Real estate technology firm MoxiWorks has thrown down the gauntlet, casting its own data service MoxiCloud as a replacement for Upstream, the controversial broker data management platform funded by the National Association of Realtors until a sudden split last month.
MoxiWorks released a press release on Thursday entitled “MoxiWorks Delivers Alternative to Upstream,” saying its MoxiCloud service, first launched in 2016, “provides brokerages with a comprehensive suite of data management services designed to protect and enable the broker to fully control the distribution, licensing and use of the brokerage’s listing, agent, and consumer data.” It is available in all U.S. states and Canada.
“Brokerages need to take control of the data that powers their business, period,” said York Baur, CEO of MoxiWorks, in a statement. “Own your data! It’s high time, and brokerages have waited long enough for this to be delayed any longer.”
To be clear, MoxiWorks is not offering a new product or features with its announcement and it is not rebranding MoxiCloud.
“We’re simply saying that the MoxiCloud’s capabilities and scale have evolved to the point where we believe it’s a viable alternative for much of what Upstream has been promising,” Baur told Inman via email.
He said much the same in a 2017 blog post. “[B]rokers must realize that the vendor community and the open platform MoxiWorks provides, aka the MoxiCloud, has already solved this problem,” he wrote at the time.
Upstream, which has been under development since 2015, aspired to be the single point of entry for broker data, including listing data, that would then be distributed wherever brokers desired, including the MLS and third-party listing sites such as Zillow and realtor.com.
Upstream’s platform launched in May 2018 — two years behind its original goal — but it was defective and only ever fed two listings into the multiple listing service where it debuted. In December, Upstream and NAR announced that NAR subsidiary Realtors Property Resource (RPR) would no longer be Upstream’s technology vendor and a new vendor would be announced this month. Through RPR, NAR spent $13 million on Upstream.
MoxiWorks receives funding from brokerage heavyweights Windermere Real Estate, Howard Hanna Real Estate and Long & Foster, and offers brokerage technology products and services that cover customer relationship management (CRM), marketing, brokerage intranet, agent websites, and listing presentations.
The company says it serves more than 72 brokerages and 120,000 agents nationwide that account for more than 13 percent of the transactions in the U.S.
And MoxiWorks has not been afraid to call out its competitors in the past — most notably, venture capital darling Compass.
What does MoxiCloud offer?
Today, MoxiWorks touted that MoxiCloud offers complete brokerage control over all third-party data access and syndicates 500,000 listings daily to sites such as Zillow, Trulia, realtor.com, and Juwai at brokers’ behest. The platform also handled 4.5 million sold listings last year from 300 MLSs and brokerage branding and rosters for more than 70 of the largest brokerages in the nation, the company said.
“Brokers are able to manage only their own data, and aggregations of their own data, not that of others. This is a critical point — the brokerage is always in complete control of their listing, brokerage, agent and consumer data at all times,” Baur said.
MoxiCloud has integrated more than 40 tech and data partners including DocuSign, SkySlope, QuantumDigital, Imprev, RealScout, Buyside, MoveEasy, and LeadTrax, and will be adding new partners such as LiveBy and ActivePipe this quarter, according to the company.
“We are also going to announce deeper integrations with certain existing partners later in the quarter. We are also currently working on a new product coming out in Q2 that will significantly enhance the MoxiCloud,” Baur said.
The main thing that MoxiCloud is not offering that Upstream intends to offer is that MoxiCloud will not be the point of listing entry and will therefore not feed the MLS, he added. By contrast, Upstream seeks to provide a way for brokers to enter data they could then automatically push to the MLS.
MoxiCloud has a listing add/edit function, but it is only for the purpose of augmenting a listing or for having a listing available in the MoxiCloud if the consumer declines to have their listing in MLS, Baur said. Brokers may want to augment a listing to add image data types that an MLS may not support — such as a video, PDF, or virtual tour — or add more images for display on the brokerage’s website than an MLS may allow, he added.
While MoxiWorks has fed listings to Northwest MLS in Washington in the past, the company has “no plans to explore this further until the MLS industry settles on the policies and approach, including the RESO data standards, for making this broadly accepted,” Baur said. He added that MoxiWorks is a founding member of and active participant in the Real Estate Standards Organization, a collaborative nonprofit that creates data standards for the industry.
“MoxiWorks does not intend to replace or change the MLS industry. MoxiWorks has enjoyed and continues to expand on their current MLS relationships. However, MoxiWorks does contract directly with brokers to assume the full responsibility of securing, distributing and managing the brokerage’s own data,” the company’s release said.
“Vendors are simply capitalizing on the fact we haven’t announced our new partner. We’ll announce soon, and nobody will doubt our capabilities,” Upstream CEO Alex Lange told Inman via email.
He said Upstream was on track to announce its new vendor this month.
“We are pleased with so many vendors who are working to help resolve our industry’s data problems. Each new effort, and there are several, validates the Upstream concept,” Upstream Vice Chairman Craig Cheatham said in an emailed statement.
“Our history indicates proprietary solutions [owned by one real estate company but offered to the industry as a whole] always fall short, which is why industry leaders committed to set those efforts aside and instead develop a solution owned and managed by industry participants themselves. We love our vendors, but they generally lose focus over time, get purchased by another entity and end up obligated to investors instead of to those working in real estate every day.
“As important as Upstream’s functionality, and the problems that will solve, is who owns and manages it long term. Upstream never will lose focus on the brokers and agents it will serve, as it always will be owned and managed by industry practitioners themselves. And, we expect Upstream’s pricing to be the best value over time, both because of its eventual scale and because Upstream operates more as a co-op or non-profit than a traditional vendor.”
Audience won’t be entirely the same
Lange also emphasized that Upstream will not raise its stated pricing, which is a flat monthly fee depending on office size, once it gets a new vendor.
“Our pricing fits every brokerage especially when you consider the average brokerage size is less than 20 agents,” he said.
Lange provided this pricing table for Upstream:
|# of Agents “Live”||Monthly Fee|
“Live” agents are those on the system, according to Lange. “A large brokerage may span multiple MLSs, some in locations where we currently don’t have coverage. They may elect to launch the offices in our active coverage areas. This holds especially true for the brokerages that have grown through acquisition yet from a systems standpoint, operate independently simply rolling up the [profit and loss]. When an office goes ‘live,’ all agents in that office are added” and considered live, he said.
Asked how MoxiCloud’s pricing compares, Baur said MoxiCloud is free to any brokerage that buys one or more of MoxiWorks’ products.
MoxiPresent, for listing presentations, is MoxiWorks’ lowest cost product and its price varies per brokerage and market, but large brokerages with 150 or more agents pay less than $10 per agent per month for MoxiPresent and get the MoxiCloud for free, he said.
Brokers with less than 150 agents are not a target audience for MoxiCloud because MoxiWorks’ tech is meant for enterprise brokerages, according to Baur.
“There are some situations [where customer] brokerages have had fewer, but it’s roughly around that 150 at a minimum,” he said.
This indicates that the audiences for MoxiWorks and Upstream may overlap, but are not entirely the same. While Upstream is backed by several large brokerages, it has always promoted itself as a tool for brokerages of all sizes. Of course, they’ll both be going after large brokerages, which are likely to be more lucrative.
Lange says he’ll remain CEO
Upstream’s Lange has been posting articles on LinkedIn that tout his experience and skills and might seem to indicate that he’s looking to move on. A post he published on LinkedIn on Jan. 13 says, “If you’re ready to leverage someone that is a non-linear, strategic, and critical thinker who can be the difference between mediocrity and a business that generates and retains millions in additional revenue, let’s connect.”
But Lange says he’s sticking with Upstream.
“I am the CEO and plan to remain the CEO. I love the initiative and the brokers I serve. I am not looking for work,” Lange said.
He said he had been advised to retire his personal site, alexlangenow.com, and use LinkedIn instead, so he’s been moving content from his site over to the professional networking site. He says he believes he wrote the aforementioned piece last fall.
“It exists because I coach a ton of nonprofits and continue to advise companies in the [NAR] Reach portfolio. It’s how I give back,” he said.