Technology, Industry

Friday Flash: Homes.com, Move/AOL and competing software visions

Author
Brian Boero
No.
623
Please excuse the mess. This page is currently under construction.

Homes.com launched something called HomesConnect, which consolidates much of the stuff vacuumed up by Dominion Enterprises a few years back into one platform.

This underscores something I’ve seen forming this year: Two distinct views of real estates software’s future.

In one view we see real estate technology dominated by large, unified platforms. MarketLeader is going after this hard right now. And this move by Homes.com is in the same vein. I’d also put Point2 in this category.

Here, smaller players will disappear.

In the other view, real estate software becomes a proliferation of small, light, single-purpose apps, some of which will be connected through an ever-increasing number of APIs.

These are not mutually exclusive views, but one will emerge as dominant. I know where I’d place my bet, but that’s another post.

Right on the heels of the news that Arizona is getting a statewide MLS comes the announcement that CRMLS and SoCal MLS have merged to form a 70,000 member behemoth.

Perhaps you are familiar with the story of the wedding at Cana – the one where Jesus miraculously multiplies a few jugs of water into enough wine to fuel a party. Well, this is like that miracle in reverse: a vexing plenitude is somehow reduced to sustain a crowd choking on complexity.

This is a good thing. I just can’t figure out who Jesus is in this scenario.

RPR CEO Dale Ross published a blog post in which he stated that the company “has recently hit a wall of entrenched attitudes and business models which is affecting many of NAR’s members.”

Greg didn’t like this post. I don’t either. It’s clumsy messaging that offers little insight into the larger online real estate landscape, but quite a bit into the long-term prospects for RPR.

If they are resorting to the industry nativist line this early – playing the insider versus outsider card, and tying the future of the real estate business as we know it to the adoption of their product – something isn’t right.

Good Realtors and smart brokers will survive, whatever RPR’s fate.

Move.com launched its new partnership with AOL this week. Newly acquired ListHub provides the listings. This is yet another play in the online real estate network battle.

It makes one wonder how many more deals like this there really are. There aren’t many big web properties that seem like they’d want to plug in a real estate component. Or am I missing something?

I think it’s important to keep an eye on businesses that get people to do things you’d think they’d never do online. I say this because what I call “real estate exceptionalism” – the notion that real estate is too unique for true disruption – is widespread in our industry, and dangerously naïve.

So check out ZimRide, a new service that lets people offer and buy rides from one place to another. The company positions it as an expansion of casual carpooling. But it seems more like online hitchhiking to me, an invitation to all kinds of scary stuff.

But people are doing it. Go figure.

Enjoy the weekend!