Upstream, the broker initiative designed to standardize and simplify the process of uploading and distributing home listings, does not have the endorsement of the largest real estate franchise in the country, Realogy.

Upstream, the broker initiative designed to standardize and simplify the process of uploading and distributing home listings, does not have the endorsement of the largest real estate franchise in the country, Realogy Franchise Group.

Alex Perriello

Alex Perriello

At a private conference this week in Houston, Realogy Franchise Group CEO Alex Perriello questioned Upstream’s value proposition and whether the bifurcation of listing distribution could stifle innovation and add unnecessary costs because not all brokers and MLSs will participate.

Although Perriello conceded that the ultimate decision to participate is not his but belongs to his franchisees — brokers in the Realogy network — his statements nonetheless put a fog on the progress that Upstream seems to be making.

A portrait of Alex Lange

Alex Lange

At the same conference, Upstream CEO Alex Lange painted a rosy picture of the new initiative’s progress, with several pilots in the works and an announcement that he would provide live demos at the upcoming National Association of Realtors (NAR) conference in Orlando in early November.

In a recent survey by marketing firm Imprev, 84 percent of industry broker-owners and top execs support the project:

  • 57 percent of top real estate executives said they are “very supportive” while 27 percent said they are “supportive” of the endeavor.
  • 64 percent reported feeling “confident” or “very confident” in Upstream’s success.
  • 315 brokers participated in the survey, according to Imprev.

In partnership with NAR subsidiary RPR (Realtors Property Resource), Upstream is building a data entry and collection platform that will function as a middleman between real estate firms and the recipients of their data, which include both MLSs and technology vendors.

Upstream creates a single point of entry for all real estate data and eliminates “duplicative data entry costs” and gives “brokers full control” and the ability to efficiently distribute their data to a “variety of targets,” Upstream says on its website.

The platform offers brokers “the technology leverage needed to manage their costs better, free up resources to innovative and serve customers.” It helps brokers enforce copyright ownership, negotiate optimal “exchange rates” for use of their data and protect their data from hacking, theft and natural disaster, website visitors learn.

Only participating brokers “can determine who receives their data and nobody, including Upstream, RPR or NAR, can access without explicit permission,” the website adds.

Some have seen Upstream as a threat to MLSs because the platform aims to collect real estate data, including listing data, “upstream” of the MLS (and everyone else).

But Upstream says on its website that its founders “are united in the belief” that the company will not become an MLS nor will it ever compete with an MLS, “and have embedded those beliefs into our agreements.”

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