Carpe Datum

The new year is here and already it has brought about huge changes! Earlier this month, RESO Chair Michael Wurzer wrote an open letter to Yahoo!, Google, Trulia and Zillow to get them to support RETS as a common data standard for everyone in the industry. I was going write about this topic anyway but a recent press release makes it even more relevant. Today, Yahoo!, Google, Trulia and Zillow as well as several other aggregators have all agreed to work with RESO to adopt common data standards to make it possible for brokers to send a single listings feed to multiple web sites.

This is a big win and opportunity for RETS. With the influx of a large amount of new blood into RESO, The RETS schema has the potential to grow into THE data standard for real estate data sharing. But I also see a danger here for RETS. If the RESO and the RETS community does not seize on this opportunity and run with it, these companies will work together and create something else. The reason they are all willing to work together on this is because there it a huge need, and if RETS is unable to fill that need, something else will. So, lets hope that RESO and the RET community see this opportunity seize the data!

  1. Chris McKeever

    Based on some of the comments on other blogs:

    “A minor correction; RETS is not the standard listings distribution format. We have however partnered with the RETS group to ensure that the listing standard will be fully interoperable with RETS.” – Zillow

    I am wondering if the Schema (IMHO the most important piece of RETS) is what they are after, as it will define the data. Primarily because how many Brokers would have a RETS Server to distribute the data, when a simple http grab of the defined Schema is all you need – forget about the RETS protocol for communication.

    Its like taking Zoolia’s feed and putting it on steroids – and there you have the RETS SCHEMA

  2. Andrew Tillman


    You quote shows the danger. They are going to make sure the standard they adopt is fully interoperable with RETS. The easiest way to do this is to adopt the RETS Schema, but if they find the RETS Schema lacking they will just make something on their own, and may even abandon interoperablity.

  3. RESO has made every effort so far (initiating most of them) to reach out to GZTY to understand their needs for a “standard listing distribution format”. Anyone who states that RESO cannot or will not discuss modifying the listing schema to accommodate their needs, has not approached the RESO Board. In my opinion, RESO has not been given the chance to evaluate GZTY’s requirements for incorporation into the standard, if they do not already exist.

  4. Duke Lane

    Some thoughts …

    There is presently no “standard,” per se, beyond the fact that NAR has embraced RETS for use within the real estate community by mid-next year. Zillow’s comment might well be applicable to Google, which – if it doesn’t already have it – is approaching having the clout and sway of Microsoft. The fact remains, however, that MLSes have most if not all of the data, GZTY want it, and they’ll at least have to concede in part to a NAR standard if they want content from people who might only need to check a box rather than submit a full listing. They have other ways of getting at the data anyway, as is evidenced by concerns posted by (apparently) agents on the Google Base for Real Estate boards. Is it unwise or unrealistic to expect that a new rev stream for the Big G might be this standard that will be “interoperable with RETS,” enabling them to be a distribution point of real estate listing data rather than the people who actually own it? If you answer “yes” to that, you’ve never approached Microsoft with something new or different and either found yourself bought or crushed. I don’t think NAR or RESO are for sale ….

    RESO and RETS seem to have a ways to go before they can claim “standard” status, if only because they have no “RETS for Dummies” available anywhere for people who aren’t intimately familiar with it already (and who therefore don’t need a “RETS for Dummies”). From the perspective of a dev company newly moving a technology to use in the real estate market, I can state unequivocably that few people seem to be willing to guide “newbies” through the initial understanding processes of IDX, much less RETS. goes from a “For Developers” link directly into a 178-page booklet on protocols, zero to sixty in “beam me up, Scotty” time. MLSes exist to serve their customers (brokers and agents), not to aid in dev efforts. So everyone “reverse-engineers” the “standard,” in some or many cases by trial-and-error.

    Of course, that’s not to say that I or our dev guys have all the talent folks at GZTY have, especially the two at the east and west ends of that acronym, but still ….

  5. Kristen Carr

    To tag on to David’s comments…this is a wonderful opportunity to work together. I don’t think RESO/RETS has any intention of pushing anyone around. From my experience, we’re open to making changes if changes are necessary. What a great place to be. So many opportunities for all of us.

  6. Seth Agranov

    The RESO Board of Directors recently formed an Education Workgroup. The Education Workgroup will identify and create documentation required by the real estate community to understand, implement and support RETS. The community is aware of the lack of support materials and is committed to creating them. This Workgroup is newly formed for 2008, has already drafted an action plan and will continue working to provide the technology sector of our industry with the answers they need to use RETS.

    Workgroup participation is open to anyone interested in contributing to this effort. For more information on the RETS Education Workgroup, or any RETS Workgroup visit

  7. Many times we forget how important it is to keep our fingers on the pulse of the times. Knowing others are advertising, the new technologies, and where the flow of money is headed gives you an advantage over others who are oblivious to such things. Can you think of at least 5 other ways to stay market-savvy?

  8. Tim – one way to stay market-savvy is to keep up on the forums going on over at activerain. They have a great debate about new technologies, formats and tips for realtors.

  9. Standards are good, but customization for the sake of adding value is good too.

  10. Thanks for your posting.. I just came across this article and it sums it up very well . And I will be waiting and watching and ready to read, listen and learn…