Crossing the MLS moat

One of the things I’ve noticed over the past few months is that an MLS feed is hard to get a hold of. The NWMLS places a 2 internet feed limit on brokers and agents are essentially handcuffed to their brokers IT decisions. The problem is that software engineers can’t develop new web sites for brokers unless they already have feed access and brokers can’t give you their feed access unless you already have their web site completed for them. Needless to say, this helps explain why online real estate search & estimation are relatively immature technologies, because the folks who could mature them, are kept out of the castle.


Although, I got past the black knight guarding the castle, I can’t help but wonder how much better the technology would’ve been if things were less restrictive. This stance imposes artificially high technology switching costs on brokers. Oh well, in a way, I’m kind of happy there’s a black knight. The fewer unhappy Micro-softies that get into the castle, the easier it will be for me to get my share of the King’s gold.

18 thoughts on “Crossing the MLS moat

  1. Curbed SF launched yesterday… Notice their graphics — look familiar? your boy rayestate must be pissed. thats identical.

  2. For those who are wondering, the two sites that Jeff is talking about are:

    While I definitely see the similarities, the Curbed SF site also looks darn close to the Curbed NY and Curbed LA sites, so I’d be more inclined to think that Ray was probably inspired by Curbed’s logo than the other way around…

  3. Thanks for the post and interest in the logo similarities between ReyEstate and Curbed SF.

    When designing ReyEstate’s logo, I definitely took interest in Curbed NY’s design, however I chose to go the iconic quintessential route, featuring cable cars, Coit tower and the painted lady’s (row of Victorians). I’m not a New Yorker, but I don’t recognize the skyline featured on and was under the assumption that they might pursue the same indigenous but not iconic look for their SF counterpart.

    I was wrong.

    Nevertheless, I welcome Curbed with open arms and the similar branding will probably have little to no effect on my Blog.


    Derek Rey

  4. Derek,
    the MLS castle walls has been a major source of irritation for me. I wanted to create an Excel spreadsheet to query MLS directly and create analysis of available multi-family properties. When I found the ezRETS ODBC driver I thought everything was great.

    Unfortunately, the NWMLS limits this access to just a view vendors (Lightning, Tarasoft Titan). So even though I’m a licensed agent and paying MLS member with access to this same data via their web interface, I can’t create any USABLE solutions because of their policy.

    So even though the National Association’s Center for Realtor(r) Technology exists to “develop a technology agenda for its members to assist in transformation of the real estate industry through adoption of advanced technology” including creating the before mentioned driver, the Northwest MLS stands boldly in the way of any innovation.

  5. Robert,

    All hope is not lost. As you may or may not know, MS Office 2003 & the upcoming Office 2007 have XML file formats. Which means, I could easily create an export to Excel button on Rain City search (just as I have for RSS & Google Earth KML files). If your interested in that feature, let me know.

    As an aside, I’d love to have an export to MS Mappoint or Streets & Trips feature, but the mapping group at MS seems too preoccupied with the Web services & Virtual Earth to worry about their Windows apps. Too bad they haven’t drunk the XML cool-aid that the Office guys have. I have better things to do than muck with GPS babel & OLE Storage based file formats. Oh well, maybe if Google Earth gets big enough, they’ll wake up and make up an XML based file format for Mappoint and Streets & Trips before it’s too late.

  6. We have a new mls…we the members, not the public site. It does have an aerial opton and some other new spiffy things.

    As with all “upgrades”, some things are better and some aren’t. They combined the map feature with the radius feature and I want to kick the thing when it gives me a circle when I want a box.

    But so far the upgrades haven’t hindered my ability to write offers and show property…nor helped.

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