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is a 25-year industry veteran and has focused on helping the industry understand the challenges and opportunities in today's evolving digital world.
His experience includes working at the North Side Real Estate Board in Chicago, as the Director of Marketing and Product Management for Interealty Corporation, Vice President of Customer for MRIS, and the CEO of the Arizona Regional MLS, President of the MLS Domains Association, as a Director of the Council of Multiple Listing Services, and as VP of Partner Relations for Zillow.
Zillow and MLS |
Bob Bemis, CEO of Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service Inc. (ARMLS), submitted a notice of resignation to the MLS's board of directors at a special meeting Monday, ARMLS said.
Zillow announced that it had hired Bemis as vice president of partner relations the same day.
As the top executive at ARMLS since October 2007, Bemis has worked to provide brokers and agents with tools that improve the delivery of information to consumers, helping ARMLS members compete with third-party sites.
At industry conferences, and as a member of an influential National Association of Realtors committee that helps draft MLS policies, Bemis
has warned that the restrictions associations and MLSs imposed on their own members can hurt their ability to compete with third-party sites not subject to the same rules.
In debates over NAR policies governing search engine indexing of listings on broker and agent websites, and distribution of listings data through social media sites and mobile devices, for example, Bemis argued that industry leaders should take less restrictive stances.
Now that Bemis has, in effect, switched sides to work for a listings portal not affiliated with an MLS or Realtor association, he will no longer be eligible to serve on NAR's Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee.
new role with Zillow
will put him in daily contact with brokerage, MLS
and Realtor association executives.
"I am looking forward to the challenge of building bridges to Zillow
's current and potential partners in the industry, including MLSs, (Realtor associations), brokers, agents, appraisers, title companies, mortgage lenders and other service providers," Bemis
said in a statement provided by Zillow.
"I intend to foster a spirit of cooperation that has sometimes been missing in the dialogue between licensed practitioners, their support organizations and the rest of the industry."
Asked if his
voice will carry the same weight when he
is representing a third-party listing site rather than an MLS
owned by Realtor associations
told Inman News
experience and reputation in the industry will at least enable him to get conversations started.
"I'm hopeful my past reputation for being trustworthy, honest, straightforward and direct will indeed carry over (to Zillow), and that I can have those conversations that industry veterans were previously unwilling to have with Zillow
"I think the title they bestowed on me (vice president of partner relations), says worlds about what they're expecting," Bemis
"Zillow wants to create better relationships" with brokers, Realtor associations, and MLSs, he said - "somebody who they can call on to engage in conversation, and to find common ground.
That's the challenge."
60 days' notice on Monday, and plans to stay on as CEO until April.
has no official start date with Zillow
The announcement of Bemis' departure coincides with a flap over a decision by ARMLS
to provide property tax information to members through a new vendor.
Members who are unhappy with the switch, from iMapp to CoreLogic Realist, have started a Facebook page, "Bring iMapp back to ARMLS.
Some Facebook commentators have suggested that Bemis
was forced out or fired over the controversy.
"It was an interesting juxtaposition of timing," Bemis
said of the Feb. 6 launch date for Realist, but dismissed "rumors that I've been run out of town" as "totally unfounded."
been in discussions with Zillow
"for a while," noting that the company "doesn't hire a VP overnight."
The impetus to move on, he said, is that plans to turn ARMLS into a statewide multiple listing service have bogged down.
In August, the Arizona Association of Realtors
announced that its board had approved a plan to acquire ARMLS
for $4.75 million, and that Bemis
would lead the effort to build a statewide MLS.
But the plan hit a roadblock when the SouthEast Valley Regional Association of Realtors
(SEVRAR) announced in September that its board of directors had decided not to sell its 25 percent ownership stake in ARMLS
Through data sharing agreements, ARMLS
already had listing data from 85 to 90 percent of Realtors in the state, and there were "just too many questions and ... 'what ifs' that needed to be answered," including the state association's ownership of forms, SEVRAR
said in announcing the decision.
Although AAR Chief Executive Officer Tom Farley said at the time that the state association would continue to explore options for moving the deal forward, Bemis said nothing is imminent.
"I think that initiative has pretty much ground to a halt," Bemis
said that with the statewide MLS project on hold, he
began looking for the next challenge.
After 20 years in television broadcasting and production, Bemis
embarked on a career in real estate that's now spanned nearly 25 years.
After working for two years as a Coldwell Banker sales agent in Glenview, Ill., Bemis moved on to serve in executive roles with the Chicago Association of Realtors' MLS, Interealty Inc., and MRIS.
"l think I have done as much here in the four years I have been here as could reasonably be accomplished," Bemis
said of his
time at ARMLS
Thompson said that before Bemis
took over as ARMLS CEO, they had only one choice as to the vendor that would power Internet Data Exchange (IDX) listings on their websites.
zPro - Zillow offers brokers premium placement and exposure - Real Estate Industry Watch
"Brokers have been giving us a lot of feedback, and we've been listening," said Bob Bemis, vice president of industry relations at Zillow.
7. Robert Bemis, Vice ...
7. Robert Bemis, Vice President of Partner Relations, Zillow Inc.
Bob Bemis - the former ...
Bob Bemis - the former MLS executive hired last year by Zillow to help the company improve its relations with brokers and multiple listing services - has left his position after 18 months, citing frustration in his eff...