Opinion


Call it a case of the tail wagging the dog or just the fact someone took the wrong apple from the apple cart, but change is in the air. Today the wunderkinds at Diverse Solutions are releasing dsIDXpress. In a nutshell dsIDXpress is:

“A plug-in for WordPress that give gives IDX functionality to your website, allows your users to search for and browse available properties on in your MLS, and lets search engines index properties from the MLS on your website.”

I think their tag line says it better.

“MLS on your blog”

For SEO purposes adding dynamic listing content to your blog is like pouring gasoline on a lit fire. And it takes the “agent website” completely out of the equation. In the past the biggest reason you had a website separate from your blog was IDX. Not anymore. Now your blog is your website!

You want to know the test of true innovation? True innovation happens when it puts someone else out of business.

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Diverse Solutions Releases New WordPress IDX Plugin For Indexable Listings

Irvine, CA January 25th, 2010 – Diverse Solutions announced today that they have released a new IDX product called dsIDXpress. The product allows agents and brokers using WordPress to get property listings on their own website and own domain to be indexed by the major search engines. dsIDXpress is different than traditional IDX solutions in that it has both the standard consumer search capabilities as well as the ability to insert specific listings or groups of listings into any page or blog post with their Live Listings(sm) shortcodes. The plugin also automatically builds in search-engine-friendly city, community, and zip code pages that show available properties in the respective areas. Furthermore, listing detail pages are available for every property in the MLS. Overall, dsIDXpress is being touted as a low cost alternative to functionality that was previously only available in high- end custom websites.
The development of dsIDXpress came out of the desire for agents and brokers to have search-engine-indexable IDX listings on their website. With the National Association of Realtors recently adopting changes allowing for search engines to index property listings on an agent’s or broker’s website, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Diverse Solutions recently completed their beta testing period, and the increase in website traffic from search engines was staggering. Active listings were being indexed by Google and ranking higher than results from the big national sites and large brokers. When asked about the new product, Justin LaJoie, CEO of Diverse Solutions, said, “Since WordPress is quickly becoming the platform of choice for real estate websites, it only made sense that we develop a WordPress IDX plugin that provides the functionality that the industry has been asking for.”
The plugin is built with flexibility in mind with the goal of placing the creative power back in the agents and brokers hands instead of being at the mercy of their vendors. Additionally, the Live Listings(sm) shortcode functionality provides the ultimate control on where listings show up on pages or posts. Live Listings(sm) allows agents and brokers to create the perfect city, community, or zip-specific pages with listings that are updated in real time for that area. dsIDXpress also include a number of WordPress IDX widgets, including their search and mapping widgets.
For more information about dsIDXpress, visit http://www.dsIDXpress.com or simply search for “dsIDXpress” in the WordPress plugin directory.
About Diverse Solutions
Headquartered in Southern California, Diverse Solutions is a leading provider of IDX technology for clients nation wide. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to enhance the productivity and marketing efforts of real estate professionals through cutting-edge technology, excellent service, and superior quality.

The mythical California State Wide MLS System

Inman News had an article on CARETS today. Turns out the service is too popular. They had to stop taking on new MLS providers, so they can catch up. This is a bummer but most likely the right thing to do to ensure their infrastructure is solid.

The amusing part of the article was calREDD’s response (via Mike Silvas the chairman of calREDD):

“We are disappointed, and frankly, concerned about their inability to perform at this point,” Silvas said. …”

One word Mr. Silvas: FRESNO!

This got me thinking. How many C.A.R. members is calREDD serving vs. how many C.A.R members is CARETS serving. So I took a look at calREDD website. Then I visited CARETS website. Here’s what I came up with:

Several large MLS providers are not on this list from calREDD LOIs; MLS Listings (Silicon Valley), MetroList Services (Central Valley), SoCalMLS, MRMLS, BAREIS to name a few. That’s a hell of a lot of agents: Over 100,000, easy.

Here are the MLS/Assocations CARETS provides service:

California Desert Association of REALTORS®
Citrus Valley Association of REALTORS®
East Valley Association of REALTORS®
Inglewood Board of REALTORS®
Inland Gateway Association of REALTORS®
Inland Valleys Association of REALTORS®
Montebello District Board of REALTORS®
Orange County Association of REALTORS®
Palos Verdes Peninsula Association of REALTORS®
Simi Valley-Moorpark Association of REALTORS®
South Bay Association of REALTORS®
Southland Regional Association of REALTORS®
Southwest Riverside County Association of REALTORS®
Tri-Counties Association of REALTORS®
Ventura County Coastal Association of REALTORS®

That’s well over 100,000 agents, my estimates are around 110,000 agents.

Plus when CARETS starts adding again they have LOIs with these MLS/Boards:

Sandicor, Inc. Regional MLS
North San Diego County Association of REALTORS®
Pacific Southwest Association of REALTORS®
Palm Springs Regional Association of REALTORS®
San Diego Association of REALTORS®

Now here’s calREDD’s list:

Merced County Association of REALTORS® (Live as of August, 2009)
Madera Association of REALTORS® (Live as of August, 2009)
Lake County Association of REALTORS® (January 11, 2010)
Chico Association of REALTORS® (January 25, 2010)
Oroville Association of REALTORS® (January 25, 2010)
Paradise Association of REALTORS® (January 25, 2010)
Amador Association of REALTORS® (March, 2010)
Yosemite Gateway Association of REALTORS® (March, 2010)
Mariposa County Board of REALTORS® (April, 2010)
Tehama County Association of REALTORS® (April, 2010)
Plumas Association of REALTORS® (April, 2010)

I’ve added up total membership for these MLS providers. 2,702

CARETS: 110,000 agents
calREDD 2,702 agents

If my memory serves C.A.R. allocated 3 Million dollars for calREDD.

2,702 agents, 3 Million dollars.

Does calREDD really think they have any chance of implementing a state wide MLS system when so many MLS Providers and Association have already made their choice?

C.A.R. members should do the math.

Inman News put out a couple of lists over the holidays and I wanted to recognize some of those in the Vendor community and others that made the cut!

The first list was “Real Estate’s 50 Most Influential Online: 2009

According to the report…

“They are luminaries in the online world of real estate whose insight and commentary inspires other, provokes debate and incites change.”

Drew Meyers from Zillow, Reggie previously of Cyberhomes, now of RPR, Lani from Agent Genius, Rob Hahn, and Derek Overbey of Roost.

Another name that made the list, is yours truly!

Here’s an excerpt of what they said;

“Robertson’s Vendor Alley blog is sometimes humorous, sometimes down-and-dirty insider’s look at the real estate industry through the eyes of a vendor.”

Nice! And my apologies to the others who happen to find themselves on the same list as me!

Then the biggie. Inman’s “100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders: 2009

“The people on this list embody leadership, innovation, ingenuity, power and persistence.”

Here are some of favorites and commentary….

Steve Berkowitz and Errol Samuelson made the cut. Not sure why Mr. Berkowitz is listed, if persistence is a key factor then Errol should be the only one from MOVE on the list!

Pete and Sami from Trulia (Do you think the Google rumors are true?)

I’ve got the same feeling about Dale Ross and Marty Frame as I do Berkowitz and Samuelson. Marty obviously should be listed, but Dale?

Nice to see Jay Gaskill from LPS Real Estate Group get some recognition, this guy is solid and LPS will be at the center of a lot of things in 2010.

Nice also to see Saul Klein, I love Saul and he is one of the industry’s good guys.

Jack Ross from Dominion Enterprises. This is a pretty lame choice. Peter Ill should be listed instead (I can feel him cringe as I write this!) , he runs the Home Media Division which includes eNeighborhoods, Homes.com, Advanced Access and Number1Expert.

James Saccacio
from RealtyTrac was also mentioned. RealtyTrac has been a absolute powerhouse in the industry. It will be interesting to see what’s next for Jim in 2010.

Andy Rapattoni also made the cut along with Mike Wurzer from FBS. Wurzer was not listed on the top 50 most influential online list, a glaring oversight in my opinion. Perhaps this will be a call to action for Mike to start writing a bit more often (pretty please Mike!)

Also good to see Brian Larson be recognized.

Listed in the Notable section of the report:

Brian Boero, Marc Davison and recent addition Joel Burslem of 1000Watt Consulting. I love, love, love, these guys. They have the perfect match of smarts and creative.

Gregg Larson also was listed under notables. I not sure many people give the credit Gregg and his team deserves for what they have contributed to the industry . I would have also liked to see Matt Cohen listed as well.


Premium members of Inman News (like me!) get these reports for free. All others must pay!

Is Trulia being acquired by Google?

Did Zillow get more traffic than Realtor.com in November? Or is Realtor.com still number one?

Now it looks like Redfin and Zillow have entered in to a revenue share deal.

Were still in 2009 and we are already seeing big moves being played out. 2010 is gonna be interesting!!

It’s rare when I see an idea that strikes me as so utterly brilliant and clever that I can only stop and stare at my computer screen in awe. But industry vet Troy Rech has done just that, a mashup that has brought together the hive mind that is the RE.net, waiting for your next flight, and an ordinary mobile phone with a camera.

Troy Rech, Father of ACoW

Prepare to waste the next 15 minutes of your life.

Behold….

Airport Carpets of The World!!

homeequity

While you were arguing about listing syndication, the impact of social media in real estate, tweetie vs. tweetdeck, LPS just pulled off the biggest real estate data deal in the last two centuries.

There have been lots of posts about the validity and impact of RPR on the real estate industry, two of my favorites are Brian Boero and Rob Hahn. Go read those, now. And don’t forget the comments too!

As many of you know as early as July I’ve been telling you something big was about to happen, a great disturbance in the force, a game changer, well NAR has delivered on this big time. But rather focus on whether RPR is a good idea, or what it means to the real estate industry, or even if they can pull it off, I want to focus on NAR’s partner (their words, not mine), LPS.

What a huge win this is for LPS. The take away for me is that LPS is now the defacto real estate data provider in the United States. Think about it:

They now power the RPR; the property centric database of the 100 year old NAR.
They will create a new RVM “gold/platinum standard” home valuation model.
Their former employees have key leadership positions in the new RPR company
The federal government will be a customer. How would you like a customer that literally “prints” money?
I’m sure LPS’s lender group is literally drooling on the many ways they can sell this new data set.

What I also like is that NAR really made it a point to say that LPS was a “partner” in their effort.This industry needs more partners, not vendors.

RPR? Of course I have lots of questions.

How will the MLS providers react?
Will Jonathan Green still buy that new car?
Will NAR upgrade their web cam?
Will this foster or stifle competition?

Time will tell.

In any case, super congrats to LPS Real Estate and their huge win. They have shown all of us what a “big deal” really looks like.

img03

Things have shifted. Not sure when it happen but something struck me the other day. The same two names keep popping up.

FBS
Tarasoft

In recent bids those two names seem to be trading slots as either the number one choice or number two choice for MLS systems that are currently out for bid.

Not Tempo, not Paragon, not Rapattoni.

flexmls
Matrix

Both companies could not be more different. One manages their own data/hosting center (FBS), one does not (Tarasoft), one offers end user support (FBS), one does not (Tarasoft). One is a Canadian company (Tarasoft), one is U.S. (FBS). One is a thin client (Tarasoft), one is browser based (FBS). Both are privately held, albeit FBS is an ESOP. Mike Wurzer has a pretty high profile in the MLS industry through his widely read FBS blog and speaking/moderating panels at industry conferences. Tarasoft’s leadership keeps a lower profile.

A recent controversial report put out by Goomzee lists FBS has have 42 113 MLS accounts, and Tarasoft has having 15. And a lot of Tarasoft’s accounts are big ones! But it does leave them vulnerable (losing just one of those will put a dent in revenue.)

FBS has been reinventing themselves as a state of the art MLS system led by MLS industry guru Mike Wurzer along with recently hired Dave Rifkin as VP of Sales. A lot of people were surprised when they signed ARMLS, but anyone who has been watching knows these guys have been marching towards larger MLS providers for some time now.

Seain Conover and Brian de Schepper at Tarasoft have taken their own road towards success. They have some of the largest MLS providers in the country, MRIS, RMLS, MRMLS, to name a few. They have also announced MLSListings and NWMLS. That’s a huge agent footprint!

Tarasoft
FBS

It will be interesting to see what’s next for these two unique companies as they trade the lead in each race. Plus, you gotta wonder how Marketlinx, LPS, and Rapattoni are going to respond. VROOOOOM Baby!!

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