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Broker Public Portal LLC Chairman Merle Whitehead recently released this update following the September 9th meeting of the Board of Managers:

“As the momentum continues, I am pleased to provide this update on the development of the broker public portal project to our many supporters.  In keeping with good practice, it is helpful to restate the rationale and goal of the project.

“The Broker Public Portal project was established as a collaboration of MLSs and brokerages in developing a national MLS consumer facing web site that is owned and governed by the MLSs and brokers. Our Board of Managers’ experience in the industry and with technology and public facing websites are proving exceptionally beneficial to this project.

“Our mantra is to deliver what consumer home search was supposed to be. For 20 years, how people find homes online has been imagined and defined by those who sell ads, not homes. This is our turn to speak, to imagine, and to deliver a better experience.

“For the past 60 days, we have been focused on three distinct efforts: the development of the brand; the development of the data license agreement between MLSs and the company; the fielding and analysis of RFP responses. What follows is a summary of the results of our efforts and next steps.

Branding – Closing in on the “Right” Name

“The agency did a fantastic job of developing the identity of the company. They reviewed the results from their research process that included doing interviews and focus groups with a broad spectrum of industry professionals. Industry research was coupled with their research of consumer home search experiences.  Four options for names are being considered by the Board with a final decision to be announced soon.

“The law firm completed a process whereby they solicited industry-wide feedback on the agreement template between the MLSs and the Broker Public Portal. Remember that the BPP is owned by MLSs and brokers, so this is more of an agreement by and among peers with common interests.   We have a draft agreement that is progressing daily. It has been reviewed through two comment periods and is being improved to meet the diverse needs of the stakeholder.  Its highlights support fair display of listing content, no FSBO listings; active listings, and off market listings where available for display from the MLS (illustration: Some MLSs are not allowed to display sold data by State Statute so the agreement would be modified as such). The final review will be by the Council of MLS Legal Workgroup next month at their annual meeting.

Product Update

“The RFP workgroup reviewed more than 14 different proposals that were submitted. Some companies are continuing to submit their suggestions. The more bids we get, the merrier we are. Our MLS board members reviewed the pricing examples from the RFP responses and observed that the project’s cost will be economical for MLSs to provide as a member benefit.

“Our workgroup will now begin the effort to create a detailed specification for the product for both mobile and responsive web development. The board is considering a Build vs. License scenario. On one hand, using an off the shelf product will accelerate speed to market. On the other hand, developing the site from scratch has many self-preserving benefits too. We endeavor to move quickly through this phase.

Financial Update

“To date, 104 companies have contributed $5,000 to the effort to develop a consumer home search experience that is more straightforward and clear than those offered by advertising-driven media companies. We have started investing these funds into our development efforts.   We feel we are getting great return on investment and support continues to increase as more brokers and MLSs sign on and contribute.”

The agreement to participate can be found here.