May 2010

  Big news from Googel Googles Android OS overtook the Apple iphone in US smartphone market share during the first quarter of 2010. Real Estate application developers should take note.  Many real estate technology providers have been quick to lead with iPhone apps, but have lagged in support for the Android or Blackberry.  This is not universally true – for example, GE led with their support for Palm, followed by Blackberry.  GE Announced this week that eKey support for iPhone. According to the NPD Group, Google now enjoys 28 percent of the smartphone market, earning the company the second-place spot behind Research in Motion (36 percent) and pushing Apple to third place (21 percent). NPD asserts Androids success to carrier promotions, such as Verizons buy-one-get-one-free offer on RIM and Android OS devices. AT&T remained on top of the smartphone carrier market with 32% market share. Verizon was close behind with 30%, while T-Mobile and Sprint both ended the quarter hovering near the 15 percent mark.  It appears that companies with strong product marketing efforts will be able to assert ample pressure on Apple to continue to be competitive. Apple may always trail in terms of market share. Under Steve Jobs, Apple has not been willing to license its OS out to third parties, and that’s the exact strategy that Google has used with Android to vault it to the top spot. On top of that, Apple currently limits the iPhone to one carrier (AT&T) while Android devices are carried by several different providers. AT&T has suffered a horrible reputation for the quality of data and voice connectivity on the iphone.  This issues combine to give Google and Android a position on quality of core mobile services. Even when or if Apple finally moves to a multiple carrier model, Android will continue to be available on a wide variety of phones at a wide variety of price points, while iPhone OS will only be on a select number.   

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MLS data security still a big problem

by THE WAV GROUP on May 7, 2010

Recently I was asked by a broker client of ours to review a product that they were considering implementing.  Without belaboring before getting to the point, upon investigation with the MLS, I learned that the vendor was not an approved data vendor in their markets.  Further questioning of the vendor revealed that they way they access the data required for their product is to use an MLS username and password provided by the broker.  After falling out of my chair, we notified the vendor and the MLS.  Clearly, the subject MLS does not have data security that prevents password sharing or any other unauthorized MLS access.  If a consumer’s confidential information were misused by unauthorized MLS access, the MLS could be up the proverbial creek.

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New Google Search Results

by THE WAV GROUP on May 6, 2010

Web 2.0 may be over.  Google has reverted back to the most traditional webpage layout ever.  Top Navigation and Side Navigation. I am using Google Chrome – this is the first layout of search results.  Notice that the Text Links at the top are now duplicated along the left side with icons.                       In this next image below, the search results change because I have logged into google.  You will notice how Google is storing my search result preferences and favorites by putting gold stars next to the products that I like – placing them at the top of the search results page.  Again, this only happens when I am logged in.

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NAR MLS AE Forum Agenda Released

by THE WAV GROUP on May 6, 2010

Looking forward to NAR Midyear next week.  Here is the final agenda for the NAR MLS AE Fourm   NAR MLS AE Forum: Washington, D.C.: Omni Shoreham Hotel, Empire Room Wednesday, May 12, 2010   Welcome & Overview: Tom Hurdelbrink, NWMLS, Bud Fogel, MRED NAR Policy: MLS may/may not require a photo: John Mosey, Northstar MLS & Council of MLSs Green the MLS: Al Medina, Director, NAR Green Designation MLS Domain Project (.MLS): Brian Larson, Larson/Sobotka Business Advisors Effective MLS Market Solutions (EMMS) : Kevin McQueen, Focus Forward Consulting RETS Update :Pat Bybee, MetroList MLS, Denver, CO RETS Genie: Carl DeMusz, NORMLS, Ohio ELF (Event Logic Framework):Michael Seguin, Contra Costs AOR & MLS Facebook & Twitter Ideas: Michael Cotrill, Greater Tulsa OK AOR (NORES) MRED Share My Listings: Bud Fogel & Jeff Lasky, MRED Down Payment Resource: John Mosey, Northstar MLS, and Rob Chrane, Workforce Resource RE Technology : MRIS & WAV Group  

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The details of the buy out are largely unknown, but here is the press coverage today from Peter Lattman from the Wall Street Journal.  To be clear, FNIS is really no longer a company.  Fidelity split the business into FIS and LPS a number of years ago.  This press release refers to assets controlled by FIS and does not impact LPS – the company behind the Paragon, reINsight, rDesk and other real estate and banking technology services.     Blackstone in Talks on $10 Billion Deal By PETER LATTMAN Blackstone Group LP and other investors are in talks to acquire financial-data-processing company Fidelity National Information Services Inc., according to people familiar with the situation. With a market capitalization approaching $10 billion, a deal for Fidelity National would be the largest leveraged buyout since the credit crisis struck nearly three years ago. The company also carries about $3 billion in debt. There are a number of hurdles to completing a deal, and it could fall apart, the people said. A Fidelity National spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment. Though Jacksonville, Fla.-based Fidelity National isn’t well known, it’s one of the largest U.S. companies providing technology services to the banking industry. It helps banks process credit-card transactions, service auto loans, and handles back-office functions for money managers.  In Thursday morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Fidelity National shares traded down 16 cents to $25.84, giving the company a market value of $9.7 billion. Write to Peter Lattman at peter.lattman@wsj.com  

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FBS – A Model For Cooperation

by THE WAV GROUP on May 6, 2010

Having grown up in the MLS business and seeing it evolve from the days when we replaced books with MLS systems to today, where MLS sales are only made through taking a competitor’s account, I know how competitive the MLS technology landscape is.  Over the past 20 years or so, we have also seen this market mature and with that maturation we have also seen intense price pressure placed on our MLS vendors to the point today where I question whether we have gone too far.  MLS vendors today are the cornerstone of our entire real estate technology industry.  Nothing works without them, not Realtor.com, not Zillow, not all of the IDX sites, etc.,  and yet the receive a tiny per member fee per month compared to many fees paid by brokers and agents for relatively “lighter” products that rely on their MLS database to exist.  Even so,  there are individuals throughout our MLS business that continue to innovate and look for ways to raise the bar for everyone in our industry.  Michael Wurzer at FBS is a great example of this type of innovation as evidenced by their recent blog on creating an API to be used to track consumer viewing activity on listings, even beyond their MLS product. The basic idea is that many MLS systems and individual products can report back on listing viewing activity from their own product, however, when listings are syndicated, put on IDX and 3rd party VOW systems, etc., this process becomes more difficult.  While most good listing web products will have some method for tracking consumer viewings of listings to know the full picture would require someone to look at many reports, if they were available.  FBS has come up with an API that can be used, by any web product, including their competitors to show viewing activity on that listings, from the respective product, on a consolidated report on the FBS system.  In Michael’s recent blog post he used the example of “Diverse Solutions”, an IDX supplier, to show how listing activity on a Diverse Solution IDX site can be reported back on a report generated on the FlexMLS system.  We applaud both FBS and Diverse Solutions for this collaboration. There is no question that this provides benefits to FBS in the process by creating a MLS product that will be more attractive to its users but in doing so FBS has acknowledged they […]

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Worst Technology Bug Ever

by THE WAV GROUP on May 6, 2010

hindenburg

On this day in 1937, the world was stunned by a sudden accident that would change the way most people viewed how safe they were. And, like many other such cultural shocks of the past it occurred in New Jersey. At the time people were vesting a great deal of comfort and trust in technology and the folks who professed to understand (and provide) that technology. So, on this day in 1937 friends, family, and even radio reporters gathered to witness the transatlantic arrival of the best airship ever built. Its passengers had been given histories most comfortable and luxurious ride on what was the best means of transport modern technology could design. The landing site was Lakehurst, New Jersey. The fabulous ship was called the Hindenburg. And sometime after it laid out its mooring lines but before it reached its mooring berth, a spark set the whole ship ablaze. Over thirty-six people died and with them passed the world’s certainty that technology always brought safety – – well it passed for a few generations anyway. Hope everyone has a safe trip to MidYear in the safer, more efficient technology known as the Airplane.  

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FBS – A Model For Cooperation

by THE WAV GROUP on May 6, 2010

Having grown up in the MLS business and seeing it evolve from the days when we replaced books with MLS systems to today, where MLS sales are only made through taking a competitor’s account, I know how competitive the MLS technology landscape is.  Over the past 20 years or so, we have also seen this market mature and with that maturation we have also seen intense price pressure placed on our MLS vendors to the point today where I question whether we have gone too far.  MLS vendors today are the cornerstone of our entire real estate technology industry.  Nothing works without them, not Realtor.com, not Zillow, not all of the IDX sites, etc.,  and yet the receive a tiny per member fee per month compared to many fees paid by brokers and agents for relatively “lighter” products that rely on their MLS database to exist.  Even so,  there are individuals throughout our MLS business that continue to innovate and look for ways to raise the bar for everyone in our industry.  Michael Wurzer at FBS is a great example of this type of innovation as evidenced by their recent blog on creating an API to be used to track consumer viewing activity on listings, even beyond their MLS product. The basic idea is that many MLS systems and individual products can report back on listing viewing activity from their own product, however, when listings are syndicated, put on IDX and 3rd party VOW systems, etc., this process becomes more difficult.  While most good listing web products will have some method for tracking consumer viewings of listings to know the full picture would require someone to look at many reports, if they were available.  FBS has come up with an API that can be used, by any web product, including their competitors to show viewing activity on that listings, from the respective product, on a consolidated report on the FBS system.  In Michael’s recent blog post  he used the example of “Diverse Solutions”, an IDX supplier, to show how listing activity on a Diverse Solution IDX site can be reported back on a report generated on the FlexMLS system.  We applaud both FBS and Diverse Solutions for this collaboration. There is no question that this provides benefits to FBS in the process by creating a MLS product that will be more attractive to its users but in doing so FBS […]

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MRED sets to launch RE Technology to members

by THE WAV GROUP on May 4, 2010

RET Logo

MRED Provides RE Technology as Newest Member Benefit Date: 5-4-10 Arroyo Grande, Ca- April 19, 2010: Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED) announced today it is launching RE Technology, as a new member benefit, RE Technology is an online portal that provides vendor directories, product reviews and user ratings of real estate technology products all in one easy to use location. The site will be available to every MRED subscriber directly from the MRED homepage. “We believe RE Technology will help our agents succeed through better understanding and utilization of available technology products.  In the past information was limited and agents and brokers didn’t know where to start.  Now REALTORSÒ can start from within their own MLS provider,” says Bud Fogel, CEO of MRED. Until RE Technology.com, real estate professionals did not have a single destination to learn about technology products and real estate technology vendors did not have a national marketplace to inform agents and brokers about their products and services.  MLSs and Associations want to provide their members with a resource for finding and learning about technology tools and services that will help them sell more real estate. RE Technology meets all of these needs. “RE Technology provides a one-stop-shop for agents and brokers to learn about technology specific to the real estate industry. We are thrilled to partner with MRED. MRED is the third largest MLS in the country, and certainly one of the most progressive,” says Victor Lund, CEO of RE Technology, Inc. MRED currently has a membership of over 37,000 agents; now participation in RE Technology is free to each one. About RE Technology: RE Technology is the most comprehensive real estate technology website, reaching hundreds of thousands of real estate agents.  By embedding directly into MLS Systems across North America, RE Technology.com makes it easy for agents to access clear product descriptions, objective product reviews, and stay current with technology trends. Providing a rich assortment of tutorials, how-to’s and technology training articles, RE Technology helps agents understand the benefit technology can bring to drive business, and how to strategically implement them.  RE Technology is colored with user ratings and comments, creating a rich community of product feedback and user-driven endorsements.   To learn more about RE Technology, please visit  www.retechnology.com .   Press Contact: Paden Followwill (805) 503-5506 paden@retechnology.com    

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