The Next Best Thing to Being There!
NARlins’ was a blast, but before we get to the show report, please take a look at a few photos of the lower 9th ward and some of the beautiful progress being made:
View of the City from the Lower 9th Ward
There are many 9th Ward homes gone or still abandoned:
But there are many beautiful new homes and architectural innovations as well:
Musician’s Row Rebuilt A floating house – see hull shaped bottom.
The utilities are in coiled in two columns and expand as this house rises up to 10 feet straight up on two columns.
Brad Pitt’s “Make it Right” project
A new elevated drive-under house in And classic Nawlins’ elegance restored!
Around the Trade Show
Bank of America…had a mega booth with private glass rooms to talk about Countrywide short-sales and counsel/console restless Realtors. There was only one problem: there was no ATM at the booth. Seriously, when somebody erects a booth the size of a branch bank, I’d like to see an ATM machine or two. I stated my complaint to a B of A executive, and to my surprise, he said they are seriously looking at having ATMs in their booth next year!
CoreLogic…..had two rows of diner style booths where salespeople could do presentations or small semi-private meetings could be held. SUPRA did a diner themed booth several years ago, so this was not completely original, but seemed very practical and comfortable for visitors. This also gave CoreLogic a place to explain that what RPR said about MLS listings was totally false and dispel the rumor that the WAV Group had merged with CoreLogic!
Best Booth Character
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, NO, it’s “LAWSUIT MAN!” Faster than a speeding bullet, this super hero will deliver you a legal complaint if you even try to do a proximity search based upon your GPS location!
Best Super Hero at NAR
It’s ShowingMan! He makes agents lives easier and saves brokers money on showings – and even remains vigilant while attending NAR parties. I felt safer just having him around. (Check out the new band on ShowingMan’s ring finger – “Just Married” last month – congratulations Mike!)
Toughest Guy at Show…
…or at least right outside the convention center. Some of you saw this between the Hilton and the Convention Center Friday afternoon. The guy below T-bones a taxi cab while riding his blue crotch rocket with enough force to knock a wheel off the taxi! Notice how his handlebars and instruments are now detached. Tough Guy was pitched through the air and if you look closely you’ll see his pants are torn at the left knee and some road rash on his left elbow. He seemed to be fine and not seriously injured. I’m not sure he appreciated me taking his picture, but this is one tough (and lucky) hombre.
Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Meats!
Nueske’s of Wisconsin makes smoked meat, so the swag at their booth was free samples. Canadian Style Bacon, sausage, ham, wieners, regular bacon, smoked beef, and more.. Good stuff as long as you’re not a Vegan or a heart patient! At the booth I learned Nueske’s meats are served in high-end restaurants nationwide. They claim their products make great closing, house warming, and holiday gifts. I believed ‘em! If you missed it, check out www.nueskemeats.com. “WHERE ARE THE BACON SAMPLES?” asked Amy.
Busiest Booth Returns!
You may recall I reported that the “The Scarf King” was not in attendance at NAR Mid Year in DC last May, and people were concerned that maybe the IRS caught up with him (he only takes cash for his cashmere). Well, he was back in NARlins with more cashmere scarves than ever, same $10 a throw and was slammed with customers when other booths were vacant. Some woman was running it for him, so he may still be serving time this year!
Best Place to Meet Somebody – Fuji Spa!
The Fuji foot massage booth was a great place to catch up. While it looks like we’re strapped in for a ride, those shoulder straps are actually back massagers. The Fuji foot massage machine felt so good, we bought one for Clareity’s Minneapolis office!
Best Parties – Realtor.com, Tarasoft, and CoreLogic
Best appetizer on the party tour – a fried oyster on bread with a tasty sauce and a little strawberry jam under the oyster. I once lived in Annapolis, so I’ve eaten oysters a hundred different ways, but this was a new one. Who ever thought strawberry jam would taste great with a fried oyster? A hung-over chef with a barren refrigerator perhaps?
Realtor.com’s soiree at the Aquarium was one of the sweetest parties in New Orleans. What a refreshing change of pace to mix and mingle in a refreshing Zen-like setting, complete with exotic fish and after dinner desserts. Guests enjoyed this unique opportunity to wander thru aquatic life and interact with one another as the surrounding wild life actually served as an ice-breaker. The aquatic maze ended at the Frog Pond exhibit where Realtor.com toasted their guests, celebrated its 15th Anniversary working with NAR, and acknowledged 2010 achievements before the music started.
Beautiful ocean and wild life everywhere!
Susie Hale sure felt at home! 🙂
Tarasoft started Saturday night off on a great note by renting the top floor of the House of Blues in the French Quarter. They served a variety of local appetizers, top shelf liquor, and had smoking hot women (and men) dressed in exotic New Orleans costumes roaming the room and available for photo ops.
Richard Eschelman, CEO of Hawaii Information Service, looks happy!
The Tarasoft party was complete when John Mosey (see below) made a guest appearance as Jake, one of the Blues Brothers! Incredible job, Mr. Mosey! Tarasoft earned entrance to the NAR Party Hall of Fame for hosting this event.
Tarsoft partners Seain Conover and Brian de Shepper watch “Jake” address the crowd.
Jake busts a move!
Art Carter, CRMLS, David Charron, MRIS and John Mosey, NorthstarMLS
CoreLogic NARdi Gras Masquerade
(co-sponsored by Showingtime, Clareity Security, Kurio, and RealtyBid)
The conference was buzzing in anticipation of the NARdi Gras Masquerade at Generations Hall and it didn’t disappoint. The event was attended by 1200 industry professionals donning masks, beads and boas, who feasted on Cajun fare and danced the night away. Property Panorama sponsored a Pop Noggins booth at the party and there are sure to be some comical videos forthcoming. Clareity Security sponsored the VIP balcony which was transformed into a Mardi Gras float and became a prime bead tossing and people watching perch above the crowd. The prevailing post party sentiments were that it was a raging party!
Clareity Security’s “float” and viewing deck of the party
People on the Move
|Person||Old Gig||New Gig|
|Steve Ozonian||Ask Greg Robertson J||CEO RealEstate.com Congratulations, Steve-O!|
|Gary Doran||CEO Albuquerque Assoc and SWMLS||CEO Corpus Christi Association of Realtors|
|Brad Tertell||COO, MRED||Broker Owner|
Market Link Systems, also on Pro Shuffleboard Tour
|Bud Fogel||CEO, MRED||We’re watching to see where Bud’s parachute lands him|
|Jack Jominy||CoreLogic Realist Sales Exec||New company TBA – in negotiations to come back, kinda like Brett Favre, but without the text message part.|
|Ruth Link||Public Affairs Director for Missoula Organization of Realtors.||Now CEO for Missoula – Congratulations to Ruth!|
|Ricci Dewey||AE of Fort Hood Area Association of Realtors||AE for River Counties Association of Realtors|
|Meghan Webber||EVP of Livingston County Association of Realtors||CEO for Greater Lansing Association of Realtors.|
|Chris Bennett||VP MLS Sales, MarketLinx – CoreLogic||General Manager, MLS Solutions Group|
Association Management System Update
The NAR led cooperative RAMCO project (based upon the original Cobalt product) is being completed and moving into beta test. Some NAR attendees expressed surprise at the pricing, perhaps feeling it should cost less because it’s from a co-op, but good products cost money to develop and support. It will be interesting to watch the RAMCO roll-out in 2011.
NAR Game Changers
“Rate Your Experience”
Clareity had the privilege of working with the Peoria Association on the “Rate Your Experience” (RYE) project this year. This web application rates all the participants in the transaction including loan officers, escrow/title, attorneys, inspectors, etc. Several brokers in Peoria discovered that using the RYE software can save them substantial money by replacing their traditional customer survey methods. RYE, like the other Game Changer projects are “open source” (free) for any REALTOR® Association to use. For more information on RYE see www.realtor.org/gamechangers or contact Brian at PAAR email@example.com if you would like a web demonstration.
“Broker Licensing Cooperative”
Our friend Steve Murray from RealTrends helped the METROPOLITAN INDIANAPOLIS BOARD OF REALTORS® shape their idea to promote the term Broker Licensing Cooperative, or BLC, as a trademark since the term “MLS” cannot be trademarked in the United States. In theory the BLC could be adopted by all participating member MLS as a term to be used when describing what it is and further what it offers. The BLC name idea was born in Indianapolis where the term is currently being used instead of MLS. See www.realtor.org/gamechangers for more details.
The folks from Indy had this booth to share the BLC message.
MLS Association Executives Session
Some people thought hearing again about the big three data licensing options (RPR, Move, CoreLogic) could be a snooze fest since almost everyone saw the presentations several times in 2010.
RPR’s Marty Frame was the first to present and livened things up a bit by “dropping a turd” in Corelogic’s punchbowl to start the session off. Marty accused CoreLogic of using MLS data licensed for certain applications (i.e. ValueMap) in other subscription products, and he specifically mentioned aggregated MLS listings found in RealQuest. CoreLogic’s Jon Green started his Infonet licensing presentation on the defensive, and explained that he would look into the alleged charges and proceeded to explain CoreLogic’s revenue share proposal and success stories they are experiencing. Jon made it clear that an MLS can sign exclusively for the larger revenue split or non-exclusively, and CoreLogic will let the MLS switch the exclusivity aspect anytime they want. After the meeting, CoreLogic responded by sending out an industry wide email refuting the statements made by RPR and clarifying that they are in complete compliance with their data licensing agreements.
Through the smoke from the previous battle on the stage, Realtor.com’s Kurt Beardsley talked about improvements to their technical infrastructure and how the Realtor.com site and the new Realtor-only FIND tool share the same listing and tax database, but Realtors get extra data and tools in FIND. Realtor.com provides FIND in exchange for off-market listing data to display on Realtor.com. It’s a simple trade: Local MLS content for the powerful national FIND tool.
MLS Policy Meeting
The following MLS Policy change was approved by NAR’s Board of Directors:
That the Internet Data Exchange (“IDX”) policy be amended by the addition of the following new provisions: Display of IDX Information by Real Estate Franchise Organizations.
Rationale: This proposed expansion of the IDX policy would authorize real estate franchise organizations, with their franchisees’ consent, to index those franchisees’ IDX displays, with the results being displayed on franchisors’ websites, subject to appropriate qualifications and limitations.
Essentially the change allows real estate franchisors to display IDX data and removes some of the previous restrictions on the single line listing that were causing issues with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The allowance of indexing listings and allowing consumers to link was something already allowed by individual brokers, but not franchise sites. Good job to Realogy Franchise Group CEO, Alex Perriello, for advancing this change. This was the only MLS issue approved.
MLS Software Update
FBS Data Systems – flexmls
Recent Wins: FBS implemented flexmls for the Tucson Association of REALTORS in May 2010 and the New Canaan Board of REALTORS in October 2010.
New features added to FBS’s flexmls Web system recently include:
- Customizable dashboards with widgets for contacts, stats, new search, carts, hot sheets plus Google and Facebook widgets;
- A general RSS gadget that allows users (or the MLS) to stream in any blog or service with an RSS feed to the dashboard;
- Enhanced MLS Messaging module;
- Graphical market summary reports; and
- My Map Overlays, which allow users to define, save and re-use their own map overlays.
In early 2011, FBS will release a new IDX API that supports a WordPress plugin from FBS as well as emerging MLS data standards. The API and WordPress plugin will include the ability to create and publish:
- Listings: Neighborhood reports, including widgets containing new listings, recent price changes, open houses and more all in compliance with IDX policies.
- Market Stats: Market statistics covering price, volume, unit, DOM, and sale as a percent of list price trends for every location in the MLS and including neighborhoods defined using the flexmls My Map Overlays feature.
- ability to submit and retrieve contact data from the flexmls Web system.
dynaConnections – connectMLS
dynaConnections unveiled the next generation of its browser-agnostic and mobile device-compatible connectMLS at the 2010 NAR Conference and Trade Expo. Some of the many updates issued in the release include a newly designed homepage with pluggable widgets and drag/drop technology, a modified bulletin board widget, archive-able transaction data, and enhanced user navigation.
Members of the dynaConnections team flew to New Orleans early to participate in the NAR Volunteer Build Days on November 3. The event, which supported the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together New Orleans, gave the dynaConnections team an opportunity to give back to the 2010 NAR host community while working alongside Realtors. Good for you dynaConnections people!
LPS – Paragon
LPS wins most clever shirt award for “Give Me Paragon 5”
Paragon 5 is a whole new system featuring:
- A Brand New Interface
- Cross Browser – IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera (Welcome MAC Users!)
- True Multi-Tasking – operate in multiple areas of the system simultaneously
- Auto-completion of search and listing fields throughout the system
- Widget-based controls gives users more control over their dashboard
- CMA Module redesigned in a wizard-based with an easy access check list
- Redesigned Listing Input/Maintenance and Contact modules using a wizard
- Brand new “Client Connect” module – Consumer Portal and Agent Web Page
- Implemented over 125 individual enhancement requests to benefit the system overall.
Mobile 3.0 – Introduced at NAR Annual and will be released before end of year:
- New UI with choice of color themes
- Radius Search
- Open House and Tour Searches
- Bing Maps Integration
- Dozens of Customer Requested Enhancements
Paragon 5 is a solid, very competitive offering for LPS and puts them back in the game for any size MLS.
MarketLinx – new system: Fusion
MarketLinx has three MLS platforms: MLXchange, TEMPO and Innovia, plus other broker, agent and association products
Here’s a brief summary of “what’s new” at MarketLinx:
- The Partner InfoNet now exceeds 120,000 users and 500,000 active listings. 39 more accounts are in negotiations, representing an additional 300,000 agents and 700,000 active listings.
- MarketLinx partnered with MicroStrategy to develop a new, world-class statistics application. Launching in 2011, the new solution greatly expands statistical reporting capabilities and enables faster report creation.
- The Fusion MLS Beta test is ongoing at three customer sites. Feedback continues to be VERY positive to this next-genration platform.
- TEMPO and MLXchange version 5.2 is starting to roll out to customers. The release contains 15 feature enhancements as well as several architectural changes to improve performance and ensure compatibility with the Fusion MLS interface.
- InnoVia has re-signed its largest customer (NNEREN) and is now certified to work with the iPad and Safari web browser. Yaayfor iPad fans!
- Chris Bennett has been promoted to General Manager of the MLS Solutions group.
This past summer, Rapattoni joined the ranks of MLS vendors providing cross-browser systems and announced compatibility with Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari. Rapattoni also now provides single sign-on between Rapattoni MLS and SupraWEB applications and recently announced Universal Logon. The company also announced that several customers purchased Trendgraphix statistical reports to supplement those reports provided by Rapattoni. In terms of recent new account gains, Grand Rapids and Montcalm County joined Rapattoni’s existing SWMRIC customer, adding 2000 more subscribers. Tehachapi Area Association of REALTORS (200 users) was a new account win. Account losses included Northwest MLS (25,000 users), Tucson MLS (6,000 users), and Lehigh Valley MLS (2,300 users). Rapattoni MLS also had several MLS and Magic customers extend their contracts.
Solid Earth – LIST-IT
Solid Earth meets with its customers each year to talk about what they want to concentrate on next year. This year, they came away with six things tagged as “Vital”:
- Backup/ Disaster Management. Since 1998 they have done backups twice a day and have never lost a single listing. Now, a new plan will essentially mirror each production web to new virtual servers to be housed in Huntsville and Chicago.
- Mobility. Solid Earth plans to build out existing mobile applications (for agents and consumers) to provide more, simple, fast and easy functionality in the field.
- CMA/ Status Packages. Currently there are three AVMs in the system and they work well but the reports formats are dated. Their users have put together a subcommittee to attack these and come to us with a plan to repurpose the AVMs and make them more visible and more relevant in the interface.
- Association Sites. Solid Earth has started offering a new product called Downstream Association Services. Downstream is based on the WordPress MU platform and also allows Solid Earth to offer Broker Branded sites, again licensed through the MLS. Two of these are up and running so far with six more in development – www.valleymls.com and www.mobilerealtors.com.
- Public Records To date Solid Earth has mainly partnered with third parties to provide public records. Lately, however, some MLSs are looking to Solid Earth to add public records into LIST-IT to avoid having to buy another app.
- Security Solid Earth has developed a Secure Questions interface that appears to be working in that new subscribers are “self identified” through this process.Solid Earth is also interfaced with other solutions such as Clareity Security’s Scout.
Solid Earth is also rebuilding LIST_IT on the next platform with more analytics, more public records, more media and the beginnings of a built-in transaction management platform.
Stratus Data System’s new cross-browser MLS system is running live for the MLS of Long Island. The new system’s advanced features and attractive new interface operate in parallel with the legacy Stratus MLS system.
Project Connect, which enables the sharing of real-time MLS listing information among participating real estate boards across the Ontario Province of Canada, has added its seventeenth board. 43,000 members now search and view – in their own local MLS format – the active listings and recent sales history of all member organizations.
Tarasoft – Matrix
Tarasoft had a busy growth year. A few of the highlights are:
- The successful launch of Matrix at NWMLS in Seattle. All 25,000 agents successfully cutover after only a 6-month conversion period.
- Tarasoft lit up Matrix for the Lehigh Valley Association of Realtors in mid-October with full cutover occurring on December 1.
- Tarasoft’s customer CRMLS (formally MRMLS) had a big year. CRMLS has taken over the CalREDD initiative bringing on-board several new accounts in California. The Southland Regional Association of Realtors (SRAR) has recently decided to join CRMLS making them one of largest MLS providers. The guys at Tarasoft are now supporting two of the largest customers in the nation (MRIS and CRMLS).
Information Security Update
Clareity’s Matt Cohen spoke at a session, mostly geared toward the brokers in attendance, providing practical steps to protect their organizations from information security risks. At that same session, NAR introduced their Data Security and Privacy Toolkit – http://www.tinyurl.com/RSecure – which provides a good starting point for MLSs to think about information security, if not the depth in policy and technical guidance that MLSs will need to enact a solid information security program. But, this is just the first version and a great start!
NAR will be sponsoring Clareity Consulting to provide its Real Estate Information Security Essentials Workshops in ten cities in 2011.These full day workshops provide FREE, hands on practical security education for MLS, association, and broker IT staff, consultants and vendors. Once the initial tour is over, Clareity (or you!) may seek sponsorship for additional events. You can learn more about the current schedule and registration here: http://www.callclareity.com/security/
Suggestions for Improvement Next Year
Mandatory ATMs in all bank booths larger than 20 X 20!
Well, that’s it for this year. Thanks for reading my report. Please see the announcement below about Clareity’s 2011 MLS Workshop in Scottsdale.
2011 MLS Workshop Announced in Scottsdale, AZ – 10 Year Anniversary!
Please consider joining us in Scottsdale, Arizona March 2-4, 2011 for Clareity’s Tenth Annual MLS Executive Workshop. This MLS Workshop will provide timely updates and address the key issues facing MLS executives and leaders. For more information, please see http://www.callclareity.com/MLSworkshop/
Clareity was founded in 1996 to provide information technology consulting to the real estate industry and its related businesses. Clareity is an innovative solutions provider committed to delighting its consulting clients. The company is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona. Clareity provides a wide variety of services to MLS, Associations, brokers, franchises, and software and service companies that serve the residential real estate market:
|STRATEGIC AND BUSINESS PLANNING|
Clareity provides strategic, governance, and product/service business planning that bridges the gaps between strategy, tactics, and the timely activities needed to support your goals. Clareity also facilitates MLS regionalization and data shares.
From needs assessment and RFP to contract negotiation – for MLS, TMS, Public Records, and other offerings – Clareity’s structured processes help your organization make a good business decision with stakeholder involvement.
Addressing leadership or large groups on timely topics – informative and fun – popular topics include MLS trends and system options, information security, and real estate technology trends such as cloud computing and mobile technologies.
|COMPLIANCE AND RISK AUDITS|
Providing information security, risk management and business resumption planning, staffing and salary reviews, and VOW / IDX compliance audits – Clareity brings both independent view and technical skills.
|PRODUCT / SERVICE / SOFTWARE REVIEW|
Clareity performs customer surveys and market research, develops product strategies and specifications, performs usability and quality assurance, security audits, and facilitates user groups. Clareity also facilitates strategic alliances, mergers & acquisitions.
Your business is only as successful as your leaders and employees, and Clareity has discreetly helped recruit some of the brightest minds in our industry for their current positions, both executive and technical.
|WEBSITE PLANNING AND REVIEW|
Clareity can help improve the design, usability and content of consumer-facing or member/subscriber websites, accounting for key factors such as SEO and mobile experience. Clareity also creates specifications and helps clients select the best partners to produce, and provide compelling content for, their web application.
Whether it’s a matter of the policies and practice of organized real estate or a more technical software dispute, Clareity can provide an expert witness with integrity and experience to write expert opinions and provide depositions and testimony.
For more information, visit www.CallClareity.com
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