How Does Data Aggregation Work and Benefit MLS?
RE Technology president, Marilyn Wilson hosted, “Reliable Data Aggregation and Distribution: It’s not Rocket Science, It’s Harder!” Along with industry experts, our CEO Joel MacIntosh joined this webinar to discuss what data aggregation is, how it works, and why WolfNet is the data aggregation solution.
Each MLS may have their own individual headaches with data. There are five nuances that WolfNet can almost guarantee will find when working with MLSs. These five nuances are: Data, photos, fees, contracts, and compliance.
- MLS Data: The MLS data is very localized. For example, if you live in Minnesota, you would want to find properties by lake names, which is probably not a common search in New Mexico. Also, different parts of the country might have home addresses that is one way, but it is different than how the US Postal Service recognizes it, which are tough to geocode.
Along with localized data, deleting data can also be a challenge. Some of the MLSs provide information on how to delete data, others do not. We go through a process of comparing massive amounts of data in order to keep everything synced. Some of our clients complain about “Houdini Data,” which are listings that just disappear. They possibly came off market, or the status is not an option in the IDX so the listing just disappears. We have received 441 unique statuses. You would expect active, contingent, pending, sold, and foreclosures. So we as a data aggregator, need to sort through all this data and make sure it is universal.
- Photos: When WolfNet receives photos from a MLS, the order of the photos may or may not be provided. If they are not the correct order, we need to figure out what that order is.
- Fees: Each MLS may or may not have a fee to access this data. Fees range from IDX or VOW fees, to broker or third-party fees. Sometimes it’s a flat monthly fee and sometimes it’s an annual fee. There are many variations fees can come in so it can be tricky for new vendors to understand how to manage fees.
- Contracts: Whether IDX, VOW, fees, or something else, there are a ton of variations between each MLS and their contracts. As a data aggregator, we need to be sure that we are abiding to all the rules of these contracts.
- Compliance: While the majority of compliance rules and regulations are standard, the unique, non-standard compliances are tricky. A new vendor trying to get this data will need to learn the way through them by combing through contracts and extracting rule and regulation data from that. WolfNet has gone through the process of productizing compliances to make it a lot easier to be able to provide the data to help new vendors and vendors who don’t have the bandwidth to execute data aggregation a lot more efficiently.
How Does the Service Work with WolfNet?:
With our experience, we have mastered the process of receiving data and allowing others to use it.
Our data access can be accessed directly or through an API. We also offer photos. Some of the MLSs, like MLSListings, offer photos through URLs. In our case, we offer every single photo through a URL and they all run through a CDN- no download needed. All our photos are secured and delivered through HTTPS.
WolfNet offers compliance reviews to help our customers get through compliance rules and regulations. We also offer contract processing services. On average, we process 1,500 contracts. This means we are familiar with these contracts and they are completed properly. We’re very efficient.
Another benefit WolfNet provides is address standardization. When we receive these addresses we verify and standardize the information and compare them with the US Postal Service. Comparing the address to USPS address allows us to find the verified address and helps delete duplicate information.
With our process mastered we provide vendors and brokers everything they need for data aggregation in one place.
There are many benefits for MLSs when you work with WolfNet.
- Fees: While the MLS fees remain the same, there are lower expenses. We help lower the expenses because MLSs are using less bandwidth. When on-boarding new vendors or clients there is typically a fair amount of questions regarding data, compliance matters, etc., which takes a lot of resources. We take that burden over and help solve those matters, so you and your team don’t have to.
- Contracts: While the MLS contracts are the same, we digitize them. This makes them more accurate so when we submit them, they are correct. If we are doing the contract processing, we also assure that the member is in good standing prior to submitting the contracts.
- Compliance: When we are verifying all the contract information we provide an additional layer of compliance enforcement. An extra set of eyes if you will. We definitely assist with compliance rules and regulations because if we submit it wrong, we need spend time correcting that contract, which isn’t efficient.
- MLS Remains Centered: When a MLS works with WolfNet, the MLS remains at the center. We are not a trojan horse trying to benefit from working with the MLS. We are facilitators and we are trying to make the process work as efficiently as we can for everyone involved.
Check out the webinar below to hear Joel speak in more detail about how data aggregation works and benefits MLSs. If you would like to learn more about WolfNet’s data aggregation and distribution services, click here, or call 1-866-WOLFNET.