[Update 1: Clarifies esign tech available to CAR members.]
Innovation in the form of new technology is making its way into the real estate industry. In fact, take a look at HousingWire’s top 50 real estate tech solutions to see an example of what technology is doing in the space.
As a Realtor, this technology can be beneficial to connecting with customers and selling homes. However, some organizations, such as the California Association of Realtors, say this new technology isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be.
In fact, in April, CAR sent HW RETech:50 winner dotloop a cease-and-desist letter, asking the transaction management software provider to stop letting customers fill out CAR’s copyrighted forms using dotloop’s software. dotloop complied.
"There’s a real question that has sparked a lot of controversy in the industry. The question is around whether or not an independent business should have the freedom to decide how they run their individual businesses," said dotloop founder and CEO Austin Allison.
Allison noted that considering organizations such as CAR are not-for-profit organizations that represent a body of members, all of which are considered an independent business. He believes these individuals should have the freedom to operate how they want.
"We believe in forward progress. We believe in innovation. We believe innovation is what moves industries forward," he noted.
dotloop, a software service that allows users to upload information to a cloud — much like dropbox — works with a number of different entities and organizations.
However, the CEO assured that dotloop complied immediately to the request. In any situation where a copyright owner discovers that a copyright work has been uploaded to our site, said Allison, we respond accordingly as soon as we are notified.
"Innovation is disruptive by its very nature," said Allison. "Disruption is met with resistance."
If any of CAR’s members want to fill out one of the association’s forms on a computer, they may use zipForm software from the firm zipLogix, a forms software provider owned by CAR.
CAR President Don Faught said the organization also provides its members with a choice to do business with partners such as DocuSign, Cartavi and SureClose. To be sure DocuSign acquired Cartavi last month.
According to zipLogix’s chief technology officer, Josh Sharfman, most people don’t ask the questions they should regarding technology. It’s like ignoring the 90% of the iceberg that remains underwater and only focusing on the 10% above the surface, said Sharman.
Sharfman is also the CTO of CAR. ZipLogix’s CEO, Joel Singer, holds the title of CEO for CAR as well.
According to Sharfman, zipLogix is a private cloud based company that owns and operates its own equipment to ensure there is no way anyone can penetrate financial information. Sharfman also said zipLogix is prepared in case of natural disaster, with multiple cloud locations that replicate private cloud information in each cloud.
"At the end of the day, it is our job to make sure forms are not in the hands of non-members. We are here to service Realtors," said zipLogix COO Lisa Mihelich.
But dotloop’s Allison still believes this choice should be up to the individual member. Allison compared it to a CD distributor who makes the CDs, but then requires anyone who listens to the CD to use a Sony CD player.
"I think it’s healthy that this convo is being had, but this is really a topic about what an individual should have the ability to do," said Allison. "It's not about dotloop being a better technology than other companies have. Even if dotloop was the worst, my position would still be that businesses should have the ability to choose how they run their business."