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Opinion Editorials

Vendors’ challenge of browser compliance and when clients should reasonably expect it

Vendors have a challenge

A really big challenge. That challenge is the pace of change in the technology industry that grows exponentially every year. Because of the internet, consumers are more aware than ever of what tools vendors have to work with and when the winds of change start rolling in, consumers demand that vendors follow.

MLS vendors have an even more extensive challenge. Each MLS system has different business rules, for example, not all areas calculate days on market the same way and a simple MLS committee vote can change these rules. Those changes are expected to be updated in an MLS provider and that expectation is reasonable.

For years, a common standard has been sought in real estate feeds in the form of the Real Estate Transaction Standard (RETS). Mobile technologies have changed how Realtors input information into the MLS and how consumers see the data. Times have changed.

The challenge of browser compatibility

The challenge we address today is browser compatibility. We have heard from several MLS vendors that exist only on Internet Explorer that they’re working toward possibly becoming compliant with other browsers, but hear “it takes time” as the most common reason IE is still the only option despite the decline in its use globally. To be fair, some providers are now compliant with Chrome and Firefox, but we cannot locate an IE9 compliant MLS provider and those that are cross browser compliant mostly run on Flash and cannot be used on iPads.

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Is it reasonable to expect vendors (including MLS vendors) to be iPad compliant or Chrome compliant? Maybe. Take a look at this and we’ll discuss it below:

1996 to 2011

I’ve outlined in red and green at what points a vendor should reasonably be expected to offer their product on a browser. If you look at the expansion and contraction, there is a relatively predictability in the growth patterns, so let’s start at the top. Prior to 1997, Netscape was the only major browser option, but by 1997, the growth expansion of Internet Explorer was large enough that vendors should have begun offering browser compliance (or at least be in focus groups researching their consumers). Between 1999 and 2000, the decline was so sharp with Netscape and the increase of IE so large that it would have been reasonable for vendors to discontinue improvement of their product for Netscape and focused on IE.

But this is where many vendors are stuck. The year 2000, but by 2007, Firefox adoption was large enough that consumers could reasonably expect a version of a tech product to be offered in IE as well as Firefox. This brings us to 2011. Based on the expansion/contraction paths of the past, 2011 is the year that vendors should reasonably be expected to exist on three platforms, now including Chrome.

The cost of browser compliance

It can be expensive to be cross-browser compliant, and adoption can pull a company in multiple directions, but it is the cost of doing business in the internet era for vendors. Several are working behind the scenes already to make this happen, but we hear rumors that some vendors plan on sticking with Internet Explorer.

That choice will only fly for a little bit longer as consumers, Realtors and Associations will not put up with it if there is a viable alternative. But for those vendors that closely study adoption (and you can tell who they are based on their offering), they will stay afloat.

Disclosure: an AG sister company is working with a Board of Realtors to evaluate one MLS provider through sentiment studies.

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Roland Estrada

    April 1, 2011 at 8:15 am

    These vendors are about five years behind the curve. I’ve been complaining to SoCalMLS for the last five years about. I’m am quite a tech savvy agent. I saw the browser trend long ago. These vendors are just fat, lazy and arrogant. I’t time to call a spade a spade.

    As Realtors, we can’t be timid about calling these vendors out publicly. Considering the tools available to us in terms of social media, this can be done. How about a call to action – create a site of shame, flood bigger sites with phone calls and emails – you get the drift. Rise up and be heard. We are a powerful group and we should act as such.

  2. Lani Rosales

    April 1, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Roland, I think you missed my point… there is a *reasonable* expectation period for browser compliance and for Google Chrome, that is just now in 2011 based on historical data. If they had offered Chrome five years ago, they would have been time travelers because the browser didn’t exist.

    Is SoCalMLS not with CoreLogic MLS whose next generation (which I think might be live in your area) is Chrome compliant?

    • Roland Estrada

      April 1, 2011 at 4:32 pm

      Lani, I can see you point. However, Chrome isn’t the first browser war salvo. It started with Firefox. I’ve been a geek for some time now and an early adopter of new tech. The geek world really latched onto Firefox and for good reasons. They had been longing for a web standards compliant and open browser.

      I’ve been complaining about this to our local MLS since 2005. I’ve kept complaining year after year, pointing out IE’s continuing loss of market share. I really started complaining when I switched to a Mac in late 2006.

      It was an obvious trend that venders very didn’t pay attention because they just don’t care. As long as agents continue to pay and say nothing why should they change. There is so much lack of vision on behalf of real estate industry vendors. I’ve just had this talk with a IT friend of mine last night. The coding is not that difficult. If frost me because these vendors are selling us tech. It’s there business to know what is coming down the line or least hire people smart enough to know.

      SoCalMLS is rolling out something called Fusion this year. Do you what they tell me if I ask when – they say sometime between December 31st. You are correct, our product is Tempo from CoreLogic. Considering how much money our association pays them. When we ask them to jump they should be asking us how high. Not the other way around. By the way they never the saw the Apple juggernaut coming either. I think they might be starting to pay attention. We’ll see.

    • Roland Estrada

      April 1, 2011 at 7:40 pm

      Lani, I did some more digging today. I turns out that Fusion has been available in search-only to Sandicor members since late December of 2010. I spoke to someone at SoCalMLS today and was told Fusion is expected for us by late summer. The good news is it will completely cross browser compatible. The bad news is that it’s Flash based and won’t work on an iOS devices. I still don’t the why it was
      Flash based. Maybe it’s easer to compile. You lose a lot of options when using legacy solutions. Too bad. Also the plan is to run Tempo and Fusion concurrently forever. Forever?? Hmmm…

      I was also told that SoCalMLS will be releasing a new mobile friendly MLS service called Kurio as replacement for our current Wireless MLS solution. I was told four weeks for that release, so I’ll plan on 8 weeks. Do I sound cynical?

  3. Missy Caulk

    October 11, 2011 at 6:03 am

    Still relevant for today, and I am posting on our boards Facebook page.

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