talked down about their membership. To me was pretty ironic since MLS execs (and vendors) behave in the same way, if not worse!

I D Mess

I think a lot of people thought the conference would only focus on MLS public facing websites but the topics were much broader in scope. I was kind of hoping for a throwdown between Alex Perriello, CEO of Realogy and Joe Horring of Realty Alliance. Joe was more bombastic but sadly no pile drivers or fisticuffs.

Vendor Love

Another thing that I enjoyed was that they had a lot of vendor love going on. Bob freely put up a lot of vendors to showcase their products and services. Some of the vendors did a great job of talking about a broader message and weaving their products in to that message, but sadly most were just doing a 15 minute long commercial.

Schmooze and booze

On the hospitality side things were great. The hotel was centrally located so you could walk to a lot of restaruants. The HAR staff was very helpful and any hosted bar that serves Tanqueray Ten is number one in my book! Here’s a quick tip if the event is held at the same hotel next year. Mo’s, walking distance from the hotel, has bar doesn’t close until 1AM. Just sayin….

Errol’s Comet

Other highlights were presentations by Errol Samuelson and Curt Beardsley from MOVE. Really great presenters. Errol used this insane picture of a view from a beach with fireworks, a comet and lightning storm to symbolize the state of the industry (You had to be there.) I heard more than one comment on John Heithaus’s presentation and his ability to use a Glengarry Glen Ross clip without swear words.


Some other random stuff I thought was cool. Channing Dawson of HGTV used the term “Home Lust” or “House Lust” a lot (can’t remember which one of these terms he used). A really great piece of jargon I had never heard before. It appears that someone else was paying attention because Robert Drummer of iMapp when he heard the term immediately went online to check to see if the domain was available. It was. And now HomeLust.com belongs to him! Classic.

Best Audience Question

The best question asked at the conference came from David Charron during Ann Bailey’s update on the CIVIX settlement.

David Charron: Is RPR going to help pay for the CIVIX settlement?

Ann Bailey: MLS providers should contact their RPR reps directly to work out details.

and so without further delay…
Vendor Alley Public Service Announcement

I think its great that RPR is willing to help out with this effort so in the interest of public service here are the names and contact information of all RPR reps that MLS providers should call and request cash assistance with CIVIX:

Ohan Antebian
Email: ohan@narrpr.com
 Phone: 949.910.6285

Ernie Bottom -East
Email: ernie@narrpr.com
 Phone: 262.785.0633

Kristen Carr – Southeast
Email: kcarr@narrpr.com
 Phone: 561.441.9494

Ron France
Email: ron@narrpr.com 
Phone 315.559.5238

Kristen Hernandez – West
Email: kristen@narrpr.com
Phone: 214.471.3795

A full list can be found at http://blog.narrpr.com/about/industry-relations. You’re welcome.

Compelling content, great speakers make this event a must attend. My congrats to Bob Hale and his team plus a special thanks goes out to Sam Scott, Rene Galvan and Shawn Dauphine for their wonderful Texas hospitality See you next year!

[Cupcake Photo Credit: Lisa Herrin]

Vendor Alley makes “Must-Read Blogs” list in REALTOR Magazine.

Very cool!

Photo Credit [Teresa Boardman]

Advertise on Vendor Alley

I’m increasing the size of the ads on Vendor Alley starting next month to 125 X 250 and adding two spots. I have two spots open for April. One in May and June. And a few in July and August.

For details check out the Vendor Alley Ad Sponsorships page. They are going fast!

“Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise!”
-Ted Turner

Sponsored By Giant Steps Advisors