The Will to Change

I know this is probably old news by now, but I confess that I just found out about it myself.

Apparently, the real estate industry has a new standard data format for the distribution of real estate listings online.  Seems the boys at Yahoo!,, and have gotten together and worked out a new format.  Seems that they have at least one significant fan, one Mr. Craig Cuyar, Chief Information Officer, of Realogy Franchise Group.  Happy days are here!

But… I thought we already had a standard data format for the distribution of listings?

So does one Michael Wurzer, chairman of the Real Estate Standards Organization, as expressed in an open letter to Yahoo!, Google, Zillow, Trulia, et. al.

My purpose in writing is to encourage all of you to join together with the real estate community in supporting the Real Estate Transaction Standard (”RETS”). By focusing on a standardized data format together, we can make it easier for brokers who want to send their listings to your site to do so without duplicate data entry and extra expense in dealing with different data formats for each of your sites. We also can increase the accuracy and timeliness of the data being maintained on your sites.

The reason I recommend the Real Estate Transaction Standard to you is that the RETS community has already worked hard over the last few years developing detailed schema for listing and property information that can be leveraged to solve this problem quickly. The schema has been and continues to be developed with input from a broad cross-section of real estate brokers, franchises, associations, and their technology partners, including MLS vendors, IDX vendors, transaction management and electronic forms vendors, and others. This vibrant community also welcomes your input as to how the schema can be adopted to your particular needs, such as providing a lighter payload like IDX . The RESO Board also recently chartered a new Transport Work Group to allow the new schema to be integrated into the already widely-deployed RETS 1.x systems and to create a new RESTful RETS implementation. The RETS community would welcome your participation in these and other efforts.

Let me get some popcorn.  This is about to get interesting.

I will point out one thing, however.

Apparently, it took three non-real estate Web companies about… oh, a weekend of work to get done what it took the real-estate community “hard work over the past few years” to get not-quite-done.

At issue is the Will to Change.  The webbies have it; the realtors do not.

I wonder why that is….


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Rob Hahn

Managing Partner of 7DS Associates, and the grand poobah of this here blog. Once called "a revolutionary in a really nice suit", people often wonder what I do for a living because I have the temerity to not talk about my clients and my work for clients. Suffice to say that I do strategy work for some of the largest organizations and companies in real estate, as well as some of the smallest startups and agent teams, but usually only on projects that interest me with big implications for reforming this wonderful, crazy, lovable yet frustrating real estate industry of ours.

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