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A new company called Ocusell has emerged to provide real estate brokerages with a single, streamlined solution for distributing and controlling listing data across a number of online sources, primarily multiple listing services (MLSs), according to a statement sent to Inman.
Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, Ocusell’s software uses a centralized hub model. It empowers brokerages and agents to create listing profiles using an intuitive, modernized content management system, much like they would when working on a website.
Home photos, beds, baths and pertinent details are input only once and subsequently delivered to the brokerage’s partner MLS. Listing status updates and others changes are input and controlled from Ocusell as well.
The software intends to reduce the long burdensome and wildly unpredictable business rules and dated, stringent input regulations required by the majority of MLSs for brokers to interact with them.
Co-founder and CEO of Ocusell Hayden Rieveschl said in a statement that his company’s goal is to make it easier for everyone to interact with their MLS partners.
“MLSs are accelerating the integration with technology partners and more MLSs are merging and changing their systems provider or adding others,” he said in the statement. “These trends create a vital and pressing need for accurate, complete and fully updated business rules. MLSs need to add powerful new tools for their members, and they need to do it smoothly and quickly.”
Problems with the overall MLS partnership experience from agents and technology vendors are widespread, and data sharing is a consistent topic among executives across the industry. In fact, the issue was discussed as recently as the 2022 National Association of Realtors’ annual conference, which finished on Monday, Nov. 21.
At Inman Connect Las Vegas in 2021, Lone Wolf’s Greg Robertson and Victor Lund, of consulting company WAV group, agreed that MLSs and NAR, collectively, are failing their members largely as it relates to innovation. Their session was called, “Big Data, Small Hurdles: Are Brokers Getting What They Need From the MLS?”
Robertson and Lund condemned MLSs that make obtaining data on behalf of brokers hard for tech companies that serve them by making them go through a long, arduous committee approval process, Inman reported.
“Some vendors have set it up like if you opt into a certain program that means that if this vendor has opted into these rules or regulations then any app they develop are automatically approved,” Robertson said. “Vendors have to basically sign something or do something to say generally I’m going to follow these rules,” he added. “If they violate those rules, they’re out. But that means that somebody needs to pay attention to that. The problem is there’s a lot of vendors out there; a couple of bad apples can ruin it for all the rest of us.”
Ocusell co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer Alex Taylor said as much in the statement.
A common case is when an MLS provides information on an API to a technology vendor without knowing that the API no longer exists, Taylor said. An API, or application programming interface, allows software products to interact.
“Multiple listing services [for example], will agree to add a new tech solution for its members, not realizing their business rules are outdated because they switched vendors or changed their systems that conflict with what’s in place,” said Taylor in the statement.
“If a tech firm’s integration was reliant on the API, they would have to start over,” he said.
However, Ocusell’s founders understand the underlying concerns of MLS leaders and want to help them address those.
Business rules often are unreliable because they’re expensive to manage and operationally challenging, Rieveschl said in the statement.
In addition to its data distribution software, Ocusell offers technology audit services to MLSs and social media marketing tools for its brokerage partners to promote listings.