When the horse dies, get off > The case to bury Upstream and the Broker Public Portal

Years ago, I had the pleasure of hiring a great speaker and a great person, her name was Rosita Perez.

Rosita stood before an audience of some 2000 Prudential network participants in San Francisco and shared one of the most impactful observations she had learned in life.  And it went like this …

“When the horse dies, get off.”

What a great message.  So obvious yet so needed in setting our daily objectives.  So how many dead horse are you riding now?  I was once again reminded of her talk when yesterday I read the following article. 

For way too many years, we as an industry, have been literally riding around on two very "dead horses.”  I think one is this thing called Upstream and the other is this venture called the Broker Public Portal.

Both designed to provide “defensive protection" for what we as an industry had stated for what was defined as “a much needed hedge on something we had either lost or that we feared.”  So what happened.  It’s simple.

The horse we had chosen and have been riding is dead.  And the worst part of this situation?  We are still riding those horses.

Yesterday, the very organization that Upstream recently partnered with Corelogic, was discovered to be misusing broker data obtained from an MLS the company essentially powers now with its MLS technology.  Shocker!  Not really.  It is just what they do.  While this seemed to be a very concerning discovery, the more concerning fact surrounding Upstream is that this “horse” has already died many times since its inception.  

Upstream essentially died when it failed to remedy the core data issues created by the very MLS industry that it intended to partner with, it died when the MLS industry insulated itself from being disintermediated and damned the venture from day one, it died when it partnered with the devil - the NAR,  it died when the NAR designated control of the tech to RPR, it died when the NAR dumped $13 million into the venture and it failed to produce a single viable application of its failed technology.

When will  we learn and more importantly, what have we learned for this debacle?  Those are the real questions for the brokerage industry to reckon with now.  Maybe it’s time to look to the MLS industry and for the brokers to deal with the issues that exist in the organizational fundamentals of that dinosaur?  I think so, and now so do many legal sources that have sued the MLS and the NAR across the Country.

While we were riding a dead horse called Upstream, the herds of wild MLSs have once again put our industry in harms way.

And then there’s this dead horse called the Broker Public Portal.  If there was ever a more difficult task it would be to try and get on and to ride a horse that is already dead.  That would be the depiction of what the brokerage industry has been told to do now by the MLS industry, the WAV Group and a company called Homesnap.  The rallying call was that the brokers needed a hedge on the evil Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com portals.  “Raise and revolt brokerage industry against these evil sources of tens of millions of leads and infinite value in advertising for your sellers.”

Let’s kill the portals so that we can return to the days of paying more than $14 billion a year to offline media companies to advertise listings in order to justify our service fees?"

Are you kidding me?  Revolt?  Kill the portals?  No worries, a viable hedge on the portals has been created.  Enter Homesnap.  

This dead horse was, and you guessed it, already deeply partnered with the MLS industry.  That’s why Homesnap was chosen to be the BPP and that is where they now derive the number of industry “users” they claim.  From all those who belong to an MLS as members in an MLS where they offer their services.  They say more than 600,000 industry users in total.  Not actual users, just random MLS members.

So OK.  Maybe enough said, is enough said.  But if that were the case why is it that as I write this blog we as an industry continue to waste time, money and efforts "riding dead horses" like Upstream and the Broker Public Portal?  Isn't it time to bury these horses and to move on? 

I think so, and what about you?

Have a great day!