Friday, December 3, 2010

And Here's the Rest of the Story....RPR

I am always a little taken aback when members express shock and awe about a board decision. I think where have you been? The board has been writing articles about this, doing surveys, blogging, hosting informational sessions, having task force review, blasting you weekly and asking for your feedback and then... there it is.... I never heard about this, why is the board being secretive, what did it gain in this decision. FIRST- you the member are the board so if there are any gains they are for you!

No greater care or length was taken than in the RPR decision; in fact this was before the board for over a year. We started with blogs, articles on the web and facebook. In March at the Spring Conference we had an objective leader in analyzing REALTOR® technologies, Brian Boero of 1000 watt consulting, do a 90 minute session on RPR- I believe they were over 100 members in attendance. We asked for feedback on the conference and started facebooking and tweeting about RPR in hopes to get more member input. Then in June we hosted another session at the Management Conference- we asked members to attend, blogged and blasted about it a lot, Board of Directors urged their associates to attend- this session was led by Ohan Antebien of RPR- we collected opinions through a survey that we asked everyone to fill out before they left. Again the overwhelming response was no. Again the board did not make a decision wanting more member input. We blogged about it some more and featured the session and links to RPR in over 20 separate eblasts throughout the year. We got virtually no feedback from the members through our online efforts. So the board put the issue before the large R&D advisory group who recommended not going forward with RPR.

There were several key issues- why do we need this our MLS offers all this already, I don't want to learn a new system, we are fearful NAR will charge us for our own data in the future as they did with REALTOR® .com, and why all the NAR secrecy about how it will be run? Although RPR says their product is free (which it is) MLS's would have to bear the development and integration costs from the MLS vendor (ours is core logic). Corelogic told the board they did not even yet have any technical requirements yet from RPR and could not even quote us in how much it would cost to develop and API for RPR.

We signed a different agreement with Corelogic which doesn't offer members a product but does use our data, no chance of reselling to our members because there is no product/service. Perhaps because we waited so long Corelogic gave us many incentives to sign with them and also because we indicated we would not sign unless we received member incentives. Corelogic has a similar dashboard that will be available for free as an upgrade to Tempo 5. They also significantly reduced the price of our public sided website which allowed the MLS to keep running it next year with no increase in fees to the member. They also kept out Tempo 5 software at the same price for the next three years so that we would not have to increase MLS fees. There is potential that MLSOK could receive revenue from Corelogic in years to come, meaning that as the cost of doing business goes up there should be revenue from Corelogic to offset those increases which in turn would allow us to keep our MLS fees the low $40.50 monthly and Lockbox Keys the low $20.50 per month (assumes pre-pay discount).

Always remember that the key offering of RPR is integrated tax data- something both Tulsa and OKCMAR members already receive through their MLS vendor. Many did not see the value of spending money to integrate with RPR and maintain their system with support staff for a tool we already enjoy. I look forward to your questions on this blog. And always remember, you the member are the board, so if the "board" realizes any gains through contract negotiation those gains are for you!


Ryan Hukill said...
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Ryan Hukill said...

Having been involved through this entire process, I can vouch for the openness in discussion that was not only available, but heavily promoted & encouraged though every channel available, during this decision-making process.

My typical response to ignorant, assumptive statements made, whether in our industry, in government, or any other arena, is "If you're unhappy with the decisions being made, then get involved and direct the change that you want," but when incorrect, derogatory statements are made by people who are involved, but clearly didn't pay attention or attempt to impact the decision-making process, it's disappointing.

I know firsthand that the current leadership at OKCMAR holds transparency and member-involvement as a top priority. Additionally, that same leadership is committed to maintaining a balance between offering the best tools available and being great stewards of the membership dues.

If you question these things, I would encourage you to do two things. First, get involved at OKCMAR and pay attention. Second, talk with other agents around the country about what services their MLS offers and how much their membership dues are.

If you commit to those two things, I'm confident that you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Joe Pryor said...

I don't think any opposition to the decision is widespread throughout the membership. I have informally surveyed Edmond REALTORS® and the typical repsonse is what is RPR? Or if they have heard of it, they cannot give a full explanation of what it is and what is the purpose. Your point about REALTOR®.com is well taken and should be a cautionary tale about blind acceptance of anything coming from NAR. They do many good things but perfection is not an option. I believe that the leadership made a comprehensively studied decision that will be best for the membership.

Ryan Hukill said...

Joe, you bring up a good point. To my knowledge, only one member has voiced any disagreement with this decision. This same member claims that "many" members feel duped, yet when I speak to other members about it, I get the same responses you've mentioned. They either don't know what RPR is, or they don't feel like there's enough concrete information available to make a decision for it. Not a single one of them has expressed any feelings of disappointment of "feeling duped."