Friday Flash: RPR requiem

It felt like RIN to me from the beginning.

A massive and defensive endeavor pursued by an organization as well prepared to play in the tech world as I am to play center for the Golden State Warriors.

RPR is a spinout of NAR, you might say. But the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree here. It’s a tech company owned by a trade association.

Who ever thought that would be a top-flight enterprise?

Arrogant leaders. Opportunistic hangers-on. Well-meaning people, mostly NAR member volunteers, who trusted these leaders and hangers-on, or felt too cowed by them to object.

This morning I looked back at what I’ve written about RPR since it was announced almost exactly eight years ago.

It kind of made me sick:

RPR Madness!  November 7, 2009

The passion of the Realtors Property Resource March 4, 2010

RPR Ecstasy  October 19, 2012

WTF RPR? March 1, 2013

My response to RPR’s response March 6, 2013

The last RPR critic May 1, 2015

I don’t regret my criticism, and do think it’s time RPR winds down, but I’m not relishing the difficulty and drama around the current reckoning either.

There will be losers if RPR goes away:

  • The thousands of Realtors who use it. Even if adoption is as low as many claim, there are still people who depend on it to do their job.
  • The brokers who placed their trust in RPR to build Upstream, a worthy and needed effort to strengthen the capacity of real estate companies to control their fate.
  • The NAR itself, which will suffer a hangover of regret, recrimination and cleanup.

But the biggest loser in all of this is that indefinite thing we call “the industry”.

The uneasy peace between big brokers and the MLSs will be shattered (though that’s been coming anyway). A season of ugliness and distraction will set in.

Zillow angst will become resurgent. With no industry-owned “doomsday database” to fall back on, and with less leverage threatened by Upstream, those inclined to fear and loathe Zillow will lash out.

And our belief in our ability to do big things, together, will be diminished greatly. If RPR dies, and takes Upstream with it, worse than the finger-pointing will be the deflation of will. Whatever comity produced from the broker/MLS/NAR collaboration would be endangered.

This I do not look forward to.

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