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Data Wars, Data Wars, Data Wars

big dataI always find it ironic when data vendors battle one another on who has the most data. With biased opinions, amateur shots, and swords and shields at the ready, data vendors are relentless when it comes to asserting who has the most data. The irony is that, while these data wars are happening, these data vendors should drop their armor and data expansion efforts and begin helping clients implement those large sets of data in more meaningful ways. As a cofounder of Onboard Informatics, a real estate information company, I speak to you from the front lines.

Real estate companies today will not get far if they have no data on their platform. They also won’t get far if they have all the data in the world and the absence of an implementation strategy. The majority of these companies go to data vendors not hoping to obtain the most data, but for robust and efficient solutions that answer major business questions such as “How will I obtain traffic?”, “How will I retain traffic?”, and “How will I convert traffic into profitable and satisfied clients?”.

When observing these data wars, the thing to remember is that critical business questions are not solved by data alone. They’re solved by advanced, innovative, and engaging data implementations. The separation between plainly listing local weather data on your platform and plunging that weather data at homebuyers as you have them freefall from an aerial view to a listing’s street view (like Allstate’s GoodHome does) is huge. Similarly, the difference between listing your IDX data in a framed plug-and-play box and having that IDX implemented on separate landing pages that are recognized and picked up by search engines can mean the difference between obtaining traffic and losing it to the competitor who did have an implementation strategy.

There is an infinite amount of data in circulation, so having the most data does not impress me unless that data is used to effectively solve realtors’ business problems. Every piece of data real estate companies invest in must become a decision support mechanism for their home shoppers or else all their home shoppers will see is irrelevant numbers. Therefore, it’s meaningless for data vendors to fight to the death on who has the most data when they could be working with their clients to create innovative implementations. A vendor’s amount of data shouldn’t convert prospective realtors more than the implementation strategy because realtors very well know if they told home shoppers, “I have the most data on the block, I just don’t know how to implement it”, that data war would be lost very quickly.

[Graphic via http://www.leadxl.co]

About Marc Siden

Co-Founder and CEO of Onboard Informatics, the real estate data provider used by 8 of today’s top 10 real estate brokerages. He brings 20+ years of years of diverse technology, information services, and real estate industry experience.

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