Missing the Forest for the Trees: the RPR License

See that green pattern on the bark! That's 3.2(b)(iii) of the License!

Once again, I find myself in the curious position of praising the good folks at RPR while at the same time ending up on a negative note.  On the one hand, RPR’s posting their Content License Agreement (complete with redlined corrections) is by far the most transparent thing that I’ve seen a company do in real estate industry thus far.  Kudos not just to Reggie Nicolay, the Social Media director of RPR, but also to Marty Frame and to Dale Ross, the executives in charge of RPR.  These guys talk the talk, and walk the walk of being open and transparent.  Thank you guys, and I really mean that.

If you’d like to look at the entire Agreement, including the Terms of Use for the RPR Website, go to the Google Doc here.

Some of the critiques already on the web may be entirely valid, but I think they largely miss the point.  For example, Mike Wurzer’s post suggesting that the new License Agreement allows RPR to sell listing-level data to various customers may be accurate (or may not be, as Marty Frame points out in the comments), but… this falls into the category of missing the forest because you’re too busy looking at whether the tree is a douglas fir or a pine tree.

There are three major, fundamental issues that the License Agreement does not address — primarily because those issues stem from RPR’s business model and its basic value proposition.  If the goal is to nitpick the language of the Agreement in the hopes of finding a provision on which one can base a future lawsuit, I suppose the detailed analysis being done now is interesting.  If the goal, however, is to understand the fundamental challenge of RPR, then we need to raise our eyes up a bit.

Issue #1: Non-Competition

The language of the License Agreement is very clear: RPR will not compete with a participating MLS.  Indeed, the changes to the document adds even more stringent non-compete language, indicating that the non-compete will survive the termination of the Agreement if RPR is the one doing the terminating:

3(g).  Restriction on Competition.  During the term of this Agreement, RPR shall not, directly or indirectly, carry on or engage in the business of providing a Multiple Listing Service to licensed real estate brokers or salespersons in Provider’s market area in competition with Provider’s MLS business.  Licensed Content shall not be used to compete with Provider.  RPR’s use of RPR Offerings is not subject to this restriction.  In the event that RPR terminates this agreement, this Section 3(g) shall survive for three (3) years.

Sounds pretty darn clear, doesn’t it?  Except that it isn’t.  Further up, under the Definitions section, the Agreement defines “Multiple Listing Service” as:

…an organization or association that collects information directly from real estate professionals and then aggregates, compiles, displays, maintains and distributes that information principally for the benefit of those same real estate professionals and includes the use of related or peripheral information and technology needed to support the information technology and business operations of the MLS.

I suppose if you think of an MLS as the above, then it makes sense to say that RPR will not compete with a MLS directly or indirectly.  This is the tree-view that attempts to isolate and list the activities of the MLS, then says, “we won’t do those activities”.

The modern MLS: your office

The forest-view, however, is that the modern MLS is far more than an organization that collects information then does stuff to it for the benefit of its members.  The modern MLS is where the real estate professional goes to get work done.  In a very real way, the modern MLS is the “office” of today’s realtor.

Since RPR in essence proposes to replace the MLS as the place where the real estate professional goes to get work done, it is hardly necessary to “compete” with the MLS on the direct collection of information, the aggregation, compilation, and even most of the distribution.  Once the MLS becomes just a place to which the realtor goes to do the tedious task of data entry, after which she waits for the feed to kick over to RPR which is where she runs CMA’s, neighborhood analytics, runs reports, maintains the mailing list, and so on, the value proposition of the MLS becomes more-or-less non-existent.

Dressing up the License Agreement language doesn’t change the essential fact that RPR shifts the locus of a realtor’s day to day work from the MLS to the RPR.  That’s the forest.

Issue #2:  Governance

The second issue, which the License does not solve, is that of governance.  Yes, there are plenty of restrictions on the use of data.  Yes, there are numerous contract provisions about what the RPR is and is not allowed to do.  Yes, some of the language is imperfect in its precision; but then, a smart attorney can probably find ambiguity in the statement, “The sky is blue” so imprecision is not quite the serious problem some make it out to be.

The Galactic Senate: not local governance.

Because the issue is governance: control over the RPR.

Under the License Agreement structure, RPR and its staff is answerable only to the Board of RPR and ultimately to the Owner, NAR.  If RPR uses the data in some way the MLS finds objectionable, the MLS is limited to contractual remedies.  Suppose the issue isn’t connected to data at all, but in some technology or UI piece that RPR implements.  Suppose the MLS develops a serious problem with the Terms of Use of the RPR Website.  Suppose the problem has to do with “User Generated Content” on the RPR website.  What then?

Suppose that the MLS objects to the creation of some RPR Offering that is within the scope of the License.  Now what?  MLS can suspend delivery, perhaps even terminate the Agreement in case of breach followed by a failure to cure, as per the contract.  But it doesn’t truly control the RPR and its policies the way it controls its own database and website.

When licensing away the most valuable assets under its control, it is reasonable to expect that MLS’s will want some significant say in how the business of RPR is conducted.  But the structure of the RPR, the value proposition to the MLS, the RPR Offerings, etc. simply do not allow for local governance to any real degree.  Sure, a Board of Advisors or some such can be created that has no binding authority, such that Cooperating MLS’s may make suggestions to RPR.  But that isn’t real governance.

A lengthy list of delegated authority, specific grants of license, etc. are good things; they are the trees.  Governance, the ability to direct how RPR conducts business, the ability to hire and fire the staff of RPR if it comes to that, is much more than contract terms.  That’s the forest.

Issue #3: Local Markets, Local Benefits

Finally, although absent from the License Agreement, the blogpost on RPR makes it clear that intentionally missing from the Agreement is any mention of revenue share with the local MLS:

No less importantly, what has not changed: there is no formula for revenue sharing with an MLS provider.  While the reasons for this have been described and discussed in dozens of forums since RPR was first announced, our thinking behind this remains that as a NAR member benefit, in which NAR members have already invested, it is critical that RPR be able to sustain the services that we will provide to the members without charging them for access, enhancements, advertising, or services.  Recently, we have begun to engage large brokers – both individually, and in several brainstorming groups – who have generally supported the rationale behind this approach.  Also, there is now a competitive offering which compensates the MLS providers without offering anything to the members, and we are pleased for the line between the two to have been drawn as brightly as it has been.

Plainly put, this is a red herring.

If the real goal of the failure to share revenues is to enable “RPR to be able to sustain the services” at no cost, then RPR could have offered sharing of profits.  Since profits are revenues net of all expenses, including the expense of offering RPR services to NAR members, RPR would be able to sustain all of the services at no charge and still share with the local market.  For that matter, given that NAR itself is a non-profit, and RPR is characterized as a NAR member benefit, it is not clear why the RPR, LLC must be a for-profit enterprise.

That large brokers are generally supportive of the rationale is irrelevant.  After all, I doubt that RPR is ready to say its rationale is not valid if large brokers generally turn against it.

Finally, the idea that one can compensate the MLS without offering anything to the members is a curious one.  What else would the local MLS do with extra money in their pocket but do stuff to benefit members?  Even if that ‘benefit’ is not raising the price to its subscribers, because they have a revenue stream from the data partner, isn’t that going to the members themselves?

If the answer is, “Well, the MLS executives could just pocket the money”, two responses exist.  First, those local MLS executives are subject to local governance; the Board can fire such irresponsible executives, or refuse to give them pay raises or whatever.  Second, are we to be suspicious of local MLS executives while not questioning the RPR executives at all?  So local execs are corruptocrats who just want to line their pockets, but the folks at RPR are saints who would subsist on cup ramen while pouring all the profits back into member benefits?

Combine the local governance issue with the lack of revenues to the local markets, and you have a toxic brew.  Now you’ve got profits (that’s net of expenses) going to a group of people who cannot be held accountable by the local MLS or by the local members at all.

I emphatically am not suggesting that the people at RPR are crooks or something; if anything, they’ve proven that they are upstanding, trustworthy, transparent human beings.  I am saying, however, that if sending money to the local MLS is not sending money to the members of that local MLS, then the same suspicion has to apply to RPR as well.

The argument over revenue share or profit share or whatever, statements of principles, member benefits vs. non-member benefits, and so on are the trees.  Why the RPR is a for-profit venture that plans to keep all of the money for itself is the forest.

The Forest Emerges

So let’s not get hung up on what section 3(b)(ii)(A) says about 7(c)(iii) or what this word or that word might mean in the new RPR License Agreement.  Fact is, until the big issues of Loss of Relationship, Local Governance, and Local Benefits are addressed, such in-depth hairsplitting is an amusing exercise for attorneys to do.  (Speaking of which, I’ll be over later Brian.)

The forest emerges, and this one is dark and full of shadows.  Stay focused on the big picture, because that remains hazy still.

-rsh

  • http://www.flexmls.com/blog Michael Wurzer

    The scope of the license (knowing what RPR can do with the data) is missing the forest for the trees? Really? I'd love to see your advice to your customers about the agreement and whether or not it addresses the definition of RPR offerings as I've mentioned. My guess is that you'd say exactly the same thing I've said. You make some good points in your post but dismissing the fundamental problems with the definition of RPR offerings is off the mark.

  • robhahn

    Heya Mike -

    As I mentioned on Twitter, and as you surmised correctly, given the three fundamental problems above, my advice to clients is to see if those issues are resolved one way or another before caring overmuch about contract-based restrictions and such.

    The issue of local governance is a big one; it likely is not enough to wave that one away with contractual restrictions and limitations. As you know, contractual obligations are limited to contractual remedies. That is not enough for many a MLS.

    The focus on what is and is not in the RPR Offering is, well, inappropriate for any MLS that hasn't already decided that they're going through with it. It's like arguing over whether the wedding cake should be chocolate or vanilla, when the real issue is whether you even want to go on a date.

    -rsh

  • http://twitter.com/martyframe martyframe

    Way to elevate the public discussion, Rob! Nicely done.

    Extrapolate the transparency inherent in choosing to i) make and ii) post revisions to the agreement, and you will find the answer to the governance question that you pose. RPR is accountable to NAR, and who is NAR accountable to? – its members. Characterizing them as “local” makes a distinction that doesn't exist. They will be the arbiters of what RPR does and doesn't do; they will be able to see plain as day how the data is being used and how much money is being made, and direct it wherever they want it to go, to the benefit of whomever they wish.

  • http://www.flexmls.com/blog Michael Wurzer

    Marty, for the broker on the street, I'm not sure saying “don't worry, NAR is accountable to its members” is comforting.

    Rob, after further reviewing your three points, I offer this:

    1. “Dressing up the License Agreement language doesn’t change the essential fact that RPR shifts the locus of a realtor’s day to day work from the MLS to the RPR.” Like Marty's argument, I don't think this will fly with members, who will hear it as “the MLS refuses to participate in RPR because they're worried we'll will find it useful.” RPR should not be allowed to become a monopoly system but the right way to prevent that is by requiring data standards (a standard way to get the customer and other data back out) as part of the agreement. This will foster competition instead of inhibiting it.

    2. “When licensing away the most valuable assets under its control, it is reasonable to expect that MLS’s will want some significant say in how the business of RPR is conducted.” This goes straight to the point I was making and which you criticized for being “the trees.” If you're not “licensing away the most valuable assets”, the need for control over the entire business of the vendor is lower. MLSs now entrust their data to MLS vendors because we promise not to do ANYTHING with it not approved by the MLS. I pointed out significant problems with the definition of RPR offerings because that term is central to the license grant in the agreement. In other words, it defines what the MLS is “licensing away”. Again, MLSs license the data all the time without requiring that they take control of the business receiving the license, and the reason is because the term of the license is limited.

    3. “Why the RPR is a for-profit venture that plans to keep all of the money for itself is the forest.” This is the best question you pose and the issue over which RPR has been clearest. They've said over and over again that neither a revenue or profit share is happening now. That will be a deal breaker for some MLSs and not others. If the license only allowed provision of software to members for free, my guess is most MLSs wouldn't find it a deal breaker (though, without data standards allowing members to get their customer data back out, the system isn't really free). Where the angst comes is in how else RPR will use or sell the data, which is why I focused on the definition of RPR offerings.

  • Pingback: Top 10 real estate posts of the day for 2/23/2010 : Tempe real estate and free home search()

  • robhahn

    Heya Marty – thanks for coming by :)

    Two answers.

    First, if you and Dale and others currently at RPR were both immortal and locked into those jobs for the rest of your eternal lives, the transparency and honesty you guys display would be a major factor in the governance question. Alas, we are all human and therefore all mortal, and some are subject to leaving for other jobs and such. And new people come in with new ideas about what is and is not transparent, etc. I can't recommend a course of action to clients based on the person who has a job; it has to be on the basis of *structural* guarantees.

    Second, as for the structural guarantees, it is true that RPR is accountable to NAR, and NAR is accountable to its members. By the same token, the Secretary of Education is accountable to the President, and the President is accountable to the voters (every four years). But having the Federal Dept of Education manage my local high school is most definitely a loss of local governance. Similarly, what local MLS's (and their members, by the way) fear is that rather than being in direct control, they become supplicants and once-every-few-years voters within the NAR political structure.

    Those are, I think, real and justifiable concerns.

    -rsh

  • http://waves.wavgroup.com/ Victor Lund

    A Douglas Fir is a Pine Tree.

    Nice post

  • robhahn

    Hey Michael -

    Is it wrong that I love this debate since you know of which you speak? :) Let me respond to your points.

    1. As to members not being thrilled with the “locus” argument, you're absolutely right. The average member isn't going to care one way or the other. However, two very important constituents do care quite a bit. I know for a fact — because I've heard it from them — that many of the large brokerages are very concerned about the locus issue. They wield considerable influence. And the MLS itself cares very much about the locus issue. The RPR's best chance of success is a groundswell campaign where the member on the ground agitates in favor of joining RPR, no doubt about that. The consequences, however, may not be what the members had in mind three to five years out.

    Further, your insistence that data standards foster competition etc. is not incorrect per se, but somewhat irrelevant. Let's say that RPR will create what you say: a single national data standard for easy transport of real estate information (RETS on steroids). Does that make software completely irrelevant? Someone has to create a mechanism to access that data after all. That costs money. What about the public records data? That stuff isnt' free. What about advances in technology, whether the latest mobile tool or the coolest CRM software? That stuff isn't free.

    In a RPR-dominated world, who do you think will have the funds to pay for all that development, all that technology apart from RPR?

    Then you have to take the network effect into consideration; today, the local MLS has the network effect working in its favor. Post-RPR, it is RPR that will have network effect in its favor. You don't break that stranglehold easily — look at Loopnet and CoStar in the CRE space as an example.

    2. I confess I'm not fully understanding your point here. The listings data and the off-market data are the most valuable assets of the MLS. Is the idea that you can so precisely define the contractual language for that data so as to make the assets really not worth very much? The example of MLS vendors is inapt since MLS vendors supply only the technology infrastructure to run the MLS and do so directly to the local MLS. FlexMLS isn't out there trying to shift the main relationship from the MLS to itself; RPR is.

    If your point is that MLS's would welcome RPR as merely another MLS vendor, then I daresay you're right. It's what I suggested that they do: just license the RPR software directly to the MLS.

    But if your point is that MLS's can reduce the value of their asset (data) to a point where they can feel comfortable, then that is the same point at which the asset is worthless to RPR. Contract cannot solve this problem. Governance is the key.

    3. As for the refusal to do any revenue or profit-sharing, I have to confess I'm just puzzled on this one. It just doesn't compute for me. :) But I probably don't know all the facts on that one.

    -rsh

  • robhahn

    D'oh! :D

    -rsh

  • http://www.flexmls.com/blog Michael Wurzer

    Rob:

    >>Does that make software completely irrelevant? <<

    No, but the idea (perhaps idealized) is that switching to competitive software (not having lock-in) would be easier. Also, this is the ideal time to move hard on standards, because RPR actually needs them in the short-term and everyone else needs them in the long-term to ensure competition. In the short-term, there will be no mass migration of users from MLS system to RPR, simply because of inertia and knowledge. Users have their customers set up in the MLS, with portals, etc. If there were standards, it would make it easier to move customers to the best system.

    >>Is the idea that you can so precisely define the contractual language for that data so as to make the assets really not worth very much?<<

    No, the idea is to make it clear what actually is being exchanged so that the value of the transaction can be assessed by everyone.

    >>As for the refusal to do any revenue or profit-sharing, I have to confess I'm just puzzled on this one. It just doesn't compute for me. :) But I probably don't know all the facts on that one.<<

    Me, either. Similarly, I remain confused by the disconnect between the actual license agreement and what's been said by Marty and others. They are very clear but somehow that clarity does not make it to the license agreement, and that's odd. Though I don't practice law any more, I did once and I know that when your client is as clear as Marty, getting that clarity into the agreement isn't that hard so I'm confused as to why that is the case here. Perhaps it's just the speed at which RPR is trying to move but I also think trying to preserve a lot of freedom for future development leads to the ambiguity and raises the locality and control issues you mention.

  • RESage

    I believe that Rob's comment about governance, or the lack thereof with respect to RPR, is one of the most insightful comments.

    If I tie that to the non-compete clause and the definition of Multiple Listing Service, along with Rob's other insightful comment about the MLS being more than just a data entry portal then I have to wonder about RPR's ability to create other ancillary services (read: other MLS revenue sources) like faxing services, forms (recall that Zipforms is the official NAR forms provider and NAR has an ownership interest in it and the RELAY TMS), statistics, agent websites, etc…

    RPR may not become an MLS on the one hand, but it could by any other definition.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Justin-Britt/540707035 Justin Britt

    “What else would the local MLS do with extra money in their pocket but do stuff to benefit members?”

    Umm…

    1) Have huge travel budgets in excess of $100K/yr
    2) Create a real estate website to compete against their members and then try and sell advertising back to them.
    3) Skim money off the top
    4) Use money to try and sell their MLS software to others instead of working on becoming RETS compliant.

    True, this is only happening with 1 of the 3 local MLS operating in Hawaii, but it is happening.

    By the way, I'm in favor of RPR.

  • robhahn

    True, they could do all of those things. And the local board (or whoever owns said MLS) can fire the executives for incompetence or whatever. If the board doesn't do it, you can elect new board members.

    What do you do if RPR does the same? Say our friends Marty, Dale, Reggie and others all leave and new people are brought in, and they go buy a private jet, pay themselves $1M per year, host lavish parties and golf outings, and otherwise behave like Nancy Pelosi does with taxpayer dollars. What do you do then? You don't control who sits on the Board of RPR; you have no say, except through your vote as a member of NAR. You could vote in new NAR board members or such who promise to cleanup the situation at RPR, but now you're talking about a national campaign as opposed to a local one. (I actually have no idea what the governance structure at NAR is, not being a REALTOR.)

    Local governance is pretty important, whether we're talking about RPR or actual government officials, if 'we the people' want to have a say.

    -rsh

  • http://www.Kens411.com Ken Brand

    All of this is fascinating. I'm not wise in the ways of multi-dimensional, national data control conspiracy, aspiration and execution, I do understand why it's precious. I'm a feet on the street guy and I appreciate the illumination, point and counter point. Thank you.

    The RPR transparency is freaking awesome. Oddly the cynic in me, the little voice in the background warns me of misdirection. I applaud it, but I fear it. Weird, but there you have it.

    The thing for me is, I'd love to have all the Wiz Bang tools proposed. But, agent's have been sold down the river before. I think Realtor.com was a mistake, now if I don't want to look like a loser compared to my competitors, I have to pay to enhance my own data – that's not a benefit, it's a stick and a money suck.

    Another sold down the river deal is Broker's throwing referral fees at relocation companies, another story of eating your own seed corn. Sign, I won't go down that stinky road.

    Anytime some tells me, if we work together and you decide you don't like me, you can leave, and I promise not to compete (drink your milkshake) for a 1,000 days (And they are bigger, bader, smarter and richer), I'd be worrying about that. How about, drop dead, I'll drink my own milkshake, put a lid on it and encase it in steel.

    National, ginormous, world wide, super big – generally equals, hey you little insignificant guy, you with the tiny 1 in 1.2million voice, we don't hear you so well, and if we do, you don't really matter mutch (1 in 1,200,000). Although my local association is large, 1 out of 20K is better than 1 in 1.2 million.

    Last, I'm glad that big shots and investors can monazite and presumably make millions from the sweat and tear stained listing work of 1.2 million agents, in exchange we all get cool new tools that make us look (quack) the same.

    After rereading my comment, it sounds like I'm in a bad mood. I'm not, it just seems like more of the same. How people smarter and richer than Jane Doe can take her listing information and get rich while she wrestles with the kids homework, her husbands company downsizing, paying the bills and chasing new data (listings) for the borg.

    I sincerely do appreciate all this sharing and openness.

    Thanks.

  • http://bradnix.com bnix

    Like Ken, I'm not here to debate the details as precisely as Michael, Marty, or Rob can do. But as a broker-owner and practicing agent, I do hope RPR comes to my market in participation with a local MLS. The way I see it.. the MLS gives it a try and if they don't like it, then don't renew after the initial 1 year trial. It's such a superior looking demo that I can't help but want my hands on it – now, not 2 years from now. It seems to be little risk with such a short-term commitment required to try it out. The main clause I'd be looking for if I were an MLS, is the right to get all my data back without any archives remaining on RPR should I decide to let my contract expire.

    Also, I think the most important thing a local MLS does is create the agreement to share commissions with other agents. Maintaining local control of the data shared behind those agreements is essential, but pointless without the agreement to cooperate.

    Finally, I applaud the public transparency and participation in conversations. It's refreshing to see from any company, especially one owned by such a large organization. To Ken's point, the data is mined by hard-working individuals. Which is all the reason more to enhance it and give it back to them as a valuable tool. Isn't this why we form associations in the first place, to get better together? If you don't like the benefits or membership, then drop out of the club. It's especially easy in my neck of the woods as we have privately owned MLS' that don't require NAR membership to participate. I pay my dues because the benefits outweigh the expenses. RPR should help this equation even more.

  • Pingback: Is “Free” MLS Finally Here? « FBS Blog()

  • Igots7.2socks

    If it walks like a pile o’ poo, looks like a pile o’ poo’’’smells like a pile o’ poo… Then it probably is… A pile of poo…
    The problem there is… If you think that pile o’ poo stinks now… Just wait till you step in it… (While screaming… “Dangit RPR!”)

    Hmmm.. RPR Contract?
    Many MLS peeps given their sold data or intend to .. Where? Realtor.com / Move.com
    If you read the standard contract from that entity… Realtor.com can already take the data and pretty do with it what they see fit.. for profit..without revenue… Remember.. Realtor.com is NOT IDX… And if you look at the legal terms of that wide open contract.. You may just raise an eyebrow to that…
    Couldn't Realtor.com just sell use rights to RPR? I mean.. they use MLS data for profit on a day-in, day-out basis as it is… Throwing TP CMA apps, redirecting listing agent's agents listings to those agents with deeper pockets….
    My point being… RPR already seems like a waste of millions of dollars of Realtor members monies… But why bash RPR so badly when the other subsidiaries have already gotten away with it for years on a public platform… Eventually, the MLS animal will stop and figure out… “Hey… we tried to get our member's data out there for their benefit.. Now the MLS data is on over 20, 000 sites in the U.S. alone, leads are being resold to other agents by corporations that popped over night, fake MLS sites, foreclosure sites… You name it..

    At some point, that MLS animal is going to wake up and realize what has been happening for the past two years specifically, then they will end up going old-school and sucking that data back in and using those $100k liquidated damage clauses in thousands of contracts circulating and data will be back on lockdown and we'll all be in the poor house until we can figure out another new tech word and gizmo to distribute MLS data for a profit with the MLS consent…. (Don't lie.. it happens all the time and we all know it, and it is legit, legal, and signed in ink… ) So back to the point… RPR may not be a waste being that it is for Realtor Member's only (Wait… All the MLS data…. What about all of these MLS Ops with SafeMLS (Ok I’m a fan, but not an employee..) or the RSA uhmm.. Hybrid solutions? Someone is bound to say “hey.. our data is unsecure.. do away with our secure logins and save us money..” Watch… It'tl happen) SO scratch that.. an open login platform that will help to end the secure MLS system (I mean really…. Why pay to secure data (that isn’t really secure to begin with) when RPR will place it on a pretty Barbie Doll meets the Geico Lizard GUI, and only require your MLS logon (or less) credentials… It makes no sense, it seeks to finalize undermining all the work and dollars that went into MLS security in the first place… So.. If it’s not secure…. If RPR can profit from the MLS data, if it potentially undermines steps used to increase the benefit to the member that actually pays dues and subscription fees…, RPS can’t compete, but it can “rent” data to 3rd party apps for enhancing their site (hey look at all that data for sale for mortgage companies… Won’t Freddie and Fannie be thrilled!! Wooo Hooo!)

    The concerning thing about the post is that you lead to the fact that ehat is inbetween the lines is not important, and that is the only thing I disagree with… Actuially, it is very important.. Both to members who have spent millions, and to MLS peeps who will have their doors shut because of the drop in membership and termination of reciprocal agreements…. Technology was so far behind, for such a long time in the Real Estate world…. Eventually it causght up.. It caught up fast.. Super fast… Fast enough for us.. But way too fast for the MLS community… (You know some of these Execs heads are spinning from the years of we can do technology ourselves, to being in a market where the need someone with 10_ years of IT management across multiple platforms and a mini army of attorneys to boot.. But then again.. Those MLS operators that invested a technical staff, and dropped ass the bs that used to make an MLS look pretty, will probably be the one’s that are here in 20 years still.. Wait.. Oooo… That’s investing in technology… I like it!)
    Anyway.. All of this data is all over the place… The MLS peeps are going to get a little freaked out when they figure out what has really happened in the past few years, and they are going to reel it all back in like they used to have it… I agree something needs to be out there like this… But it’s too soon.. the implications and political fall out to say the least are much more real worries that the t’s and I’s being properly marked on a data access agreement with the big dawg.. We can only assume that risk was weighed… And I agree.. Out o a big pile of bones, we throw a few at our customers on a residiual.. We make good money, they make a little bit each month and in turn we decreased marketing bucks… It was a win-win .. But to come right out and say no MLS.. No free money for you, when so MANY MLSs we talk to, now expect a check every month if we’re making money? Oh wait.. That’s Firsts model that is appealing to the corps that need the dough….. But I’ll wait for that story…

    But you see what is going on? People are upset.. People are even mad…. People are rambling, and there is a dark cloud in chitown.. Yeah.. the approach would have been much better, the marketing was definitely lacking… And whos flippin idea was it to drop “Oh.. we just spent millions of your member’s money on this internet product and we want all of your data by the way” in an Execs session at annual nar.. When I heard that on the trade floor.. I couldn’t stop laughing… Horrible market with no sign of recovery any time soon… Yep PERFECT time to announce a system that you could probably figure people wouldn’t buy into and tell them you spent millions of their dollars on it.. During a recision… Great timing…
    I just bet that went over like a pancake on a cold stove..

    This is gonna be a LONG and bumpy ride…

    In the end, I do hope it benefits all parties, and everyone can come back and play together nicely on the playground… But I just don't see how this or any similar model is worth it (Don't most of these systems integarte tax numbers anyway?)
    I do not see the benefit of it.. I honestly wish I did.. But I can't… If Real Estate weren't so regionalized we'd all be millionaires.. But it is, and as long as it is.. those regions need to keep doing their thing… Not anyone else… When I have tried in the past to force something on a customer, it always failed.. Now that I dangle a carrot.. the wabbit always eats.. Der twas no cawatt.. der tis no wabbit…. Shhhh…. Be vewwwy vewwwy qwyettt (day tawt day taw a rpr tat)

  • Igots7.2socks

    If it walks like a pile o’ poo, looks like a pile o’ poo’’’smells like a pile o’ poo… Then it probably is… A pile of poo…
    The problem there is… If you think that pile o’ poo stinks now… Just wait till you step in it… (While screaming… “Dangit RPR!”)

    Hmmm.. RPR Contract?
    Many MLS peeps given their sold data or intend to .. Where? Realtor.com / Move.com
    If you read the standard contract from that entity… Realtor.com can already take the data and pretty do with it what they see fit.. for profit..without revenue… Remember.. Realtor.com is NOT IDX… And if you look at the legal terms of that wide open contract.. You may just raise an eyebrow to that…
    Couldn't Realtor.com just sell use rights to RPR? I mean.. they use MLS data for profit on a day-in, day-out basis as it is… Throwing TP CMA apps, redirecting listing agent's agents listings to those agents with deeper pockets….
    My point being… RPR already seems like a waste of millions of dollars of Realtor members monies… But why bash RPR so badly when the other subsidiaries have already gotten away with it for years on a public platform… Eventually, the MLS animal will stop and figure out… “Hey… we tried to get our member's data out there for their benefit.. Now the MLS data is on over 20, 000 sites in the U.S. alone, leads are being resold to other agents by corporations that popped over night, fake MLS sites, foreclosure sites… You name it..

    At some point, that MLS animal is going to wake up and realize what has been happening for the past two years specifically, then they will end up going old-school and sucking that data back in and using those $100k liquidated damage clauses in thousands of contracts circulating and data will be back on lockdown and we'll all be in the poor house until we can figure out another new tech word and gizmo to distribute MLS data for a profit with the MLS consent…. (Don't lie.. it happens all the time and we all know it, and it is legit, legal, and signed in ink… ) So back to the point… RPR may not be a waste being that it is for Realtor Member's only (Wait… All the MLS data…. What about all of these MLS Ops with SafeMLS (Ok I’m a fan, but not an employee..) or the RSA uhmm.. Hybrid solutions? Someone is bound to say “hey.. our data is unsecure.. do away with our secure logins and save us money..” Watch… It'tl happen) SO scratch that.. an open login platform that will help to end the secure MLS system (I mean really…. Why pay to secure data (that isn’t really secure to begin with) when RPR will place it on a pretty Barbie Doll meets the Geico Lizard GUI, and only require your MLS logon (or less) credentials… It makes no sense, it seeks to finalize undermining all the work and dollars that went into MLS security in the first place… So.. If it’s not secure…. If RPR can profit from the MLS data, if it potentially undermines steps used to increase the benefit to the member that actually pays dues and subscription fees…, RPS can’t compete, but it can “rent” data to 3rd party apps for enhancing their site (hey look at all that data for sale for mortgage companies… Won’t Freddie and Fannie be thrilled!! Wooo Hooo!)

    The concerning thing about the post is that you lead to the fact that ehat is inbetween the lines is not important, and that is the only thing I disagree with… Actuially, it is very important.. Both to members who have spent millions, and to MLS peeps who will have their doors shut because of the drop in membership and termination of reciprocal agreements…. Technology was so far behind, for such a long time in the Real Estate world…. Eventually it causght up.. It caught up fast.. Super fast… Fast enough for us.. But way too fast for the MLS community… (You know some of these Execs heads are spinning from the years of we can do technology ourselves, to being in a market where the need someone with 10_ years of IT management across multiple platforms and a mini army of attorneys to boot.. But then again.. Those MLS operators that invested a technical staff, and dropped ass the bs that used to make an MLS look pretty, will probably be the one’s that are here in 20 years still.. Wait.. Oooo… That’s investing in technology… I like it!)
    Anyway.. All of this data is all over the place… The MLS peeps are going to get a little freaked out when they figure out what has really happened in the past few years, and they are going to reel it all back in like they used to have it… I agree something needs to be out there like this… But it’s too soon.. the implications and political fall out to say the least are much more real worries that the t’s and I’s being properly marked on a data access agreement with the big dawg.. We can only assume that risk was weighed… And I agree.. Out o a big pile of bones, we throw a few at our customers on a residiual.. We make good money, they make a little bit each month and in turn we decreased marketing bucks… It was a win-win .. But to come right out and say no MLS.. No free money for you, when so MANY MLSs we talk to, now expect a check every month if we’re making money? Oh wait.. That’s Firsts model that is appealing to the corps that need the dough….. But I’ll wait for that story…

    But you see what is going on? People are upset.. People are even mad…. People are rambling, and there is a dark cloud in chitown.. Yeah.. the approach would have been much better, the marketing was definitely lacking… And whos flippin idea was it to drop “Oh.. we just spent millions of your member’s money on this internet product and we want all of your data by the way” in an Execs session at annual nar.. When I heard that on the trade floor.. I couldn’t stop laughing… Horrible market with no sign of recovery any time soon… Yep PERFECT time to announce a system that you could probably figure people wouldn’t buy into and tell them you spent millions of their dollars on it.. During a recision… Great timing…
    I just bet that went over like a pancake on a cold stove..

    This is gonna be a LONG and bumpy ride…

    In the end, I do hope it benefits all parties, and everyone can come back and play together nicely on the playground… But I just don't see how this or any similar model is worth it (Don't most of these systems integarte tax numbers anyway?)
    I do not see the benefit of it.. I honestly wish I did.. But I can't… If Real Estate weren't so regionalized we'd all be millionaires.. But it is, and as long as it is.. those regions need to keep doing their thing… Not anyone else… When I have tried in the past to force something on a customer, it always failed.. Now that I dangle a carrot.. the wabbit always eats.. Der twas no cawatt.. der tis no wabbit…. Shhhh…. Be vewwwy vewwwy qwyettt (day tawt day taw a rpr tat)