Monsoon: a bigger storm on the horizon?

Given the number of people still contacting us about Monsoon and their confusion as to it’s place as a part of ARMLS, we’d like to share some news about ARMLS’s future plans for Monsoon. We have learned from multiple sources in the industry that ARMLS has secured a national data partnership and is working on marketing to try to turn Monsoon’s focus from being an Arizona product to one that is available to REALTORS across the country. Based on this information, ARMLS appears to be investing in Monsoon to compete with IMAPP and other similar products nationwide.

As you know, ARMLS has spent a lot of time spreading misinformation about IMAPP to you. Every few days there’s a new story out of ARMLS about why they can no longer provide IMAPP to its members.  Not only does this expansion plan answer the real reason behind the decision and reveal the months of planning that went into making it, their attitude towards ARMLS members becomes even more troubling. ARMLS members are now being forced into the role of guinea pigs for a product that ARMLS wants to sell to others. This isn’t just giving members an option to try or test an unproven product, ARMLS has used this agenda of theirs to make sure it is the only option.  Think of it this way: If ARMLS wants to sell Monsoon to others, they can’t be expected to offer any other product to their members, even one that works better for its members. If they are committed to marketing the Monsoon product, they are going to stick you with it regardless of whether it’s the best tool for you or not… Anything else would look terrible when they try to sell Monsoon to others. If this is in fact true, it would appear that ARMLS cares more about selling Monsoon to others than giving you the best tools to do your job!

We have been told that an ARMLS board member recently spoke to a large group of agents and told them that he thought that no amount of calls or complaints would sway the Board of Directors decision. To us, that sounds more like a dictatorship than a board charged with watching out for their member’s best interests. Monsoon seems to be by REALTORS, for REALTORS, whether the REALTORS like it or not!

If you don’t like what ARMLS is doing, you should let them know. Let them know that their job is to work for you, not chasing after the other million REALTORS across the country.

Links For More Discussion

Who To Contact

We understand that you can express your frustration to Hank Grabowski at hankg@armls.com and 480-303-7235. You can find more people to contact on the following web pages:

http://www.armls.com/about-armls/Leadership
http://www.armls.com/about-armls/management
http://www.armls.com/area-info/associations

Counting down to the end with ARMLS

If you are are interested, please take the time to add your name to the newly created list.

As we enter what appears to be the final week of IMAPP as an MLS provided benefit, I’d like to thank you for the great comments that a lot of you have been leaving on our blog, messages calling into our support line, even going back to the NAR convention in New Orleans in November where we met several agents who overall had some great things to say to us.  Despite having to go out of your way to access IMAPP, many of you continue to rely on us on a day to day basis.  While our traffic has gone down some, we’re still putting out well over half of the page views we were before all of this started so clearly there’s significant interest out there in keeping the service alive.

If you read through the comments on our other blog postings, you’ll see that what a lot of people are saying is that they appreciate the speed, ease of use & accurate data we provide.  Maybe that’s something you’ve noticed yourself.  I’d say that it’s no surprise that people are saying these things because to me, those are the things we stand on.  We take pride in the time we spend ensuring that the data you see is the best possible and features such as the comps where we have a proprietary algorithm to ensure the highest quality sales get presented to you.  While an outsider might see two products, go through a checklist of features and conclude two products are the same, I’d say that we’re different in that we believe that the details matter, and I think that a lot of you have noticed just that.

We realize that as real estate professionals, part of your value proposition, part of what makes you stand out is the ability to provide accurate, detailed information to your clients.  We also realize that a majority of you are very busy people, and that your time is valuable.  When you consider the cost of IMAPP, roughly 2 cents a day per member, you realize it doesn’t take long to pay for itself.  Given the average income of a REALTOR, that translates to 2-3 minutes of your time over the course of the month.  Loading extra pages, tracking down errors, filtering out comps that shouldn’t be comps, it all takes time, it’s all costing you time and that’s costing you money.

In the end, the question is “Why will IMAPP no longer be available to ARMLS members?“.  The answer surely isn’t that iMapp is going out of business, and it’s surely not that IMAPP is not being made available to ARMLS.  ARMLS has an open offer to continue to provide IMAPP for the coming year under the previously agreed upon terms.  If you’re interested in more details, read through one of our previous blog post.  Given the months of consideration that went into the decision and the quick succession of the removal of Realist followed by iMapp, it’s pretty clear that ARMLS believes that you’re all best served by having Monsoon be your only option.  Whether that’s true for you (hello, appraisers…) and whether the short notice is in your best interests, I’ll leave it to you to decide.  If nothing else, I believe that it’s disrespectful to you and doesn’t value your time and productivity.  Going back to the math from above, what change costs you, just a one-hour training session costs more in your time than it would to pay for IMAPP for 3+ years.  And being something they’ve been planning for months, wouldn’t it make sense to give you months of notice to prepare, to get to a class, to learn Monsoon, etc.?

What does the future hold for IMAPP?  Right now, like I said, we have an open offer to ARMLS to continue to provide IMAPP under the terms previously agreed to.  You can contact them if you’d like.  To the best of our knowledge, ARMLS has shown no indication that they’re interested in listening or reconsidering their decision.  We are currently working out the necessary details so we can offer the service as individual subscriptions although we do not have anything set in stone at this time.  Please sign up to our email list to be kept up to date as we firm up our plans.

ARMLS Members: Restoring IMAPP Access

We’ve been getting questions from ARMLS members about how to continue to access IMAPP from FlexMLS.  For the remainder of the month, IMAPP will continue to be a option within FlexMLS but you do have to go into your FlexMLS settings and update your default tax provider to “iMapp”:

flexmls-default

As we discussed in our previous blog post, we have a standing offer to continue to supply IMAPP to the ARMLS members and ARMLS has chosen to make Monsoon the only option for you as a tax service. There were a lot of comments on that post & we tried to respond to the biggest question people seem to have. If you have any other questions, please ask, we’ll be happy to give you our perspective on what’s going on.

As always, remember your MLS & Association leaders are supposed to be working for you, to help you succeed, in part by supplying the products and services that best serve your needs. Let them know that you value having a choice in tax products. Here is a list of links with a list of people you can contact:

Several member have mentioned that they have been directed to speak with Hank Grabowski.  His email address is hankg@armls.com and phone number is 480-303-7235.  If you are disappointed with the decision, we would appreciate it if you let them know.

Finally, if you would like to receive updates from us, please click here to sign up for our ARMLS Information email list.  We will be using this list to distribute more information as is becomes available.

ARMLS Officially Drops IMAPP

After several months of dragging this decision out, ARMLS has just informed us that they do not wish to continue to provide IMAPP to its members.  As you are probably aware, there was an agreement in place to provide IMAPP to the ARMLS membership through the end of February of 2016.  We at PropertyKey are very much willing and able to continue to provide the same product under the same terms of the original contract.  Our position is that this product has been promised to members and budgeted as a portion of your dues through February 2016, and as such we want to do everything in our power to live up to the spirit of that contract.  We think that it’s unfortunate that the ARMLS leadership does not feel the same way.
 
We would very much like to continue to offer our product in Arizona and we are currently investigating a variety of alternatives that would allow us to continue to provide that to your market.  Quality data is expensive and offering data-intensive services like ours requires a significant investment.  Thanks to factors such as the size of the combined membership, we are able to provide our service to ARMLS at an average cost of a few cents per day per member.  While it may not sound like much, it is enough to ensure that not only can we continue to offer IMAPP but also invest in improving the product for the long term.  As noted in a recent WAV Group whitepaper:
 
a technology solution that may cost an individual $20 to $40 per month will be priced around $.50 to $2 per user per month for an MLS or large brokerage firm
We continue to believe that site licenses provide the best option for products like ours and we’re continuing to pursue options that hopefully will allow us to continue to offer IMAPP at the best possible price to at least a portion of the current users.
 
As always, remember your MLS & Association leaders are supposed to be working for you, to help you succeed, in part by supplying the products and services that best serve your needs.  Let them know that you value having a choice in tax products.  Or if nothing else, ask them if you’re going to get a refund on your dues that were budgeted for IMAPP, or if that amount is being funneled into another product or if it’s just disappearing into that dues black hole.  Here are some links you might find useful:
 
 
For More Information…
If you would to stay informed about the status of IMAPP in Arizona now and into the future, we have established an email list to distribute future updates.
 
 
We hope to be able to answer any questions and fill you in on the missing details over the coming days and weeks.
 
Thank you for your continued support for IMAPP.
We’re an optimistic bunch here at PropertyKey and we hope that we can maintain a presence in the Phoenix area for the months and years to come.