October 2011

CMLS reviews pending IDX policy changes

by Victor Lund on October 31, 2011

I am a big fan of CMLS, the acronym for the Council of MLS. The Council does more than any other organization to support best practices among MLS service providers. Today, CMLS hosted a member webinar that provided a 360-degree overview of the pending IDX rule change, a consideration that will be discussed and submitted to the NAR Board of Directors for approval at the NAR Convention in Anaheim. The suggestions to the NAR Board of directors from the call were simple. Cathy Holefelder of Heartland MLS provided a great summary of the call and suggested this synthesized overview. –       Repeal Franchise IDX Policy –       Prohibit the Use of IDX for Social Media –       Prohibit the Use of IDX for RSS feeds Brokers may have the freedom to do as they like with their listings, but they should not have the liberty to use another broker’s listing other than the permitted uses outlined in today’s IDX policy.


We recently received an interesting white paper/article from the CEO of the CTMLS, Cameron Paine, on the rationale for creating a national MLS consumer website.  Cameron raises some very interesting ideas in his paper which you can read in its entirety on this post.  This article highlights something WAV Group brings up at every strategic planning meeting and every conference we attend…we spend too much time in our industry working against each rather than cooperating.  Separate agendas are being pushed at every level from national to state to local.  There is an urgent need for our industry to work together to leverage our collective strengths.  The proposal presented in Cameron’s paper is a step in this direction. Here are some of the highlights from the paper: Zillow has received funding of around $87 million yet is not profitable.  What is their real end game?  Is it the MLS subscription business? Could Zillow or some other 3rd party become the site where listings originate instead of MLS? Why might large real estate companies consider this? Why individual MLS consumer sites can’t win the long term war A call for MLSs to come together and leverage their combined strengths with a national MLS consumer site The following is a reprint of the paper, as received, from Cameron Paine.


A New Perspective on Google+

by Victor Lund on October 29, 2011

Google Plus

Like so many other geeks, technos, and socialphiles – I jumped on the Google+ bandwagon as soon as it came out. I must confess, I did the same on Linkedin so may years ago. Remember Plaxo? In any case, I was not very impressed Google+ on first glance. I doubt anyone was. My first complaint was that the same people I connect with on Twitter and Facebook were on Google+. Why bother? As a result, I would not even think to look at Google+. Today, am beginning to see the +1 button show up on all of the blogs and websites that I read. If the author is a friend of mine, or if the content is good, I like to support their efforts and encourage their writing by socializing it.. (speaking of which – please rate this article and hit the twitter, facebook, and Google+ buttons if you think it is worth sharing). So, I have slowly started using Google+. My experience with Google+ hit an inflection point recently. My attitude changed. As I was socializing a great blog post from my friend Harper Thorpe of CoreLogic (Best Broker Blog in the Industry), I realized that Google+ is surprisingly un-cluttered. Unlike Twitter and Facebook – only the more advanced socializers and bloggers are using Google+. In a way, the lack of popularity of Google+ by the masses makes it, well…..more popular by the intelligentsia.


Change hurts

by Victor Lund on October 28, 2011

Change Hurts

Perhaps there is a new chief executive, a new business strategy, an MLS conversion, a new product launch, a merger, a new data share, or a dramatically altered competitive landscape, in the real estate world, big change means big risk. In other words, company performance may rise like a rocket or fall like a rock. The only thing it’s not likely to do is stay the same. Change may be inevitable, but big change is scary, nevertheless. And how you deal with it plays a big role in the outcome. In just the past few weeks, we’ve seen big change in the works at some of America’s biggest and most widely followed real estate companies, primarily in the technology industry: Realtor.com decides to allow other agents to generate leads from broker listings. Zillow adds 45,000 for sale by owner listings and immediately jumps to become the #1 property search portal in America. Corelogic purchases Tarasoft and controls around 60% or 70% of all MLS systems. LPS broke into 2 companies spawning Real Estate Digital Listing Syndication is leading to chaos Data Sharing may be evil


Rhode Island State-Wide MLS announced this week that they have chosen to work with the Bridge Interactive Group to manage their RETS data process.  Mike Letendre, Chief Information Officer at State-Wide MLS, noted they chose Bridge Interactive for  “…its advanced reporting tools, ability to control access to our listing database, ease of use, and affordability”.  Bridge offers solutions for listing syndication control, RETS data usage and monitoring, account management and billing, and add/edit functionality via its RETS IQ product suite. Bridge technologies are used by MLS System Vendors, MLSs, Brokers, and more than 280,000 agents. Press Release                                                                                          FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Rhode Island State-Wide Multiple Listing Selects Bridge Interactive Group’s RETS IQ Contact™ Server



Morrisville, N.C. (October 21, 2011) – The Council of Multiple Listing Services (CMLS) recently inducted industry veteran and CMLS charter member, Peter Shuttleworth, into the Hall of Fame at the Annual Conference on October 6 in Tucson, Ariz. He became the first person to receive the CMLS Hall of Fame designation, which was established earlier this year to recognize outstanding individual contributions made through dedicated service to the association and the industry. “We are so very excited that Peter is our very first inductee into the CMLS Hall of Fame – the standard to receive this award has been set by his amazing contributions to our industry,” said Merri Jo Cowen, CMLS president.


First American Offers to Buy All or Part of CoreLogic

by Marilyn Wilson on October 21, 2011


Santa Ana-based First American Financial Corp. has offered to buy back all or part of neighboring data services and analytics company CoreLogic Inc., the title insurance company said on Thursday. The two companies were created last year out of the split of First American Corp., in one of Orange County’s largest-ever spinoffs. The split was an attempt to separate and better promote CoreLogic’s growing technology-focused business from First American’s dominant title insurance line of business. First American Financial still owns about an 11% stake in CoreLogic and is its largest shareholder, according to regulatory filings. CoreLogic counts a market value of about $1.2 billion.


William Raveis on the Shift in Real Estate Technology

by Mike Audet on October 20, 2011

Industry Leader Spotlight William Raveis on the “Shift in Real Estate Technology” I had the pleasure of sitting down with Bill Raveis a couple of weeks ago to get his perspective on where he sees technology moving in our industry and what his company is doing to address this vision.  I first met Bill Raveis years ago when I was working with Interealty, the leading MLS vendor of that time.  At our first meeting, Bill and a number of his fellow industry leaders were trying to create a more logical multiple listing service in Fairfield County in Connecticut, an area at the time that had many small local MLSs that made doing business both difficult and expensive.  Then, as now, Bill Raveis is always looking for ways to use technology to improve his business and he is not afraid to challenge the status quo, even the models that have been keys to his company’s success in the past.



The CMLS Conference in Tucson was absolutely the BEST EVER in my view!  First, there were over 550 attendees – the largest in conference history. The conference continues to grow in popularity year after year due to the relevant and timely content delivered coupled with well-organized and FUN events. This year was no different.  The CMLS Board led by Merri Jo Cowen and the fabulous hosts at the Tucson Association of REALTORS® led by Phil Tedesco and Wes Wiggins, formerly of Tucson created a very memorable event.   Jim Harrison, CEO of MLSListings was also elected as the latest board member of CMLS too.  He will be a great addition to the group, I’m sure. The event was kicked off with keynote speaker Brian Taylor, who set the tone of the conference to be focused on evolution, change and transitions.  He used several exercises to graphically depict the ways organizations fall into bad habits and use the wrong motivators to influence change ineffectively.  He set the tone for every presenter to speak frankly and talk about the “real” issues holding back the MLS industry.   In my view the single largest hurdle to growth and evolution of the MLS industry is our own hesitation to take bold and sometimes even unpopular moves to keep the industry ahead of the endless number of competitors coming after us.


Safe Syndicaiton and RED

Today, October 4th, 2011 two vendors announce separate but complementary solutions leading up to the Council of MLS conference: CMLS. Both companies issued press releases of software that effectively works together to handle data syndication. Safe Syndication is a new product launch and reDataVault is a 2.0 release. Both reDataVault and Safe syndication have similar goals in mind – they both seek to support MLSs in managing data outside the walls of the MLS. reDataVault actually distributes data, Safe Syndication does not..  reDataVault goes a bit further by automating the process of managing RETS/IDX/VOW/DataLicense agreements. Safe Syndication has a document repository, but is not a transaction management solution for applying for the agreement. Both systems have some billing integration.


News from Property Panorama and Trulia

by Victor Lund on October 4, 2011

Property Panorama and Trulia

Property Panorama as appointed real estate industry veteran Mike Barnet as its new CEO, and Trulia releases information about the source of inaccurate data on their website today. Property Panorama was not specific in outlining the reasons for changing their leadership, but a new captain is at the helm. Barnet joined the company as the CIO about a year ago, and has been working to lead the charge to take the popular virtual tour solution to a higher level. Property Panorama was a unique offering in the industry when it launched its MLS Data Powered automated virtual tour creation program. Today solutions like VirtualTour, RealBiz 360, Previsite and others provide similar functionality. The press release talks about customer service enhancements and the extension of the platform to incorporate customer relationship management features. Trulia released research that indicates that data submitted to the website from non-MLS sources is 69% inaccurate. (Trulia correction: This is not accurate, we said that 69% of the errors we see come from 3rdparty syndicator source.) Although WAV Group has joined many others in the industry questioning why they even bother to accept those data feeds, Trulia would prefer to use their MLS Direct Reference product to correct the data rather than remove it.

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WAV Group Week in Review October 2 2011

by Victor Lund on October 1, 2011

WAV Group Week in Review

Arizona Association of REALTORS® refocuses its attention on ARBI – Arizona REALTOR® Business Interface which puts MLS, Document Management and a bunch of resources all on one page. The AZMLS Statewide MLS has found new life. No acquisition of ARMLS for now, but MLS partners are aligning to get it done. Perhaps ARMLS will simply move from first to “maybe a little later on.” WAV Group released a new whitepaper in an ongoing series about the Shift in Real Estate for brokers and agents. In the first paper released in June, we looked at the shift happening in enterprise broker software. Last week, we published a new paper that examines the keys to technology adoption. Building and offering great software is the easy – driving adoption is the hard part. Take a look if you missed either of those, for a complete list of WAV Group Whitepapers, browse this page. There is another paper in the works for October, so stay tuned. If you have an idea for WAV Group research, call or write Marilyn Wilson, Mike Audet, or Victor Lund to discuss it.