March 2010

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**Press Release** Silanis Technology Inc. today announced that Stewart Information Services Corp. will extend the use of Silanis’ ApproveIt electronic signature platform for its internal operational processes. The real estate information and transaction management company expects its internal processes to benefit from significant time and cost reductions, as has its settlement and title services since integrating Silanis’ solutions in 2004. “Early results from a cross-section of Stewart offices have demonstrated that a closing can be conducted in as few as 15 minutes when the consumer has had access to SureClose® and the eSignature solution,” said Travis Wright, president and director of business development for Stewart Transaction Solutions. “Stewart’s decision to standardize on Silanis’ electronic signature solutions demonstrates our ongoing commitment to investing in technology that will increase our own productivity and effectiveness, and thus improve customer service.”

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Some of the Nation’s leading MLS (Multiple Listing Services) have banded together to apply for a top level domain name.  They are proposing to purchase .mls as an alternative to .com, .net, or .org for organized real estate.  The .MLS offering will present opportunities for MLSs, Associations, Brokers and Agents to differentiate themselves from the abundance of third party websites on the internet today.  The company is a non-profit association founded by Arizona Regional MLS (ARMLS), Austin Board of REALTORS (ACTRIS), Carolina Multiple Listing Services (CMLS), First Multiple Listing Service (FMLS), Metropolitan Regional Information Systems (MRIS), Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED), Multi Regional MLS (MRMLS), Multiple Listing Service, My Florida Regional MLS (MFRMLS), Realtor Association of Greater Ft. Lauderdale, Regional MLS (RMLS), Southern California MLS (SoCAL), TREND, and Triangle Multiple Listing Service. The new Company is seeking additional participation from All MLSs and Associations in the United States and could possibly extend their coverage internationally.  If you are interested in participating, please email Info@MLSDomains.org.  Press release enclosed offers more detailed information.   LEADING MLSS FORM ASSOCIATION TO SEEK ‘.MLS TOP-LEVEL DOMAIN Minneapolis, March 29, 2010 Fifteen leading multiple listing services (MLSs) in the U.S. have formed the MLS Domains Association, a non-profit national association created to obtain, manage and promote the orderly use of the ‘.MLS top-level domain (TLD) on the Internet. The Association will apply late in 2010 to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) under ICANNs new gTLD process. If successful, MLSs will be able to obtain domains such as MAINE.MLS, CHICAGO.MLS, etc. “For years, MLSs and REALTOR® Associations have objected to businesses referring to themselves as ‘MLSs in their marketing, when in fact they are not MLSs,” said Bob Bemis, interim President of the Association and CEO of the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service. Under United States trademark law, the term “multiple listing service” is generic; MLSs cannot claim exclusive use of it. “Our goal is to create a place, the .MLS top-level domain, where the web sites actually belong to MLSs, not to other types of business,” he said. The Associations leaders plan for the .MLS TLD to deliver the following benefits:  Unique location of MLS data on the Internet. Use and effective marketing of the .MLS TLD only by MLSs will make sites at the .MLS TLD definitive sources of listings.  Key geographical second-level domains (SLDs) will be available to MLSs. MLSs can […]

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CAR responds to criticism from Inman News

by THE WAV GROUP on March 29, 2010

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This week, Inman News Ran a story about the challenges that calREDD is facing with their new installation in Lake County California.  For those of you not familiar with the California, this is the county north of Sonoma County, about 1.5 hours north of San Francisco (depending on traffic).  The color chosen of the Inman news article did not paint calREDD in a very favorable light.  As some of you are aware, calREDD is not an MLS system, they are a new Statewide MLS – with their own rules, regulations and MLS system.  Conversions of this magnitude are never easy or smooth – as the good folks in Lake County have learned.  At the center of the challenge is combining data across custom regional MLS systems in a way that allows local data points and statewide listing search.  As reported in Inman News, Lake County does not support the statewide listing search today, but it appears that June will be the launch date for that functionality. Republished from the California Association of REALTORS website – See original post here http://www.car.org/newsstand/newsreleases/calreddinman/ In reference to Matt Carter’s Inman News article today, we’d like to reiterate the following: calREDD’s commitment to fix Lake County’s list of 23 items is on track and will be delivered as promised this coming Monday, with most of the items already in place. Some of the difficulties we’ve encountered in Lake County were related to the amount of customization to the calREDDTM system, which we’re implementing at the request of the association. No two associations are identical in their wants and needs, and Lake County is no exception. As association President Anita McKee notes, “calREDDTM “has bent over backwards to make these customized changes for us and has been incredible in their support of this association.” Customizations also have complicated the issue of data-sharing between participating associations. However, members in general are pleased with the progress we’ve made, and as McKee states, the board has no plans to pull out of the system. calREDDTM has a CMA reporting capability, but based on user feedback, we’ve installed a CMA software package from an outside vendor. calREDDTM’s transparency since the beginning – posting our customer issues log, detailed reports on software updates and the like – has been used by detractors against us, usually by those with a monetary interest (often undisclosed) in other systems. The truth is that the calREDDTM system […]

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Top 50 Most Powerful Players in Real Estate

by THE WAV GROUP on March 28, 2010

Business Week announced their picks for the top 50 most powerful people and companies in Real Estate today. Dave Liniger from RE/MAX and Richard Smith CEO of Realogy andVicki Cox Golder, current president of the National Association of REALTORS are among the list for this year. They are in powerful company with Barack Obama, Barney Frank, Ted Turner and many other noteworthy government and private sector officials. I find it somewhat disappointing that there were only two residential brokerages mentioned while there were several homebuilders mentioned and countless others in sectors around the industry.  I would have loved to have seen at least one of the Multiple Listing Services like MRIS or SoCalMLS mentioned as well, but of course I’m biased!  

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Real Trends, well known for their annual Top 500 Brokerages list for the United States market is launching a new program called the Top 100. For the first time, REAL Trends is now composing the rankings of the leading residential realty firms in Canada. This program can be used as a great marketing tool for brokerages in their local marketplace to demonstrate their leadership, vision and business success.

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Second Porch raises $1 Million for Facebook App

by THE WAV GROUP on March 19, 2010

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Most of us in the Real Estate Technology space understand that building applications for Facebook is a pretty interesting strategy for real estate.  Roost just launched a Facebook application and a pile of IDX vendors have Facebook applications.  The Roost and IDX applications all serve to allow consumers to search for property from a Facebook page. Imagine my surprise when I learned that Second Porch recently closed on a round of $1 Million in Angel funding to promote rental houses on Facebook.  Take a look at this press release and let us know what you think.

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Keller Williams

Marketing spin can sometimes get out of control – especially with social media.  That recently happened to Keller Williams, who make a claim as the Number 1 Real Estate Company.  Obviously Keller Williams agents and franchisors were thrilled to learn this.  They went about the internet on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Blogs announcing their new stature to the world.  As it turns out, they are Number 1 in the number of friends they have on Twitter and Facebook among four national franchise competitor brands who are close to Keller Williams in associate count on a particular date and time according to some potentially uncertain data points.  Although it is still not clear – they may have used Klout (twitter application) and an informal survey conducted by leading industry consultant Stephan Swanepoel as evidence of their Number 1 social media position.  Stephan is a friend and I like his thoughtful research.  I think Kout is cool but am not certain of how it works or if their methodology is valid – but it is fun to try.  Apparently Kristen Carr and I are Connectors and almost Personas like Trulia.  Perhaps I could claim that WAV Group (Victor Lund) is more Connected than Trulia.  Or, RPR (Kristen Carr) could claim that they are more Influential than Trulia. That would be some heavy media spin, eh?  Anyway – I hope you appreciate the point. Keller Williams did the right thing.  They cleared up the statement in their post on their facebook fan page.  These things happen sometimes.  Small buds of information can spread like wildfire through the social media world and be taken beyond the original context.  Here is the retraction.

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MLS Execs – Tired of getting interrupted all day?

by THE WAV GROUP on March 16, 2010

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Sean Silverthorne, Editor of the Harbard Business School’s Working Knowledge shares some interesting perspectives about how to get the most out of your work day. I hear often from MLS execs that they just don’t have enough time in the day to get their key strategic priorities done. They get consumed with the day to day operation and the little details that can eat up hours of their day. Read Peter Bergman’s example here – it will probably sound all too famiiliar. ” “Hey, I see your door is closed, but can I interrupt you for just a second; its important.” “No, sorry.” “What? Just need a second of your time.” “No. Come back when my door is open.” You dont want to interrupt management consultant Peter Bregman when he has his Do Not Disturb sign out. Even if you are his children. “Out” he told his two young daughters as they invaded his home office recently.

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LANDMARK DEAL CREATES INTERNATIONAL MLS

by THE WAV GROUP on March 14, 2010

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  It was reported today in Overseas Property Professionals that a group consisting of Immobel, NAR, FECEPAC and others are collaborating on a project to create an international MLS system for Central America. LANDMARK DEAL CREATES INTERNATIONAL MLS FECEPAC, Immobel, NAR, FNAIM, Central America, Caribbean, MLS, portals, Google, Enormo, ICREA, Worldproperties, A landmark agreement is to create an international multiple listing system (MLS) for Central America, bringing the concept of a genuinely global listings exchange a step closer. Through a deal with real estate technology provider Immobel, the Central American and Caribbean real estate association, FECEPAC will make its members property listings available online through consumer portals and allow foreign agents to display them on their websites. Immobel, which already offers a listings exchange service between real estate associations NAR in the US and FNAIM in France, will translate FECEPACs listings into 12 other languages and provide the functions of a brokers MLS. The listings will also be uploaded to Google Real Estate and international portals including ICREAs soon to be relaunched WorldProperties.com and Enormo.com. “FECEPAC didnt have anything like an MLS, so weve stepped in to help them market internationally,” Immobel CEO Janet Choynowski told OPP. “There are very few centralised MLSs and there are a number of Asian and Latin American countries in particular who need one.”

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Will Move follow Pandora to success

by THE WAV GROUP on March 10, 2010

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Move Inc, the operators of REALTOR.com and a list of many quality products and services to the real estate industry has had a rough ride.  In total, they have lost over $2 Billion dollars in their history, and were profitable for two years.  On the surface, this sounds like pretty poor performance, but nothing could be further from the truth.  They have accomplished some outstanding milestones and could be close to hitting a home run.  All of the ingredients are in place.  They have the largest consumer audience with strong advertiser support, the most data, and significant agent/broker sales revenue. Music streaming company Pandora faced similar performance from their early beginnings in 2000, but just hit the profit button to the tune of $100 Million (pun intended).  In reading their business story, they sound a lot like Move. Both Move and Pandora rely on content provided by others to power the services they offer to consumers.  Move relies on the relationships with 900 MLSs for their data feeds; Pandora relies on licensing music from record labels.  If you will recall, Pandora was successful in negotiating $.08 per song (25% of revenue) to stay friendly with the record industry when Napster was trying to display music content royalty free. Pandora got lucky.Consumer behavior changed with the release of the iphone and the Pandora application took off in widespread adoption..  Pandora suddenly picked up 35,000 new users a day.  Move may also be positioned to get lucky. Consider this.  The recent move (pun intended) by First American to establish a benchmark for the value of active listing data may trigger a dramatic shift in the way that Broker Participants in MLSs think about their data.  Why should they ‘give the data away to third party websites?  Take a look at the WAV Group paper on Terms of Use on third party listing websites and you will see my point (the paper is free). It would seem that Zillow, Trulia, Yahoo, Google and others may soon be paying for data just like Wall Street or anyone else if Brokers and MLSs get wise to the value of their data. Without the data, those websites are bankrupt for real estate search. This is where Move may find their golden goose.  Move already has agreements in place for the data, and REALTOR.com is a member benefit.  Presumably Brokers would not charge themselves for their own data hence Move is in a different category than other public listing websites.  They are more like an MLS […]

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The iPads are coming! The iPads are coming!

by THE WAV GROUP on March 5, 2010

OK, early adopters get ready! Who will be the first in your circle to get a new iPad? Having moved to the Mac world myself last year, I am ready to go! I find myself sounding like a paid ad whenever the topic of Mac comes up, but in truth, when I get on a PC now, it drives me crazy! I love my Macs. PRESS RELEASE iPad Available in US on April 3 Pre-Order on March 12 CUPERTINO, Calif., March 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Apple® today announced that its magical and revolutionary iPad will be available in the US on Saturday, April 3, for Wi-Fi models and in late April for Wi-Fi + 3G models. In addition, all models of iPad will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK in late April.

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Looking for a job in real estate? Go to Vendor Alley!

by THE WAV GROUP on March 4, 2010

Looking for a job in real estate?  Vendor Alley has just announced a great new tool for real estate technology companies, associations, MLSs and others to post their job openings. Becuase of Vendor Alley’s “candor” and “calling it like they see it” tone, it attracts a broad and diverse audience of readers.  The blog often becomes the topic of conversations at conferences because it often says what everyone wants to say, but won’t. We just posted a job for the EVP position for the Orlando Regional REALTOR AssociationMLS.  Go and check it – who knows you might find a new job too!  

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Middle Aged women dominate mobile social networking

by THE WAV GROUP on March 3, 2010

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Press Release from Neilson:  Women and people between 35 and 54 are most apt to perform social networking activities via mobile device, according to data from The Nielsen Company.  Since Women are a core audience for REAL Estate Marketing, it would seem that social mobile networking would be a good strategy for agents and brokers today. Mobile Social Networking Gender Gap A clear gender gap exists in social networking activity on mobile devices. In December 2009, Nielsen research indicates that women were responsible for 55% of mobile social networking activity, compared to 45% performed by men. Forty-five percent of all mobile internet users go online to post comments on social networks, with 91% of mobile internet users going online to socialize,according to a recent study from Ruder-Finn. The Ruder-Finn study also indicates a gender gap in mobile social networking. Women are much more likely than men to personally express themselves (49% vs. 35%), and entertain others (70% vs. 58%) via mobile internet.   Kids Don’t Lead Mobile Social Networking Usage Despite the stereotype of teens spending every waking moment on a mobile device, Nielsen data suggests their parents actually spend more time performing mobile web surfing. Only 7% of mobile social networking activity was represented by 13-to-17-year-olds and only 16% by 18-to-24-year-olds in December 2009.   The leaders in mobile social networking activity are 35-to-54-year-olds, who accounted for 36% of mobile social network usage in December 2009. Close behind them were 25-to-34-year-olds, who performed 34% of the month’s mobile social networking activity. Users ages 55 and up combined for the remaining 7%. Teens Lead Texting Teens may be too busy using their mobile devices to send text messages to bother visiting social networking sites, according to another recent Nielsen study. By analyzing more than 40,000 monthly US mobile bills, Nielsen determined American teens sent an average of 3,146 texts a month each during Q3 2009, or an average of 10 per hour not spent asleep or in school. Their counterparts 9-12 sent an average of 1,146 monthly texts each, or four per hour not spent asleep or in school.    

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Its not about the MLS system

by THE WAV GROUP on March 3, 2010

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MLS of Choice has been with us for a while now, but has not created any landscape changes in the MLS industry. WAV Group has had the opportunity to observe the behavior of agents in two divergent situations in California.  CARETS and CalREDD. Hypothesis:  Agents don’t care about the MLS system.  They care about selling homes, the service they get from their MLS, and the relationships they have with the organizations offering them services. Case 1 – CARETS Data Share – 100,000 agents in the Los Angles and points south now can freely choose from a variety of REALTOR Associations an MLS providers for their services.  They have the opportunity to shop for the MLS system they like, the Association they like, the price point they like, and compare service offerings among the variety of member benefits that different MLSs and Associations offer. In the Board Rooms, there were many anxious Directors pondering what would happen when agents had this much choice.  Would they migrate to the neighboring MLS to reduce fees?  Would Associations dump their MLS provider and move next door?  Would the MLS who offered the most services for the lowest price suddenly absorb everything around them?  The answer to all of these questions is…….. No. What little migration did happen was the result of PITA customers moving somewhere else.  You know, that subscriber who calls you every day to tell you what an awful job you are doing and how ‘broken’ your MLS system is.  That subscriber dumped you and moved next door.  Good Riddance!  Oddly, the view looks strangely similar on other side of the rainbow when you get there. Case 2 – CalREDD – CalREDD is an MLS that aims to offer statewide data throughout California.  It is an initiative sponsored by funding from the members of the California Association of REALTORS.  They have been successful at launching their business and have picked up a few accounts.  Agents seem to be optimistic about the new MLS system – some like it, some are angry because they had to learn a new system. Interestingly enough, CalREDD has also had little impact on MLS of Choice or Association of Choice.  If the system was truly breakthrough – and there was a strong demand, then Agents would move.  After all, the MLS system is the heartbeat of the American REALTOR.  Also, be mindful that the CalREDD rules allow any […]

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Mike Barnet joins Property Panorama

by THE WAV GROUP on March 1, 2010

Press Release:   Property Panorama announced the appointment of Mike Barnett as the companys Chief Information Officer. Property Panorama provides its world leading suite of online marketing tools and products to over 200,000 Realtors in more than 45 MLSs across the U.S. and Canada. Property Panoramas easy to use solutions empower Realtors with unlimited Virtual Tours, Video Tours, PodCAST Tours, and MobileMedia Cell Phone Tours at unbelievably low prices. Property Panorama owes its rapid ascension to the top of the Virtual Tour industry not only to unparalleled innovative technologies, but also to its strong leadership. Now with the addition of Mike Barnett to Property Panoramas leadership team, Property Panoramas already amazing growth rate will be sure to skyrocket. Mike Barnett is an internationally known speaker, educator and senior technology consultant. His personal appearances number in the thousands, from engagements with many local and State Realtor associations and at numerous NAR Expos. In 1997, Mike was named NAR Educator of the Year in 1997 (honorable mention). Mike has also served as Director for Scottsdale, Phoenix and the Arizona Association of Realtors. Barnetts technology background started in the 1970s when he was the founder and President of Muscle Shoals Sound Records, where they forged digital recordings with artists like Bob Seger and Bob Dylan. Those who know Mike well will tell you of the two years he spent traveling the world with Cheech and Chong. For the past 15 years, Barnett served as VP Technology and CTO of InternetCrusade and RealTown.com. Most recently, he served as the CTO of RISMedia, launching the new RISMedia.com website and the Top5 Network. Barnett is a 4th generation broker, first licensed in New Jersey in 1965, and is a pioneer in Real Estate technology. In 1995, Barnett was named to the America Online Real Estate Board of Advisors, where he hosted online chats weekly every Tuesday night. Later that same year, RealTown.com was launched on a server in Barnetts office in Scottsdale which hosted RealTalk which is still the oldest, largest, and most respected online Real Estate social networking site on the Internet. Under Barnetts leadership, InternetCrusade was the first to offer online purchases of 63 character domains and the first secure, ICANN approved, online domain ‘transfer system, as well as InternetCrusades secure online voting system. Barnett is one of the 3 creators and producers of e-PRO, the National Association of REALTORS® only Online Technology Certification Program. […]

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Lookout Facebook, here come the Boomers

by THE WAV GROUP on March 1, 2010

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If you are running an MLS, REALTOR Association, or real estate brokerage, you need to begin to read the Inside Facebook Blog.  It will allow you to keep up with trends so that you can consider your company’s Facebook strategy moving forward. Today, the average Facebook user is 26.  But that is rapidly changing and moving in the direction of the core audience for Real Estate.  According to Inside Facebook, the fastest growing user group is women over 55 (up 175% since Q4 of 2009).    Of course, where the women go, the men will thankfully follow:-)  The second fastest growing user group is men over 55 (up 138% over the same period). I guess that it is only reasonable to assume that Facebook would eventually hit the Boomers – the largest segment of the US economy and the wealthiest.  If successful, Facebook will realize growth that makes the hockey stick of their adoption curve look even steeper than it does today. Want to know about all of those Facebook applications that litter your page.  Here are the current adoption rates.

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