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iMapp and ARMLS showdown heats up: iMapp CEO speaks out [updated]

Two CEOs are trying desperately to get ARMLS members to understand what is happening with their tax mapping software, and one has hit a nerve, causing a heated showdown which doesn’t appear to be anywhere near over.

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ARMLS iMapp

Last month, the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS) sent a concise letter to their 30,000+ members, asserting that tax mapping software, iMapp was “ceasing operations,” which most took to mean they were going out of business, calling the end of the relationship an “unplanned event.”

ARMLS CEO Matt Consalvo’s letter to members reads, “Urgent News About The iMapp Tax System – iMapp has enacted early termination of their contract to provide tax system services to ARMLS Subscribers. It is our understanding that iMapp corporation is ceasing operations. February 26, 2015 is the last day iMapp will be available. We regret to inform Subscribers of this unplanned event and we will send updates as they become available.”

iMapp CEO addresses ARMLS members

Today, iMapp CEO, Bill Rovillo took to the iMapp blog and explained their side. Here is his letter to ARMLS members in full:

“Sadly, once again I find myself having to reach out to the ARMLS membership to right a terrible wrong. Your ARMLS CEO distributed via email to 30,000+ hard working REALTORS false information on the status of one of your favorite information systems and attempted to damage my company’s reputation in the process. I cannot and will not sit on the sidelines and watch ARMLS CEO Matt Consalvo spin his stories to discredit iMapp and push his own agenda.

Here’s the truth: The iMapp system, the iMapp company, and all the great people at PropertyKey, my tech provider and partner for almost 20 years, are not going away as Consalvo would have you believe. While the iMapp company is morphing into something new outside of the tax mapping industry, it is not going out of business and your iMapp system was not going to be shut down. We have gone to great lengths to stay profitable via various strategic alliances and outsourcing of duties pertinent to maintaining an accurate reliable system. Due to contractual terms, I can’t go into detail about some of them and some of these moves worked well, some didn’t. But never was the iMapp system compromised for one second because of these maneuvers. Changes and modifications have been going on for 3 years and was never a point of contention or discussion. It’s normal for businesses to “pivot”, adjusting along the way to counter market conditions. No one really cares how the work gets done, as long as it gets done. Until now.

Last year, I had been asked by PropertyKey to take over all the iMapp system contracts, only if it was acceptable to the iMapp clients, in an effort to keep the iMapp system affordable and competitive and allow me to work on the “next big thing” in real estate outside of what we do now. Yes I am moving on to bigger things, and the iMapp system and PropertyKey are moving ahead too. Every iMapp client in the country understands this and has successfully transferred their agreement to Propertykey. Except ARMLS.

So what happened??

It appears Matt Consalvo wants to save money by operating his own tax mapping system. Which is fine. I’m ok with that. Really. But what he should have done was inform his membership of his true desire. Instead, to protect himself, he decided to write a callous, abhorrent and deceitful email about my company to his entire membership that will land him in serious legal trouble. He wants you to believe that his system is now the only real choice as the other is “ceasing operations”.

Here is what Consalvo is NOT telling you: He was presented with both an iMapp termination agreement as well as a PropertyKey agreement for the iMapp service continuation to be signed concurrently. A simple action that would have been invisible to anyone outside a Board room. He agreed to it in principle verbally and all was well. But in the 11th hour, the day he flew out of the country right before a holiday weekend, he bamboozled everyone. He sheepishly signed the iMapp termination agreement, and tossed the PropertKey agreement. Then he proceeded to spout his vicious lie about iMapp to keep his membership from learning the truth and storming his little castle he has made for himself. This is the truth. Anything you hear, ANYTHING, contrary to what I have said here, is a bold faced lie.

The only reason ARMLS will not have the iMapp system available to you is because Matt Consalvo does not want you to have it- end of story.

So ARMLS members, it is time you do what you need to do. Ask yourself, what type of leadership do you want? If a leader is thoughtless and callous, what becomes of the followers? Do you want someone who lies and tells you only what he wants you to hear? And what type of leader throws your 2nd most valuable vendor under the bus? Consalvo plays the “what, who me?” game very well. He doesn’t fool me for a second, others maybe. I haven’t heard boo from him for months, but the moment I out him on Vendor Alley’s blog for lying, he emails me “gee, did I misunderstand something?”

Really Matt? You email my obituary to your membership without verifying a single word of it with me, the CEO, then you email me your fake concern when I expose you? You are Pathetic. I expect better cover ups from my teenage son after receiving a speeding ticket. At minimum, I find Matt Consalvo’s actions disturbing, unprofessional, deceiving and in this case, legally challenging.

On Febuary 28th, the iMapp system will be turned off for good in Arizona due to the ARMLS CEO’s actions, not ours. Consalvo may have created the next big storm on the horizon, and if it swells to become a monsoon, so be it.”

The showdown continues

Nerves are clearly raw on both sides right now, so the showdown continues, and we’re watching for the final resolve. We have reached out to Rovillo and Consalvo and will add their thoughts and responses to this story, so refresh the page from time to time today to see updates below.

UPDATE: Rovillo tells us that when contacting him, ARMLS members have been angry. When asked if there are any intentions of filing any lawsuits against ARMLS, he indicated that it is possible.

Rovillo added, “The IMAPP AR MLS contract was due to expire in March of 2016. We would never have accepted the termination agreement without the property key agreement for IMAPP service to continue. It was a deceitful move which broke his verbal commitment. Essentially Matt cancelled the agreement with one year left we did not cancel it.”

We await Consalvo’s perspective.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The Real Daily and sister news outlet, The American Genius, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

Real Estate Corporate

Zillow hit with double whammy discrimination allegations

(CORPORATE) Zillow is facing new allegations of discrimination between employees based on their gender and how unequally they were treated during a crisis.

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Zillow discrimination suit

We can all agree that violating the Americans with Disabilities Act makes you a capital D D-bag, right?

When a company (or CITY – looking at you, every tilted, rampless sidewalk in Austin) refuses to build accessibility, accommodations, and human GD dignity into their physical, corporate, and digital infrastructure, not only are they breaking the law, they’re being a bunch of unwiped butts.

Today, it looks as though my favoritest real estate site, Zillow, stands accused of being among that skidmark-leaving number.

Now because I’m too cute for defamation suits, I need to be 100%, crystal clear, like clear enough for a bird to fly into it, that Zillow has not been found guilty of anything. We’re going to report on the allegations and the suit brought against the company, but until Zillow gets their day in court, neither this esteemed publication nor I myself can say what definitely did or didn’t happen.

Said allegations are being brought against Zillow by Mr. Michael Cerce, and they’re as such:

Jane Doe at Zillow had her phone stolen, and was being harassed by someone awful, who also made mention of Mr. Cerce in their threats. Zillow stepped up and offered her protection with a security detail, all the days off she needed and… asking Mr. Cerce to step into danger for her.

Mr. Cerce further alleges that while Jane Doe rightly got paid days off to deal with her trauma, he wasn’t afforded the same resources, having his time off requests to take care of his mental health denied, having his concerns about company security dismissed, and not being afforded his commission payments during a leave of absence related to the stalking.

It might actually behoove me to say “the assumed stalking” though, as Mr. Cerce has come to believe he may have been collateral or intentional damage in a hoax perpetrated by Jane Doe.

So. Allegedly. Mr. Cerce was, I repeat ALLEGEDLY, discriminated against on the basis of disability as he was diagnosed with PTSD during counseling related to these allegations, as well as on the basis of sex as he claims a female employee was treated with more respect during similar travails.

To paraphrase the kids these days,  that’s effed up if true.

It should be obvious, but because I know it’s not, I’ll say it anyway. Someone’s being a man doesn’t mean that said someone comes automatically equipped to shrug off being stalked, threatened, harassed, and denied opportunities for healing from an ordeal.

Furthermore, not all disabilities are easily visible, though according to witnesses named in the suit, Mr. Cerce was noticeably distressed for days at a time.

If the allegations are found to be true in a court of law, then Zillow’s got a pretty serious deal on its hands, and we’ll have more as the story develops.

No matter how things shake out in court, ideally, public spotlight of the case will lead more folks of the gentlemanly persuasion to continue standing up against ACTUAL unfair treatment regarding their physical safety and mental health.

Fingers crossed (and Covid triple washed) for justice.

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Real Estate Corporate

Zillow’s patent game is strong – they just got 3 for IBM’s creations

(CORPORATE NEWS) This company was just granted not 1 patent but 3 on tech more than twice their age! What does it mean for you? Nothing good…

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zillow genius patent

Welp. They did it.

We’ve been watching Zillow for some time now, and in the midst of even the strongest of OP Eds saying how terrible an idea it is, Uncle Sam officially handed them multiple patent keys to tech they didn’t invent.

How big do you have to be before you can clout jack with this much impunity?

I’m used to seeing this with small artists. Forever21’s Etsy spies find a cute, simple design, maybe do the work to alter the pallate a smidgen and rely on the ‘Matilda’s Dad’ strategy of “I’m smart, you’re dumb, I’m big, you’re little, I’m right, you’re wrong, and our lawyers will argue the same, peasant’.

But with technology, you can literally trace the code back to a source. It’s not like using teeth as a motif, it’s real, it’s definite, and it’s definitely really shocking that the government signed off on this.

Zillow’s not exactly startup sized, they’ve been in business since 2004. They’re a big name. Their competition probably can’t muscle their way in and out like they can. Matter fact, a company you may have heard of fighting them on patents has only been doing their doings since…wait, since 1911. Must be a tiny outfit, that was in some other business for over a century right?

It’s IBM.

What le freaque?

We all need to be concerned about this level of government sanctioned patent jacking, no matter what field we’re in.

I’ve heard before that if you’re just starting out, and low on funds, paying for your inventory and manpower are more important than filing anything with the government. Now we’ve got fresh, bloody proof that that’s 100% not true.

Your or your company’s intellectual property can be deeded off with a factor no more elaborate than whether the patent office likes your face that day, regardless of what kind of trail you’ve left, and as far as being run into the ground or laid off goes, that’s hardly a non-factor.

This decision represents a higher financial barrier to entry for everyone from Amazon entrepreneurs to realtors daring to use tech as basic as texting in their business.

Yes, literally.

Zillow’s patents, condensed for readability, are on:

Taking panoramic images for 3D walkthroughs

Multi-criteria search engines

And superimposing images scaled for size onto an area of land

Do all of those sound familiar? They should. We’ve been using that tech for years. And Zillow’s no Microsoft.

As always, we’ll have to see how this plays out. But if your New Year’s resolution was to take more bold steps in your business, maybe see if you can patent the idea of putting your picture in your email signature?

Apparently it couldn’t hurt.

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Real Estate Corporate

Conductor buys their company back from WeWork (that’s a good thing)

(CORPORATE NEWS) In an effort to refocus, co-working giant, WeWork, is looking to offload many of its recently purchased assets which may work in the small companies favor.

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wework office space

Once upon a time, WeWork, the popular, ever growing, co-working space giant, was valued at $47 Billion. But on August 14th, 2019, everything changed.

In August, WeWork submitted its first IPO paperwork for the company, not realizing it would almost immediately face incredible scrutiny from various entities, such as investors and the press, in regards to its finances. Although the company’s revenue doubled in 2018, Business Insider found that the company wasn’t actually earning any profit. In fact, reporter Rebecca Aydin reported on July 3rd that the company was losing $216, 000 every hour of every day.

But that’s not all. Since WeWork went public, the company has witnessed an incredible devaluation, from $47 billion, all the way down to $8 billion. Now, since we’re talking about billions of dollars here, the devaluation may not seem like a big deal for the future of the company, but I can assure you it is.

This devaluation resulted in Softbank, WeWorks’ biggest investor, taking over, and offering $1.6 billion to then CEO, Adam Neumann, in exchange for stepping down.

Throughout their growth, WeWork acquired more than 20 businesses, such as Spacious, a small co-working space in Manhattan, New York. Spacious’ CEO prior to the acquisition was Preston Pesek, who launched the firm in 2016. Pesek had a background in real estate and founded the business to leverage and monetize abandoned buildings and restaurants.

Customers had easy access to these spaces for a nominal fee, but because of WeWork’s recent decisions with finances, it made the decision to offload quite a few of its previously acquired businesses, including Spacious. They’re also looking to liquidate Managed By Q, which was purchased by WeWork from founder, Dan Teran in April.

In light of this news, Pesek anounced that Spacious will close its doors at the end of the year, alluding to WeWork’s refocus on its core workspace business. But while Spacious is set to close, Teran has decided to fight to re-acquire his company. In a article on The Real Deal, writer Rich Bockmann states that Teran said he’s actively looking to buy back his company.

Conductor, another company WeWork purchased more than 2 years ago, has already been successful in purchasing its company back, and it looks like it may be a better setup for its employees than previously. Co-Founder, Seth Besmertnik, stated in an interview that, prior to the sale of Conductor, he actually only owned 10% of the company. But with the re-acquisition of the company, Besmertnik and his partners, investors, and employees will be in full control. He says that under the company’s restructuring, employees will have “more than four times what they did when we sold the company”, which is clearly a better deal than what they had before.

But WeWork isn’t just liquidating co-working assets they’ve acquired. They’ve also laid off 2,400 employees in an effort to cut costs. Additionally, they’re also considering selling and/or shutting down other ventures, such as Meetup.com, a web platform that makes meeting up with like-minded individuals as easy as possible (purchased in 2017 for $156 Million). WeGrow, an elementary school in Manhattan, is also on the chopping block.

At the end of the day, WeWork just wasn’t as strong as users, investors, business partners, and the general public thought they would be. At a current valuation of only $8 billion (again, down from $47 billion), and with a $9.5 billion bailout from Softbank, the company will have to get really smart with their remaining finances. It’s obvious that the company is still in a state of flux, reevaluating their options and their main focus, but the question remains – can they still be saved? Maybe even more importantly, are they worth being saved? Only time will tell.

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