Monthly Archives: November 2011

Extinction Event Horizon: Real Estate

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The recently concluded NAR Convention in Anaheim that is. On the one hand, it was great to see old friends, make new friends, and engage in some wonderful conversations about everything from IDX Policy to branding to dating habits of college students. On the other hand, the entire convention was infused with an air of obstinate unreality, as if we all were jewel-bedecked revelers on The Titanic, dancing the night way sipping on champagne….

Based on hallway conversations, based on drunken whispers at industry parties, and based on what I’ve read and heard over the past few months, I believe there is an extinction-level event approaching the real estate industry. And all of the official groups, all of the powers that be, have failed to address it. So I will.

There is, I believe, a real chance that in the next three to six months, we will see the splintering of the foundation of the industry: the MLS and the Associations. The world that comes next, a world without the Multiple Listing Service, will be one filled with unintended consequences.

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The Giant Syndication Hole in IDX Policy

The Syndication Hole

One of the most fun things about coming to a NAR event — whether Mid-Year or Annual — is the ability to connect previously unconnected dots and have an A-HA! moment. I had one such moment yesterday in the legal seminar put on by NAR. I thought I’d jot down a few thoughts, as the MLS Policy Committee meeting is tomorrow, and this particular issue should be discussed and adjudicated there.

I’ve written about the current MLS IDX Policy language before, noting that the key term is “control”. I believe that the latest version adds some clarification along the lines of “control means that you can comply with the IDX policy”. It’s a bit circular, but I get the idea.

Then yesterday, I’m attending the legal seminar where Gregg Larson presents to the assembled legal counsels for hundreds of Associations and MLS’s on the topic of syndication. And I have an A-HA moment.

Seems to me that there is a giant hole in the IDX policy, and it’s called syndication. We’re gonna need a far tighter definition of “control” to plug that particular hole.

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Does Branded MLS Data Matter? A Proposal for An Experiment

Yesterday, your faithful correspondent was part of an interesting session held by the Council of MLS (CMLS) here in Anaheim on branding or certifying MLS data. The basic premise with which the meeting began was something like the following:

  • The MLS has a strong brand for trustworthiness and accuracy in the consumer’s mind
  • Consumers assume that all real estate data is MLS data
  • Third party data is crap
  • Therefore, the MLS should brand and/or certify MLS data

Various speakers presented various pieces of evidence supporting the above. And if you accept the premise above, then branding the MLS data in some way is a no-brainer. The two methods proposed are (a) brand the destination as “MLS Trusted”, and (b) certify the listing data itself as “MLS Certified”.

But I have my reasons for wondering about the assumptions.

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Zillow Acquired Diverse Solutions: Three Interpretations


So Zillow buys up IDX provider, Diverse Solutions.

First of all, congratulations to Justin LaJoie and the rest of the team at Diverse Solutions, as well as to Spencer Rascoff and the folks over at Zillow. I don’t know what the real motivations behind the acquisition were, but at a minimum, you can say that two great teams of real estate technology people are joining forces.

Second, I don’t have a whole lot of time to devote to deconstructing the Zillow acquisition of Diverse Solutions, but did want to present a quick reaction from three different perspectives: Friendly, Hostile, and Mine. I suspect most people’s response to the acquisition will fall into one of the first two buckets, while a very small minority (of one person perhaps) will fall into the third.

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