The RPR Data Seeker Update
It has been almost twelve months since the San Diego NAR conference when RPR had their coming out party and began the data wars our industry finds itself in. Maybe it didn’t actually start the whole issue of using MLS data for non-traditional purposes, but it certainly put it in our mainstream discussions. It also made the whole concept of using MLS data for purposes other than selling properties a concept that the industry was willing to consider. This was a big shift and one that hadn’t had much energy since REGIB (Real Estate Business Investment Group) tried the same thing several years earlier.
So what has happened in the last year or so? How many MLSs have stepped up and joined RPR? What about the other players looking for data? This is just a quick update on what has happened over the last year. If you would like to check out a paper we wrote for CMLS on the subject you can find it through this link, http://waves.wavgroup.com/new-ways-to-leverage-mls-data.
Over the last year or so we have seen and heard a lot from RPR as they have moved aggressively to sell their vision on data use and sign up MLSs, Associations and individual real estate companies. They have made progress but, in truth, the way they rolled the whole project out didn’t help the process. The product was introduced at the NAR conference with great fanfare but at the time there were no terms and conditions and many details were yet to come. To make it worse, over the next few months, RPR changed their position on a number of points which made the whole proposition seem a little unsettling. There were questions about taking over the MLS and profit sharing and numerous other issues that eventually were addressed in some way but it appeared to those watching that things were being made up on the fly. This, of course, created questions as well as confusion and probably didn’t help the “sign-up” cause. All that being said, they have made progress and the terms and conditions are now clear. At present, according to information provide to us by RPR they have commitments as follows:
- 96 total agreements
- 26 MLSs
- 69 Board/Associations
- 1 Real Estate Company
- 260,000 agents (approximate)
If you look through their list of MLS partners, which they publish at http://blog.narrpr.com/, you will notice that while they have 96 agreements there are not that many of the large MLSs on board yet. Still, this represents roughly one quarter of the agent count in the US so they are making progress.
CoreLogic came into the data game publically after the RPR announcement last year but in reality, they had been working with MLSs for years and had access to MLS data, for the specific purpose of improving the accuracy of their AVMs. While they did not share revenue through these agreements, they provided free technology, in the form of the Realist Value Map product. When they did enter the “new game” to acquire MLS data they put forth a plan that included significant revenue sharing for the MLSs, something that was clearly missing from RPR’s offering. You can see all of the details on their offer athttp://waves.wavgroup.com/new-ways-to-leverage-mls-data.
CoreLogic points out that three things have to be present to make this MLS data share successful. You need products to use the data, customers who want the data, and a critical mass of data to put in the products. This is a bit of a Catch 22 because initially you have to convince MLSs to share data when there is no revenue to share yet.
CoreLogic believes they need about 1/3 of the active listings in the market place to reach critical mass, which is the point where they will really start generating revenue for themselves and their partners. They say the good news is they have customers ready to go and they have the products. If you look at CoreLogic’s historical relationships with MLSs you could argue that the already have a critical mass of data relationships. The 50+ MLSs they do business with today represent data numbers that would put them over the threshold they believe is critical and they are currently in discussions with these MLSs to make that happen.
Today CoreLogic has 8 MLSs officially signed up for their Partner InfoNet project, as follows:
- Atlanta’s First Multiple Listing Service (FMLS)
- North Texas Real Estate Information Systems (NTREIS)
- Greater Las Vegas Association of REALTORS® (GLVAR)
- Northern Ohio Regional MLS (NORMLS)
- Colorado’s Information and Real Estate Services (IRES)
- Ohio’s Centralized Real Estate Information Services (CRIS)
- Associated Multi-List Services of Oklahoma (AMLSOK)
- Downeast MLS® (DMLS)
The six MLSs that have signed exclusive data agreements with CoreLogic are FMLS, NTREIS, GLVAR, NORMLS, CRIS and DMLS. The numbers look like this:
- 8 MLS agreements
- 110,000 total agents
- 3 of top 10 MSAs
- 6 out of 8 MLSs are exclusive
CoreLogic also reports they are in the negotiation stage with other MLSs representing approximately 400,000 additional agents. If they reach this number they say this will provide the “critical mass” necessary for revenue to start flowing.
To date, there has not been any revenue share as the Partner InfoNet project is still ramping up. CoreLogic believes revenue will begin to be realized and shared sometime in the first quarter of 2011.
The FIND product is different from RPR and the CoreLogic offering in many ways. There is no charge for the FIND product. It is offered to any MLS that is willing to let MOVE use their MLS data, including all property types and statuses, on both FIND and Realtor.com. This is a straight data for product relationship. You can also see more details on the FIND product in our earlier paper for CMLS at http://waves.wavgroup.com/new-ways-to-leverage-mls-data.
We spoke recently with the folks from MOVE who gave us the following update on progress to date. They report they have the following participants:
- 7 MLSs signed with FIND – in implementation
- 68,500 members total
- 165,000 listings
- 9 other MLSs have approved FIND and are in process of finalizing License Agreement
- 32 MLSs have expressed interest in moving forward
- Additional MLSs represent 260,000 members/700,000 listings
It is important to not that the FIND agreement is “non-exclusive” and does not preclude MLSs from working with any of the other data opportunities available.
In a new development, MOVE and NAR have renewed and expanded the scope of MOVE’s operating agreement for Realtor.com. The announcement indicates that NAR understands that if they want Realtor.com to remain competitive against third party listing websites, they need to have the flexibility to compete in areas of listing syndication and property display. The details of the agreement have not been made public, but we expect that NAR will allow MOVE to display more types of data on listings to enhance the depth of information they provide to consumers and generate more leads for REALTORS.
IMAPP, Inc. is a Tampa, Florida based company that supplies on line geographic information systems. They integrate a variety of real property information including property lines, tax roll data, area demographics, aerials, mortgage and deed recordings and foreclosure information with a specific focus on the Real Estate Industry.
IMAPP announced at the time we wrote our first paper that they would be offering two new products that offer revenue potential for MLSs. These products take a different approach from the products already mentioned. Rather than looking to use MLS data to monetize a new product offered outside of the real estate industry, IMAPP is proposing a different way for MLSs to derive value from their tax/public records provider. One product involved advertising and the other was a new Hybrid IDX product. For more detailed information on these products please refer to our earlier paper at: http://waves.wavgroup.com/new-ways-to-leverage-mls-data
The IMAPP products have not been officially announced so we contacted IMAPP to see if there was still a commitment to move forward. They confirmed that both the Hybrid IDX product and the Advertising product are “alive and well” and they are still committed to rolling out both products. We were not given details but were told that the rollout was simply taking longer than originally planned. As they promised to keep us apprised of their progress we will pass this information on to you as we receive it.
The contracts currently in place between RPR and CoreLogic represent roughly a third of the NAR agent count in the U.S. today. Since exclusive agreements are in place this means that no one vendor is going to get everyone on board. What this also means is that the total value of the MLS data, numbers tossed around when RPR was announced, are not likely to be realized. These numbers were based on the value if a company, like RPR, had the full set of MLS data. Without the full set of MLS data these numbers are obviously going to be impacted. How much data is enough to be valuable? CoreLogic believe critical mass occurs at about 1/3 of the total listings? Whether that is the number or not will prove out over the next several months. Other questions remain of course. What will the impact to RPR be if they have moderate rather than significant success? Will the market support multiple data seekers dividing up the same pie? With about 66% of the MLS agent population still uncommitted how many will join one or the other opportunities?
Will other data seekers enter the contest? We believe they will. We know one company that tells us they will enter the data quest sometime soon and their business model is totally different from any of those we discussed in this article. MLS data has great value as we all know, from the primary purpose of enabling the real estate transaction to valuation products and risk management. There is little question that we have crossed the bridge as to whether we will allow MLS data use outside of traditional avenues, the question is just what road we will take. Stay tuned!