Project Upstream

Zillow Group Buys Bridge to Go Upstream

by Victor Lund on August 16, 2016

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Zillow Group announced the purchase of Bridge Interactive, making them the provider of listing input in a number of MLSs, and the data distribution manager in many others. In some ways, Bridge Interactive is like Upstream, but not a competitor. Bridge is about helping brokers solve data problems and may become a conduit that more easily permits Upstream to allow brokers to deliver listing content to MLSs. Throughout the process of developing the Request for Proposal for Project Upstream, the technology workgroup evaluated many technology offerings. At the end of the day, there were three pieces to the Upstream puzzle that needed to be put together – Listing Input and Management; Data Repository; and Listing Distribution. Listing input and management is the hardest par, as is it includes the ability to handle the sophistication of an MLS system. Many technology firms have ample Data Repositories so that is not the hard part. Listing distribution is pretty common and not hard either. A stand-alone solution for listing input is rare, most MLS systems have this component baked in. Atlanta-based Bridge Interactive developed a specific application to solve the problem of overlapping market disorder for MLSs, whereby a single listing would go into two or more MLSs. As a case in point, the Atlanta, GA area has two MLS offerings – FMLS and Georgia MLS. Bridge Interactive allows brokers to enter a listing once into Bridge Interactive and publish it in both MLSs, as well as capture additional fields required by the broker. The hard part is supporting the business rules of an MLS or multiple MLSs and resolving them into a single user interface. Zillow Group has had the pieces to Upstream with the combination of Postlets for listing input, their massive data repository, and listing distribution, through both Postlets and Retsly. I would expect that their data repository is equal to or greater than most any data repository in our industry. It certainly is massive and seems to have no trouble with the largest concurrent real estate load in the world. But Postlets was developed for a simpler type of data input – namely input for syndication. Today, Postlets has been re-deployed as the Zillow Rentals Manager and is no longer used for listing input. With Bridge Interactive, Zillow Group has improved their capabilities in listing input significantly. Moreover, they have acquired the team from Bridge, who are among the sharpest in our […]

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Upstream Update From CMLS

by Victor Lund on April 12, 2016

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CMLS gets the scoop on this latest UpstreamRE release. Kathy Condon of CMLS was able to connect with UpstreamRE spokesperson Craig Cheatham to catch up on the progress made on the development side in the first three months of the year since the vendor agreement was signed. As a reminder, CMLS is hosting a “bring it to the table” meeting on Tuesday, May the 10th in Washtington D.C. For those of you attending the NAR Midyear meetings – you may want to fly in a day early for this meeting. It’s one of the best ways to get a 360 degree review of all of the presessing issues in the world of MLS. It sells out fast – so visit the Council of MLS website today to reserve your spot http://councilofmls.com/cmls-opens-brings-it-to-the-table-priority-registration-for-members/ From The CMLS President……. Shortly after the Project Upstream concept was first revealed last year, CMLS promised to keep you informed about the status of this initiative and seek collaboration with the developers in order to share member knowledge and experience. I am pleased to report that our organization has met these objectives. CMLS Past President Shelley Specchio, CEO of Northern Nevada Regional MLS, has been invited to serve on the Technology Work Group that monitors the development of Upstream. Her involvement will play a critical role in ensuring the MLS industry has a voice in the development of this software and provide an early opportunity to review it in an effort to develop best practices and member standards upon its adoption. Her work will not be alone. According to the first Upstream Update that was sent exclusively to CMLS from Upstream officially, some brokers are participating in initial testing along with their MLS organizations. Their involvement will incorporate MLS business rules into the system. Upstream has also committed to provide us with regular updates. While this represents phenomenal progress in developing a collaborative relationship with Upstream, it is important to note that CMLS has still not taken a positon, nor have we attempted to predict the potential impact of this project on MLSs and the industry at large. It is still too early to do any of these things. Our commitment remains consistent in supporting innovations that improve the ability of our members to better serve their constituents by ensuring an orderly marketplace with cooperation and compensation among brokers. We will continue to explore innovations that provide for the […]

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An Industry At Risk

by Victor Lund on June 25, 2015

I am an optimist, so I live under the warm blanket of confidence that everything is going to be all right. But during the past month of traveling to every corner of our nation, I have encountered the twisty, curvy road to progress. I found greatness, and I found stagnation. I found agile innovators alongside good ol’ keep-it-is-ers. It’s hard to characterize our industry. We use most of the same words to describe our flocks of agents, brokers, Associations of REALTORS®, and MLSs. At times, is it is unfair to call some by their name. Are you an agent if you don’t sell real estate? Are you a broker if you do not have any agents or do any transactions? Are you an Association of REALTORS® if your chapter does not have enough dues to employ at least one full time staff member? Are you an MLS if your only duty is to collect fees? The one thing that we do have as an industry is freedom of choice. Agents have the choice to become REALTORS® or not. Brokers can maintain their license with little effort and use it as a shell corporation for data access. We have Association of Choice. There is also MLS of choice as long as you do not expect to take a copy of the data with you when you move. If you do not like something about your flock, you can move on quite easily. Indeed, if you are breathing you are likely being recruited. What could possibly disrupt all of this? Is the disruption likely to be constructive or destructive? What will divide us on our path as we face the intersection of doing nothing or doing something? We have among us some passionate leaders who are igniting constructive disruption from within the rank and file. They are organizations doing something like the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) who has set a goal to have every MLS RETS certified by the end of the year. There is Project Upstream that seeks to create a unified process for brokers to originate, copyright, and distribute their data to maintain their rightful ownership and prohibit misuse. There is the Broker Public Portal that sets out to deliver on a national consumer facing website fed by MLS data – adhering to the fair display guidelines – and giving brokers a new alternative to property display their listings […]

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