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MLS Executive Meeting
The content was great at the MLS Executive meeting, and we won’t repeat it all here. But we heard a great legal update from Mitch Skinner: according to Mitch, NeighborCity/HRN is no longer displaying any copyrighted info. Mitch gave the gathering the great news that the MLS copyright of creative work had been upheld, and that there was insufficient evidence of antitrust to support HRN’s counterclaim. HRN paid to settle the case. The message was clear: MLSs must file copyright, track sources of creative content, get copyright assigned, file copyright quarterly, and watermark photos. Mitch left the group with an important tip: Do not engage in casual discussion about infringers and certainly do not discuss avoiding doing business with them. Mitch’s speech was followed up by a very practical presentation by MLSLI’s attorney Doreen Spagnuolo about how they handle copyright management.
The audience also enjoyed the Pranix MLS industry update. Ann Bailey gave a fun talk and shared her vision of consolidation to 16 MLSs. Ann’s vision was talked about well after the meeting ended! Who will be left standing in 2025?
MLS Service Forum / MLS Issues & Policy Committee
Melanie Wyne, Senior Policy Representative at NAR discussed several important issues. The first was patent litigation reform. She has been told that U.S. Senate leadership has indicated that they can get movement on that through consensus starting in the new Congress. The second issue was net neutrality. The net neutrality issue is now pending before the FCC. The “fast-lane rule” would allow some content providers to buy faster consumer access to their properties over the Internet. NAR opposes this and we expect a ruling next month. Regarding privacy and data security, we currently have a patchwork of laws. NAR has been focusing on education and outreach to members in terms of security. In the new Congress we are hoping to see federal security legislation cross the finish line. Congress has started holding hearings on copyright reform; we will see more discussion in the next Congress, but probably won’t see action on this issue. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org – 202-383-1234.
Luke Glass, EVP at MOVE, shared his opinion regarding the News Corp acquisition of MOVE. The questions mainly center around “whether News Corp just wishes to make more money off the backs of Realtors”. His answer is that, “Of course they do – by providing more value, NOT by just charging more for existing products.” Of course, Luke is part of the company.
Mark Lesswing, CTO of NAR, talked about NAR’s relationship with RESO, the Real Estate Standards Organization (www.reso.org) and its RETS standard. He explained the data dictionary—how important it is to call a data field by the same name from region to region for computers’ sake, though a field may be called something different in a local market by practitioners. In January there will be a compliance tool available so MLSs can test themselves to ensure they comply with the data dictionary. He defined an API and the benefits of a RETS Web API, which supplements existing RETS standards. Existing RETS is good for bulk data download, copying a database. The new API will be less focused on that and more focused on providing high-speed, real-time data—especially useful for mobile. Both are valid uses and standards for transporting the data using the data dictionary format. Mark discussed MLS Policy Statement 7.90, regarding RETS adoption: ideally, the data dictionary compliance deadline will be by January 1, 2016 and the deadline for RESO Web API compliance will be June 30, 2016.
Discussion then proceeded regarding the proposed policy changes (see my blog for more information on that). Comments were all very favorable—especially since the proposals will allow brokers to better compete and provide the best online consumer experience. Henry Brandeis did suggest that commingling NOT be a local option, and that the proposal’s second option within of that proposal be eliminated. As expected, the display of sold data in IDX generated the most discussion. Steve Byrd from Charlotte suggested that the MLS be able to provide limits to sold data—just capping it a few years back. There was an assurance that this would come up in committee. Greenwich MLS suggested limits with relation to privacy. I (Matt Cohen) brought up the idea of having a seller opt-out regarding sold price, and also that security requirements from VOW be used for IDX as well, as the data sets become more similar. A broker got up and supported the security concern. Another floated the idea that there could be limits on what kinds of sold data need to be shown: street address, price and some other fields, but not everything. Hattiesburg AOR and Daytona Beach AOR did not support display of sold data. Henry Brandeis supported a suggested limit for IDX (2-3 years), but made the point that broker websites MUST be made more attractive by adopting the proposed changes. Another broker brought up a concern regarding brokers displaying data from outside their area of expertise and using it to sell referrals back to other brokers.
Art Carter promoted attending the MLS Breakout Groups, facilitated by CMLS on November 9 from 10:30-11:30 here at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel.
Thus concluded the MLS Service Forum and the beginning of the MLS Issues and Policies Committee.
For details regarding the proposed changes, see:
Robert Bailey, chair of the MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board brought forth the first of the motions, with regard to RESO standards adoption, as amended by RESO. No items were brought up for discussion. It passed unanimously.
Jim Harrison, President and CEO at Aculist and MLSListings, brought forth a motion that IDX listings should update every 12 hours rather than three days. There were three possible locations in the rules where such a change could be made. Two focused on participant responsibilities, the third focused on the MLS’s own obligations to provide the updates. He moved approval of all three. No items were brought up for discussion. It passed unanimously.
Rachel Wiest, VP of Operations at Triangle MLS, brought forth a motion concerning commingling MLS IDX data across IDX. She argued that the current rules degrade consumer experience and must be changed, and described the four sections that would be adjusted. No items were brought up for discussion. It passed unanimously.
Chris Carrillo, CEO for Multiple Listing Service, Inc. (WI), brought forth a motion concerning IDX display of sold data. He opined that model MLS policy should not prevent brokers from providing innovative tools. The standard was set to allow a minimum of three years sold, but does not address a maximum, leaving the maximum open to determination at the local level. It passed unanimously.
The meeting ended early without the usual process of amendments, to address the concerns of those who came to the microphone. Clareity was assured that, though all the recommendations passed “as is,” items brought up at the microphones will be discussed in the advisory committee, and the group will also consider additional communications that are made after this meeting. Clareity is extremely hopeful that the policy recommendations made on the Clareity Consulting blog and other suggestions submitted will be incorporated before the new policy is released, as to do otherwise could be very problematic.
NAR Directors Meeting
Many, many initiatives were initiated at the NAR Directors Meeting – we’ll just list a few key ones here:
The recommendations of the MLS Committee described above were approved.
So was, after some debate and some amendment, an important new initiative: the Code of Excellence.
REALTORS® will subscribe not only to the Code of Ethics but also to a new aspirational Code of Excellence that aims to measurably increase professionalism through increased training and recognition of competencies that consumers value. The new Code of Excellence would address competencies such as stewardship of property listing data, privacy and security of consumer information, advocacy of property rights, community involvement and technology. Pending approval of this concept, a specific proposal will be developed and presented to the Board of Directors.
Also approved was the following: “REALTORS® should adopt policies that promote a broader data reach, embrace efficiencies and strive for cost effectiveness so as to position the REALTOR® as the source of all information that pertains to their real estate practice, thereby better serving the consumer in their real estate investments.” How this will be implemented was a matter of much hallway discussion – mostly wild guesses at this point.
The directors also approved an initiative to develop an industry standard for models to allow consumers to fairly and more accurately evaluate REALTORS®. That doesn’t mean that NAR would actually field a ratings application itself but rather it would figure out best practices that it would propose be used by others fielding such systems.
Trade Show Floor
Leads, Leads, Leads.
Real estate has always been location, location, location. For 15 years, real estate technology revolved around websites and consumer traffic, recently it’s been all about mobile, but in 2014 it seems to be all about LEADS.
These guys must be New Yorkers with that attitude!
Tom-Cruise-like Matrix touchscreen – who doesn’t want one of these bad boys for their board room!?
The trade show floor can be tiring! Snores from the back of this minivan …
Fear-based selling never goes out of style, I guess. Yikes!
Party Round Up
There were many great parties at NAR this year – as usual, CoreLogic (CLGX) put on a HUGE shindig, and the Xplode event was also off the hook. It’s hard to throw a bad party in New Orleans – the energy of Bourbon Street amps up every event.
Trulia put on their thinking hats and hosted an exclusive premium Bourbon Tasting event and private dinner for about 20 MLS CEOs and attorneys as “Number 3” in Trulia’s Fine Dine and Learn Dinner Series. “Number 1” was held following the CMLS Legal Seminar in Huntington Beach in September and “Number 2” was held during the California Association of Realtors meeting in Anaheim last month. The topics included a Z + T merger update and Q &A, and open discussions of the Move acquisition by NewsCorp and REA Group, the rise of Direct Data Feeds (Broker and MLS direct to publishers), the new Model Content Licensing Agreement and Fair Display Rules being drafted by Clareity with input from dozens of industry thought leaders, and much more!
On Sunday night, Clareity Security hosted a party at Bourbon Heat to celebrate its 10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY! Great band, open premium bar (as usual) and all the Clareity team wore spanking new party hats purchased in New Orleans. Bourbon Heat was jumping with many dancing to the band. Every guest also enjoyed having a private balcony overlooking Bourbon Street. Plus the photo booth was a big hit too!
The Clareity Security band is still together after 10 years. The six original partners, from left to right, solution finders Kevin Hughes and Troy Rech, the lovely Amy Geddes (stand up, Amy), the mad hatter Matt Cohen, big brain & brew master Paul Hethmon, and founder and CEO Gregg Larson are still together and making better music than ever. In fact, 2014 was the:
“Best NAR Ever” in the decade of Clareity Security!
Matt would like to give honorable mention Tracy Weir’s lovely gathering at Herbsaint for her new company, August Partners, LLC (http://augustpartners.com/). The party was intimate, classy, and a pleasure to attend. Many thanks to Tracy and we wish her all the best in this new endeavor!
People on the Move
|Person||Old Gig||New Gig|
|Mark Allen||CEO, Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS & 10K Research||Clareity – Senior consultant on Association branded Dashboard product and virtual member services|
|Brian Young||Director of Sales, Rapattoni||Clareity – Association Sales Manager and consultant on virtual State and Local Association services (Dashboard)|
|Phil Tedesco||CEO, Tucson Association of Realtors||CEO, Rhode Island Association of REALTORS|
|Russ Bergeron||CEO, MRED||Real Estate Digital|
|Jay Huffman||Rock and Roll Band||Real Estate Digital|
That’s all folks! Thanks for reading our 2014 NAR Meeting and Expo Report!
2015 MLS Workshop – Register Now!
MLS executives and staff and leadership, please consider joining us in Scottsdale, Arizona February 25-27, 2015 for Clareity’s 14th 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 https://clareity.com/events
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