SpringMLS, Getting Down to Business

So, the Solid Earthlings just kicked off the Third Year of development on the new Spring Platform, started in May 2011. We have not always known what it would be called, or really what would be in it. Neither did we know know how many of our existing twenty four customers would want it, whatever it was going to be.

Well we are far enough along to have started getting a good picture of what is going to happen. We’re excited, a little freaked out and very badly in need of some close communication with our stakeholders. It seems that the industry has been watching what we are doing but generally most brokers and agents do not follow the trade press, or our Press Releases very closely. So to help out, we have prepared this brief summary and then we have some other messages that need to get out.

Brian Boero of 1000w Consulting wrote:

“I would be overstating things only slightly by saying that The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors just might have the best home search site in the industry.”

An article in RealtyTImes recently (May 29) said that Solid Earth:

“recently launched a first-of-its-kind, consumer-facing MLS website. The new platform, known as “Spring,” leverages responsive design, providing an optimized user experience across all browsers, operating systems, smart mobile devices and tablets, eliminating the need for separate downloads, installs or outside applications.”

Mark Blazek, president of the Greater Chattanooga Association of REALTORS® said in the same article

“Spring serves as a foundation for the future sustainability of our business and will aid in enhancing the extraordinary value the Association and our members provide to consumers.”

Mike Audet of the industry consultancy firm The WAV Group describes the project like this:

“Their mission is to create a consumer centric MLS/agent/consumer technology platform that gives agents the tools they need to engage their clients and to keep them on a platform where they get everything they need to navigate their real estate transactions. At the same time, agents have outstanding vision into client behavior on Spring in terms of their preferences and search behavior creating a truly interactive agent/client experience.”

We prefer these guys to say it for us but the fact of the matter is that Spring is materially different than any other product you will see at the trade shows and different from those described in any MLS selection RFP process. Most people are trying to describe Spring the same way they described the older systems but they can’t, it’s too new.

So, we have a message for the Brokers out there using the LIST-IT system, actually several messages, and since this is our forum, we’re going to kick that conversation off here here at SolidEarth.com.

Message #1 – We have invested heavily to make the LIST-IT system more stable and even faster. We hope you’ve noticed the big speed and reliability improvements we’ve done this year because they have made a huge impact and cost so much $$$. To be completely clear: LIST-IT will not be deactivated until your local MLS is ready to do that. Solid Earth proposes a timeline of at least twelve months for most of our customers, the larger ones a little longer.

That means that if your MLS chooses to accept Solid Earth’s proposals, you will have plenty of time to migrate your feeds, your Gateway accounts and your other Third Party systems over to the new platform.

Message Number Two – Solid Earth has been successful selling the Spring system to new MLSs that are not existing Solid Earth customers. For existing customers Solid Earth has a one-time transition offer. We don’t normally discuss fees so openly but since there is so much mis-information out there, we’re making an exception. Solid Earth is offering to discount the current cost of LIST-IT by more than the cost of the new system. In terms of budgeted cost and revenue, Solid Earth is making the move to Spring a net positive event for the MLS. That’s a great offer on several levels since Spring includes most products and services the MLS is now paying for separately.

Message Number Three – You do not have to have a public MLS site to use the Spring system. The system is far more valuable with the consumer access enabled but it can be used as a professional-only platform but we acknowledge that some clients have existing consumer portals or have strong resistance in their markets.

Message Number Four – You may have heard that the MLS portion of the new system is not ready. That’s partially true, no software project is every truly “finished”. Solid Earth’s design plan included twelve “feature sets”, a dozen big things that the new system had to do to be a modern MLS. Of those, seven were simple things that any property site should do whether it’s focused at buyers, sellers, brokers, agents or appraisers. It took time to develop that list, and then to study and build-out each of them. As of June 2013 the new product team at Solid Earth has completed work on the these features. The rest of the summer and fall 2013 are focused on the balance of the features. We do not plan to describe those here on the blog, just know that we’re implementing designs that members of the sites listed below can see and use over the next 60-90 days as we approach the National Expo in San Francisco in November. That’s when we promised to have a fully functional MLS system as defined by our customers.

So, that catches us up. Solid Earth is currently booked solid for the rest of 2013 meeting the demand from existing and new customers coming onto the new platform. If your MLS is not in the list below and you’d like to ensure that you have the hottest new MLS platform on the market, you should probably tell your MLS administration so we can make sure you have the next open slot.

Here’s the schedule as it stands today. Delivery dates mark when the sites are released to the local MLS staff.

May – Delivered www.gcar.net to the Greater Chattanooga Association of REALTORS

June – Delivered www.greateralabamamls.com to the Birmingham Association of REALTORS

July – Delivering the new platform to the Baton Rouge Association of REALTORS

August – Delivering the new platform to an existing customer To Be Announced

September – Delivering the new platform to a new MLS customer To Be Announced

After the September installation there are two more implementation planned for 2013 that are now in various stages of development, not ready to be announced. Stay tuned to this and subsequent posts here at SolidEarth.com for updates.

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