October 2014

Waves of Change Are Coming…Are you Ready?

by Marilyn Wilson on October 31, 2014

We all know that the floor is shifting in the real estate industry. There’s a general discomfort among brokers and Associations that the world as we know it could go away soon. So what can you do to prepare?   Are you staying close to the new players entering the real estate space? Are you listening closely to what today’s real estate customers are demanding and many times NOT getting from their agent?  Are you proactively talking about the ways that the industry is changing and how it is affecting your local real estate marketplace? Here’s what can happen when an Association or MLS is out of touch and not paying attention to the shifting sands. They can delay or even completely avoid decisions because they seem difficult or controversial causing the organization to fall behind or lose its competitive advantage. Boards that do not stay close to trends can enforce outdated rules and regulations that hinder member success. They can make decisions in isolation of the needs of homebuyers and sellers weakening the relationship of their members with the buying public. Worst of all, a Board of Directors that does not stay in touch may not even know it is out of touch if it does not reach out beyond its local community to see where the real estate industry is going. When conducting strategic plans we hear from brokers and board members that their organization is out of touch with today’s reality. So how do you get your board in touch? You can pay thousands of dollars for several of your board members to attend industry events. Many of these events can be very valuable for the content that is presented and the networking and peer to peer learning. The CMLS conference and the AEI conference are two great opportunities for MLSs and Associations to get in touch. WAV Group is now offering another method for staying in touch with trends and learning from progressive MLSs and Associations around North America. We call it the WAVes of Change Series. This exciting new program allows every one of your Board members, Staff and invited guests to keep in touch with the ever-changing trends in our business WITHOUT leaving home. If you would like to learn more about this exciting program you can register HERE for a free webinar telling you all about the program. This quarterly live event will include EXCLUSIVE, […]

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Facebook frustration, love for LinkedIn and Hello, Ello

by Kevin Hawkins on October 29, 2014

Many self-proclaimed experts tout the importance of social media in real estate marketing as if it were a nitroglycerin prescription for someone with a heart ailment. Without it you will die. And they get away with this B.S. We have to remember that social media are communication channels; and, yes, their power, their ability to engage and cause immediate action indeed can be daunting. But they are still just channels and they are not the only channels you can use to reach, engage and cause your target audiences to respond. In fact, if you use social media incorrectly it will become that other kind of nitroglycerin: It can blow up in your face, quite literally. Social media done correctly is as challenging and daunting today as Search Engine Optimization or SEO: Forever changing, requiring constant adjustments and what worked yesterday is no longer valid today. Step one: Only commit to what you are able to do well, even if it is only a single social media channel and stay committed. Step two: Know the social media channel well before you make the commitment and keep tabs on how it is changing. Look no farther than Facebook to understand the importance of Step two. Facebook follies There is nearly universal frustration with Facebook these days. I am frustrated by the fact I have to go to my wife’s timeline to see most of her posts because Facebook’s algorithm doesn’t think I’m interested. It’s makes zero sense. And it’s not just me. Two studies showed that 93.85 percent of the people we want to reach on Facebook might never see our posts, according to EdgeRank and Social@Olgilvy. Both studies showed that on Facebook, an unpaid post – called an “organic post” – will only reach 6.15% of the number of people who have liked your business page. Ouch. Couple that with the endless “improvements” Facebook makes (yes, I too get red-faced every time this happens and find myself Googling to locate the “most recent” versus “top stories” setting that FB has moved for the umpteenth time), it’s no wonder teenagers are fleeing Facebook for Tumblr. Still, Facebook still rules in social media. I’ve used “boost your posts” with incredible success. We simply have to realize that today’s strategy is moving away from organic to paid posts and follow-me advertising on the side. The result: Facebook may be frustrating the majority of us, […]

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IDX Policies Proposed to Go More Broker-Friendly

by Marilyn Wilson on October 29, 2014

I am proud to say that WAV Group has been working with the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World to create a set of recommendations for ways to improve and update IDX policy. No, there have no bloody fights or name-calling on this one. Just a collaborative process led by Pam O’Connor, CEO of LeadingRE and the MLS Emerging Issues and Trends Committee. In April, LeadingRE sent a list of recommendations facilitated by WAV Group and drafted by their Technology Advisory Council of top Brokerage CIOs to NAR.  These were designed to streamline and update the NAR IDX Guidelines. The recommendations were outlined to reduce the disparity in IDX guidelines from one MLS to another. The policy variations create enormous challenges for brokerages – small and large – that need to belong to more than one MLS for their service areas. As a result of this outreach to NAR, LeadingRE was asked to meet on September 19 with the MLS Emerging Issues and Trends Committee, which makes recommendations to the MLS Committee for agenda items.  Following that meeting, LeadingRE was told that four of the recommendations outlined by them will be included in the MLS Committee agenda on November 8. As a concerned and involved member of our industry, WAV Group respectfully requests that you please pay particular attention to these recommendations and if possible, support them at the upcoming MLS Issues and Policy meeting to be held at the NAR conference on Saturday, November 8th starting at 8:30 am in the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel, Grand Salon C. Definition of IDX As a matter of clarification here’s the definition of IDX or Internet Data Exchange Policy as described on the Diverse Solutions Website: In a nutshell, Internet Data Exchange, most commonly referred to as IDX, is how MLS listings end up on a website. Also known as Broker Reciprocity, IDX encompasses the policies, rules, and software that allow listings from the MLS database to be displayed publicly. Anytime you see properties on a website that came from an MLS, it was made possible through IDX. Most real estate agents and brokers use IDX to simply display MLS listings or home search tools on their website, but as home buyers have become more Internet-savvy, IDX has evolved to encompass more.  Agents today have the option to use basic home search tools provided by their MLS, or build more advanced […]

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30 Days and Counting

by Kevin Hawkins on October 29, 2014

“How do you like your new gig,?” asked Lew Sichelman, perhaps America’s most ardent and prolific consumer real estate columnist and my dear friend of nearly 30 years, by phone the other day. “Unbelievable!,” I answered, wanting to forget that I learned that automatic response from a Tommy Hopkins sales training class I took a dozen years ago. But it’s an accurate description of how it’s been to join a team that is clearly among the most revered and respected professionals in real estate. On September 23, Victor Lund and Marilyn Wilson told the world that I was joining their team to head up a new division, WAV Group Communications. The last 30 days have been humbling, hectic, humorous and utterly exhilarating and has included jumping. I’ll explain that later. In a word, it feels great. The Pace I’ve always thought of myself as a hard worker, because I am. Throughout much of my career during the last 25 years, I’ve often been the last worker standing: The one who locks the doors and shuts off the lights, or sets his wastebasket outside his desk area so the night cleaning crew can empty it, while I could continue to plough away. After all, I’ve worked at some intense places that expected nothing less: With Brad Inman in the earliest days of HomeGain and through the first Real Estate Connects; at Fannie Mae with a PR A-team under the leadership of John Buckley (nephew of William F.), assigned such daunting tasks as getting the page-one lead story in USA Today for our $1 Trillion initiative; and even at far less intense places, but that have incredibly high standards: With Renwick Congdon at Imprev, who eats, sleeps, breaths, expects and delivers quality in all things. I also have been known to crank out work product so fast that I have a tendency to fill portable hard drives: I’m on my third terabyte in less than three years, and a lot of that is from just writing. Imagine how I felt when I started working with Victor and Marilyn and found a work ethic, pace and proclivity to crank out work product that exceeded my own. That was a humbling revelation. The People The WAV Group had almost been an enigma to me until I worked with them on a consulting project at Imprev. That experience resulted in an instant kinship with anyone […]

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Broker Non-Compete with Portals

by Victor Lund on October 29, 2014

The great real estate portals of America are trusted partners to brokers. As trusted partners, they are able to collect a lot of information that brokers have held close. For example, portals have access to a broker’s agent roster. They know which agents respond to consumer inquiries the fastest and the best. They even know which agents sell the most number of homes and which ones have the best consumer reviews. Beyond the information portals have about listings and agents, they have collected a massive amount of consumer information including the identity of the consumer. Moreover, with direct consumer email marketing, portals have built a trust relationship with consumers. There is nothing harmful about any of this. Indeed, it makes portals great partners to brokers as long as they stay on their side of the fence. Executives with portals have been consistent in their remarks claiming that they do not intend to get into the brokerage business. That is a good thing, because if a leading portal became a brokerage they would be a powerhouse right out of the gate. Could it happen? It is not going to happen, but it could. Many leading portals have brokerage licenses in every State in America. I do not know why, but they do. Many portals also provide products to agents and brokers that leverage IDX data – the same data that is used by agents and brokers to power solutions from other vendor partners, and the same data that brokers use to power their own website. Every day, the number of full IDX feeds to portals expands. If a portal wanted to get into the brokerage business tomorrow, they would have all of the ingredients. It is kinda scary to think about, but do not fret. Portals adamantly deny any plans or prospects of becoming a brokerage. Who could blame them? Brokerage margins are razor thin. Maybe they would consider becoming a franchise, but again – the executives of portals have denied any likelihood of this. Lets make sure. There is a simple way to make sure that the partnership between brokers and portals remains non-competitive. In the portal license agreement, or any other agreement between the parties, should contain a non-compete clause (even as an addendum to current agreements) that outlines the the understanding. Given that the understanding is implicit in the relationship between the two parties today, putting it in […]

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Brokers Out-Marketing Competitors

by Victor Lund on October 29, 2014

I attended Luxury Connect last week in Beverly Hills. If you are not familiar with the event, it was expertly delivered by the team from Inman News that is host to the Real Estate Connect conferences held annually in New York City and San Francisco. I don’t think that anyone really appreciates how difficult it is to put on a great event. This group does it with ease and grace even when pitted against seemingly insurmountable challenges. There was so much fanfare about this event, it is speculated that the original property selected for the event was sold! A week before, they had to move the conference to a new location – another $100MM+ listing in Beverly Hills. It was as perfect as possible despite a few logistical challenges that everyone quickly forgave. Luxury is different, and this Luxury Connect highlighted just how different. One quote that put it all together for me came from my friend Mark McLaughlin, CEO of Pacific Union “We develop lofty strategies that are different and difficult, and that nobody else will do.” It took me awhile to understand how profound this statement was. I did not fully internalize it until I watched Steve Ozonian of Carrington look at a new product from Matterport – “a 3-D virtual tour.” I had seen the Matterport product in the past. They have signed up a number of large and progressive brokerages. I naturally put them in the category of a very fancy virtual tour. What I learned from watching Steve Ozonian look at the 3D Showcase product for a few minutes is that it is so much more. It is what Mclaughlin was talking about. It is a product that stops you in your tracks. It differentiates home marketing. It provides firms, who want to offer elite services, the ability to translate excellence into something that stuns affluent clients. There is not much that Ozonian’s has not seen before. The dollhouse view is what caught Ozonian’s attention. It delivered a view that added spatial context to the property. As he drilled into the property he was able to experience a truly three dimensional walk-though of the home – looking up, down, left, right, moving forward, backwards, even floating through walls, ceilings, and floors. It’s a sensation akin to being a ghost with x-ray vision. I could hear McLaughlin repeating in my ears. Matterport is one of those […]

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Revaluate Property Reports

by Victor Lund on October 17, 2014

When real estate tech entrepreneur Chris Drayer (see linkedin) gets started on something, WAV Group is always willing to take a look. Today we connected with Chris to get an inside look at Revaluate, a big data resource that pulls property attributes from 2000 data sources to tell a property story. Today, Revaluate is in Beta and only available to New York City properties. There is great news and not so great news about this. The great news is that they tackled one of the most challenging cities in America to collect property data. The other great news is that New York City has an insane amount of housing spread across lots and lots of high-rise buildings, some of which have higher populations than small towns across America. It’s a big market with lots of consumers and real estate pros. It is free today, but they will charge in the future. The bad news is that it only works for New York City today, so you cannot see how the data will look in your market yet. Look at the sample report here. When we look at products, we try to understand what is different. In this category, there are a number of property reporting tools available, including Realtor’s Property Resource, OnBoard, TLCengine, Realty Trac’s HomeFacts, MOVE’s Find, CoreLogic’s Realist, and a bunch of category killers like WalkScore. For the most part, Revaluate has stayed clear of those solutions., for example, there is no AVM.  But in some ways, they pick up some important home attributes like Flood Zone, Crime, and air traffic noise that you do find in other applications. Some of my favorites were Heating System Interruptions – I guess that many Manhattan building lose heat often. Energy Efficiency – Apparently many of the buildings are not very energy efficient. Rats, Cockroach report anyone? Elevators Up Time – Elevators break, and if you live on the 50th Floor – you want to know how often. Litigation Records – How often and what is the context for legal battles in the building. To stay on point, they have a lot of data that I have not seen before but find very interesting. It is presented with a thoughtful UI. Check it out. If you think it is interesting, reach out and talk to them. I think that it may make sense for a NYC brokerage firm or a portal […]

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MLSListings in the Lead Pack of MLS Adopting Homesnap

by Victor Lund on October 16, 2014

Homesnap is approaching the Nation’s leading MLSs with one heck of a value proposition. The company optimizes all of the MLS data for mobile devices and delivers it through an app to agents…..for free. Well, its free for the first year. Homesnap is among a small handful of mobile solution providers that offer agent-only data.  The agents can access the full listing data along with showing instructions, commission splits, agent roster, and other confidential fields. The MLS data is organized and combined with census data, tax data, and geographic boundaries that are important to agents in the field. The solution also incorporates popular messaging for agent to agent chat, agent to customer chat, quick CMA, and my personal favorite……integration with a showing solution. When agents invite a client, the app is branded to that agent. Mobile MLS apps are hard. Goomzee, GoMLS, SmarterAgent, MobileRealtyApps, Prospects/MLSTouch and a few others have tackled the job. Agents have very high expectations when it comes to full access mobile solutions for their MLS. The free for the first year program is a smart way for Homesnap to gain experience and exposure to learn what it takes to roll out, train, and support the solution to thousands of agents. Trust me, enterprise software is not for the faint of heart. Many technology firms have been crushed by the demand. MLSListings joins the lead pack of MLSs giving Homesnap a chance to prove themselves including MRIS, The MLS™/CLAW, Palm Springs, and Greater El Paso. (Special shout out to GEPAR and Jason Sanchez – keep up the great work!).

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Raising MLS User Intelligence with MLS Drip Training

by Victor Lund on October 15, 2014

All MLS systems are pretty easy to use. Without any training, even a new real estate professional should be able to access the MLS and use its core features like search and add/edit listings. Watching a new agent log into the MLS is a great way to measure the ease of use. Try it sometime. Raising MLS user intelligence is a goal of every MLS organization. When WAV Group performs MLS user satisfaction surveys we learn that a large problem is that MLSs provide services and features that many users don’t know about. We did a survey last year for an MLS where we asked an open ended question about what feature is most needed to enhance the MLS system. The number 1 answer was MOBILE! Funny thing is that the MLS system itself is mobile browser compliant and they offer not one, but two mobile apps! Clearly there is an education problem. There are many MLS organizations that have resulted to what WAV Group calls “MLS Drip Training.” It is a call to action that appears in the notifications page when each user logs into the MLS. This feature is common to most MLS systems, in this example we are highlighting the NorthstarMLS and the great work of their staff at executing MLS Drip Training. Below is an image that illustrates the call to action on the login page. Here is a link to the video – http://youtu.be/VPG0R8_l6jA

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Tedesco Moves From Tucson to RI State Association

by Victor Lund on October 14, 2014

Phil Tedesco is one of those senior level MLS and Association Executives that everyone wants to lead their organization. He has a depth of experience across many large Associations and Mid-sized MLSs that have led him to his new role as the CEO of the Rhode Island State Association of REALTORS® and Statewide MLS. He will be departing his current position at the Tucson Association of REALTORS® at the end of this year. Interestingly enough, the Tucson Association and the Rhode Island State Association (4000 members) have nearly identical membership numbers with Tucson having a slight lead (4700 members) as one of America’s Large-Boards. He leaves Tucson in great health and looks forward to the experience working with Rhode Island, one of America’s great real estate marketplaces. Tucson REALTORS® CEO Tedesco to lead
Rhode Island’s state association Philip Tedesco, CEO of the Tucson Association of REALTORS® (TAR) since February 2010, has been named CEO of the Rhode Island Association of REALTORS® and State-wide Multiple Listing Service. He will remain with TAR until Dec. 31 and plans to assume the Rhode Island post in mid-January. 

Philip Tedesco Prior to joining TAR, Tedesco served as the CEO for the San Mateo County (Calif.) Association of REALTORS®; CEO of the Santa Cruz (Calif.) Association of REALTORS®; and Vice President of Marketing at the REALTOR® Association of Greater Miami.

His professional designations include: Realtor-Association Certified Executive (RCE); and Certified Association Executive (CAE).

He is a member of the Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities (TREO) Board of Directors and the TREO Chairman’s Circle. He also serves on the board of the Southern Arizona Defense Alliance (SADA) and the Tucson Business Alliance (TBA). 

“It is with deep regret and mixed emotions that we accept Phil’s resignation. Since becoming our CEO, he has been instrumental in putting our association in solid administrative, financial and operational position.  We wish him well in his new position,” said 2014 TAR President Steven Redmond. 

The Rhode Island Association of REALTORS® is one of the largest professional organizations in the state. It has some 4,000 members in 600 offices who collectively closed 14,000 homes worth about $4.3 billion in sales last year. TAR has about 4,700 members who sold about 13,950 homes in 2013 for a total sales volume of $2.7 billion. 

Tedesco has over 20 years of non-profit and association executive management experience. He holds a B.A. and Master’s degree from Colorado State University in […]

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Brokers and Franchise Remove Barriers to Marketing

by Victor Lund on October 14, 2014

Marketing is a key component to success in real estate. I hate stating the obvious, but if you don’t start with it, one can hardly understand the reality of the impact that the cost of marketing has on the adoption and utilization of marketing plans by various segments of real estate professionals. Franchise giant RE/MAX announced an agreement with Imprev for marketing solutions. You can see the program in the video below. In the past, the fee for access to these marketing tools was $299 per year. For the sake of argument, lets presume that the pricing is fair. Judging from our appraisal, it would be a fair price at $1000 per year. That is where the price barrier comes in. RE/MAX just launched the Imprev program for free – no cost to the agent. Here is why. Top producing agents do not blink at $299. That is the cost of dinner for two and a bottle of wine at a nice restaurant. Agents who do transactions every month or two are always marketing and they use the tools provided by the franchise and broker and flourish other marketing plans over the top as their secret sauce. This is the top 20% of agents in real estate. The middle 60% of agents in real estate do somewhere between 3 and 10 transactions a year. This is a mixed bucket. Some use the marketing programs and some don’t. In truth, it depends on the economic vitality of the household at the time when the marketing investment is demanded. Some of these agents will make the investment. Others will hold off and hope for the best. Still others will totally ignore it and not do any marketing that is not free. The bottom 20% of agents is the worst group at adoption of marketing solutions. They are broke, or only do real estate part time. They do between 0 and 3 transactions per year. So, why did RE/MAX go with free marketing? Because, marketing works and it works every time. It is good for the brand, good for the agent, good for the broker, and amazing for the consumer. RE/MAX is raising the bar. In truth, they are matching programs offered today by other franchise brands too. It keeps them competitive. The philosophy of RE/MAX has always been to keep costs low and commissions high. This fits, even if it burdens profits […]

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The Real Benefit to Z and T Merger

by Victor Lund on October 13, 2014

Big advertisers need big media sites. Zillow is big and Trulia is big, but they are not huge.  The hugest would be Facebook. Think of the Madison Avenue crowd. Both companies have sales staff pitching pretty much the same value proposition. That sales team now turns into one. Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff pretty much said exactly this in an interview with Jim Cramer, the host of Mad Money (http://business-news.thestreet.com/crookstontimes/story/jim-cramers-mad-money-recap-now-is-not-the-time-for-panic/12861526) “Rascoff noted that when it comes to the Internet, user experience rules. Once you have an audience the advertisers will follow, he said, which is why the Trulia acquisition makes sense. Zillow will operate both brands when the acquisition closes, allowing users to pick the brand that fits them best or advertise on both platforms” WAV Group has seen this before, but not at this scale. For example, when a large phone carrier wants to target real estate agents, they come with a budget of $1 million or more to spend. There are not enough B to B impressions to fill that order. I presume by extension that Zillow and Trulia will combine to go after the huge online advertisers – Fortune 100 types.  Furthermore, they have put a moat around the business with Zillow, Trulia, Yahoo Real Estate, MSN Real Estate, AOL Real Estate, Scripts, and 360 Newspapers. Aside from the MOVE network, it is pretty hard to access homebuyer and sellers at scale without going through the Zillow network. Better yet, Zillow and Trulia will not undercut each other’s prices. The fact remains that the homebuyer and seller impression value is far above the current rates because of the amount of money they spend in the home transaction process. Thousands of dollars are up for grabs. We saw some other signals this week that will continue to play out if the merger is successful. Brokers will be able to negotiate terms with both sites in concert. Although the pricing for each site may be different, the principles around things like fair display guidelines are likely to apply to both sites. Most firms treat Z & T as a category of sites. They treat MOVE differently because of the National Association of Realtors affiliation to realtor.com. For example, I imagine that the Edina Realty agreement with both sites was pretty uniform, and Allen Tate’s choice to drop both was pretty uniform. Not being involved in either of those transaction, I […]

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Broker Back Office Powered By MLS

by Victor Lund on October 9, 2014

MLSs have taken a relentless beating by large brokers over the last year.  The message was clear, help us! Brokers are fighting for their lives in a technology cold war where they see everyone as a co-petitor.  Third party sites are co-petitors in attracting consumers to property search websites. MLS consumer sites are sometimes co-petitors too. Obviously, other brokers are co-petitor’s, especially when it comes to the paradox of the MLS services vs. brokerage services. For many brokers today, it is hard to know who is your friend and who is your enemy. It begs the question, “why can’t we all just get along?”  The lines between partners and competitors are blurred. Firms want partners in online marketing with third party websites, but they want their content respected (see Fair Display Guidelines). Firms want the cooperation and compensation offered by the MLS, but they do not want them to level the playing field with too many core services offered to all subscribers. Some firms are delighted by the success of an MLS consumer website but would rather not have yet another competitor attracting the consumer. The leading MLSs in the nation are sensitive to this issue, and they work as partners with all of their brokers by listening to their concerns and supporting them at developing opportunities to be successful. What is becoming more obvious by the day is the gap between this attitude found by large MLSs vs. the inconsistency found in smaller Association run MLSs. “There is an enormous amount of variation between MLSs across America today making it nearly impossible for large firms to deploy solution in every market to each of their agents,” says Craig Cheatham of The Realty Alliance and the RESO Board of Directors. Many large firms like Philadelphia based Fox and Roach Realtors have invested significantly in technology solutions that differentiate their firms’ commitment to supporting the relationship between the brokerage, the agent, and the consumer. Their back office solution is called ARC, or Agent Resource Center. The ARC allows Fox and Roach agents to operate in the broker’s back office solution (Powered by CoreLogic’s AgentAchieve) with integrated MLS services.  This is a landmark partnership for brokers who want their agents to leverage MLS services in their systems, not on the MLS system. As a data services partner, TREND MLS is fully supportive with full data feeds and Single Sign On to MLS […]

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The NAR and Top Level Domains

by Victor Lund on October 8, 2014

WAV Group has been participating in the MLS Domains Association as an advocate for the strategy for organized real estate to gain control of top level domains. These domains that represent organized real estate like .MLS, .REALTOR, and .realestate were available on the open market for anyone to grab. You can read our articles on the topic here http://waves.wavgroup.com/?s=mls+domains There is a group called ICANN that organizes the top level domains on the internet. The most used top level domains are .com, .gov, .biz, .org. The top level domains have meaning like commerce, government, business, non-profit organization. Countries have top level domains too – like .ca for Canada.  In an altruistic fashion, ICANN carefully expands the authorization of top-level domains to meet the real issues like “we are running out of domain names.” For example, there is a possible combination of 456,976 four letter domain names. They are all gone. Not a single one is unregistered. Three letter domain names were snapped up years ago. The large conglomerate 3M had to petition ICANN to get the inclusion of numbers in domain names.  Because if ICANNs efforts to expand top level domains, we will never run out of domain names. It is possible that we will run out of ip addresses. IP addresses are assigned to everything that connects to the internet – phones, servers, tablets, computers, cameras, alarm systems, televisions, and even refrigerators! There are only 4 billion internet addresses possible under the current system, but lets leave this story for another day. Trust me, that day is coming and IPv6 will make Y2K sound like a whisper. Top level domains play a significant role in how the internet is organized. Imagine the Internets’ confusion between a real estate MLS and soccer MLS. Imagine what would happen if the name .realtor fell into the hands of an organization other than the National Association of REALTORS®. A top level domain like .realestate is pretty ambiguous when it comes to who should administrate it, but the NAR was successful in their bid. Kudos to the NAR! Who should buy the new domains? I think that everyone should buy their brand on these new top level domains and launch a placeholder website on them. If you have a web presence today, don’t change a thing. This effort is simply to lay a foundation for future change if the business conditions warrant those efforts. […]

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Moxi Works Real Estate CRM Launches with 7000 Agents

by Victor Lund on October 7, 2014

There are lots of startups every year in real estate. Many come and go. Most hunt the largest customers possible and are crushed either by winning the account and not being able to perform or not winning the account and running out of capital. Moxi Works is different. I know these people and what they have been working on. First of all, Moxi Works is not really a startup. It is a new brand on a company that was born out of Windermere, one of those traditional big brokerages who have adapted to technology with a passion. Moxi Works is an opportunity for other great firms to partner with them on a platform that is unique, and probably exclusive. They have partnered with three of the largest brokerage companies on other product platforms already. They can roll out technology across thousands of agents carefully and seamlessly. It is an art that very few have mastered. Moxi Works is the product of what happens when you take a bunch of talented Seattle technologists and you blend them into a sales driven brokerage. When I first got a demo of the Moxi Works productivity system, I started to run though my CRM feature checklist. When I saw the dashboard I was a bit shocked to see nothing of what I expected. They show calendar. I get that. They show GCI – your target, year to date, and percentage of goal attained. I have never seen that in any real estate CRM. They track 4 phases in the sales funnel – Pending Sales, Activities, Prospects, and Marketing. Great things to focus on. As you can imagine – the opening screen is clean, and inspiring. It is a daily briefing report. As you peel back the layers, you see that there is awesome technology in the solution, including tight integration with Microsoft Exchange (or Gmail for the Google brokers).  But everywhere, the user interface is bold and clean. Of course, it is 100% mobile friendly. Beyond the tech stuff, this is obviously a product of OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate. He grew up in one of America’s great real estate families with a tough competitor right along side him.  He is a real estate salesman. I say that with the highest amount of humility and respect. He knows that sphere marketing is where real estate transactions come from, and this product is […]

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Welcome David Mele, Homes.com President

by Victor Lund on October 6, 2014

WAV Group has a strong working relationship between many portal operators and the brokers and MLSs we support. Homes.com is among the largest portals in real estate and among the top providers of franchise, MLS agent, and broker tools in real estate. Last week, Homes.com announced that David Mele was appointed the President of Homes.com. Previously, Terry Slattery was responsible for Homes.com business and the ForRent businesses. Homes.com effectively split the job in half and brought in David Mele to head up the Homes.com unit. Mr. Mele has worked for Landmark’s Dominion family of companies for a long time and was previously in charge of operating The Virginian-Pilot and its affiliate business units. The Virginian-Pilot is the largest newspaper in the great State of Virginia and is the primary publication of the Hampton Roads Market, a DMA of roughly 1.5 million residents (and no major sports teams!). During his tenure at The Virginian-Pilot, Mele was celebrated by his company and by other newspapers across the nation for his management of the successful shift from print to a solid offering of print+online. He leaves The Virginian-Pilot in great shape with readership climbing as a result of the multimedia publishing strategy he led. When asked, Mele suggested that there are four principles that will guide him at Homes.com. First, his goal is to connect consumers in the best way to information that they find valuable, without resurrecting any walled gardens. Secondly, Homes.com is going to pin their success on quality and accuracy of information. Third, Homes.com will maintain their steadfast course of supporting the community of real estate professionals connecting to the consumer. Lastly, his goal is better, not bigger. I have never been a big fan of comScore for tracking publishers. I prefer to look at the size of the consumer audience in local markets using comScore’s competitor, Hitwise. Real Estate is local, and huge national numbers should not be used to project local online audience. Today, comScore ranking for portals in August looked something like this: Zillow – 59.1 million unique visits on desktop and mobile Trulia – 30.1 million unique visits on desktop and mobile Realtor.com – 24.1 million unique visits on desktop and mobile Yahoo – 9.9 million unique visits on desktop and mobile* Homes.com 8.1 million unique visits on desktop and mobile *Zillow also operates Yahoo!, MSN, Scripts, AOL, over 360 newspaper portals One of the interesting […]

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CMLS Wrap UP

by Victor Lund on October 1, 2014

The Council of MLS held their annual conference in California last week. It was most well attended show in its history. They did a great job of blending outside perspectives from leading technology firms with mls-to-mls sharing. Kudos to the CMLS board of directors and the California Regional MLS led by Art Carter and their staff who were the hosts. It may be the most well run conference in real estate. Even the vendors were happy, especially those on the innovation track. My understanding is that the legal meetings went really well. SourceMLS is off to a great start. And, the message this year from The Realty Alliance was that MLSs are doing a much better job at engaging brokers but there are miles to go. Still no public statements on project Upstream. The conference buzz was focused around RESO – the Real Estate Standard Organization. MLSs like MRIS and MLSListings are way out in front of the industry with the adoption of RESO standards and the Certification of RESO standards. They have set the mark with both and other MLSs are fast on their heals to get in line. It is insane that all real estate information in America is not on a standard in 2014. MLS technology giant CoreLogic is rolling through successful conversions to their Matrix system to the delight of agents, brokers, and MLS executives alike. Conversions are never without pain, but it is manageable. BlackKnight financial is on a roll with their Paragon 5 MLS system and so is FlexMLS and Rapattoni. Everyone seems pretty healthy. On the vendor alley, there were lost of stars including the man who gave Vendor Alley its name – Mr. Greg Robertson. He is contenting to expand his CloudCMA offering across more and more MLSs with his only competitor being TouchCMA. Listtrac, a new company that provides a free reporting solution to MLSs, Agents, and Brokers that tracks online marketing hits, leads, etc seemed to have a great show, so did Virtual Tour Cafe. Mobile is still a super hot topic and MLSOffice, Mobile Realty Apps, GoMLS, Goomzee, and Smarter Agent were all in attendance. Full data seems to be the next hot trend in Mobile. HomeSnap is a recent entry into the space and everyone loves their User Interface. Tying it all together for MLSs was Clareity Security – offering SSO services and Clareity Store. Look for a big […]

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