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The Great Debate

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photo source: Mike Hippie


No, not those debates between donkeys and elephants in red and blue states. The great debate in the Phoenix real estate market, and likely in others, is whether our MLS – the Arizona Regional MLS – should have a public home search available.

The Houston association has become the standard for such things and in time has become the category killer for Houston Real Estate. Other cities’ MLS systems also offer a site where the general public can search for homes.Not so in Phoenix. And according to Bob Bemis, the CEO of ARMLS who on Friday spoke at the monthly luncheon for the Arizona Real Estate Educators Association, there’s an even split on the subject within the MLS.

Those in favor of a public search site see the opportunity for ARMLS to become the category killer for Phoenix real estate, supplanting some of the third-party sites that take brokers’ listings, generate leads and then sell the leads back to the brokers. If successful, ARMLS can generate the leads and send them back to the brokers without the charges from the middle man.

Those against a public search site see ARMLS as attempting to compete against agent sites that already carry an IDX feed, as well as those individual agent sites that already are at the top of the search engines for Phoenix real estate.

Personally, I’d prefer to see the public site if only because ARMLS theoretically has the resources to push the Zillows, Trulias and Roosts to the sidelines. Could it impact my own site’s search? Possibly. But I’m realistic enough to know where my site ranks and what the actual impact might be. I can’t compete with the third-party vendors; if ARMLS wants to step in on my (and everyone else’s) behalf, go for it.

Besides, as we move forward the idea of protecting listing data is becoming increasingly obsolete. Every week brings another real estate search sits relying on data with varying degrees of completeness. The trend is for an increase propagation of the data, not a decline. If ARMLS doesn’t enter the fray, 37 other third-party firms will.

Since “none of the above” (or even Bill the Cat) isn’t an option on this ballot, I’d have to vote with ARMLS.

Jonathan Dalton is a Realtor with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona and is the author of the All Phoenix Real Estate blog as well as a half-dozen neighborhood sites. His partner, Tobey, is a somewhat rotund beagle who sleeps 21 hours a day.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Larry Yatkowsky

    February 2, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    This is all good but wouldn’t it be great if the worker bees got a little honey on a click per view basis? After all, everybody else is filling their pot from the hive.

  2. Kelley Koehler

    February 2, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    ARMLS is just weird (like the rest of Phoenix). It’s silly that they don’t provide data feeds to agents, and more silly that there’s no public interface. It all seems very backwards to me. I figure if I’m a member of the MLS, I should get that data in whatever form I want it. It’s mine, and I pay for it. Gimme. Or is my borderline Y-ness showing? The TARMLS public interface is all rather basic. I wouldn’t call it a category-killer in any sense of the word, but I don’t think they’re really trying at that. In my market, the public MLS face exists, but no big whoop. But then, we can all have our own data and make whatever we want of it, we don’t have to deal with “approved providers” of an IDX framed search.

  3. Benn Rosales

    February 2, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    I think I’m with you on this one, not because it sidelines anyone, but we have the public search here in Austin and I’ve found clients can confirm information they get from other sites on it. Just last week a client sent me a list of 12 homes she found online at various search sites- 11 were either sold or pending and one withdrawn, that left the one she actually said in the same email that she hated but fit the criteria- go figure. I pointed her to r.com and austin home search, but I ended up sending her a list that fit and wrote a contract the next day.

  4. Jonathan Dalton

    February 3, 2008 at 11:46 am

    We do get data feeds, Kelley … the IDX feed is part of our membership. But I prefer the packaged version better.

  5. Kelley Koehler

    February 3, 2008 at 11:53 am

    not IDX, raw unpackaged data with ftp access. You get raw data? I’m told only brokers do, and that they can’t let their agents use the raw feeds.

  6. Jay Thompson

    February 4, 2008 at 12:26 am

    No raw data feed from ARMLS, unless you are a broker.

  7. Sue

    June 3, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    What do you mean by raw data feeds? In NJ the public has access to all the listings via the public gsmls…no addresses, but the agency phone number.

  8. Kelley Koehler

    June 4, 2008 at 9:20 am

    Sue – the raw data feeds are usually something like an XML file of all the listings, made available only to agents, so that they can create their own framework of the data. It would be entirely separate from the public interface of an MLS.

  9. Susan

    June 4, 2008 at 9:34 am

    Thanks for the clarification Kelley. I’ve never seen that type of info.

  10. James Boyer

    June 18, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    Hmmm, our MLS system has had a public website where people could go and look at what is in the MLS all they wanted. The site does not rank well for much of anything though. In order for it to rank for much they would have to work at it a bit and i don’t think most MLS’s will be willing to do that.

  11. Eugene Oregon Real Estate

    August 30, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    In Oregon, RMLS has a public site that I don’t worry about because I’m confident I offer a more personal experience to consumers. In Oregon every agent is a broker and to obtain the raw data feed you need your principal broker to agree to allow you access to it. Of course you wouldn’t affiliate yourself with a principal broker that wouldn’t allow it would you? 😉

    I don’t know that the public site affects the 3rd party sites what so ever. There are plenty of people searching online that as long as you rank well you will get leads whether there is a public site and 3rd party sites, you just have to set yourself apart.

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Business Marketing

Amazon attracts advertisers from Facebook after Apple privacy alterations

(MARKETING) After Apple’s privacy features unveil, Amazon adapts by taking a unique approach to targeting, disrupting revenue for the ad giant Facebook.

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Two African American women work at their desks, one viewing Amazon's advertising landing page.

As a de facto search engine of its own persuasion, Amazon has been poaching ad revenue from Google for some time. However, disrupting the revenue stream from their most recent victim – Facebook – is going to turn some heads.

According to Bloomberg, Apple’s recent privacy additions to products such as iPhones are largely responsible for the shift in ad spending. While platforms like Facebook and Instagram were originally goldmines for advertisers, these privacy features prevent tracking for targeting – a crucial aspect in any marketing campaign.

Internet privacy has been featured heavily in tech conversations for the last several years, and with Chrome phasing out third-party cookies, along with Safari and Firefox introducing roughly analogous policies, social media advertising is bound to become less useful as tracking strategies struggle to keep up with the aforementioned changes.

However, Amazon’s wide user base and separate categorization from social media companies makes it a clear alternative to the Facebook family, which is perhaps why Facebook advertisers are starting to jump ship in an effort to preserve their profits.

This is the premise behind the decision to reduce the Facebook ad spending of Vanity Planet by 22%, a home spa vendor, while facilitating a transition to Amazon. “We have inventory…and the biggest place we are growing is Amazon,” says Alex Dastmalchi, the entrepreneur who runs Vanity Planet.

That gap will only widen with Apple’s new privacy features. Bloomberg reports that when asked in June if they would consent to having their internet activity tracked, only one in four iPhone users did so; this makes it substantially harder for the ad campaigns unique to Facebook to target prospective buyers.

It also means that Amazon, having demonstrated a profound effectiveness in targeting individuals both pre- and post-purchase, stands to gain more than its fair share of sellers flocking to promote their products.

Jens Nicolaysen, co-founder of Shinesty (an eccentric underwear company), affirms the value that Amazon holds for sellers while acknowledging that it isn’t a perfect substitute for social media. While Nicolaysen laments the loss of the somewhat random introduction charm inherent on Instagram, he also believes in the power of brand loyalty, especially on a platform as high-profile as Amazon. “The bigger you are, the more you lose by not having any presence on Amazon,” he explains.

As privacy restrictions continue to ramp up in the coming months, it will be interesting to see how social media advertising evolves to keep up with this trend; it seems naive to assume that Amazon will replace Facebook’s ads entirely, tracking or no tracking.

Apple's privacy landing page showing iPhone users ability to shut off location services and a desktop image of a user's ability to control how their data is managed.

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Business Marketing

How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Working more for that paycheck, more hours each week, on the weekends, on holidays can actually hurt productivity. So don’t do that, stay efficient.

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Clock pointed to 5:50 on a plain white wall, well tracked during the week.

Social media is always flooded with promises to get in shape, eat healthier and… hustle?

In hustle culture, it seems as though there’s no such thing as too much work. Nights, weekends and holidays are really just more time to be pushing towards your dreams and hobbies are just side hustles waiting to be monetized. Plus, with freelancing on the rise, there really is nothing stopping someone from making the most out of their 24 hours.

Hustle culture will have you believe that a full-time job isn’t enough. Is that true?

Although it’s a bit outdated, Gallup’s 2014 report on full-time US workers gives us an alarming glimpse into the effects of the hustle. For starters, 50% of full-time workers reported working over 40 hours a week – in fact, the average weekly hours for salaried employees was up to 49 hours.

So, what’s the deal with 40 hours anyway? The 40 hour work-week actually started with labor rights activists in the 1800s pushing for an 8 hour workday. In 1817, Robert Owen, a Welsh activist, reasoned this workday provided: “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

If you do the math, that’s a whopping 66% of the day devoted to personal needs, rather than labor!

Of course, it’s only natural to be skeptical of logic from two centuries ago coloring the way we do business in the 21st century. For starters, there’s plenty of labor to be done outside of the labor you’re paid to do. Meal prep, house cleaning, child care… that’s all work that needs to be done. It’s also all work that some of your favorite influencers are paying to get done while they pursue the “hustle.” For the average human, that would all be additional work to fall in the ‘recreation’ category.

But I digress. Is 40 hours a week really enough in the modern age? After all, average hours in the United States have increased.

Well… probably not. In fact, when hours are reduced (France, for instance, limited maximum hours to 35 hours a week, instead of 40), workers are not only more likely to be healthier and happier, but more efficient and less likely to miss work!

So, instead of following through with the goal to work more this year, maybe consider slowing the hustle. It might actually be more effective in the long run!

This story was first published in January 2020.

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Business Marketing

Jack of all trades vs. specialized expert – which are you?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It may feel tough to decide if you want to be a jack of all trades or have an area of expertise at work. There are reasons to decide either route.

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jack of all trades learning

When mulling over your career trajectory, you might ask yourself if you should be a jack of all trades or a specific expert. Well, it’s important to think about where you started. When you were eight years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? Teacher? Doctor? Lawyer? Video Game Developer? Those are common answers when you are eight years old as they are based on professionals that you probably interact with regularly (ok, maybe not lawyers but you may have watched LA Law, Law & Order or Suits and maybe played some video games – nod to Atari, Nintendo and Sega).

We eventually chose what areas of work to gain skills in and/or what major to pursue in college. To shed some light on what has changed in the last couple of decades:

Business, Engineering, Healthcare and Technology job titles have grown immensely in the last 20 years. For example, here are 9 job titles that didn’t exist 20 years ago in Business:

  1. Online Community Manager
  2. Virtual Assistant
  3. Digital Marketing Expert
  4. SEO Specialist
  5. App Developer
  6. Web Analyst
  7. Blogger
  8. Social Media Manager
  9. UX Designer

We know that job opportunities have grown to include new technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, consumer-generated content, instant gratification, gig economy and freelance, as well as many super-secret products and services that may be focused on the B2B market, government and/or military that we average consumers may not know about.

According to the 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics after doing a survey of baby boomers, the average number of jobs in a lifetime is 12. That number is likely on the rise with generations after the Baby Boomers. Many people are moving away from hometowns and cousins they have grown up with.

The Balance Careers suggests that our careers and number of jobs we hold also vary throughout our lifetimes and our race is even a factor. “A worker’s age impacted the number of jobs that they held in any period. Workers held an average of 5.7 jobs during the six-year period when they were 18 to 24 years old. However, the number of jobs held declined with age. Workers had an average of 4.5 jobs when they were 25 to 34 years old, and 2.9 jobs when they were 35 to 44 years old. During the most established phase of many workers’ careers, ages 45 to 52, they held only an average of 1.9 jobs.”

In order to decide what you want to be, may we suggest asking yourself these questions:

  • Should you work to be an expert or a jack of all trades?
  • Where are you are at in your career and how have your skills progressed?
  • Are you happy focusing in on one area or do you find yourself bored easily?
  • What are your largest priorities today (Work? Family? Health? Caring for an aging parent or young children?)

If you take the Gallup CliftonStrengths test and are able to read the details about your top five strengths, Gallup suggests that it’s better to double down and grown your strengths versus trying to overcompensate on your weaknesses.

The thing is, usually if you work at a startup, small business or new division, you are often wearing many hats and it can force you to be a jack of all trades. If you are at a larger organization which equals more resources, there may be clearer lines of your job roles and responsibilities versus “the other departments”. This is where it seems there are skills that none of us can avoid. According to LinkedIn Learning, the top five soft skills in demand from 2020 are:

  1. Creativity
  2. Persuasion
  3. Collaboration
  4. Adaptability
  5. Emotional Intelligence

The top 10 hard skills are:

  1. Blockchain
  2. Cloud Computing
  3. Analytical Reasoning
  4. Artificial Intelligence
  5. UX Design
  6. Business Analysis
  7. Affiliate Marketing
  8. Sales
  9. Scientific Computing
  10. Video Production

There will be some folks that dive deep into certain areas that are super fascinating to them and they want to know everything about – as well as the excitement of becoming an “expert”. There are some folks that like to constantly evolve and try new things but not dig too deep and have a brief awareness of more areas. It looks safe to say that we all need to be flexible and adaptable.

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