mls system

IRES MLS Launches Tablet Solution

by Victor Lund on March 4, 2013

mobile technology

WAV Group MLS Customer Satisfaction Surveys have demonstrated that agents want the ability to access all of their MLS services on the iPad or other tablet device. It is refreshing to see IRES MLS in Colorado take on that need and address it by launching their own iPad app for members. IRES built their iPad application themselves, proving that some MLSs with strong developers can accomplish the delivery of MLS services on an iPad quickly and cost effectively. The IRES app supports the most meaningful and highly used features of the MLS service, including full listing search of all MLS data and public record data. Agents can also access comparables and even sign documents electronically.”Today agents cannot add or edit listings in this version of the release,” says a spokesperson for IRES. “The process of keying all of the data required for listing entry is significant, and not very practical on the iPad.”  “For right now, we are keeping it simple and addressing the most important data access needs of the agent.” “The next step is likely to support changing price, status, or photo upload.” Bravo IRES on this great new member benefit with no increase in member subscription fees. Fellow Colorado MLS, Metrolist also has a robust number of mobile and iPad solutions available for sale to their members. WAV Group has also been impressed by solutions offered by SmarterAgent, Prospects MLS Touch, and MobileRealtyApps. We also look forward to seeing CoreLogic’s solution under development with DoApps. For a complete list of companies offering Mobile Solutions for MLS, click here.   WAV Group partner Mike Audet published a paper targeting MLS Mobile Strategy for 2012. Check it out. Press Release Follows Loveland, CO — February 28th, 2013 IRES, LLC, a leading provider of multiple listing services in Colorado, announced today the release of IRES Tablet.  IRES Tablet makes the IRES MLS available to Colorado real estate brokers on tablet devices such as the iPad.  It is estimated that in 2013 more consumers will search for real estate on mobile devices than desktop computers.  With this addition, IRES ensures that Colorado brokers can meet the needs of today’s mobile consumer. In addition to advanced listing and public record search capability, IRES Tablet also provides the ability to create comparable reports, plus write and electronically sign contracts with the industry leading esignature software, DocuSign®. Lauren Hansen, CEO of IRES says, “We are thrilled […]

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Indiana Regional MLS Is Born

by Victor Lund on February 23, 2013

Indiana Regional MLS

In a press release yesterday, Indiana Regional MLS announced the selection of LPS as the vendor for consolidating 13 MLS systems into one. The effort was led by Kevin McQueen of Focus Forward Consulting. McQueen successfully managed to get 13 different MLSs serving an aggregate of 5000 subscribers to combine their MLS. The subscribers should be very excited about this. It is likely to reduce their costs and improve their services. There will be some bumps along the way as they accomodate change – but this is a great opportunity to advance the industry. Well done by all! There is a cool website that will allow those who may be considering similar initiatives to review the process which was expertly guided by McQueen. Click Here – http://indianaregional.org/ There is a handy Talking Points Document that tells the story of how it will work here: https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http%3A%2F%2Findianaregional.files.wordpress.com%2F2012%2F12%2Firmls-updated-oct-2012-talking-points.pdf   PRESS RELEASE JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Feb. 21, 2013 – Lender Processing Services, Inc. (NYSE: LPS), a leading provider of integrated technology, services, data and analytics to the mortgage and real estate industries, today announced an agreement by which LPS Paragon technology will be used to consolidate the property listing data of 13 Indiana Realtor® organizations across 42 counties into a single MLS system for real estate professionals and their customers. For the first time, more than 5,000 real estate professionals across Indiana – who formerly used 13 independent MLS systems – will now have unrestricted access to more than 750,000 real estate listings through LPS Paragon’s advanced capabilities. Newly formed Indiana Regional MLS (IRMLS) will collect from and distribute listing data to the 13 Realtor associations in Indiana, allowing members to search across multiple markets and pay only one MLS fee to access the IRMLS data. “The ability to access a massive amount of aggregated listing data is going to help Realtors and their clients by allowing them to work more efficiently in the marketplace,” said Carrie Kendall, general manager of the new IRMLS and executive officer of the Lafayette Regional Association of Realtors® in Lafayette, Ind. “And, IRMLS now has the critical mass necessary to provide more services to our members and to their members’ clients for years to come.” Kendall said the participating associations worked collaboratively with industry consultant Kevin McQueen of Focus Forward Consulting Inc. and LPS to meet the challenge of a consolidation of this magnitude and achieve successful results. “In addition to […]

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Is the MLS In Danger?

by Victor Lund on February 20, 2013

danger

I do not really know Alain Pinel as well as I would like to. He sold the company that bears his name and pursued other interests. He is back now and runs the Luxury division of Intero Real Estate, one of Alain Pinel Real Estate’s chief competitors in San Jose, along with Coldwell Banker and others. What I do know of Alain Pinel I like and respect a lot. I have a similar level of respect for the maverick efforts of Intero, who used passion combined with technology (AgentAchieve) to launch a powerful brokerage in a very competitive marketplace. In a blog post today, Alain Pinel asked – Is the MLS in Danger? He says: there are signs suggesting that the MLS is going through some mid-life crisis. (Non MLS transactions are) depriving most local Realtors of the ability to objectively judge values and trends listing agents who bring only a few of their peers in the loop, can nevertheless achieve the objective: the sale. They may even argue that the fact that they cooperate with only a few, creates some urgency among the select group we must respect the seller’s decision to withhold a listing from the mls (the MLS) has its own agenda you may wonder if the tail (the MLS) is not wagging the dog (The Broker). One thing is sure; the tail (The MLS)is now bigger than the dog (The Broker). many brokers think that the MLS is now eating their soup, somewhat competing with their business, and too zealous regarding new constraining rules MLSes which offer all their members a vast menu of state-of-the-art apps which compete with similar services that the finest companies created, at great cost, to differentiate themselves from other brokers more and more syndicated sites and real estate related service providers which feed off of the MLS, progressively divert the consumer from our sites to theirs and capture value-pieces of our business Intero operates the bulk of their company operations in MLS Listings, an expertly operated MLS covering Silicon Valley, San Jose, and Monterey. MLS Listings is somewhat unique in that their Board of Directors are brokers, and all of the large firms are represented, including Intero. This is important to understand in order to frame the gravity of Alain Pinel’s post. His thoughts are couched in a deep understanding of what MLSs do, and based largely upon his experience with an MLS that […]

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Putting the Broker in Charge of the MLS Service Offerings

by Marilyn Wilson on January 31, 2013

Most MLSs today have a very simple pricing structure.  One size fits all. Every MLS customer receives exactly the same level of service and technology tools. There is no consideration for what services they may have available from their brokerage. This is the crux of why many large brokers are not best friends with their local MLS. They believe the MLS is “leveling the playing field”.  Large brokers believe their secret sauce and recruiting advantages lie in the technologies they offer to their agents.  They argue that the “full-service” MLS is diluting the impact of their significant investments in breakthrough and differentiating technology tools. While large brokerages might want their MLS to reduce the number of services offered, small brokers, on the other hand, welcome the support their MLS can provide them. They love when their MLS offers a depth of training options, marketing and prospecting tools and effective ways to enhance listings like virtual tours, mortgage calculators and mobile solutions.  Interestingly, this important group of smaller brokers usually makes up the lion’s share of the revenues being collected by a MLS. The large brokers with the largest voices want the MLS to limit its services and “stay out of their way”.  The smaller brokers welcome the support and breadth of services the MLS can afford to them and their agents. This is what we call a conundrum. So what’s an MLS to do? Here’s a new idea to consider to address this universal conflict between small brokers and large brokers. How about creating a flexible pricing strategy where every broker can decide what services they would like the MLS to offer to their own agents? What if Large Broker “A” could choose to offer MLS, public records, showing appointment software and transaction management to its agents?  What if Large Broker “B” could choose to offer just MLS and public records? What is large Broker A could get rid of her training staff and choose a training package that could be offered trough the MLS to save cost? What if Small Broker “A” could choose to offer all of the tools offered by the MLS and Small Broker “B” could offer everything except virtual tours because he has negotiated a great price with a local virtual tour vendor? In this model, MLSs put brokers in the driver’s seat of the service offering provided by the MLS to their own agents.  […]

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For CoreLogic, Customer Focus Starts At The Top

by Victor Lund on January 14, 2013

george-livermore

CoreLogic is a solid company with solid earnings, low debt, and large cash reserves. As of late, their stock has performed very well. Much of their favor in the markets has been driven by the company’s focus on becoming more customer-centric in their approach to business. In a press release today, the media was provided with a taste of the new CoreLogic business strategy under the leadership of senior company executive, George Livermore. Livermore’s title was previously group executive and executive vice president for the Data & Analytics segment of CoreLogic. Today, George Livermore was named Group Executive, Global Sales and Client Strategy. Livermore has always been genius at leveraging CoreLogic’s expansive data assets into industry leading products. That is in his blood and unlikely to change. But, the board has clearly signaled that Livermore’s chief responsibility is to drive sales growth through client strategy. There was no mention of any other restructuring in the release. It will be great to watch how their customer strategy plays out in their MLS, Tax, and Broker businesses in 2013. Press Release Follows: Irvine, Calif., January 14, 2013—CoreLogic (NYSE: CLGX), a leading provider of information, analytics and business services, appointed George Livermore to group executive and executive vice president, Global Sales and Client Strategy. In this role, Mr. Livermore has overall responsibility for sales and marketing and delivering on the Company’s enterprise growth strategy. Mr. Livermore has more than 25 years’ experience in the housing finance and property information business and was previously group executive and executive vice president for the Data & Analytics segment of CoreLogic. About CoreLogic  CoreLogic (NYSE: CLGX) is a leading property information, analytics and services provider in the United States and Australia. The company’s combined data from public, contributory, and proprietary sources includes over 3.3 billion records spanning more than 40 years, providing detailed coverage of property, mortgages and other encumbrances, consumer credit, tenancy, location, hazard risk and related performance information. The markets CoreLogic serves include real estate and mortgage finance, insurance, capital markets, transportation and government. CoreLogic delivers value to clients through unique data, analytics, workflow technology, advisory and managed services. Clients rely on CoreLogic to help identify and manage growth opportunities, improve performance and mitigate risk. Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., CoreLogic operates in seven countries. For more information, please visit www.corelogic.com. Disclosure: WAV Group performs research and consulting projects from time to time for CoreLogic.

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InmanConference

PHOENIX—According to sources currently seated in rows 14 through 18 aboard flight 763, two middle-aged REALTORS® are really hitting it off during the trip to Inman in New York. Using terms like “AVM” and “CMA,” the slightly overweight, average-looking men are reportedly engaged in a detailed discussion about overwhelmingly exciting work-related topics and, sources said, seem to be getting along great. “They got to talking as soon as we boarded, and you could tell they just clicked right away,” said 31-year-old Camille Catteano of 16B, adding that one of the men, upon looking up from his REALTOR Magazine™, immediately recognized the Keller Williams™ logo on the polo shirt of the man sitting down in the next seat. “Since then, they’ve been going on and on about Zestimates, Lead Generation, RPR, and commission splits.” I mean, just listen to them,” Catteano continued. “You’d think they were old pals. But they just met and just happen to both be in real estate.” Nearby passengers confirmed that the men, both wearing khaki pants with cell phones clipped to their belts, began the conversation by exchanging information about their respective listings and recent transactions. Reports indicated they then began to discuss various methods for “social networking” and “Search Engine Optimization” which appear to occupy a sizable portion of the day-to-day work in their profession. “I tuned them out for 30 minutes or so while listening to music, but when I took my headphones off, they were still going strong, chatting about some trade show they’ve both attended in Orlando,” said Marco Cruz, who occupies the row’s window seat, adding that the two joked about how difficult it was to get between meetings at all of the hotels around the convention center. “Then they got into how IDX policy standards have changed over the years and how listing syndication is really broken across the board, and at that point I dozed off.” Although sources reported a brief lull in the conversation when both men took out their laptops and began typing blog posts. The discussion is said to have picked up again after one of the men complained about his company’s efforts to write a blog, prompting both individuals to express their frustration that “its every agent for himself now” and “no one has offices with doors anymore.” “When I came around to their row with refreshments, they were so engrossed in conversation, talking about […]

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We are pleased to present the results from the WAV Group 2012 MLS Technology Survey for your review and ongoing technology evaluation.  From September 29, 2012 to November 4, 2012 WAV Group fielded the WAV Group 2012 MLS Technology Survey to participating MLSs.  72 MLSs, representing 37 different states or provinces participated in the survey at both staff and user level. 15,130 individual participants filled out the survey completely making it the largest survey of its kind.  WAV Group would like to thank all of the MLSs and individual respondents that participated. Download the report here! Participants Receive Additional Report This survey report is unsponsored and is provided at no charge to our friends in the industry.  We hope you find this useful in your ongoing review of MLS technology services.  Participating MLSs also received a detailed survey report for their MLS system, at no charge, which includes the results from all of the MLSs that use their MLS system.  If your MLS did not participate this year we encourage to register for 2013 so you will receive this additional information to assist you in your ongoing technology review. Survey Distributed to MLS Staff and Users The 2012 WAV Group MLS Technology Survey is distributed to both staff and MLS members. What is important to an MLS staff person may be totally different from what a user wants to see in their MLS system so it is critical to obtain feedback from both for a balanced perspective.  As you review the survey results you will see a number of differences when comparing staff and user ratings.  Since this is the second year we have run our national survey we are also able to show you some trend results from 2011 to 2012. MLS Systems Included The following MLS systems has a sufficient number of responses to be included in the report: connect MLS FlexMLS by FBS Fusion by MarketLinx InnoVia by MarketLinx LIST-IT MLS by Solid Earth Matrix by MarketLinx MLXchange by MarketLinx Navica MLS by Systems Engineering Paragon 5 by LPS Rapattoni MLS TEMPO 5 by MarketLinx In-House MLS Systems (4) One Part of a Technology Review Surveys should never be used on their own to make a technology selection. We recommend this information be included as part of your ongoing technology review but encourage you to do a detailed analysis when and if you are looking to make a […]

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How MLSs and MLS vendors are failing brokers

by Victor Lund on October 31, 2012

Business Intelligence

Let me begin by saying that the remarks that follow do not apply to all MLSs. There are many that do an excellent job at servicing the data needs of brokers. The focus of this article is to talk about some of the common failures seen by WAV Group consultants trying to help brokers fix complex data problems. There is a fundamental understanding of the MLS which has been lost. Although MLS systems provide excellent services through the MLS software, many are failing at providing data services to the brokers and agents to power the many applications that live outside the MLS system. This failure needs to be addressed across the industry. At the heart of the failure is the resistance to adopt the most current version of RETS. The systems that power a brokerage probably will work fine with whatever RETS standard or FTP standard you offer if that brokerage is only in 1 MLS. If the brokerage belongs to more than 1 MLS, chaos ensues. Enterprise brokerages will be defined by brokerages that participate in more than one MLS. Most enterprise brokerages have a laundry list of technology applications that rely on MLS data from a variety of technology vendors. The brokerage goal is to apply a layer of consumer, agent, and business services that rides on top of multiple MLS. The current broker technology ecosystem was outlined perfectly by WAV Group partner Michael Audet in a paper he authored called “The Shift in Real Estate Technology.” You can review the webinar on this topic here, and download slides from the webinar. You can download the whitepaper here. This image shows the architecure of an enterprise brokerage. At the heart of making all of this work is a persistant data, delivered using the RETS standard. Technology consultant Matt Cohen of Clareity Consulting outlined the core problem facing MLSs with RETS adoption. It is not in the contract with the vendor! He writes “…new versions of RETS are always becoming available and each new version has capabilities that the MLS and its members can leverage. For example, RETS now has fairly robust capabilities allowing listings to be input via other front ends – for example broker systems, or forms software, and ensuring that these front ends follow the MLSs business rules. But most MLSs don’t offer their brokers this capability. Why? Because it’s not in the contract. When a […]

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Goomzee Shines A Light on MLS Pricing

by Victor Lund on October 11, 2012

Goomzee Logo

WAV Group is often contacted by companies who are looking to offer their products to agents through the MLS. The common term for this is site license – whereby every MLS subscriber will benefit from the service. Depending on the product, most site licenses are only pennies per member per month. Although MLSs are legally prohibited from sharing details of their contracts and pricing with other MLS – there is no such prohibition for vendors. Goomzee lifted their skirt today and published their MLS pricing to the world. This move is sure to shake up the mobile providers who target site licenses to MLS. The leaders in MLS market penetration are normally the MLS vendor products, but third party leaders are probably Kurio, MobileRealtyApps,  Smarter Agent, VoicePad and Goomzee. In this era where agents are screaming for mobile solutions to enhance their productivity when they are away from the office – the fact that mobile is so affordable leaves no excuse for not offering a solution. There is a bigger story here too. The pricing changes relative to the size of the MLS for the same service. A small MLS with fewer than 5,000 subscribers pays $1.25 per month for the Goomzee Home Connect Service. A large regional with more than 50,000 subscribers (ie. CRMLS is alone in this category) the pricing is only $.40. Perhaps this tells the story of why CRMLS is able to provide smaller Associations in California the ability to offer more MLS services for lower prices than they can negotiate on their own. This is not only true of Mobile, but true of all site licensed products. In this illustration, CRMLS would pay 1/3 the price of the Santa Barbara Associaton of REALTORS or even the San Francisco Associaton of REALTORS. Here is the Goomzee Press Release and their Full Pricing Sheet: PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE GOOMZEE GOES PUBLIC; OFFERS TRANSPARENCY IN MLS PRICING October 10, 2012 – Missoula, Montana – Amidst the overwhelmingly positive response about Goomzee’s new Mobile MLS Apps during this year’s Council of MLS (CMLS) conference held in Boston September 26-28, the company just announced it will “go public” with its pricing models and offer a pre-sales discount incentive. Goomzee, a longtime mobile technology provider for real estate professionals and MLS technology partner, introduced its Mobile MLS solution with rave reviews and was even touted as “Best New Mobile App” by […]

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Technology Adoption Strongest with Top Producers

by Marilyn Wilson on October 10, 2012

MLSs face many decisions about what technology services to offer to their members.  Budgets are tight and decisions need to be better justified than ever before. MLS technology committees and leadership need to sift through hundreds of products and multiple presentations before deciding what types of products make the most sense for their members. It is a difficult and expensive task to provide meaningful, relevant and contemporary product offerings to help agents and brokers better serve the needs of their clients.  The first annual WAV Group MLS Technology Adoption study was designed help MLSs better understand the types of technologies being used most often. The attached report is deigned to MLSs have a better understanding of what successful adoption looks like.  The report is also designed to provide you with tangible ways to improve adoption of the technologies you have chosen to offer to your customers. Here are a few of the takeaways from the study that we found most interesting: Top Producers DO Matter More The study proved, once again, that the 80/20 rule is alive and well.  In just about every case, 20% of MLS subscribers complete 80% of the transactions. It is clear that top producers and aspiring top producers are the two most important groups for technology adoption.  These groups are the most proactive in many respects and their technology adoption patterns are no different. They use more technology than others because they are transacting more business and looking for new ways to differentiate themselves. To ensure a successful rollout, MLSs need to consider the needs of top producers. Even with this type of sales concentration, most MLSs still think of adoption based on their entire subscriber base. This is simply not realistic and can even be dangerous. If an MLS chooses technology based on the need to achieve adoption for the masses without thinking about the true value of the tool, they may make decisions based on the lowest common denominator, rather than providing the best tool for the most active producing agents Technology decisions need to be made to serve the needs of those that are driving the industry with transactions.  Instead of thinking about achieving 40% adoption of all customers, how about thinking about 50% adoption of the most productive agents? Here’s a more meaningful way to project and calculate adoption of technologies considering the concentration of sales success among top producers: Top Producer Adoption […]

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A New eCommerce Model for MLS

by Victor Lund on October 9, 2012

Lauren Hansen, IRES CEO

IRES MLS understands that the MLS cannot build software that is going to meet all of the needs of their subscribers. Rather, they embrace the rich development community that is flourishing in real estate industry today. IRES recognizes that marketing is the greatest cost to offering software as a service. As such, IRES is launching the IRES Success Store. The Store will benefit IRES Subscribers by putting technology at their fingertips, and benefit software developers by providing them with a marketplace for their products. IRES is a unique MLS, like their peers at The MLS, Trend MLS, NABOR and others, they develop and maintain their own MLS software rather than the traditional model of licensing software from an MLS vendor like CoreLogic, LPS, FBS, Solid Earth, Rapattoni, and others. They write code, which is an important distinction in the level of software acumen by this MLS. They have a lot of respect for software developers. Lauren Hansen, IRES CEO, believes that the IRES Success Store should not increase the costs of software purchased by their subscribers. Although the primary mission of IRES is providing MLS services, their software development experience makes them sympathetic to the challenges that face software vendors who offer software as a service to real estate professionals. They honor the efforts of software developers who are trying to drive adoption and satisfaction of their product. As such, the company sought a solution for eCommerce that supported the vendors and their subscribers alike. In doing so, they developed a new eCommerce Model for MLS. The IRES Model: Software vendors pay $600/year ($50 per month) slotting fee per product to be placed in the IRES Success Store. The slotting fee model is the first of its kind in real estate. It avoids costly and time-consuming contract negotiations associated with reseller agreements and complex integrations. It is a simple construct that defers the MLS costs to providing and maintaining the store. IRES selected RE Technology as a partner to build the IRES Success Store. IRES MLS in northern Colorado provides MLS services to 8 Boards and Associations of REALTORS®.  . They also display listing data for Metro Denver and Colorado Springs areas through data-sharing efforts with Metrolist MLS and Pikes Peak MLS. They serve more than 5,000 real estate professionals. If you would like to offer your product in the IRES Success store, please send an email to info@IRES-net.com for […]

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MLS Mobile 2012 – White Paper – What You Need To Know

by Mike Audet on September 21, 2012

Mobile access to real estate information by both professional real estate agents and consumers is critical, but with few exceptions the real estate technology industry serving our professionals has been slow to react to these  mobile needs.  We still have MLS products that require you to use Microsoft Internet Explorer to access them and there are still MLSs that don’t have great solutions for using an iPad on the MLS. – Download White Paper Here This white paper looks at where we are today with mobile technology in our MLS industry and hopefully sheds some light on where things are going.  There is good news!  Development of mobile products for professional and consumer access is accelerating and exciting capabilities are beginning to surface on both levels.  You will hear terms like mobile web, responsive design and native apps and it is important to understand what these terms and approaches mean as you consider choices for your MLS or brokerage. Providing great mobile access for agents and consumers  is a “must have” not a “nice to have”!  Organized real estate needs to have cutting edge mobile solutions for agents, brokers and consumers today.  In a few short years, mobile access will be the only access that anyone uses and we need to make sure our real estate professionals are the ones providing the very best mobile access available.  Our industry has a distinct advantage to do this because we are the source of the most complete and accurate real estate data that exists anywhere.  The key is providing outstanding mobile products at the professional and consumer level and then getting the word out! Download White Paper Here

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Mitch Skinner Now Partner at Larson Sobodka

by Victor Lund on September 20, 2012

larson sobodka logo

WAV Group is please to extend congratulations to Attorney Mitchell Skinner who has become a member of the legal firm Larson Sobodka. Mitch as been working with the firm’s founder Brian Larson and first member, Elizabeth Sobodka for about two years. Clients of Larson Sobodka have undoubtedly had a solid experience working with Mr. Skinner. Skinner has been helping the firm with their core speciality: data licensing and vendor contracts. It is an area of expertise that has made the firm renowned throughout the industry. Vendor contracts has long been a speciality of the firm – and they have foraged new paths over the past years in the emerging practice of structured data licensing agreements. WAV Group also enjoys geeky talk with the firm on topics like Listing Syndication, IDX Rules and Regulations, and MLS rules and regulations. It is all good stuff. I wonder if they will rename the company? Will it be LSS or SSL? I guess that the founding partner always go first – but SSL seems to resonate for a technology aware law firm. Press Release Minneapolis, September 20, 2012: Larson/Sobotka PLLC, the Minneapolis-based law firm that serves multiple listing service, REALTOR® association, and brokerage clients around the U.S., announced today that Mitchell A. Skinner is now a member of the firm, which is an equity position roughly equivalent to that of a “partner” if the firm were organized as a partnership. Skinner provides copyright, trademark, and technology and licensing counsel to the firm’s clients. According to firm member Elizabeth S. Sobotka, “Over the last 18 months, Mitch has led the firm’s MLS data licensing and vendor contracting practice. He has become the foremost practitioner in these types of transactions on behalf of MLSs.” The firm’s managing member, Brian N. Larson, emphasized Skinner’s commitment to the real estate industry. Skinner is providing pro bono counsel to the Real Estate Standards Organization, and for the second year he is a member of the organizing committee for the Council of Multiple Listing Services Legal Seminar in Boston, MA on September 26, 2012, where he will also be presenting on current strategic issues and vendor relations. Skinner received his J.D. from the University of Minnesota cum laude and is admitted before the Minnesota Supreme Court and the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. Prior to joining Larson/Sobotka, Skinner practiced general litigation in Minneapolis. Larson/Sobotka focuses its practice on e-commerce, databases, web branding […]

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Do you really think IE is the only browser out there?

by Marilyn Wilson on September 20, 2012

A few weeks ago I gave the state of California gave credit for their proactivity in measuring consumer perspectives on the DMV. They are definitely focused on making the experience of renewing your license more pleasant.  Today, I’m going to have to give them a gig them for an issue I found on their website today….sorry guys. I just went online to download some paperwork for a permit I was applying for and I got this screen while using Safari as my browser – ARGGGGHHHHHH! My first thought was  “What organization that is designed to service of the needs of its paying customers would not be browser-agnostic today?  How ridiculous is that?”  And then my mind turned to real estate… Well, guess what….we live in a world that is JUST THAT CRAZY!   Do you really think that in today’s multi-browser world that it is okay to offer products that are only designed for IE?   Blasphemy, you say?  Most real estate professionals prefer IE you say?  Well, let’s look at the facts: According to Stat Counter, Internet Explorer has been steadily LOSING customers for the past four years. Today, Both Chrome and Firefox are MORE THAN DOUBLE the size of IE. For those that IE is still the top dog of the browser world, think again. What will it take for our industry to understand IE is not the browser of choice any longer and hasn’t been since 2008? If you have a platform that is not addressing the needs of every browser now and future, you are WAY behind!   Time to stop acting like a state government and more like an entrepreneur interested in helping his customers sell more real estate no matter what computer they choose and what browser they prefer. As you consider technology for your business or for your customers you need to keep two critical things in mind. 1. All applications need to work fully on all browsers and operating systems 2. All applications need to work fully on all screens (Mobile, Tablet, PC).  

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How the MLS ‘Language’ May Die

by Victor Lund on August 28, 2012

In many ways, the MLS is like a dictionary. They each contain the language of their respective communities – in a dictionary, these are words; in the context of the MLS, these are listings. The MLS and the dictionary each began as books and have been modernized and digitized to fit the online space. A dictionary does not tell a story, it is merely a set of words. In a similar way, the tools that are layered on top of MLS data give the agent the ability to verbalize data into meaning. The data does not have real meaning until it is crafted into a story by the agent, or by the software that the agent uses. The MLS Language May Die The most common process leading to language death is one in which a community of speakers of one language becomes bilingual in another language, and gradually shifts allegiance to the second language until they cease to use their original language. In some way, third party websites are becoming that second language in real estate. What is ironic is that brokers and agents who stand to gain the most by preserving the MLS are instigating the process of assimilating the consumer to the new language. How long will it be before consumers abandon the process of using an agent to list their property in the MLS, and simply do it themselves on third party websites? How long will it be before agents abandon the MLS and simply put their listings on third party websites that do not have offers of compensation for other agents? Today’s MLS needs revitalization, no doubt. The MLS must be the listing language of the elite professionals. Moreover, consumers need to be able to access that listing language. It would also be helpful if consumers held the same distain for “slang,’ in this case, the bad data quality of third party websites. Curators of the MLS Language The term used for language experts that develop dictionaries is “lexicographer.” In many ways, MLS leaders shoulder a similar burden as lexicographers. They must identify the needs of their users, then define and organize their language (listings) in a way that users can easily access and understand. It’s no small task – and yet, like lexicographers, theirs is often a thankless job. What critics fail to recognize is that MLS leadership plays a critical role in keeping alive […]

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Business Intelligence

WAV Group has always been passionate about research and helping our industry obtain data that assists professionals in making the right decisions for their organizations.  We conduct numerous studies every year to that end and this September we will be fielding one of the most important studies we do, the annual WAV Group 2012 MLS Technology Survey.  We started this survey in 2011 meaning 2012 will be the first year we are able to see how this critical data is trending and to see how our vendors are moving up or down in various rating areas. We would like every MLS to take part and to benefit from the free reports that are provided to all participants. How To Participate To be included in the WAV Group 2012 MLS Technology Survey please send an email to sean@wavgroup.com or call us at 716-839-4628. The objective of the annual the WAV Group MLS Technology Survey is to provide a high level comparative satisfaction rating of the MLS technology used in our industry as well as to provide you trending information from year to year in regards to this technology.  The more MLSs that participate the more valuable that information will be for all of us. When your MLS participates in the MLS Technology Survey you will receive the following reports FREE of charge: Executive Summary Report – An overview of the full survey results for all systems for all users. Your MLS System Report – Summary report for all users nationally for your specific MLS system. MLS Means Rating Chart – See clearly how your system’s ratings compared to other system’s ratings in categories such as User Interface, Speed, Dependability and specific user features like Search and CMA. In 2011, over 70 MLSs participated amounting to almost 12,000 agents and staff taking part.  In 2012 we expect to have even more participants.  Unlike other surveys that only measure staff responses, which are certainly important, our survey also reaches out to the brokers, agents and other members that use the MLS system every day.   This is critical to get a true understanding of user satisfaction. The following chart on overall satisfaction from last year’s Executive Summary, which you receive free for participating, shows the differences in user and staff ratings in the 2011 survey.  Participation in the 2012 survey means you will be able to see how these same systems are being rated this […]

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MLS Photo Fail

by Victor Lund on August 28, 2012

low resolution image

“A picture is worth a thousand words” is a rather famous old adage that refers to the notion that an idea with complex meaning can be conveyed in a single image. It allows the viewer to experience large amounts of information in a moment, and in doing so – often have an emotional reaction. In real estate, photos are the most powerful and compelling elements of a listing – they are the essence of meaning. Many suggest that without the substance of a photo, you fundamentally do not have a listing. The notion dates back to the days of  Aristotle, who suggested that imagery is the purest definition of that which is real. Imagery not only identifies an object, but eschews volumes about its property, or state of being. A plant is just a plant, but beheld more glorious in the spring of bloom than in the struggle of extinction. Today, even the worst camera on the crappiest cell phone takes glorious photos in high-definition with splendid resolution. Many agents extend great bounty for professional photography on their listing so that they might expose the beauty of a home. Technologists like virtual tour and print marketing companies have waited for years to take these raw, high quality photos and automate their conversion into artistry. Today is their day,  if they can only survive one foe, the MLS. The MLS is the villan to beauty, to artistry, to emotion. They take the loveliest and grandest of megapixels and process them into low resolution grainy oblivion. There was a time for this pragmatist, but his day is day has past. Long gone are the days of dial-up modems. Even mobile devices pass data at 3G or higher speeds. Even the lowliest of device screens displays in high resolution. Terabyte data storage drives are $20. Bandwidth costs are trending down each year. Why does the MLS still destroy the photo quality of the images it receives? If you want to raise the bar in real estate as an MLS, stop destroying high quality photography. Accept it. Embrace it. Push it out in your data feeds back to your brokers so they can drive their marketing efforts. Perhaps you don’t know this, but brokers and agents spend hours deleting the photos they get from you and reloading the originals to power their print and virtual tour marketing. They provide you with great photos and you destroy them and return garbage. Stop that! If your MLS has […]

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RE Technology weekly traffic

by Victor Lund on August 10, 2012

RE Technology Success Store

In a way, RE Technology is a sand box for WAV Group. We get the opportunity to look at patterns of behavior and communications among real estate agents and brokers on a macro level and a micro level. Recently, we began to modify activities to determine how it may impact RE Technology readership. Our latest test was to change the time that the RE Technology daily digest goes out. The RE Technology daily digest is an interesting communication tool. Only agents who opt into getting the RE Technology newsletter receive it. Most agents choose to access RE Technology content through the message of the day in their MLS system. I appreciate that many agents do not want any more email. Regardless, our staff came up with the idea that the digest should go out in the morning before Inman News and RIS Media. RE Technology is not a news site, but we do publish press releases in the digest. The notion was that our audience would get our newsletter first; read it first; and think that we were closer to the pulse of the industry. It sounded like a good argument, so we set it, and forgot about it. Recently, we made upgrades to the daily digest. Readers wanted to be able to share the digest with others, and wanted to be able to access past newsletters as a reference. We added this functionality and when we pushed the new newsletter to our production servers, we once again discussed the timing. Traditionally, the digest started sending at 3 a.m. PST; 6 a.m. EST. We developed a new theory based upon personal habits that, when an agent gets to their computer in the morning, their inbox is stuffed with newsletters and they scan them and delete them as quickly as possible. That is what I do. Why would an agent or broker  be any different?  The team agreed to move the time to 8 a.m. PST, 11 EST to see how our traffic would change. Presumably when you send tens of thousands of emails at a different time of the day, user behavior will change…. Guess what…. Here is the illustration                   As you can see from the chart – we compared 5 days of traffic in June (250,000 visits) to another 5 days of traffic in July (250,000 visits). We only looked at Monday through […]

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RE Technology Releases 2012 MLS Technology Guide

by Victor Lund on June 27, 2012

MLS Technology Guide

MLSs seeking to educate themselves and their members about technology, as well as discover sources of non-dues revenue, can leverage this easy-to-use guide. Arroyo Grande, CA (June 2012) – MLSs and real estate Associations face myriad challenges in today’s changing technology landscape. A new guide from leading real estate technology media site, RE Technology, aims to assist them in overcoming these challenges with descriptions of leading tech companies and products. Interested organizations can download the 2012 MLS Technology Guide for free at RETechnology.com. Information in the guide is presented in a clear, concise format. Product categories covered include agent ratings, CMAs, consulting, document management, transaction management, digital signatures, listing syndication, MLS data solutions, MLS systems and eCommerce, mobile, online marketing, showing solutions, and social media marketing. “MLSs and Associations are facing a loss of revenue from membership dues,” explains Victor Lund, RE Technology CEO. “One way that they can continue to thrive is to generate revenue through other means – such as offering technology products to their members. Our guide has been very popular with organizations seeking to do just this.” RE Technology is in a unique position to assist real estate organizations as they make decisions about real estate technology. Through integrations with over 70 MLSs nationwide, RE Technology.com serves as a source of education about real estate technology strategies, trends, and products. By forming close relationships with the vendor community, the company is able to facilitate communication and commerce between providers of technology solutions and MLSs seeking to bring those solutions to their members. “We’re happy to help however we can,” Mr. Lund explains. “We couldn’t continue to educate the real estate community without our MLS colleagues. They are instrumental to our success, and we’re constantly trying to play a role in theirs. The Technology Guide is just one way we do this.” About RE Technology, Inc. RE Technology, Inc., is a comprehensive real estate technology website, reaching over 700,000 real estate agents and brokers. By embedding directly into MLS systems across North America, RETechnology.com makes it easy for agents to access clear product descriptions, read 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 benefits of technology and how to strategically implement technological tools. The RE Technology website is colored with user ratings and comments, creating a rich community of product feedback […]

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CoreLogic 2012 User Group Meeting and Summit

by Victor Lund on June 13, 2012

corelogic

WAV Group partner, Victor Lund will be attending the 2012 CoreLogic User Group Meeting and Summit in Chicago next week. The event looks to be information-filled with presentations that provide insight in guidance into the future developments of MLS systems that power about half of America’s MLS. Some of the topics include updates on the ongoing development of the core functionality in Fusion MLS, Matrix, and Tempo. These systems are deployed to many of the largest MLSs in the country. CoreLogic will also be releasing information on advances in Mobile, Fusion CMA, Social Media, Fusion Contact Management, Fusion Stats Pro, RETS, and Realist. The company will offer many product break out sessions to to discuss future product features and gather customer feedback on how CoreLogic can improve its products and services. MLS executives provide some of the best ideas for new features, and system UI enhancements. WAV Group is among the leading consultants providing strategic planning, research, MLS Consumer Website Planning, and vendor selection services to the MLS industry. WAV Group is launching a new program called Consumer Source aimed at collecting consumer information that informs strategy in real estate.  Lund will also be meeting with MLSs about RE Technology – a free communication resource made available through MLS partners to more than 700,000 real estate professionals. RE Technology is particularly excited about the recent roll out of SuccessStore and SuccessTracker – its eCommerce and App Store solution that supports MLSs and Associations at providing technology solutions to agents and brokers. If you need to carve out some time to meet with Victor Lund, call 805-709-6696 to schedule some time.

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