Organization Of the Real Estate Industry

How Many local REALTOR Associations are there? And how many members at each Association?

Here is a list from which covered 1246 Associations – as of summer 2015 (before Core Standards went into effect Nov 2015, shaking out a lot of the smaller ones and consolidating others).
Interestingly, less than 90 Associations have 3,000 or more members.
Less than 240 have 1,000 or more members
Here’s a manual count of members from largest to smallest:
37, 453 to 10,000 members = 14 Associations
7,000 to 10,000 = 15
5,000 to 7,000 = 22
4,000 to 5,000 = 13
3,000 to 4,000 = 23
2,000 to 3,000 = 38
1,000 to 2,000 = 115
600 to 1,000 = 112
500 to 600 = 23
400 to 500 = 68
300 to 400 = 84
200 to 300 = 137
100 to 200 = 255
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Inman Connect New York City – January 2016

Connect NYC was preceded by Snomaggeden this year, but by the time I arrived at LaGuardia, the snow was all but gone. Inman Connect is one of the best events in the real estate industry and it is repeated in San Francisco in the summer. My recommendation is to buy your tickets now, make your plans, and be there. There are many events to attend in the real estate industry, many not worth the time or the money…Connect is one of the exceptions.

It all began 20 years ago at the first Inman Connect amongst the Redwoods in Northern California. There were about 50 in attendance, and I was one of the lucky ones. The Internet was first being commercialized and real estate listings were yet to be found in any numbers on the web. One of the biggest issues facing the Internet and its progress was bandwidth.

Twenty years later the attendance is in the 3,000 range. The technology vendors, industry experts, and speakers gives one an idea of how fast things are changing. As always, there were lots of new technology vendors, as well as many recognizable industry players.

The excitement grew prior to the opening, with the help of a live band.

Music to raise the energy level with a live band

Brad’s opening remarks are always a highlight of the event…here is how he opened this year…

Brads opening

The first speaker was author and marketer, Seth Godin…his message has changed little over the years and is excellent, as well as entertaining. “Be different, or charge less…and charging less is a race to the bottom you cannot win.”

Seth Godin

The agenda includes panel after panel in many segments of the real estate industry, and some of the technologies being brought to the marketplace. Many of these technologies are adaptable to other verticals.

Major Challenges Facing MLSs Segment

A three hour session around MLS, consisting of a series of panel discussions, was enlightening.

David Charron, and a team of known MLS industry experts delivered.

Does the MLS Limit Progress?

How Many MLSs does the country need?

Today – 826

Tomorrow – 30 by 2030?

What Do Next Generation Real Estate Professionals Expect from Their MLS?

(Personally) I think what needs to be asked here is what percentage of the subscribers and participants of your MLS are NextGen…before rediging the future for a handful of the customers.


And concluding with:

Upstream from the Source

UpStream – What is it, what isn’t it?


upstream is a journey






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Data Licensing

What do free real estate forms have to do with data?

What is the value of online forms to the owners of the online form companies in real estate transactions? Plenty. John and I have been singing the song of the value of data for years now.

Forms are where the most authoritative data resides pertaining to a buyer or a seller’s progress and seriousness of buying or selling a propery. When someone buys a property, all sorts of things occur, other purchases occur.

Underlying an offer of free forms, is the question of what will the forms provider do with the data. It is a potential goldmine…but no one talks about it.

>>After vigorous debate, the board of directors of the National Association of Realtors approved a proposal Monday to provide the trade group’s 1 million-plus members transaction management software from Realtor-owned firm zipLogix at no cost to members.

NAR’s three-year agreement with zipLogix charges the trade group $10 per member for the first two years and increases the rate by no more than the increase in the federal Consumer Price Index in the third year, according to NAR CEO Dale Stinton.

The deal is estimated to cost between $11 million and $12 million per year from NAR’s reserves. NAR’s membership count stood at just under 1.17 million at the end of October.

Starting in the first quarter, agents and brokers will have free access to the firm’s zipForm Plus software, transaction forms specific to their area, document storage through zipVault, and zipLogix’ transaction management system, zipTMS (formerly known as relay).

ZipLogix is a joint venture between the National Association of Realtors and California Association of Realtors subsidiary Real Estate Business Services Inc. (REBS). As of the end of 2013, NAR owned an approximately 30 percent interest in zipLogix, carrying a value of $4 million.

The proposal was approved by a vote of 455 to 217, but not until after a spirited debate ensued among board members. Several dissenting members — though not all — were from Florida, where the state association has its own forms company, Form Simplicity.

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Data Licensing

How Is Zillow Using IDX Listing Data?

John and I have seen lots of different abuses of the MLS data over the years, in our various rolls in the Industry. Many entities receive the MLS data for specific purposes…and sometimes that mLS data is redistributed to entities that use the data, in ways not agreed to or anticipated by the owner of the data. “Gray Market” Data.

How Is Zillow Using Listing Data?


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Domain Names Dot REALTOR Personal Branding - Domain Names

Where are all the new TLDs?

Undoubtedly, the most popular Top-level domain (TLD) is the dot com domain (.com) that you find as the extension in  most web addresses. Dot com has served the Internet well for the past 30 years, mostly because it was simply available, and could be used for most any purpose. Looking at a dot com address, though, you couldn’t be sure if you were going to arrive at a business, a blog, a school, a church, a whatever.

Until recently, many businesses looking for a web presence discovered that the inventory of meaningful domain names had been heavily exhausted and they had to settle for web addresses containing hyphens, multiple words, awkward abbreviations and numbers. Fast forward to the past two years and we find there are now hundreds of available Top-level domains. We have entered an age of complete words being used as web addresses.

So, you ask: Where are these new top-level domains? Is anyone actually using them?  The answer is yes, and you will start seeing more of the TLDs being activated in 2016. It has taken several years for the momentum to build, but that was also true back in the early years for dot com.

As of the close of 2015, Internet users had registered more than 11 million new domain names (what some domain companies sarcastically refer to as not-com domains).  Donut, Inc, one of the largest TLD registries, said that “The second year of not-com availability has been marked by promising growth in consumer awareness and adoption. As the new domain registrations surge past 10 million, a look at the growth rates reveals a remarkable trend. Since January 2015, total new domain registrations have grown by 263 percent and the average monthly registration rate has more than tripled. Wall Street analysts forecast that not-com registrations could top 20 million by 2016.”

Here’s a random selection of the kinds of complete word domains you’ll be seeing more of in 2016. Please note that many businesses will be building marketing campaigns focused on the use of keywords both to the left and to the right of the dot, and they will be doing this while keeping active any successful dot com web address they have maintained over the years. After careful consideration, one major brand, Barclays, did decide to transition out of their well-established dot com web address and move entirely to their new Barclays TLD address.  – check out the video 1.5 min – it is so cool — notice the email marketing punch they get with Smile@Manhattan.Dental  – Bluecarp Tax Consulting assist U.S. and Canadian individuals and entities dealing with their U.S.  tax issues.

You can add to the list the two TLDs that NAR was able to acquire last year – the .REALTOR and the .REALESTATE top –levels. While most of the above examples are open for anyone to obtain, NAR’s TLDs are only available to REALTORS®. They are what the registration authority (ICANN) calls Restricted TLDs. For more information, go to

As you look at your marketing plans for 2016, be sure to spend time evaluating your Domain Strategy. Let us know if we can help –

John and Saul –



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MLS (Multiple Listing Service)

MLS Rule Revisions – Local MLS Examples

To support Participants and Subscribers in utilizing social media as part of their internet presence.

 Rule Revision: 12.16 Use of Active and Sold Listing Information on Internet

Also know n as Internet Data Exchange “IDX”). (d) Listing Attribution. All listings on a Broker Participant or R.E. Subscriber’s site displayed by framing or other electronic means shall identify the name of the listing firm in a manner designed to easily identify such listing firm. Such identification shall be in a reasonably prominent location and in a readily visible color and typeface not smaller than the median used in the display of the listing data. No listing broker names will be required for a one-line or thumbnail search result display format on Participant, Subscriber or Brokerage site as long as there is one or more additional display formats available for the listing and each subsequent display format identifies the listing broker.  Information displayed in a one-line or thumbnail search result, text message, and/or on sites where consumers view, “follow” and/or subscribe to the Participant or Subscriber’s feed, (e.g. Social Media) are exempt from this requirement only when linked directly to an approved IDX site that includes all required disclosures. Social Media posts shall not be misleading to the public and must represent a true picture as defined in MLS Rule 12.10.  IDX display does not extend to internet advertising sites and/or third party sites that do not belong to the Brokerage, Participant and/or Subscriber.

Rules Revision: Mandatory Arbitration.

CAR added language to the existing arbitration rule to incorporate NAR’s mandated enhanced arbitration enforcement requirements. This revision expressly provides that failure to submit to arbitration and abide by the arbitration award can lead to penalties, including suspension from the MLS. Staff is looking for a recommendation to the Board of Directors to adopt the language added to 16.1.

16.1 Mandatory Arbitration. By becoming and remaining a Participant or Subscriber in the MLS, each Participant and Subscriber agrees to submit disputes arising out of the real estate business which also arises out of, or is in conjunction with, any listing filed with the MLS or any appraisal, to binding arbitration with any other Participant or Subscriber of this MLS, or Participants or Subscribers of any other MLS who are authorized to have access to this MLS under Section 6 of these rules. Such arbitrations shall be governed by the California Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual as from time to time amended which is hereby incorporated by reference. This shall be deemed an arbitration agreement within the meaning of Part 3, Title 9 of the California Code of Civil Procedure. Failure to submit to arbitration and abide by the arbitration award, including but not limited to timely payment of the arbitration award as provided herein shall be a violation of these MLS rules and subjects Participants and Subscribers to possible suspension from the MLS and/or other penalties.

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Thinking about buying real estate?

The National Association of REALTORS looks at 2016:

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Domain Names Dot REALTOR Personal Branding - Domain Names

Apple enters the Top-level domain space with .APPLE

Apple sees the value in the new Top-level domains, and joins the ranks of many major brands recognizing that the new Internet addressing system launched by ICANN 2 years ago is starting to take hold in the marketplace.

The registration policy found on Apple’s website tells a lot about the importance Apple places on being the registry operator for the Top-level domain .APPLE that it acquired about the same time that NAR acquired its Top-level domain .REALTOR

“Only Apple can register or use .Apple domain names.  .Apple domain names will be used to provide simple and intuitive navigation to Apple, while signifying a trusted namespace.  Because of this Registration Policy, Apple customers can be assured that if they see a domain name with .Apple at the end, they can better trust it is from Apple.

A TLD is the highest level of a domain name (like ‘.com’ in the domain name) and generally represents the purpose of the domain name (like how ‘.com’ generally is used for ‘commercial’ websites). Apple was authorized by ICANN, the global regulator of Internet domain names, to be the registry operator for the .Apple TLD. As the registry operator, Apple will manage and set certain policies for the .Apple TLD, which will be used exclusively for Apple-owned websites.

Apple is the registry operator for the .Apple top-level domain.  This Registration Policy covers who is allowed to register .Apple domain names and how those names can be used.”

In an unrelated scenario, Apple even sees value in securing their brand in other Top-level domains that are relevant to their core business. We know all about the Apple watch, but did you know that there are rumors flying around concerning Apple’s interest in the automobile industry what with their registration of Apple.Car, Apple.Cars and Apple.Auto

As noted in, “the speculation around an Apple car has been happening in earnest over the last year. And although Apple hasn’t officially confirmed that it is working on an automobile, its hiring moves and statements by executives make it clear the company is at least somewhat interested in the transportation space.

So the domain registrations could just be Apple protecting is trademark and brand across the new .cars, .car and .auto top-level domains (TLDs). And Apple is already in the auto space with CarPlay.

Still, the registrations add more fuel to the rumors that Apple is totally going to come out with a car.”

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Domain Names Dot REALTOR NAR Uncategorized

Centennial Celebration of REALTOR® Brand

NAR Centennial celebration of the REALTOR® brand – www.100years.REALTOR

As part of the 100th anniversary of the REALTOR® trademark, NAR has produced an informative short video that covers the history of the brand and reviews the rules governing members’ use of the trademark. See

In addition, NAR has created a special website in honor of “100 years of distinction” for the REALTOR® brand. Very fitting that NAR makes use of its recently-acquired Top-level domain to direct traffic to www.100years.REALTOR  . I’m sure they could have used the URL but I think having the message to the left of the dot and the brand to the right of the dot is more memorable. From a branding perspective, having the brand appear at the end is preferable to having it end with .org or .com

You’ll find another video and screenshots of some of the early advertisements of the REALTOR® name at – as well as a friendly reminder that the word is properly pronounced in two syllables with emphasis on the first; that is, REAL-TOR (and not REEL-I-TER, or RE-AL-I-TER).

There is an “Add Your Story” section that encourages REALTORS® to contribute a personal story as to what they’ve done in terms of community service and going the extra mile for consumers. At , “…we want you to tell us what you’re doing in your communities. Do you repair dilapidated homes? Volunteer at a local shelter? Maybe your passion is serving veterans, tutoring students, or organizing pledge drives. Take a picture of the charitable endeavor you’re proud of and tell us about it. Your submission will be part of an online project that will show who REALTORS® are and what you’re made of.”
See all Stories –

Congratulations NAR on the Centennial celebration of the REALTOR® brand.

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Zero Moment of Truth

If you haven’t seen this, from Google…ZMOT…Zero Moment of Truth for shoppers:
Whether we’re shopping for corn flakes, concert tickets or a honeymoon in Paris, the Internet has changed how we decide what to buy. At Google, we call this online decision-making moment the Zero Moment of Truth — or simply ZMOT.
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