Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Devolution of the NAR National Database...

NAR announced that it has chosen Move, Inc. for development of the application that will become "the artist formerly named TREC/REAL" now going by the name RPR (Realtor's Property Resource). Sounds like a shady character that takes on many aliases to mask their activites. Several people have already commented on the fact that this selection did not seem to involve any type of RFP process. Nothing like no-bid contracts to build confidence in a membership organization.




In the initial stages the national database concept had some very altruistic goals: mainly to become a shared resource of true property information. Making this data available free to its members in many different formats and feed types would solidify NAR's place as an extremely beneficial service for its members. Instead, it seems there are comments from people close to the project that "We don't know how the model is going to work, yet," when discussing the revenue model.

Move, Inc. has been successful building online brands, not backend data aggregation systems. I have to believe that there is a website in the works here. One where agents are upcharged to claim recent sales and active properties, leads are captured and sold to the highest bidder... rinse, repeat.

What should the RPR be?
A massive centralization of data into a property database with the goal of turning the data into a commodity... equitable, uniform, and accurate... universally. Then allow the innovators to develop products and services to address every niche of implementation. With the vision of the consumer finding every qualified property when they search, no matter what search tool they use.

Where is the RPR heading?
A centralized, single interface that will attempt to become a national MLS that will not fairly display (nor distribute) its consolidated database. Instead, they will sell their influence to the highest bidder. This will do one thing... discourage innovation.

28 comments:

  1. It's almost comical to look back at the original well-thought-out results of the Future of MLS PAG to see what became of its output.

    The original recommendation was a brilliant mechanism for handling MLS overlapping market disorder (OMD) while at the same time encouraging even more system choice.

    Boy, this has gone off the rails.

    There may still be value here - we'll just have to see if it re-evolves into something of merit - or if it becomes son of (or bride of) RIN.

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  2. I disagree Move.com is not experienced in data aggregation. That's what they do. Additionally, Move.com was the one and only site where MLS listing content could be co-mingled with listings from other MLSs. Most MLSs have had the rule that their listings could not be stored with other MLS listings. This rule is what made eNeighborhoods project with REMAX.com so amazing! eNeighborhoods was successfully able to keep data partitioned while serving it to the consumer in a way that made it look seamlessly integrated. Move.com was never required to do this, Realtor.com, afterall, is a site *for* Realtors.

    Move.com has been perfectly positioned to step in and serve up this project since its conceptual stage. It will certainly be a "website" and will probable act similarly to any other MLS provided/owned public IDX portal...the public gets access to the IDX data and the Realtors must log in to the "main" system to get the rest of the data. Not rocket science as a product and since they are only serving up searches it shouldn't be too difficult to get it out there.

    As far as my other arguments...read my post on the FBS blog. You and I have had this discussion as recently as last month. This really bothers me. Not because Move won't do the technology well, not because the PAG's original recommendations were but because the brokers have, yet again, not been given a choice about what happens with their listing content and that, in my opinion, just sucks!

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  3. While Move.com does have vast experience in collecting data and presenting it on consumer websites, it relies heavily on third party providers for it's data aggregation and related tasks (normalization, standardization, etc). Collabera (http://www.collabera.com/) does most of the heavy lifting for Realtor.com's MLS data aggregation efforts; obtaining data from MLSs via ftp and RETS, performing address correction and geocoding, normalizing it all into a digestable format; before handing it over to Realtor.com for display. I wouldn't necessarily define what they do as "experience in data aggregation", when another company is doing the majority of the complex work. Similarly, they rely on other aggregators for neighborhood data, school data, public records data, etc. One can argue they have vast experience in mashing up data from these different sources, which could make them qualified to develop and manage RPR. More importantly, they have a long established relationship with NAR, and their experience in dealing with all the related politics should be helpful.

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