It was a busy summer for MLS; if you took even a week off you might have missed some of the happenings. So, here’s a roundup of some of the more interesting things that happened:
CoreLogic announced that it is working with customers to shut down its less mobile friendly platforms: TEMPO, MLXchange, and Fusion. That would leave Matrix as its flagship product; the InnoVia platform will continue as well. The company has been moving customers to Matrix at an incredible pace for some time, and they say they will have 600,000 users on Matrix by early 2016. Clareity expects that as CoreLogic completes this work, its massive user base will allow the company to put even more significant resources toward Matrix innovation. Clareity has seen some of the user interface work being done on CoreLogic’s client collaboration platform, and users have a lot to look forward to as that is released.
Black Knight’s Paragon product will be a new option at the 75,000-member CRMLS as a front-end of choice. Paragon MLS provides intuitive navigation, cross-browser compatibility and multi-tasking capabilities, which are all mobile-optimized. “It is time to break through the barrier of being limited to one MLS platform,” said CRMLS CEO Art Carter. “We have wanted to do this for some time, and we are pleased to form this partnership with the Black Knight Paragon team. Our industry is constantly evolving, and we need to be more responsive to agents, brokers and consumers who are redefining the way they work. The result of this project will give our members better choices as the vendors vie for user selection.” Black Knight has also made a strong move into Canada, with large new regional MLS deployments.
FBS is continuing to enhance its new mobile applications over the summer, including FlexMLS for iPhone, Android, and Mobile Web. FBS will be releasing consumer versions of its FlexMLS for iPhone app this fall, and will follow on with Android and mobile web apps in January. FBS also just won the contract for the 4,500 subscriber North Carolina Regional MLS.
Rapattoni Corporation announced that the company has begun development of its next generation MLS software. This will involve separating the front-end user interface from the back-end database. According to the press release, “This versatile architecture will allow MLSs to pull listing data from multiple sources and present it in a single interface, enabling the new Rapattoni MLS to integrate seamlessly with Project Upstream, AMP, and other emerging technologies while leveraging industry standards such as the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) Data Dictionary.” Rapattoni’s in good company with this initiative to separate front and back ends: Tarasoft did it a number of years ago with Matrix to accommodate a customer’s desire for separate listing input (similar to receiving listings from Upstream), and FBS has taken a similar step. Rapattoni also has native MLS apps for iOS and Android devices scheduled for release in the coming months. It’s always nice to see more innovation and competition in the MLS space, and Clareity wishes the Rapattoni team all the best with this major reboot.
On the MLS-public website front, two MLSs in Colorado, CREN and IRES, have cooperated on a single site, ColoProperty.com, and they’ve been successful in proving something that Clareity Consulting has long said: that a well-executed local site can provide more leads back to subscribers than the national sites. The important thing to note is that these MLSs realized that, in order to serve consumers, they had to create a site that followed real estate market boundaries – not MLS boundaries.
Speaking of public websites, the Broker Public Portal took many steps forward this summer, receiving proposals from vendors to create and run the website, engaging 1000Watt to work on branding, and working with Larson/Skinner to create an agreement for data to put in front of MLSs. There are still a lot of questions about how this project can realistically be funded and be successful in the long term, but it would be nice to see this project succeed as a significant collaboration between MLSs and brokers.
REDPLAN added some new board members including Victor Lund from the WAV Group and Chris Galler, CEO of the Minnesota Association of REALTORS®. REDPLAN has also created a Prior Art Library. In a move to protect the industry against patent trolls, the Library will include information that is non-confidential and which can be used to prove that prior art existed and was available to the public in any form before a given date, thus helping to support or defend against a patent’s claim of originality. While NAR’s efforts toward patent reform are extremely valuable, this complementary effort will assist REDPLAN members with their defense needs under the current patent system, which may persist for some time to come. Please email or call Matt Cohen at 612-331-1788 to discuss any non-confidential materials you have that might be relevant – software manuals, contracts, proposals, printouts, and even hardware. If you have the item in electronic form already, please just send it along.
The Miami Association of Realtors (38K members) and Jupiter-Tequesta-Hobe Sound Association of Realtors (1.5K members) plan to merge, forming a new 40K member association and MLS. Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches, which is contiguous to Jupiter, was spurned in favor of Miami, and there was a bit of a local dust-up initiated by Palm Beaches. Hopefully at some point all of these organizations will start working together or just merge. If you think big organizations across a wide geography can’t make that work, consider the next two stories:
Two of the largest MLSs in the country, MRIS (40K strong) and TREND (28K strong), are in merger discussions and they have invited some neighbors to join them. Their goal is to create an MLS with over 100,000 subscribers that provides economies of scale and gives subscribers choices for price, products and services. The group sees consolidation as the only way to achieve this, rather than data shares.
In contrast to merging, Michigan MLS Realcomp II joined the Great Lakes Repository (GLR) data share, which includes an agreement for cooperation and compensation. Data can be brought back into local MLS systems, and a broker can choose to which one he or she wants to belong in order to have access to all the data, including a single IDX feed. Participating MLSs still manage their own rules. While data shares have not worked so well in many markets, GLR seems to be working well – so kudos to them!
It may be interesting to have a rigorous debate about the preceding approaches to MLS consolidation, merging versus data sharing, at Clareity’s upcoming MLS Executive Workshop.
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