December 2008


We are gonna do this “Lucha Libre” style amigos!


In this corner…

Andy Rapattoni

Andy Rapattoni

Under the mask

Under the mask

I’ll start off with Rapattoni. If there was a Vendor Hall of Fame or Vendor Life Time Achievement Award Andy Rapattoni would be first on the list to receive it. Andy would take the award, give a little speech and then go back to his office and continue to kick ass. When I talk to other vendors about Rapattoni they speak of them with venom. The kind of venom that was created in the cauldron of competition. Andy, his wife, and now son Nick have been doing it, and doing it well for 38 freaking years. 38 years people! They started their company back when Nixon was in the White House!!!

The biggest testament I can say about Rapattoni really revolves around what some consider a failure. Remember the Rapattoni lock box? They made a big deal about it, had a proto-type and then…..dumped it. I think that took a lot of guts to take on a project like that, but even a bigger set of balls to make the decision to drop it. That’s what is called confidence.

Strength: Experience and their independence.

Weakness: Will Nick be able to pick up where the old man left off?

Secret Weapon: Watch out for the “sleeper hold” from Rex Marr.

Marty Frame

Marty Frame

Under the mask

Under the mask

When I think of all the people at FNRES and Cyberhomes the phrase I come up with is “Dream Team”. These guys have a boat load of talent all over the country. I was listening to Marty Frame on an Inman Audio Town Hall last week and you can tell that Marty is thinking 3 steps ahead of everybody. I’ve met Jay Gaskill only briefly but you can see this guy is a player that is accustom to being number one.

John Hensley

John Hensley

Under the mask

Under the mask

Putting John Hensley in charge of both MLS and Broker/Agent solutions is one of their best moves yet. John has a good balance of business and tech savvy and this role needs both. FNRES has been a sort of menagerie of acquired companies over the years and it’s about time they leveraged all their assets under one chief. Plus it’s not a secret that FNRES has some of the best technology out there, 2009 could be the year when Bob Morse and his team line ’em up and knock down some big wins. They have a lot of good hard working people and I know they will have a lot of us rooting for them in 2009.

Strength: Technology and talent.

Weakness: Will Bill Foley let them implement?

Secret Weapon: They keep hinting about something big, something new, so I guess we will have to wait and see.

Next up…

FBS and Marketlinx

Feliz Navidad everyone!



I was taking a look at REALTOR Magazine this weekend, the January 2009 issue (yes, it’s already out) and I noticed not a single full or half page ad in the magazine from a technology vendor.

I did see a half page ad on the “reader response card” from Visual Tour but nobody else.

No eNeighborhoods, Top Producer, Advanced Access, A La Mode, Talking House or Myers Websites.

I’ve always been a big proponent of direct response advertising and have done well making it work. And you can’t get a more targeted than REALTOR Magazine. Seems like a huge opportunity.


Why does it seem like the same guys who cut your marketing budget are the same guys yelling at you when you didn’t make your sales numbers.


Starting next week I will be writing a series of posts pitting two or more Vendors against each other.


The posts will focus on what I think the Vendors are doing right and what they are doing wrong.

Here are the match ups.

Vendor Cage Match #1 -“Battle of the Super Portals” Vs. Trulia Vs. Zillow Vs. Cyberhomes

Vendor Cage Match #2 (Tag Team) – “MLS Smackdown”
Rapattoni Vs. FNRES (or Cyberhomes, or FNIS, or whatever they are called now) Vs. Marketlinx Vs. FBS Vs. MRIS*

Vendor Cage Match #3 (Tag Team) “Brand Bloodshed Brawl” vs. vs. vs. vs.

Vendor Cage Match #4 (Tag Team) “Agent and Enterprise ‘No Rules’ Street Fight”

Dominion Enterprises Vs. FNRES (or Cyberhomes, or FNIS, or whatever they are called now) Vs.

*Wake up people, MRIS is a Vendor.

So join me as we flush the giant turd we called 2008 and………..



Pardon the shameless Dwellicious plug. Just testing….


I haven’t logged in to these things before, but I don’t think I’ll ever miss one again.

I saw a tweet come thru from Joel Burslem of Inman News about a “audio town hall” on Inman’s “Roadmap to Recovery” series. Since I was clearing out my inbox and doing some other stuff I thought it might be worth while to log in and listen.

Brad Inman did a fantastic job of putting together a panel (he also moderated) of industry types including:

*Kris Berg, Co-owner and Designated Broker, San Diego Castles Realty – Making real estate ‘guacamole’
*Marty Frame, SVP & GM, Cyberhomes – Growing ‘in times of turmoil’
*Pam O’Connor, President/CEO, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World – Lost jobs delay real estate revival
*Patrick Stone, Chairman, The Stone Group – A call for expertise, ‘de-cruiting’ in real estate

Good content at a good pace.

At the end of the call they mentioned they might do these once a month starting next year.

They also mentioned the the Inman Connect NYC has more registrations than last year.

Go Brad!

Vendor Alley 2008 Recap!

I’m sure I’ll forget something or someone but here it goes!!

In January Landmark Communications announced it was going to sell all its assets including Dominion Enterprises, which owned, Advanced Access, Best Image Marketing, Harmon Homes Magazine and eNeighborhoods.

In February FNRES had a management shake up.

In March Mid-Florida MLS (now run by Merri Jo Cowen!) re-signed with Marketlinx . Alan Dalton got paid, and Century 21 brought back the gold jackets.

In April, MLSNI got a new name (MR ED?). Connection 2008 in Philly banned all Vendors, again. And on a sad note Dave Arguijo died.

May heated up when the entire executive management team left eNeighborhoods, YEAH! Dave Rifkin and Michael Hayes were promoted, while VisualTour got a boob on the tube.

In June Bill Gates left Microsoft.

FNRES had a management shake up.

MRIS became comic book writers with “MR IS”. (I wonder if he knows “MR ED”?)

In July Stu Siegel, co-founder of eNeighborhoods bought a big piece of the Florida Panthers NHL hockey team. FBS went to the big show with ARMLS. Greg, Sam, Rene and John partied with B-List television stars. Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate took off in San Francisco.

WRG is born.

Last but not least, OnBoard changed it’s name to OnBoard Informatics, so now everyone calls them…..wait for it…… OnBoard. Genius!!

In August Help U Sell filed bankruptcy (big surprise….NOT!) Scott Kucirek was cast in a Kafka film. Gregg Petch left MRIS. delivered over 5 million leads to its agent (woo woo!) David Harris took a spot at eNeighborhoods and Barrack Obama rocked the stadium in Denver.

In September everyone drank alphabet soup in California. eNeighborhoods re-signed

Dominion Enterprises picked the wrong dancing partner (Lehman Brothers)

October started off well. There was “Vendor on Vendor” and “Vendor on Client” action in the Kissing Room at the CMLS conference hosted by John Mosey.

Then Dominion Enterprises sells the company….FAIL!

Jim Saccacio made Time Magazine. NAR partnered with MOVE, again.

Vendor Alley got a mention in Inman News “25 Most Influential Bloggers:2008″ report! (woo woo!)

In November Andy Woolley turned 50, and celebrated by dancing on a table with half naked chicks. HouseValues changed its name. Marketlinx rocked Orlando! Rapattoni went mobile on the iPhone.

Dwellicious was previewed to great reviews and a Faux FSBO Fight broke out.

Oh yeah, and FNRES had ANOTHER management shake up….John Hensley in, Bev Faull out.

Did I miss anything???


Dan and I had lunch with Grant and Gia from today. Great people lots of energy, smart, and no pretensions. They have really grabbed attention in the online real estate space in a short amount of time. I’m not sure if I’m spoiling anything here but they plan to launch a new version of the site Christmas eve.

One of our discussions is how a lot of real estate tech companies are located here in South Florida, mostly in Boca Raton.

Here’s my short list:
eNeighborhoods (or is it now?)

Must be something in the bagels.

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