As some of you may know, I’ve been assisting Stefan Swanepoel with a project called SP200, the second annual edition of which just went live. SP stands for “Swanepoel Power”, so the actual list is the list of the 200 most powerful individuals in the residential real estate industry.
Since I haven’t shown this post to Stefan or anyone else, and this is my personal blog, everything that follows is my personal opinion only.
Recently, an interesting little debate broke out on Facebook about the list, when Leigh Brown, a REALTOR and coach, posted this:
The resulting debate and comments were, and remain, fascinating, interesting, and important. Nonetheless, I thought it might be useful to at least provide a peek behind the scenes as Stefan, I, and others spent weeks and months debating the list, debating the criteria, and ranking individuals.
To be sure, the most important debate happened last year, when we put the first edition of the Power 200 list together. Because it was then that we spent countless hours on the phone and via email debating the central concept of the list: “powerful”. What is “power”? What do we mean by that? How would the list and the rankings change if we changed our assumptions about what “power” means?
Now then, the subject of the discussion was around the “value proposition” of the MLS in the 21st century and how the rise of these huge tech companies, as well as potential threats from things like the as-yet-unknown Project Upstream, could impact it. The discussion turned to what many consider to be the core value proposition of the MLS: “cooperation and compensation.” As it turns out, there’s something to think about here, so let’s get into it.
In the aftermath of the Listhub-Zillow divorce, which was my last post, I stumbled on a comment from the famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) Kipp Cooper and the main man at his vendor, Turan Tekin. [Disclosure: I’m friends with both men, like them both, have shared adult beverages with them, and my bias may bleed through here.]
Kipp is the CEO of ValleyMLS (or North Alabama MLS), which was the first and possibly only MLS so far to cut off Listhub and Realtor.com last year for a while. Turan is the VP of Bridge Interactive, the vendor that Kipp used to put his MLS Direct Feed into place.
The relevant comments from a Facebook thread is as follows:
Now, what struck me as I was reading those comments — especially Turan’s — is the presence of some unexamined assumptions. I think it’d be fun and worthwhile to lay them bare and look at them.
I’m writing this in large part to figure out what I think about it. The overwhelming impression within the real estate industry appears to be that this is bad news for Zillow. Inman’s headline is “Rupert Murdoch Playing Hardball With Zillow” (Subscription Required) after all.
If this is playing hardball, it comes a few days late and more than a few dollars short. We’ll see how it plays out, but I wonder if this isn’t worse news for Listhub/Move than it is for Zillow.
Welcome, faithful readers to an annual tradition here at Notorious ROB: making predictions for the coming year that are Guaranteed to be Wrong, or Your Money Back!
The musical pairings for this edition comes from the extraordinary and extraordinarily unique French cover band, Nouvelle Vague. I mean, who else does remakes of 80’s new wave hits with a vaguely self-aware melancholy infused with a 60’s bossa nova vibe? Yep, the French, that’s who.