Category : MLS (Multiple Listing Service)

Listing Syndication Major Real Estate Portals MLS (Multiple Listing Service) Public Portals

MLS – Where are we now? How did we get here, and where are we headed?

MLS Past, Present, and Future all in

this video clip!

 

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Data Licensing Listing Syndication MLS (Multiple Listing Service) Zillow

Basic Data Rights To Photos

It seems at least once a week I hear a broker complain that Zillow Group (ZG) is still displaying listing photos and property description remarks even after the listing has been sold or removed from the syndication feed. How can that be, they ask? What right does ZG have to continue the display when the property is now off-market? In some cases, even the new owner is heard to complain that they do not want photos of their home made public on an active website.

Well, typically ZG refers to the very broad language in their Terms of Service such as “For materials you post or otherwise provide to Zillow Group in connection with the Services (your “Submission”), you grant Zillow Group an irrevocable, perpetual, royalty-free worldwide license to (a) use, copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, modify, prepare derivative works of or incorporate into other works, and translate your Submission, in connection with the Services or in any other media, and (b) sublicense these rights, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law.”

Similar language covering perpetual license and derivative works was found in past syndication agreements, although questions arose whether photos and agent remarks were considered “data” and could be used off-market.

Fast forward to today and we see some clarification of the issue of using photos and remarks when the listing is no longer active and part of the feed. If this truly is a change in ZG policy, it is indeed a very good sign that ZG is making greater effort to work closer with the real estate industry.

Specifically, where are we seeing some clarification with respect to ZG no longer seeking a perpetual license to property photos and descriptions?  When ListHub stopped sending its syndication feed to Zillow Group effective April 8, 2015, Zillow introduced a “Stopgap License Proposal Agreement” with MLSs as a temporary measure (6 months) to continue the flow of listings to ZG while negotiating for a permanent direct syndication arrangement. In that stopgap agreement, ZG claimed a right to “Basic Data” but specifically excluded photos and free form property descriptions (agent remarks). Here’s the key language:

“MLS grants to Zillow a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free license and right to reproduce, distribute, publicly display and perform, and create derivative works of the Licensed Data only on and in connection with the operation, marketing and promotion of the web sites and other properties owned, operated or powered by Zillow and Zillow’s authorized licensees. …(b) Licensed Data includes only active listings (listings currently for sale) and, except as provided in Section 4 subsection (c) below, when a listing is no longer active and is dropped from the RETS feed, Zillow’s license to that listing terminates. (c) Notwithstanding the foregoing, MLS grants to Zillow a perpetual license to “Basic Data” as defined in Exhibit A attached hereto (see Zillow Listings Feed Guide at http://bit.ly/1aFdY3u).

For avoidance of doubt, “Basic Data” does not include any free form property descriptions or photos and in no event will Zillow receive a perpetual license to free form property descriptions or photos.”

In its FAQs, ZG asks “Why does Zillow need to retain some of the “basic data?”

Their response: “When new home facts and information are added to our database, it helps to build information about the history of a home and assist in the overall customer experience. Since we will get this data from county records anyway, we prefer to not give our customers an inconsistent experience when looking at homes by adding data, removing it, and adding it again. So, when “basic data” is added to a home via a listing feed, it becomes part of the house history on Zillow.”

Will the ZG clarification of Basic Data rights along with its exclusion of property photos and remarks carry over to its long term direct syndication license agreements with MLSs and brokerages? Will ZG discontinue use of photos and remarks that it acquired in the past? Time will tell, though it is a healthy sign that MLSs are starting to see some gains in their negotiations with the portals.

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MLS (Multiple Listing Service)

Eco System of Innovation

We envision, on a grand scale,  future vendors developing valuable real estate applications without being required to source the data and develop complex aggregation and data interpretation algorithms. Through the use of Open APIs that provide access to listing data, support existing authentication, and facilitate authorization, applications that leverage existing data can be built very cost-effectively leading to a richer ecosystem of features that will benefit real estate professionals.

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MLS (Multiple Listing Service)

MLS as seen in 2008

We must redefine the role of the REALTOR®, the MLS, and the Association in the evolution of technology, the Internet, and an engaged world

This will require a Conversation at all levels of our organizations.The Future of MLS

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Major Real Estate Portals MLS (Multiple Listing Service) Zillow

No Deal – Sandicor / Zillow Syndication Update

Official Notice from the San Diego Regional MLS (18,000 Subscribers and Participants)

Dear Brokers,

As you may know, the relationship between Zillow and ListHub ends on Tuesday April 7th.  If your listings are going to Zillow by some means other than ListHub, this does not affect you.  However, if you have been using ListHub, your listings will no longer be going to Zillow on the 7th.  Sandicor has been in the process of implementing a replacement syndication system and negotiating an agreement with Zillow that would offer substantial benefits and protections for you and your listings along with protections for Sandicor, in the event you elected to send your listings to Zillow.  While our syndication system is being put into production, our negotiations with Zillow have not resulted with an acceptable agreement between us.

Please know that the terms of the agreement were developed by a fifteen member Broker Group, representing a wide variety of brokers, from a 2 person office to our largest brokerages.  All were unanimous in the terms developed, which included protections for the listing data, brokers / agents and Sandicor.  The terms are very similar to other licensing agreements we have with IDX vendors and other vendors.  Unfortunately Zillow was not agreeable to those terms and appeared to be unwilling to consider much beyond their terms.  We revised the agreement such that we felt we addressed some of Zillow’s issues, at which point we were told they didn’t have the legal resources available to discuss it any further.  We then tried to negotiate an interim agreement, which also was not successful.  While Zillow does not have the resources to negotiate with us at this time, we have not given up and will endeavor to work on an agreement that is acceptable to all parties.

We will continue to keep you updated as we work further on an agreement.

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MLS (Multiple Listing Service)

REALTOR Property Resource Can become an Integral Tool for REALTORS

What is the best strategy (some may say “a” strategy, but I contend “the” strategy) to motivate REALTORS to use…adapt, adopt, rely…on RPR, a robust, but underutilized asset (maybe still on this side of the Chasm), to fulfill the vision for which RPR was created?

Answer: Integrate RPR with the most important tool of all, MLS.

Here is the “pivot” Brad Inman speaks of…instead of a strategy of partnering with all of the MLS vendors…why not just build an MLS product and offer it as part of an RPR MLS Solution? From here the vision of creating an ecosystem of innovation is possible…more possible than it is today. This was our vision at Point2 before we were purchased by Yardi in 2010.

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MLS (Multiple Listing Service) NAR

How did Brad Inman find this out? Who is the Mole? or was it "planted?"

Who spilled the beans?

This really eludes to the idea of a central national database, a back-end MLS capability. I first wrote about it in 2008 in MLS 5.0:

“Eco System of Innovation – envision, on a grand scale, future vendors developing valuable real estate applications without being required to source the data and develop complex aggregation and data interpretation algorithms. Through the use of Open APIs that provide access to listing data, support existing authentication, and facilitate authorization, applications that leverage existing data can be built very cost-effectively leading to a richer ecosystem of features that will benefit real estate professionals.”

But who spilled the beans? Who leaked this information to Brad? You have o wonder.

>>
RPR’s pivot

Item No. 2: Speaking of RPR, the big data venture that has been costing NAR about $20 million a year is cooking up a new business model. RPR’s current mission: “The sole purpose is providing Realtors with the data they need to meet the demands of their clients. There are no third-party investors or silent partners.” Admirable.

But RPR’s revenue projections are not working out according to plan, say some insiders. So it is being forced to a make a pivot in its business model, which is common in the startup world. This is the alleged pivot: Encourage young, smart software developers to create lightweight front-end MLS tools to hook into the RPR data set and deliver a competitive alternative to the handful of MLS vendors who (some observers say) still operate with clunky 1990s software.

Now, like any worthwhile pivot, you must go back to your investors (in this case, NAR) and ask for another $6 million to make the switcheroo. Everyone could save face with this scenario, and NAR indirectly helps News Corp. fend off Zillow as the Seattle firm further sloshes around in the MLS pond.

Why is this important? If you are an agent or broker, you are paying the bills for all of these ventures one way or another.
<<

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Data Licensing MLS (Multiple Listing Service) REALTOR.COM

Brad Inman says, and we concur.

I posted the following on March 18, which eludes to Brad’s quote on March 19.

I posted:

Talk of APIs and providing MLS data to vendors through APIs is something that has been in discussion for about 8 years, and may be on the horizon. Watch for some major changes that no one expects…creating an “ecosystem of innovation” may be closer than we think.

To which Brad elaborated:

“Speaking of RPR, the big data venture that has been costing NAR about $20 million a year is cooking up a new business model. RPR’s current mission: “The sole purpose is providing Realtors with the data they need to meet the demands of their clients. There are no third-party investors or silent partners.” Admirable.

But RPR’s revenue projections are not working out according to plan, say some insiders. So it is being forced to a make a pivot in its business model, which is common in the startup world. This is the alleged pivot: Encourage young, smart software developers to create lightweight front-end MLS tools to hook into the RPR data set and deliver a competitive alternative to the handful of MLS vendors who (some observers say) still operate with clunky 1990s software.

Now, like any worthwhile pivot, you must go back to your investors (in this case, NAR) and ask for another $6 million to make the switcheroo. Everyone could save face with this scenario, and NAR indirectly helps News Corp. fend off Zillow as the Seattle firm further sloshes around in the MLS pond.

Why is this important? If you are an agent or broker, you are paying the bills for all of these ventures one way or another.”

I was trying to be more discreet.

Inman News

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MLS (Multiple Listing Service)

MLS of the Future

https://www.realtown.com/about/resources/FutureofMLS

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Data Licensing Listing Syndication MLS (Multiple Listing Service)

MLS 5.0 – Back to the Future

In 2008, I wrote a paper titled MLS 5.0, “The Future of MLS.” So that you don’t have to read the whole paper, here is the Conclusion:

In Conclusion

There is a lot of information contained in this paper, and yet, it is but an annotated outline of what must be done to take advantage of and build upon the strengths of MLS and of the real estate brokerage business. MLSs must use their strengths today to secure their position in the future.

MLS is really an amazing creation if you think about it…A collection of competitors, in a highly competitive, commission-only business, sharing inventory and sharing compensation. The result is a more effective market for real estate practitioners and consumers. Over the years, MLS has changed and it continues to have the most accurate property data available anywhere, constantly updated and kept accurate by an army of agents whose only monetary compensation comes when the transaction “closes.” Today, agents and homeowners themselves are advertising their properties on Craigslist, Google, Yahoo!, and many other sites. All of these sites would love property information available from MLSs because it is unquestionably the highest quality and most accurate of any existing source.

What if the self-policing aspects of a real time Web really began working on Craigslist, Google, or any other online destination site? What if every seller “intuitively” knew that the place to advertise their home to consumers and to agents was on Craigslist (or Facebook or any other growing number of web site destinations)? What if they knew how to post it on Craigslist themselves (and you, the real estate professional did not know how)? In short, what if the impossible becomes possible? If Google became the source of all available properties for sale, nationwide, how might that impact the business of MLS? If as a REALTOR® you could find the complete inventory of property for sale, for free, why would you pay a fee to belong to MLS?
You may think it will take a long time for Google (Yahoo! Etc) to become known as the place for sellers to list property and consumers to find property, and you may be correct.But recall, how many people knew of Google just 10 short years ago and how many know of it today? How many people knew of Craigslist 10 years ago and how many know of it today? In a short span of time, unknown web sites have become household words. The world of MLS as we know it is approaching a cliff, and many riding the MLS train, do not see the cliff as it gets closer with each passing day.

So here is the point. Most of us don’t relish change, but at the same time we have experienced that in life, many things fail to remain as they have always been, so how is MLS any different? To secure its place in the future, MLS must redefine itself from a purely Business to Business (B2B) network and look to becoming a marketing facilitator for its participants and subscribers. It needs to take advantage of its assets and shift its paradigm from information about what is for sale, to information on all property whether for sale or not. From this perspective, brokers and agents can continue to effectively differentiate themselves from the competition, manage information more efficiently, provide more service to their customers, and evolve to be the “trusted and authoritative source” they want the world to believe that they are.

Is the creation of MLS 5.0 a major project? It is. It will require conversation and analysis by all who are considered as stakeholders…but how do you eat an elephant? You have heard it for years: “one bite (byte) at a time.”

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