Redfin releases a genuinely interesting update!

According to their press release, they are now commingling MLS, FSBO and Foreclosure listings on one map… and this has me scratching my head!

Are they allowed to do this? Isn’t this type of commingling of listings against MLS rules?

redfin search in woodland hills

Notice the purple and pink icons… Those are REO (foreclosures) and FSBOs, respectively (green icons are MLS listings).

I have four ideas about how they are able to get away with this:

  1. They found a loophole in MLS agreements that let’s them commingle listings (but I would find this hard to believe).
  2. They got buy-off from all their local MLS organizations (but I would find this hard to believe)
  3. They have reason to believe they can win this battle in the courts… (maybe a DOJ brief in support of this or something similar?)
  4. They just don’t care about the rules and believe that consumer support for this feature will be so great that they’ll risk MLS fines.

None of these scenarios seem likely to me. What am I missing?

With that said, I REALLY like how they are approaching the foreclosure data. I’ve received a few press releases recently from real estate search sites that “announce” they are now publishing foreclosures on their site. However, inevitably, when I tested out the feature, the sites were just regurgitating RealtyTrac data that required consumers to pay a fee to get the actual address of the property. Redfin is providing the address.

Also interesting, someone from Redfin let me know that they are going to phase in a flat-fee buying option in order to accommodate these new listings types.

I want to send my congrats out to the Redfin team for pushing the boundaries yet again. Love ’em or hate ’em, they’re working pretty darn hard to deliver features and tools that they think will do a better job serving their customers.

UPDATE:

There’s some debate in the comments about whether there are local MLS rules against commingling of data, with some people claiming it’s just a misunderstanding that the data can’t be commingled.  However, someone (who wished to remain anonymous) send me the following email which demonstrates that for at least one MLS where Redfin is commingling data, the rules are pretty clear:

Check it out:   http://www.imrmls.com/centsite/idx_policy.htm

“4.13. Listings obtained through IDX must be displayed separately from listings obtained from other sources, not including information provided by other MLSs.”

What that says to ME (having experience with MLS rules) is that MRMLS doesn’t allow FSBO properties side-by-side with MLS listings.

The 1st 4RealzEd event was yesterday and…

4ealzEdI think I’ve recovered enough now to actually post about it! 🙂

Despite our best efforts to be prepared, the day started off a bit rough with a nearby mudslide taking out power in our building in the morning (meaning no hot coffee and no projector) and a 9-car pileup on a nearby freeway slowed me down tremendously. AHHH

So, to say it started rough would be an understatement… But once it started, things seem to get on a roll quickly.

I started with an overview of consumers expectations in a web2.0 world to set expectations for the day… Jim followed up with presentation on optimal features and design for a real estate website. Then it turned back to me for a presentation on social networking… lunch… then another presentation by me on creating value through blogging about communities. And we returned for the day’s finally with Jim giving a engaging presentation on measuring and tracking marketing results to ensure a positive ROI.

All around, it was a wonderful day! And, maybe they were just being nice, but the attendees who talked with me said only good things about the education.

Because I promised attendees I would give them a list of all the sites I mentioned in my presentations (so that they wouldn’t have to ask me to spell out each URL), here is the list for everyone’s benefit.

Consumer Expectations in a Web2.0 World:

Engaging in Social Networking to Earn Clients

Using Blogs to Build Communities

I wasn’t tracking the sites that Jim mentioned, but there were not nearly as many of them in his presentations…

And thanks again to all the bloggers who have helped spread the word about the event, the sponsors who helped us keep the price low and all the attendees who made the day possible!

I received some incredible feedback from all three groups, which is going to lead me to make some changes to the upcoming events (I’ll announce those early next week!). Great stuff all around. Thanks again to everyone!

My first real internet spat was when…

…I convinced Anna to hit publish on this article about Redfin.

I’m reminded of this today because Marlow just picked up on the fact that the founder of Redfin just started a new site with information/resources for people with mental health problemsMindSite.

The connection between these stories is that despite the fact that David Eraker left Redfin two years ago, that original spat is still the #1 result on a Google search on his name. I would feel guilty over that fact (I’ve met him a few times and he’s not a bad guy), but the reality is that unless we’re active using the internet to build up our own brand online, there’s always a danger that other people will define our brand for us.

RE.net Acronyms

Jim got me thinking about some of the acronyms that I use on 4realz and other common terms I’ve seen others use:

  • AG: AgentGenius.com
  • AR: ActiveRain
  • BR: BlueRoof
  • BHB: Bloodhound Blog
  • CB: Coldwell Banker
  • CH: Cyberhomes
  • CL: Craigslist
  • CMS: Content Management System
  • CRM: Customer Relationship Management
  • FBS: FBS Blog
  • FOREM: Future of Real Estate Marketing
  • FORET: Future of Real Estate Technology
  • FD: FrontDoor
  • G: Google
  • GDH: Garage with a Detached Home
  • HV: HouseValues
  • HG: HomeGain
  • IC: InternetCrusade
  • KW: Keller Williams
  • M: Microsoft
  • MBL: MyBlogLog
  • MLB: MLBroadcast
  • MLS: Multiple-Listing Service (this means different things to different people!)
  • MLW: MyLevenworth
  • NAR: National Association of Realtors
  • P2A or P2: Point2Agent
  • RCG: Rain City Guide
  • RCV: RealCentralVA
  • RDC, R or R.com: Realtor.com
  • RE.net: The real estate blogosphere
  • REB: The Real Estate Bloggers
  • RES: Real Estate Shows
  • RET: Real Estate Tomato
  • REW: Real Estate Webmasters
  • REZ: Real Estate Zebra
  • RF: Redfin
  • RT: RealTown
  • SEO: Search Engine Optimization
  • SEM: Search Engine Marketing
  • TP: Top Producer
  • TPG: The Phoenix Real Estate Guy
  • T: Trulia
  • WM: WellcomeMat
  • WP: WordPress.org
  • WP.com: WordPress.com
  • Y!: Yahoo!
  • Z: Zillow

UPDATE: Based on suggestions in the comments I added a few more names to the above list and decided to alphabetize them. (I also went back and added links to the various sites, which I should have done from the start!)

Greg already covered tonight’s Redfin announcements…

in detail, so no need for me to repeat things.  But what stuck out for me the first time I read the press release was that they are now giving consumers the ability to export all of their saved listings to a spreadsheet for better off-line analysis.

That’s a beautiful idea.   And it pains me a bit that the site is still “under maintenance”, because I can’t wait to to see how this feature comes together in practice.