move

News Corp Announces New Leadership At Move, Inc.

by THE WAV GROUP on December 18, 2014

Ryan O’Hara Named CEO New York, NY (December 17, 2014) – News Corp announced today that Ryan O’Hara will become Chief Executive Officer of Move, Inc. (“Move”), effective January 5, 2015. Mr. O’Hara will replace CEO Steven Berkowitz, who has led the company since January 2009. News Corp acquired Move, a leading provider of online real estate services, including realtor.com®, last month. “We are excited to have secured Ryan O’Hara to take the helm at Move, given his record of transforming businesses in the digital age and his clear determination to accelerate the growth of the company. We are also extremely grateful to Steve Berkowitz for his years of astute and principled leadership, during which period he secured greater operating flexibility for the business and put the company on a solid growth trajectory,” said Robert Thomson, Chief Executive of News Corp. “Ryan’s experience in the digital media and entertainment industry and his deft management skills will be invaluable assets as we pursue the rapid expansion of Move in this era of exponential change. We believe he has the ability to leverage the relationship with our existing US media properties to the benefit of all and to make the most of the significant expertise at REA, our majority-owned, notably successful and still growing digital property site in Australia.” “Ryan will begin at Move in the first week of January, when we will also be rolling out a broad-based marketing campaign across The Wall Street Journal Digital Network to drive quality traffic to realtor.com®,” said Mr. Thomson. “He also looks forward to working closely with the National Association of Realtors®, a key and crucial partner of Move, knowing that Realtors® are at the heart of American real estate transactions.” Mr. O’Hara most recently served as a President at the Madison Square Garden Company, leading the MSG Media, technology and marketing partnership divisions. He previously was President and CEO of The Topps Company, a leading entertainment trading card and consumer products business. During his time at Topps, Mr. O’Hara grew market share, formed key partnerships with major sports leagues and player associations, and expanded the business digitally and globally. Before Topps, Mr. O’Hara was with several News Corporation businesses, including Gemstar TV Guide International/TV Guide Company from 2002 to 2010, the last five years as President of the TV Guide network and several digital businesses. He led the TV Guide network’s transformation from […]

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News Corp buys MOVE operators of Realtor.com

by Victor Lund on September 30, 2014

And so it goes. Move, the operators of the National Associaton of REALTORS portal called Realtor.com have agreed to sell the company to News Corp in an all-cash deal valued at $950 million. MOVE’s board of directors were swift to approve the offer, representing a 36% bump in the value of the company. News Corp owns other real estate assets including The Wall Street Journal (popular spot for luxury property advertising) and Australian real estate portal – realestate.com.au (part of the REA Group). REA Group will apparently pay for 20% of MOVE, and News Corp will pay the rest. This is a pretty bullish acquisition. It demonstrates the belief that there is a lot of growth on the horizon for portals in the US Market. To me the future looks pretty competitive with lots of well funded competitors dueling it out. MOVE has made a number of acquisitions over the years to diversify revenue away from the portal offering. Aside from Realtor.com, Top Producer is a solid contributor to the company’s success and revenue. I wonder if the new owners will shed some of those assets and focus purely on MOVE.com and Realtor.com. I also imagine that News Corp will be a little more aggressive in wielding the leverage it has with ListHub in a couple of ways – more international expansion and tighter agreements with publishers. Or not. They say that they have shared vision and shared values. Congratulations to the MOVE shareholders and executives. Nice win. My hope is that Joe Hanauer will be retained to continue is spectacular mission to support Realtor.com. Below are three clippings – letter from NAR to the membership – letter from MOVE to industry leaders – and the press release – all in one place for your pleasure. By the way – does anyone know how much stock News Corp and REA Group have invested in Zillow and Trulia – I think they are partners in all of these firms now. Pretty cool strategic investment strategy. Letter from NAR to the Membership Dear NAR Member, Today marks an extraordinary turning point in the history of realtor.com®. 

The website pioneered online real estate and was No. 1 in that space for 15 years. In recent years, even as realtor.com®’s traffic grew, deep-pocketed Internet startups succeeded in eroding the site’s consumer mind share. One year ago, the National Association of REALTORS® altered its operating […]

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MOVE acquires Point2 Syndication Contracts

by Victor Lund on September 4, 2014

It looks like MOVE, operators of Realtor.com have taken a stride that is not altogether different from the success that Zillow is garnering with their acquisition strategy. MOVE is doing their best to control the pipelines that deliver advertising to portals in the United States. MOVE already owns Listhub, the largest syndicator of listing content. Now they pick up their nearest competitor – Point2 – much in the same way that Zillow picked up Trulia. The biggest difference, beyond taking out a competitor, is that they will removing a layer of duplication of listing syndication. Spencer Rascoff of Zillow describes today’s listing syndication feeds as spaghetti. MOVE will now have a pretty good chance of cleaning up the problems. Point2 is providing a single data point for CREA that amasses the country’s listings from every market. MOVE did not buy that. Point2 will also continue to manage all of the syndication for CREA. Point2 will also retain all of their syndication technology, Listhub is just getting the contracts in the US with MLSs, Associations, and publishers. This acquisition is for US Listing Syndication Services Only. Point2 will continue to provide MLS Consumer facing websites, Point2 Agent Websites, Team Websites, Point2 Mobile, etc. I tried to reach out to Saul Klein to chat with him about this, but he was not available. I imagine that his phone is on fire. Saul has been at the forefront of a project he called Contract Alignment – a process of using the listing syndication agreements between content providers and publishers to cure many of the ills of syndication. Knowing Saul, I doubt that he will drop the ball on this topic as a vocal supporter. He has a pretty untamable passion of this stuff. The saddest part is that he will no longer have a mechanism for getting in the middle to impact change. In other stunning news, Saul Klein and his partner John are no longer working with Point2 or Yardi effective September 1.  This may provide a boost to Nationstar’s Real Estate Digital division, or RED. RED has been making many inroads with their REDataVault product. MLSs and Brokers like to have choices when choosing products, and with another choice off the table, RED may find themselves getting more requests for their syndication services. Immobel, who offers both domestic and global listing syndication may also find that they get a boost from this acquisition. Change […]

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How Great Companies React To Feedback

by Victor Lund on December 13, 2013

AgentMatch from realtor.com  was a solution that was tested in two real estate markets – Boulder, CO and Las Vegas, TX. The pilot program was developed as a service to connect consumers with agents based on performance, interests and recommendation data. Putting aside the debate about the strengths or weaknesses of this form of rating an agent, there is plenty to learn from how it was rolled out, how feedback was generated, and how the company reacted to the feedback. Pre-roll Out Decisions With any new service, the first question should be opt-in or opt-out. WAV Group has always recommended that the default on any consumer facing solution should be opt-in unless there are powerful mitigating reasons that support opt-out. In this test, realtor.com worked closely with both MLSs to be sure all were in agreement with how the data would be displayed. Pre-roll Out Communication Some companies have mandated classes on product roll-outs. WAV Group is not a big fan of this. Rather, offer the class or training online. Record it. Do not enable the service until the broker has either waived or attended the training. Getting the acknowledgement is really important. It is absurd to think that you will be able to reasonably solicit some form of acknowledgement from every broker – but make sure you get acknowledgement from most brokers. Schedule meetings face to face with your 10 largest brokers and phone conferences with 11-50. Again here, I applaud realtor.com for organizing local, executive and broker advisory boards during the development of this pilot. Pilot Testing New product roll-outs are never perfect. Indeed, the mantra for innovation is “fail fast and fail often.” What RDC did by putting the product out into the wild was aggressive. I know they worked closely with, and solicited feedback from, agents before AgentMatch was publically displayed. But they still got a pile of new feedback in the early days of the pilot. React to Feedback AgentMatch was taken offline today. In a statement, realtor.com President, Errol Samuelson said “The AgentMatch pilot has concluded, but the larger project remains: We intend to create the most accurate and complete resource for consumers looking for a Realtor online, and to continue moving the industry forward with innovative solutions.” What makes the company stronger in the eyes of their customers is that they were comfortable with embracing feedback and taking action to resolve important issues […]

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Austin Board of REALTORS Bids Syndication Farewell

by Victor Lund on October 10, 2013

Sunsetting services is never any fun, especially services that do not cost the membership any money. That is exactly what the Austin Board of REALTORS® is on a path to do this spring. The ABoR directors released a formal statement this week announcing the plan to sunset the Listhub agreement by April 30th, 2014.  The process for researching this difficult decision is nicely outlined http://www.abor.com/syndication. In June 2012, the ACTRIS committee, which is the MLS of the Austin area, created a Syndication Task Force with diverse representation of members and brokers. They cited some interesting findings. The decision to syndicate to third party websites should be an independent broker decision. They found there to be questionable consumer benefit in providing data to non-REALTOR® websites. They opined that Non-REALTOR® websites damage the reputation of REALTORs® They are of the belief that Non-REALTOR® websites misinform and mislead the consumer They believe that they can support REALTOR® members market listings without facilitating syndication to Non-REALTOR® websites. Note: There was no indication whatsoever that ListHub did not do an excellent job with the services offered to ABoR. The issues are occurring downstream of Listhub. The sunset process The committee put forth a roadmap for the process of sunsetting the Listhub service. Announcement to members and brokers Creation of a MLS Learning Community for online discussion Broker Forum It is interesting that ABoR  moved in the exactly opposite direction of fellow Texas MLS operated by the Houston Board of REALTORS® this week. HAR announced that they are adopting the Listhub service. HAR was one of the final major markets in America to offer Listhub as a member benefit. Publishers indicate that the best path to listing accuracy is a solid partnership with the MLS who provides the trusted source of accurate listing information. WAV Group research has shown that even in markets where the MLS provides data to publishers, the listing accuracy is still way off the accuracy found on a broker website. However, it does make an improvement. The key issue of listing accuracy is that publishers (REALTOR.com excluded) take listings from multiple sources. If they only took the MLS Listhub feed, the accuracy of a broker listing on the publisher website would be synchronized at least daily. Until publishers let brokers nominate the trumping rules and listing terms of use, data accuracy will continue to be a cancer. Brokers in Austin will not be left in the lurch. […]

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FIND Offers Unique Reciprocal Data Sharing.

by Victor Lund on September 10, 2013

Before REALTORS® Property Resource (RPR) was conceived, the National Association of REALTORS® was working with their realtor.com partner, Move, Inc. to develop a library of information on every property in America. NAR selected another vendor and developed what we know as RPR today. MOVE took their prototype and developed a free product called FINDSM. FIND is proprietary software for MLSs that provides property centric data on more than 100 million real estate parcels in the United States, and offers agents and brokers access to timely, accurate and reliable listing information across MLS boundaries. Available as a link or a tool bar that resides in MLS systems, it provides a depth of property information to enhance the MLS listing. The data accessible is a laundry list that includes fly over zones, flood maps, neighborhood demographics, and so on. FINDis free to any MLS. Over the past three years, about 60 MLS have launched the FIND program to as many as 450,000 agents. To participate in FIND, the MLS need only contract directly with Move for property data, and allow Move to display sold listings on realtor.com. Before FIND, realtor.com only received active listing data to display. Since Trulia and Zillow and others were actively working to collect and display sold data, FIND allowed realtor.com to compete. With FIND, realtor.com can once again occupy the leading position in real estate. The news here is not that REALTORS® have been able to access all data on realtor.com through FIND. Now, to support reciprocal data sharing, the agent in FIND can have direct access to other MLS systems through something called Deep Linking. The first reciprocal data sharing solution using FIND is between iTech MLS in Los Angeles and MetroList Services, Inc. in Sacramento. Those MLSs have an agreement between them to allow access to each others’ systems, and offers of compensation. Since FIND is powered by single sign-on (SSO), agents do not need to remember their password credentials to get into the other system. They simply search on FIND, and if they want to view the MLS listing details, they click the MLS link in FIND and they are ported right in. Where MLSs have a relationship for cooperation and compensation, when an agent looks at a record from another MLS, it will allow that agent to launch into the reciprocal MLS. Today, Rapattoni is the only MLS system that has deployed this. […]

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Realtors® Reaffirm Commitment to realtor.com®

by Marilyn Wilson on July 24, 2013

New Realtor.com brand

CHICAGO (July 24, 2013) – The National Association of Realtors® Board of Directors today reaffirmed NAR’s commitment to making realtor.com® the first, best online destination for home buyers and sellers. The board voted in favor of recommendations to modify an existing operating agreement that will help the site compete more effectively in an evolving online marketplace. “Over the years, Realtors® have invested a lot of time and millions of dollars in building information technology to give consumers online access to real estate information, and we know that consumer demand for all things ‘home’ has never been greater,” said NAR President Gary Thomas, broker-owner of Evergreen Realty in Villa Park, Calif. “As the most trusted resources for real estate information, Realtors® want realtor.com® to have the resources and flexibility it needs to give consumers what they want while ensuring that today’s buyers and sellers can continue to rely on Realtors® for the most accurate, credible market data. We think the proposed changes achieve both goals.” The operating agreement is between NAR subsidiary Realtors® Information Network and Move, Inc. subsidiary RealSelect, Inc.  The RIN board sought advice from NAR’s BOD because any changes to realtor.com could have a substantial impact on NAR’s members. The RIN board met immediately after the NAR BOD meeting, and approved the final recommendations. “When today’s consumer is searching for their dream home, they are utilizing more tools and information than ever before,” said realtor.com® President Errol Samuelson, Chief Strategy Officer for Move, Inc. “Today’s historic and collaborative recommendation from  the NAR board members empowers us to further expand and enrich the consumer experience on www.realtor.com and its mobile applications with greater breadth of content, and to do so with our continuing commitment to the highest level of quality and accuracy for both the real estate community and consumers.” The proposal recommended by NAR’s BOD gives realtor.com® more flexibility to identify listings from sources beyond those provided by Realtors®. That includes additional new homes and rental properties. At the same time, the site will reinforce the value of using a Realtor® when buying, selling or investing in real estate, and will give consumers tools to differentiate between Realtors® and real estate agents who are not Realtors®. “We want consumers to be able to envision their American dreams of homeownership online and then make those dreams a reality in the offline world,” said Thomas. “Working together, realtor.com® and Realtors® […]

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The War That Few Are Watching

by Victor Lund on June 19, 2013

There is a War being waged between the leading portals today. They are fighting with all of their might to be leaders in consumer website traffic. Today, Zillow is in the lead with Realtor.com on their heals and Trulia not far behind. Homes.com is pacing with the pack too, and perhaps showed just how strong they are by climbing the rankings at a remarkable pace in 2012. In an announcement released yesterday, Move proclaimed victory at retaining their relationship with MSN.com, the portal operated by Microsoft. I tried to get information about the battle, but limited facts were made available. We do not know the details of the agreement, its price, or the length of the term. We just know that Realtor.com won. I can only suppose that Zillow and perhaps Trulia were in the bidding. There was a lot at stake in this battle. Had Zillow won, they would have distanced themselves far afield of Realtor.com. Had Trulia won, they may have been lifted beyond Realtor.com into second place for overall traffic. By no means am I an historian for our industry, but I do remember that Prudential Real Estate had a similar relationship with Yahoo.com. If my memory serves me correctly, the eRealty strategy cost Prudential about $35 million. I tried to find press releases about this to confirm or cite the facts, but failed – so take the $35 Million with a grain of salt. I do know that the Prudential paid handsomely to buy the position on Yahoo Real Estate, and that Zillow now maintains that important foothold. The REALTORS® of National Association of REALTORS® should be joyous, and join MOVE in celebration. Had the battle gone another way, a key member benefit would have been reduced, and the REALTOR® brand marketing may have been diminished. It is hard to say how these things work out. But there is an important appreciation of strategy here. Like our Nation, our industry rests on the foundation of the Freedom of Choice. The one thing that we know about portals is that none of them make very much money. What money they do make comes from agents and brokers. For sure, consumers flock to these sites at a pace of 100 million per month. It is a great hunting ground for buyers and sellers. You have a choice about where your listings go. You have a choice about where your advertising dollars go. As […]

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More MLSs launch FIND search from MOVE

by Victor Lund on June 17, 2013

Move spread the news this morning that MRED (Chicago) MLS PIN (Boston and most of Mass) and SFAR (San Francisco) have all entered into agreements to offer the FIND product. If you are not familiar with FIND, it is a product that was the early candidate for the National Association of REALTOR’s Property Library. It ties all of the active listing data on Realtor.com to a suite of extensive property attributes ranging from demographic data to flood maps to airplane fly over zones and noise. The Find products sits at the top of the page when the agent is logged into the MLS, extending data access nationwide. The two cornerstones that agents love about Find include a Google-like natural language search bar and blazing speed. If you are interested in learning more about FIND for your MLS – reach out to your Realtor.com representative or Curt Beardsley. My understanding is that Move provides the product for free in exchange for a data license that allows them to display listings on Realtor.com (including sold data), and display to other MLS subscribers in the Find Network. The last word from Move regarding expansion of this product into new MLSs came from Trend (New Jersey) in January. Not sure if they have been intentionally quiet or not. It is a great product for any MLS that allows brokers to display solds in their IDX rules and regulations. There are three significant Data Licensing considerations for MLSs today. Realtors Property Resource from NAR; Data Co-Op from CoreLogic; and Find from MOVE. WAV Group drafted a paper describing these three Data Licensing initiatives for the Council of MLS. You can access the report called New Ways to Leverage MLS Data in the Reports tab on WAVGroup.com or try this link to the Google Doc. Published on 2013-06-17 06:15:38 Move’s FIND Application Goes Live For MRED And Signs New Agreements… — SAN JOSE, Calif., June 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — <- stripped tags -> SAN JOSE, Calif., June 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Move, Inc., (NASDAQ: MOVE) today announced that its FINDSM Application has gone live with Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED) in Chicago. Additionally, it has signed FIND agreements with two industry leading MLSs: MLS Property Information Network, Inc. (MLS PIN) in Boston, and San Francisco Association of REALTORS® (SFAR) in San Francisco.  These three agreements will provide an additional 71,220 MLS members with the FIND Application’s natural language search functionality through comprehensive neighborhood, […]

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Trulia buys Marketleader

by Victor Lund on May 8, 2013

In a release today, Trulia announced that they are buying Marketleader. As a result, Trulia has taken ownership of a brokerage. That means that they can compete with other online brokerages like Redfin, ZipRealty, Sawbuck, Movoto, and others. However, I do not think that is their strategy. There is a persistant paradigm emerging in the portal business whereby these companies combine the portal with technology products and services offered to agents and brokers. Operating a portal that relies on ad spending alone does not seem to be sustainable for the type of growth and stable recurring revenue for investors. Advertising has, and always will be a volatile business. Offering deeper levels of products and services to agents is a classic cross-sell opportunity. Move was the first portal to recognize this strategy, and has a suite of products that begin with Top Producer and expand from there. Zillow has followed the same path with their acquisition strategy of DiverseSolutions. Homes.com offers HomesConnect for agnets and brokers and powers many of the largest franchise sites in America. With Marketleader’s suite of products, Trulia can now provide agents with more leads, offer marketing on RealEstate.com, HouseValues, JustListed, as well as Trulia. They can move that buyer lead directly into agent websites backed by full contact management solution, drip marketing, and excellent market analytic reports. For sellers, they have a full marketing suite with flyers, postcards, virtual tours and of course – the ability to market that seller listing up through the portals – Trulia, realestate.com, etc. One of the advantages that Marketleader has developed in the marketplace is training. They learned years ago that the way to retain agent customers is by making them better sales people. They train and motiviate sales associates everyday. They have excellent coaches that help agent understand how to navigate the treacherous waters of technology. They also have the most active professional social network with ActiveRain, a place where agents help other agents. The Marketleader management and development team also brings significant industry experience to Trulia. Trulia has always excelled at being consumer centric, now they have deeper bench strength at being agnet-centric. This link on RE Technology provides a 360 degree overview of Marketleader – product list, product ratings, product reviews, company announcements, and other articles. Here is the note from Trulia this morning announcing the purchase: Earlier today, we announced that we have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Market Leader, one of the real estate […]

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It is all about schools

by Victor Lund on April 23, 2013

New Realtor.com brand

The most active group of home buyers in sellers in America have one thing in common – school age children.  Traditionally, real estate has ducked the consumer by avoiding the laborious and somewhat liability producing task of informing consumers about schools. Our industry has largely taken the stance that if a consumer wants to know about schools, they will provide the phone number to the school district. Good luck with that. This is not true of all brokers or MLSs. Some have invested heavily in procuring the most accurate school data available. You will often find the information somewhere down below the fold on a listing detail page. Move Inc, the operators of Realtor.com just made a bold move (pun intended) to give consumers what they want – search by school. I just updated by Realtor.com mobile app and look forward to testing it out in my town to determine its accuracy. Accuracy has always been the issue. In some way, third party listing websites like Realtor.com, Trulia, and Zillow have an advantage at offering up some data types that licensed agents and brokers may not. They have no liability concerns with consumer transactions. Nevertheless, the data is getting better, making geo-fencing of school area boundaries possible. If you want to see a list of mapping solutions that support agents, brokers, or MLSs with this data, they are all sorted on RETechnology.com. Here are the details of the Realtor.com release. Realtor.com® First to Add School Search in Significant Update to Mobile App School is in session for realtor.com® as the online real estate leader rolls out a significant mobile update, pioneering search-by-school functionality in its successful iOS and Android apps SAN JOSE, Calif., April 23, 2013 – Realtor.com®, the leader in online real estate operated by Move, Inc. (NASDAQ: MOVE), today announced a substantial update to its realtor.com® mobile app for iOS and Android. In addition to being the first to allow home buyers to target listings based on schools and districts through its new school search functionality, the app now boasts an array of updated capabilities, including new, intuitive navigation elements and an enhanced map experience. With realtor.com’s search-by-schools, users can hone their home search based on school or district boundaries and discover valuable information on schools and districts of interest. Users can filter listings by public schools, districts and private schools in just one tap. “We understand that when searching for the perfect home […]

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Move, Inc. logo

MOVE published a release today announcing that Errol Samuelson has been promoted to Chief Strategy Officer, expanding his role at the company. The full press release is below. You may not know that Errol was once part of the most powerful team in real estate. I call them the four horseman  – Errol plus Marty Frame, Prem Luthra, Ben Grabowski. All four have gone on to great success. Marty Frame is a leader at RPR. Prem Luthra is a leader at Real Estate Digital. And, Ben Grabowski is a leader at CoreLogic. They play pivotal roles in four of the largest and most successful companies in real estate technology today. Over the years, Errol and his family have become personal friends of ours. For most people in the real estate industry, I suspect that is true. Beyond his professional stewardship of his responsibilities at MOVE, he is a impassioned supporter of great industry principles. He also surrounds himself with a likeminded team. Kudos Errol! Take a look at the press release below. It outlines a few milestones of his career at MOVE. Errol Samuelson Appointed Move’s Chief Strategy Officer Seasoned leader promoted into newly created role to guide company strategy Apr 4, 2013 12:00pm SAN JOSE, Calif., April 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Move, Inc. (NASDAQ: MOVE) today announced that Errol Samuelson is promoted to Chief Strategy Officer, expanding his role at the company. To capitalize on its strong 2012 results, and to fuel growth and drive sustainable competitive advantage the company created the new role and promoted Samuelson to fill it. “Errol has more than ten years experience with Move and twenty years in technology and real estate,” said Steve Berkowitz, Chief Executive Officer of Move. “He’s worked in both strategic and operational roles. He’s the perfect person for the job. This will be transformational for Move’s employees, customers, partners, and shareholders.” At Move, Samuelson led the team that acquired TigerLead and Relocation.com in 2012, and before that, SocialBios, ListHub, and TopProducer Systems. Through these acquisitions, he helped Move build the most complete set of real estate solutions and publishing tools in the industry, one that also protects the rights and intellectual property of brokers and multiple listing services. For realtor.com, a leader in online real estate operated by Move, Samuelson launched the 2007 program to increase the accuracy of its listings, with most listings now updated every fifteen minutes. He […]

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Move releases the new Realtor.com Brand

by Victor Lund on March 5, 2013

New Realtor.com brand

We have seen some re-branding released recently from leading real estate consumer brands. Today we see the release of the new Realtor.com – where home happens. Last year saw the rebirth of Century 21 – Stronger, Bolder, Faster. These are very well recognized consumer brands. MOVE EVP Marketing, Barbara O’Connor and her team took a close look at the Realtor.com brand within a year of her arrival at the company. I am excited to see how this new treatment works out. I can assure you that they have likely exhausted focus groups to predictably make a selection that reaches their target with both consumers and the industry. Presumably they had the additional challenge of NAR review, since the REALTOR brand comes through the license agreement. It is an interesting challenge to blend someone another company brand into your brand. I think that O’Connor and team did a great job. I like it. Beverly Thorne and her team at Century 21 led the charge for their initiative following a similar pattern. It is common for a new marketing leader to take a good look at the brand in their first year in office. As the custodian of a brand, great marketers establish a clear and measured understanding of what they have inherited. Both Century 21 and realtor.com appeal to consumers and agents alike. It makes branding hard. At once you are appealing to a 35 year old consumer and a 54 year old REALTOR ® Here’s a few thoughts from Andrew Strickman, VP Brand & Creative at move, Inc. “As we heighten our focus on developing a rich consumer experience and creating an emotional attachment to our audience, we recognized that it was time to update our realtor.com branding, positioning and tagline. We conducted extensive research and spoke with consumers from across the country as key input to the development of our revised logo and new site look and feel.  We heard from them that a valued online real estate brand is one that embraces the notion of home — whether that home is their first rental out of college, or the 3-bedroom house that marks the beginning of a new family growing out of their starter home. Most online real estate brands feel clinical, data- and machine-driven and do not have a human feel, even though they are all about creating connections with real human beings. Our role with this […]

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Listhub expands publisher filtering

by Victor Lund on November 8, 2012

Listhub logo

With listing syndication expanding to 50 or more websites, brokers are challenged to keep up with the features, policies, and display rules of each site. In an effort to help brokers understand the differences between publisher websites, Listhub provides a broker dashboard that spells out the differences and enables brokerages to filter out websites that the broker does not like. Listhub expanded their filtering based upon feedback that they received from their customers including MLSs, Brokers, and Franchise Organizations. The new features are: Refreshes Daily: The publisher posts new or updated listing information at least once a day. No For Sale By Owner: The publisher does not display FSBO listings Mobile App Available These three filters expand upon many of the other filters that support the broker in selecting a publisher: No Re-syndication Posts Redirect Link back to broker website Provides Error Reports Provides Metrics of listings including search results and leads Displays broker contact information Removes expired, withdrawn, or sold listings in a timely manner Provides Timely Support In addition to these new filters, Listhub added a website lookup tool. This helps brokers figure out who powers sites through resyndication. For example, sanluisobispo.com – our local newspaper website is powered by homefinder.com. Trulia and Zillow also resyndicate to other sites – mostly newspaper websites. With any luck, Listhub will go further and provide brokers with traffic data on publisher websites in the future.

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Point2 encourages publishers to play nice

by Victor Lund on October 31, 2012

yardi logo

Yardi subsidiary, Point2 is changing its data distribution policies to align with what it believes to be the interests of MLSs, Associations, Brokers and agents in the US, similar to what it has introduced in Canada with the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Since Yardi purchased Point2, they have renewed determination to protect the data rights of agents, brokers, and their partner Associations of REALTORS(r) and MLS. In the past, the default distribution setting for Point2 has been broker-opt out rather than broker opt-in.  WAV Group has never been in favor of Broker Opt-out programs. Broker opt-out means that unless notified by the listing broker, Point2 distributed the listing data to all of its publisher recipients. The big problem with this policy is that the broker was subject to the publisher’s terms of use for the data, which might be contrary to the best interest of the broker. For many brokers the portal’s terms of use are fair – but for others, they are not. Point2 is now in the process of notifying publishers that they must conform to a set of fair use terms if they want the convenience of broker opt-out data. If they do not conform to the new terms, the data to that publisher will be switched to opt-in. As of January 1st, 2013, any publisher not conforming to the new agreement will see somewhere between 200,000 and 1.2M listings taken out of their Point2 feed. Some of the key terms of the agreement are as follows. The license only grants the publisher the ability to display listings on authorized websites – effectively eliminating the problem of resyndication without a license. The relevant owner of the listing content retains all rights title and interest and ownership in the data – effectively resolving the issue of publishers selling data, creating derivative products with the data, etc. Publisher must agree to install a web bug that allows Point2 to track the – number of times displayed in search results; number of views; click through, number of leads. Content may not be used for any purpose when a listing is not active. This is huge as it cures the problem of stale data languishing on publisher websites, and the display of sold data. Publisher may not use the personal contact information of agents or brokers to market to, or contact that agent or broker – nor will it supply that […]

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Move Announces 2x More Revenue than Zillow

by Victor Lund on May 4, 2012

move zillow

Today, there are two front-runners in online property search – Zillow and Move. They are both public companies. Falling in line behind them are two private companies, Homes.com and Trulia. Here is how the revenue stacks up on the public companies. Move, Inc., Operators of Realtor.com who is in partnership with AOL Real Estate and MSN real estate for publishing broker listings reported revenue of $47.7 million today. Move did not report any earnings or losses. Seattle Upstart Zillow has been on a run, increasing traffic to levels comparable with Move and purchasing companies. They reported revenue of $22.8M and earnings of $.06 per share. It is interesting that the Zillow CEO made comments about the real estate industry spending $6B a year in advertising. I think that he intended to say $6B a year on advertising, technology, MLS dues, and Association Dues. Move’s Highlights from PR Wire “During the first quarter, Move continued to lay the groundwork for a successful 2012 while delivering growth in our core Realtor.com business,” said Steve Berkowitz, chief executive officer at Move, Inc. “As local market trends improved slightly in the first quarter, Move realized solid revenue in our Realtor.com Showcase offering and saw promising signs of stability in Top Producer. Solid results from these traditional core products provide the foundation to build on with our newer Co-Broke basic leads program and PreQualPlus mortgage product, which we believe will help drive positive revenue growth in 2012. We are executing effectively against an active 2012 calendar, having already launched a number of key initiatives with many more scheduled for later this year. With the growing use of mobile devices in real estate search, Move continues to lead the real estate industry as it harnesses new technologies that are fundamentally changing how consumers and real estate professionals connect.”   Recent Highlights: Market leadership: Realtor.com remains the most trusted name in online real estate. In the first quarter of 2012, users spent nearly 1.2 billion minutes and viewed approximately 1.5 billion total pages on the Realtor.com network, more than 1.5 times the nearest competitor(1). Mobile Highlights: Move rolled out several new or updated versions of its market-leading mobile applications. Today, nearly 40% of all “Homes For Sale” viewed on Realtor.com are on a mobile device. Leads delivered to agents and brokers through Realtor.com’s mobile applications grew by more than 120 percent year-over-year. Co-Broke Connection: Realtor.com’s solution for […]

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Listhub launches new dashboard

by Victor Lund on April 25, 2012

Listhub Logo

Years ago, before ListHub, Point2, and Postlets, – if a broker wanted to publish listings to a third party consumer facing website, they would need to hand enter the listing or manufacture a data feed. ListHub was among the pioneering companies that helped brokers solve this problem. Today, in most MLS markets around the nation, ListHub offers a free service to brokers that will send broker listings to hundreds of websites. Today, ListHub released an upgrade to this system that offers more brokers options and flexibly in choosing their publisher partners. For MLSs, ListHub now allows you to share your opinion about each publisher in the form of ratings or notes. For Brokers, you can use the new dashboard filters to find sites that play nicely with broker data. For the real estate industry, hopefully this is the first step toward building a robust set of guidelines for syndication that protect the listing broker and the consumer. The launch of the program has been titled ListHub Preferred Publisher. In essence, the industry has been quite critical about ListHub’s model for summarizing aspects of publisher websites that are important to brokers. In this new launch, ListHub is addressing those issues by better identifying publisher terms of use and data use policies. The primary criteria being highlighted by ListHub includes the following: No Re-Syndication Posts Redirect Link Provides Error Reports Provides Metrics Shows Broker Contact Information Timely Listing Removal Timely Support Re-Syndication is an obvious problem for brokers. Brokers are responsible to the seller wherever the listing is displayed online. If a publisher sends the listing somewhere else without the broker’s consent – that is bad. The re-direct link is intended to link back to the broker website, or to ListHub landing pages as a default when the broker link is not available. Error reports tell ListHub when the feed is broken. Metrics are refers to the publisher providing ListHub with data like the number of times a listing has appeared in search results, number of times a listing detail page has been viewed, number of leads generated, click thoughs, etc. This is the data that ListHub uses for their broker and MLS reports. Some companies like Trulia have refused to provide ListHub with that data. This revision has many more features, like the ability for MLSs to leave comments for broker review. An important feature that I really like is that the default for […]

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REALTOR.Com Shoots across bow of Trulia and Zillow

by Victor Lund on April 23, 2012

prices you can trust

The industry knows the dirty little secret. Many third party listing websites are full of garbage data. In a major online marketing effort, REALTOR.com is telling this story. Inaccurate listings are not appearing here and there, but more than half the “for sale” listings on many sites populated from syndication are duplicates, already sold, expired, pending, or bank owned homes that are not for sale at all. Bad real estate listing information is bad for the real estate industry. So many of these sites claim to be consumer centric, but they blatantly and knowingly allow data to be fed to their websites that is known to be suspect for accuracy. The consumer blames agents and brokers for inaccurate data, not the publisher. It soils the reputation of REALTORS. In truth, brokers and agents are not curating their listings on these sites, so they are in part to blame. But the publishers are to blame too. They make it nearly impossible to remove a listing. As an industry, we know how to set policies for data accuracy. If that is a goal, it would be easy for third party sites to accomplish. Here is a very simple suggestion. Require agents or brokers to confirm a property’s accuracy if nothing has changed in 30 days. Require the user to verify that the information is correct. This is important for many reasons, not the least of which is integrity. Imagine the poor consumer who finds a home and wants to buy it. 50% of the time, they are likely to hear from a real estate agent that the home is not for sale. Oddly, some agents use this as a bait and switch ploy. Snag an actual buyer with “too good to be true” listings that are not real, and convert them to a buyer representation agreement. Sounds shady, but it is happening. It’s rare. What happens more often is the agent does not even respond to the consumer when they see the listing address. How bad is the problem? If you care, run a search on a local broker or mls website. Then run the same search on a third party website. Look at the differences in listing count. Think about the consumer impression. A zip code search on a broker website may yield 100 results where it may yield 250 results on sites like Trulia or Zillow. The consumer impression is that […]

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Figuring Out The Non-Dues Revenue Equation

by Marilyn Wilson on March 8, 2012

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As membership numbers have declined, many MLSs and Associations are feeling more and more pressure to reduce their dependence on dues based revenues. At the same time, the cost of running an MLS is increasing. Members are more demanding for the scope of services they expect while they expect the pace of improvements and enhancements to keep up with the ever-increasing speed of technology innovations available today. Third, members are under increasing pressure to offer better service and information to their customers, putting even more pressure on the MLS to deliver comprehensive, accurate data and seamlessly integrate to third party products. With the decreases in agent and broker demand for technology products and the high cost of sales to individual sales professionals, more and more technology companies are looking to MLSs to become an important distribution and sales partner for their products. Top Producer from Move, Inc. is the latest example of technology companies who traditionally sell to agents and brokers are now offering a non-dues revenue share programs for MLS. Their program includes a free member benefit company that provides tools and free training as well as a revenue share to the MLS. This opportunity allows the MLS, REALTOR.com, Top Producer and the MLS members an opportunity to work together so members receive the combined benefit of:

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MOVE launches the Real Estate Network for Franchises

by Victor Lund on January 11, 2012

Listhub logo

Franchise Networks have taken the first step to declare their independence from the MLS rules and regulations, and third party listing websites. Today MOVE, operators of REALTOR.com and the Listhub listing syndication network, announced that they have created a data sharing solution called the Real Estate Network. Participant in the network include the two largest REALOGY networks of Century 21 and Coldwell Banker along with Realty Executives and RE/MAX. Under the terms of the agreement, the four participating Franchise Organizations will reciprocate in a listing data share of property listings for public display each other’s franchise websites. New Century 21 CEO, Rick Davidson sent an email to all Century 21 brokerages yesterday ushering in what he calls “the next step in the evolution of our listings distribution strategy.”

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