After the NAR meetings last November, I was asked by a client to sum up RPR “in a nutshell” – what it boils down to is they want you to give them the use of something valuable (MLS content) for something not so valuable. RPR has licensed some commonly available content, put together some good looking charts, and wants to trade that for the use of the most valuable data in our industry – MLS data – under a data license agreement that is an easy target for industry attorneys and others for how incomplete and loose the agreement is.
Many of the MLS executives I know are waiting to see whether the licensing terms get better – where RPR is tightly restricted to a few uses of the data and where what the MLS gets in return is much better defined in the contract. If and when the contract gets to that point, I’ll feel a lot better about RPR. I really do want them to succeed – Dale Ross and Marty Frame are awesome people and it really bums me out that they’re probably not going to like this blog post – but the deal has to get a lot better before the majority of MLS executives, not to mention industry attorneys and business/management consultants such as myself, can get behind it.
Of course, the hot news hitting the streets now is that Move.com wants to offer something fairly similar – where in return for a data license (which I haven’t seen the terms of yet) subscribers can search properties using a cool interface (though not better than most of the leading MLS system searches) and – déjà vu – see it in the context of some shiny map layers, demographic, school and other readily available content.
Will MLS vendors and local/regional operators play along with RPR and Move.com? Or will they just gather and license the inexpensive data direct from the sources so that their customers and subscribers can integrate it into the report packages already generated from the MLS?
I’ve already seen some interesting statistics from a recent survey my company performed of MLS executives, but I’ll leave that for an official Clareity Consulting blog post. But consider this: We’ve already seen MarketLinx offer the statistical component with “Statistics Professional”, Rapattoni re-licensing TrendGraphix statistics, other MLS vendors improving their own statistics offerings, and many MLSs going to third parties like 10K Research and Marketing to provide their own statistics offering. Also, many MLSs already know where to get and license AVMs, demographic, crime, school and other community-oriented data – they just haven’t done the deals and integrated that content into the MLS because, at least in the past, that idea has gone over like a lead balloon with subscribers. Now that may be changing and if it really is – a fact that should be verified – I believe many MLS vendors and MLS executives will do what is needed to provide that value as a core part of their offering.
This is exciting stuff – at Clareity Consulting’s sold out MLS Executive Workshop there will be a strong focus on the competitive landscape for the types of content previously mentioned in this post, and a lot of MLS clients have asked for my help in evaluating how they should respond to RPR and other such offerings, considering different content sources and how they might be integrated into the core MLS offering. One thing’s for sure – being a real estate information geek never seems to get boring!
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