There’s always something to howl about

NAR Will Channel Data

I’m thirsty, but not drinking the Kool-aid just yet 

The NAR project formally known as the Gateway, a mash-up of all real estate data in the country, has now been relabeled The Real Estate Channel (TREC).  There has been a new “interim” report issued by the Presidential Advisory Group (PAG), but still there is very little detailed information about NAR’s plan.

The new report makes it clear that the intent of TREC is NOT to be a national MLS or have a public access point (other than REALTORS®).  These two clarifications will ease the fears of many local MLS systems and REALTORS® who were worried about the Gateway project.  For others, the idea of a national MLS is appealing and they are still thinking that eventually TREC will become a national MLS, but they are keeping quiet about the prospect for now.

Not making the data publicly accessible is a similar situation.  If you are against public access to data (read: still haven’t made the shift to reality), you will feel good about the new clarification.  If you don’t worry about your clients having access to data, you will be happy with the report because you know that eventually such a massive mash-up will become available to the public. 

So, what the current report says is that NAR will set aside the controversial aspects of the project for now.  This seems like a good compromise to keep things moving forward although is does not feel particularly honest.  So I find myself struggling between integrity and progress – between trust and fear – between belief and skepticism.  Someone referred to the issue in terms of the Wizard of Oz – is there really anything behind the curtain?

The difficulty with this issue is that NAR does not have the details/answers to the questions because this is still a work in progress.  This lack of answers causes fear because it is human nature to fill in information voids with negative beliefs.  There is so much still unknown about TREC, that there is a lot of negative stuff being made up or inserted into the general thinking on this.  NAR is in a tough situation because they need to get the information out to build trust within the membership, but they do not have the answers that will allow members to buy-in to the concept.

I’d really like to be a believer on TREC, but I’m going to have to wait for more information.  I’m a glass half full type of guy, so I’m approaching this as a skeptical optimist.  I’m thirsty for a good data mash-up for real estate, but I’m not ready to drink the TREC flavored Kool-aid. 

I think there is some potential for TREC – not stuff currently being discussed, but other outcomes that are not in the report.  I have no insider information and have never been subjected to a non-disclosure agreement on Gateway/TREC, so these ideas should be seen as food for thought. 

 Suggested Outcomes for TREC

  • Once the mash-up of all property data is complete, TREC should sell the data to the Zillows and Trulias (and REALTOR.coms) of the world and then we would have consistent data everywhere.  This assumes that the TREC data is better than what these sites currently have and that remains to be seen.
  • Sell the data to local MLSs for cheaper than what they are currently paying.  Most MLS systems have fairly complete public records data and much of what the TREC system will be collecting.  So the question is can TREC provide this data cheaper and more efficiently than the current process.
  • Allow REALTORS® and REALTOR® Associations to provide public access to the TREC data through their web sites.  This will add value to the member’s web sites which seems like a good trade-off for the millions of dollars of REALTOR® money being spent to develop this system.  This will allow the data to be available to the public while pushing consumers to the REALTOR®.  In addition, this may be a way to avoid the conflict with’s exclusive deal with NAR that will prevent them from setting up a TREC public site. 

I realize that a lot of folks are not onboard with my skeptical optimism on TREC and probably believe I have already sipped the Kool-aid.  Maybe that is true, but I would encourage those who have no trust in NAR pulling this off to hold on until November.  I think we will know more by the NAR Convention.  Let’s just wait and see – what other choice do we have?

Related posts:
  • Up Your Marketing Game
  • Client Lunchbox – BloodhoundBlog.TV CRM Channel Premier
  • Updates From the Ivory Tower


    6 Comments so far

    1. Mike Farmer March 31st, 2008 12:10 pm

      “what other choice do we have?”

      We could hack their system and get their secret plans?

    2. Todd March 31st, 2008 1:06 pm

      Confused. You mean this?

    3. Dave Phillips March 31st, 2008 1:17 pm

      No, but the owner of the site you listed will likely want NAR to change the name of what they are doing (or maybe not). NAR’s TREC will be a utility site where they mash-up all property data from a variety of sources. It is an attempt to create the ultimate resource for property data.

    4. Jim Duncan March 31st, 2008 2:19 pm

      “The Real Estate Channel” is not intended to be the final name for the product. It’s a filler that was put in as a means to get away from the name “Gateway” and the negative connotations brought about by the name. Sort of a “fresh start” before we even hit the ground.

    5. [...] Gateway/TREC/TBD discussions are heating up again, sort of.  Re-visiting the topic seems timely with the latest iteration of the NAR PAG report recently [...]

    6. [...] data in the country.  Then, just a little over a month ago, the name was changed to the “Real Estate Channel” and now it is being referred to as a library or archive of data.  More importantly, NAR has [...]