Project Upstream Could Backfire on Brokers

Summary:

  • Real estate technology is consolidating with Zillow and Move acquiring CRM and transaction management systems last year.
  • Consolidation makes it harder for brokers to create differentiated online experiences for agents and consumers.
  • Brokers are creating Upstream to keep control of their data, but if portals control the tools agents need to do things like contracts and transactions, it will be impossible for brokers to avoid sending that data.
  • Upstream will have to adapt to protect broker interests in the long run.

As more of the home buying and selling process moves online, real estate brokers must create unique online experiences for agents and customers as a basis for differentiation and competition.

But MLSs and other vendors that bundle the products and services that make up these experiences restrict brokers’ ability to differentiate, and brokers fear this will erode their relationships with agents and consumers.

Brokers are taking their data back with Project Upstream, a data management platform that lets brokers control where to send their listings.

But, it appears the portals’ strategy is to buy up all the places brokers want to send their data to.

Shortly after Project Upstream was revealed in May 2015, the portals started went shopping.

The Upstream dashboard might look something like this.

Where would you like to send your listings?
[] Zillow [] Move

Upstream won’t stop consolidation. Ironically, by streamlining the process, it may even help the mega-platforms grow faster.

For Upstream to protect broker interests in the long run, it will need to go beyond data storage and distribution.

This is a topic I’ll be exploring in some depth. Follow me on twitter if you’d like be informed when I post.

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