Draft Syndication Data Standard Approved

Apr 14, 2008 Michael Wurzer

Last week at the RETS trimester meeting, a draft of a syndication data format was approved by the general session.  A brief history:

  • On January 2, I wrote an open letter encouraging data standards in syndication.
  • Several companies were already working on this issue and agreed to meet with me at Inman in New York.
  • Following this meeting, the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) created a Syndication Workgroup, which quickly drew participation from all the key players.
  • The Workgroup, being led by Paul Stusiak from Falcon Technologies, met many times in person over the last two months hammering out the fields to be included in the draft.  (Thanks to Yahoo!, MLSListings, and others who contributed office space for the meetings.)
  • The hard work of this Workgroup was approved by the RESO general session last week.

There remains some work to do with the specification, including ensuring that the spec is consistent with the full RESO Schema.  Also, the specification currently is expressed in XML/schema and the workgroup also may flatten it out and express it in a comma-delimited or other format more easily read by non-specialists.   There also need to be some tweaks to allow for hit tracking from the various syndication destinations.  Nonetheless, the concensus was to have some companies move forward with using the specification to better determine where improvements need to be made, with the expectation that the specification will be finalized at the August trimester meeting of the RESO in Chicago.

Personally, I’m very pleased with this result and thankful to all those who’ve worked hard on the specification.   The workgroup met nearly every week in person for the last month or so to get it done, and, knowing how hard travel is these days, that’s a great commitment.  Having a standard for syndication is going to be a great improvement in efficiency for distribution of listings to advertising sites and this is a major step forward in the realization of such a standard.

Once the data standard is finalized, my expectation is that a transport/update standard also will evolve to ensure that there is a standard method for ensuring that the standard data is kept up to date easily on all sites.