Entry by Lester Langdon

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Recently, the invitation-only Realty Alliance bi-annual conference took place with no members of the press in sight. The Realty Alliance network of elite real estate firms is comprised of top brokers across America and Canada and accounts for a large share of the real estate industry. Although press was not invited, various sources have told AGBeat that the destination of Realty Alliance member data continues to be highly contentious. This spring, Realty Alliance was influential in the shaping of IDX rules and sources tell AGBeat that the group came together on the topic of data use at the most recent conference, with roughly 75 top brokers allegedly discussing seceding from their MLS, and banding together to build a national MLS run by brokers to exclude Zillow, Trulia and other media companies like Realtor-backed Realtor.com.


I would call this a last ditch endeavor to avoid the inevitable…  Too little too late and sticking their collective heads in the sand will not help them…  Great story!!


While I understand “the cost of doing business” I have never understood why I have no choice but to be a part of an organization that goes against many of my own beliefs.  Paying for National, State and Local PAC that I personally don’t vote on at the polls drives me crazy.  Then, on top of annual dues to these organizations, to have to pay quarterly dues in order to ensure continuous access to the information is, as my husband would say, confiscatory.  Knowing that they preach ethics that most of their agents don’t follow is frustrating to say the least.  The only way for me to access the data is to be a part of this conglomerate.  I can understand the want to secede IF that were the reason.  But if the reason is to simply remove the data from the consumer’s hands then I wholeheartedly disagree with it.  In that case, it is denial in its truest form.  

This is why I believe it is necessary is to decentralize the control of data, both nationally and locally. Putting it back into the hands of first line agents and brokers where it belong. First of all this will allow brokers to add a new source of revenue from advertising opportunities and potentially share it with their clients. This is all possible with the cloud computing. And before we say that we have a cloud with Realtor.com our local MLS and IDX there is a difference. A personal cloud that each brokerage controls will allow them to make decision about the properties they list that is fimilar to thier local market.

Further more, decentralizing the data back to the local market will bring with it  the decentralized control of the funding for PAC. So many organizations are using grassroot efforts when it comes to lobbying because of its' effectiveness. The other thing is that as technology improves efficiencies in markets the cost of running anything should come down. We should be paying less not more for what we have available to us.

The data at this point can never be removed from the consumer. Someone out there will offer it--even to point of collecting the data at a cost and then giving it back to the consumer free.

In my opinion it is never to late, we just have to come up with a better business model and commit to it. Really, the old model is dead! We in the industry just haven't made the decision to pull life support.

The old model may be dead but it's our local groups that don't want to share data. Recently our MLS had a meeting to discuss RPR. We are in a small rural area and I belong to 4 freaking MLS systems! 4 boards! To fully markey my properties to the other agents I must join the other MLS systems because they border our market. Other firms don't take this step but I do, to be most effective in selling our properties. 

I suggested that we merge with TREND, a huge regional site here, and the answer -- they renewed a 5 year contract with our tiny little provider. They want to protect the same old same old. And when the RPR guy came in, the board and EO were overwhelmingly against "sharing" info like that because we'll lose members -- the members from the fringe that join because they have to to do business (out of area appraisers, brokers etc). So they will hurt the membership in the long run to hold members hostage.

I don't contribute to RPAC for the same reason. I have my own politicial beliefs and don't buy the "realtor party" line. I contribute to who I want to, personally, not part of a big slush fund.

Decentraliztion of data is the very last thing needed in our industry.  When you are hired by a seller to list and sell their house it is your job to get the info about that house in front of as many buyers and agents as possible.  Decentralization brings all of the nasty practices we have worked so hard to get rid of  "pocket listings, agents that talk a good game and never advertize at all, etc.  For many years Wisconsin has been on the leading edge of Real Estate Reform.  Today we are down to 6 MLS's in the state with plans that all will be merged at some time in the future.  Already all 6 mls's share access and data with each other and all licensed agents.  10 years ago my area was at the convergence of 3 different MLS's.  What a nightmare to find the listings, get information and sometimes to get paid.  Every company in each MLS seemed to have a different policy letter regarding cooperation.  Today thru centralization this crap has been eliminated to the benefit of agents and more importantly the consumers.

Decentralizing does not necessarily mean not being able to access the data. Porting and aggregating the data is done in a differnt manner. No different than what RPR is doing with the MLSes. I as the broker am more in control. And if centralizing the data is so great, why not centralize the services of the agents? Decentralizing data does exist and is doing quiet well.

This page contains a single entry by Lester Langdon published on October 26, 2011 3:17 PM.

I could use some ACRE help was the previous entry in this blog.

States with Minimum Service Standards is the next entry in this blog.

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