Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

John Mosey recognized for work at BPP

St. Paul real estate veteran plays key role in development of Homesnap

The site is the real estate industry’s answer to the countless third-party property listing sites that have become influential in the sale of homes. Years in the making, a key player in its inception and launch is St. Paul-based John Mosey, longtime president of Twin Cities-based Northstar MLS.

“There was this grand notion that the industry could tap its resources to go head to head with the Zillows, Trulias and Realtor.coms of our world,” Mosey said.”

Zillow Group couldn’t have asked for a better picture of John for their dartboard. Of course he’s a much smaller target now. ????

Photo credit [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

When Zillow bought Trulia

Loved this podcast, Acquired, where the hosts (Ben Gilbert and David Rosenthal) talk to Kathleen Philips, of Zillow Group about the Trulia acquisition. Well worth the listen!

Tip of the hat to Drew Meyers for first pointing this out.

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!

Timing is everything

May 8, 2013

Trulia Acquires Market Leader For $355M To Take Its Business Beyond Listings And Into SaaS For Real Estate Professionals

“Online real estate company Trulia has announced it plans to acquire real estate SaaS CRM provider Market Leader for approximately $355 million. The SEC filing is here.

Trulia said the combined company will have some 46,000 “premium subscribers” — or more than “any other online real estate marketplace” (likely an indirect reference to rival Zillow).

Emphaisis mine.

September 4, 2015

Zillow Group Announces Sale of Market Leader to the Perseus Division of Constellation Software

“Zillow Group (NASDAQ: Z and ZG), which houses a portfolio of the largest and most vibrant real estate and home-related brands on mobile and Web, today announced the pending sale of Market Leader to the Perseus Division of Constellation Software, Inc., an international provider of market-leading software and services, for $23 million USD. The sale is expected to close early in the fourth quarter.

Emphasis mine.

Constellation Software also bought AgentOffice (back in 2008), which is run by their Emphasys Software division.

I just have two words to say about this deal. Ian Morris.

New Trulia ads get meta

Loving the new Trulia ads! They are by far my favorites of any of the current portal ads running.

“Whistleblower” stirs things up between Move, NAR and Zillow.

Whistleblower alleges Zillow is stealing listing data from agent websites

Andrea Brambila from Inman News:

“In court filings today, Move said it received the letter yesterday, April 9. The company, along with fellow plaintiff the National Association of Realtors, is calling for the court to grant third-party discovery in the case, saying “The defendants simply cannot be trusted to be the sole source of evidence in this case regarding their conduct.”

Move declined to comment on which third parties would be involved.

“The plaintiffs have complained for months that the defendants are systematically hiding evidence in secret non-Zillow email accounts and file-sharing services,” attorneys for Move and NAR said in the court filing.

“The defendants have denied the claims, deriding them as ‘silly’ conspiracy theories and claim they have produced everything. The whistleblower’s letter appears to confirm, however, the plaintiffs’ worst fears.”

This is getting very ugly. The letter itself is pretty detailed. It doesn’t just focus on Errol and Curt but Spencer Rascoff, Zillow’s CEO, and Greg Schwartz, Zillow’s Chief Revenue Officer, and a bunch of other Zillow employees.

I think the letter was written by someone who had an executive position in the company (Zillow). I’m betting it’s a former employee, with an axe to grind, and I bet Zillow knows exactly who he is.

But its hard to believe any of the stuff the letter suggests. Its either blown out of proportion, not relevant, or taken out of context. Is having a rolodex a crime? Zillow has been kicking realtor.com’s ass without any sort of help, why risk it?

Clareity MLS Executive Workshop highlights 2015

A few things I wanted to highlight about last week’s Clareity MLS Executive Workshop in Scottsdale, AZ last week. First off Gregg and his entire team did an amazing job. The content was fantastic and they managed to keep the conversation above the salacious syndication war between MOVE and Zillow Group narrative that has been floating around.

But, one of my takeaways about the Zillow Vs MOVE thing was how it effects other players, notably Homes.com. Seems like an opportunity for these guys. When I asked Andy Woolley, now Industry Relations at Homes.com. Andy was quick to point out that while they don’t, and won’t possibly ever have as much traffic as ZTR, they were focusing a lot on “quality”. Meaning the “quality” of leads coming through Homes.com. I was sent a screen shot of a ListHub report (from the Houston market) that seemed to prove that out.

Homes.com lead ratio

Yes, I know their total detail views is much smaller, but their lead ratio is crazy good.

HAR .08%
Zillow .06%
realtor.com .03%
Trulia .019%
Homes.com .97%

The other thing was the direct feed count. Check out this slide.

Direct Feed Count

Homes.com has 400 direct feeds from MLS providers. 400 freaking hundred. Zillow Group isn’t even close. Great lead ratio, huge direct feed count, you gotta wonder what that is worth to someone.

On another topic, was the release of the MLS Satisfaction survey. Here’s the results of the “End User Satisfaction.”

MLS Satisfaction Survey

Looking at MLS Vendors with more than 2 customers it appears that Black Knight and FBS still dominate the top two spots above their competition. Kudos to both of them.

Thanks again to Gregg, Matt and the rest of the Clareity team. We are always thrilled to participate. And I hope you enjoyed the Cloud Streams t-shirts. They look great!

Mike and Mitch’s plan out of this mess, at least for now…

Change the game

“The goal of Stopgap Agreement is to give MLSs a reasonable amount of time to make reasoned decisions on their timeline; not Zillow Group’s or Move’s timeline. The agreement would be between the MLS and Zillow Group to keep data flowing in an interim period. Each MLS in consultation with their attorney can decide whether it makes sense for them. It’s still an individual choice”

I love this idea. Does anyone have any update on the progress of this?

Syndication Shitstorm


Yesterday MOVE slapped the newly formed Zillow Group with the news that as of next week they won’t be providing listing to Trulia any longer. This seemed to be in response to Zillow’s earlier rebuke of continuing the ListHub agreement past the contract date.

Now it appears that Zillow is seeking a restraining order to keep listings flowing to Zillow.

Oy Vey!

A few observations:

Welcome to the team!
Tough first week for Paul Levine, newly appointed president of Trulia.

The Velvet Glove
I’m going to start calling Celeste Starchild, “the velvet glove”, because she always seems to be delivering the bad (good?) news, but tries to downplay the consquences.

Shit Sandwich
And going back to Zillow’s earlier refusal to re-sign with ListHub, can you really blame them? ListHub was basically forcing them to use a data feed their very own company won’t use on its own site (realtor.com). Zillow take is that ListHub was was serving them a shit sandwich, telling them to eat, and that they better like it.

Lobby bars
Good thing the Clareity’s MLS Executive Workshop next week is serving great popcorn, because the show has just begun!

Trulia has direct feeds with 125 MLS providers.


““By working together with Trulia to improve the accuracy of listings, the MLS community isn’t just protecting brokers and their listing agents from legal liability,” added Chaver, “it is helping brokers and agents grow their businesses with better quality leads. In addition, displaying accurate information about a listing is in the best interests of the general public. ”

Looks like they added 21 of them just last quarter. I love Trulia’s style, not a lot of bullshit, no drama, no games, just hard work. That type of attitude comes from the top. Pete Flint, Paul Levine and Alon Chaver are not only smart, but class acts. Their new parents could learn a lot from them.

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