Back to the Future 2

Jul 1, 2007 Michael Wurzer

Two days ago, I posted about an article that appeared in 1996 regarding NAR’s failed RIN efforts. Yesterday, eerily on cue, a user on RealTown posted an article from RealTrends proclaiming, “The [NAR’s new] Gateway project is brilliant in concept and breathtaking in scope.” Similar to the prognostications in 1996, the article goes on to “imagine” all the possibilities and concludes with a forewarning:

This is exciting stuff. Properly executed and appropriately managed, the Gateway has the potential of re-engineering the entire U.S. residential real estate marketplace while at the same time laying the groundwork for an international real estate marketing system.

When completely implemented, the Gateway will both reconfigure existing relationships within the Realtor community and significantly impact every real estate professional in the country.

The Gateway project is easily the most far reaching and important piece of work undertaken in NAR’s history.

During the Washington meetings, there seemed to be some confusion over whether the Gateway database will in fact constitute a national MLS. Gary Thomas has exercised some excellent leadership in both his written and oral presentations by making it clear that the database will in fact operate as an MLS.

Given this significance and potential impact upon the industry, it seems appropriate that all brokers in the country take time to educate themselves about this project and how it will impact their businesses, professions and lives.

The article goes on to say, “The service should fully launch later this year. After building the tool for brokerage firms, we will be building a similar tool for sales professionals and sales teams. More and better business information will be the result. This is the most momentous venture in the Association’s history.”

Anyone see any parallels with the efforts of 1995/96?  I suppose NAR could have been building this system for some time and so they’ll have some major system to launch later this year, or perhaps this is the secret project on which’s been working, but my prediction is that this is just unwarranted hype.  Worse, if the NAR is going about creating some system in such a hurry without involving the local MLSs, the entire project will fail, again.  I’ve been saying the same thing for some time:  the solution to these problems is in data standards, which will encourage instead of inhibit competition and innovation.   Everything I’ve read about the Gateway is basically silent in terms of RETS.  Why is that?  Anyone?  For such a “momentous” innovation, the amount of information coming forward from NAR is insufficient, and just smells so much like yesterday.