The real estate search engine Propsmart, created by the same team that developed BookCrossing, has launched an RSS 2.0 namespace for representing real estate properties in a feed.

Propsmart allows data feed partners to provide bulk property data by sending us a data file or providing a web data feed. ...

The feed should be provided as a URL, which we will crawl on a regular basis. The accepted format of the data feed is RSS 2.0.

They've been responsive to feedback. When I contacted the company about a couple of minor nits that prevented the feeds from being valid last week, they were quick to correct the problems.


The extension is too incomplete for general acceptance. Simply go to any real estate listing website and you'll note gaps between the data available and this vocabulary.

Thanks for the mention, Rogers.

Randy, regarding the breadth of the vocabulary, we developed this for our own site's use (to import listings easily from disparate sources), so it fits our needs exactly. Adding fields would be trivial, but at this point we have no need for it.

Would you like to see other real estate web applications build on your namespace rather than creating their own? Seems like a good opportunity for interop.

That would be nice, Rogers, but the real estate industry is highly fragmented and competitive, and seems to prefer itself that way for now. For example, there are nearly 1,000 MLS regions in the U.S., comprised of strong local brokers, and all of them vigorously protect their data and turf.

Others over the past several years have attempted a standard RE xml format, trying to promote themselves as "MLS replacements", but got no traction. I'm not nearly the idealist now that I was when I got started with PropSmart a year ago. I'd love to be proven wrong, but I don't see widespread adoption of an RSS standard in RE happening any time soon.

That said, if you have any experience in similar industries where data standard success finally happened, I'd be happy to talk offline and cooperate in an effort to promote a comprehensive RE standard.

Standardization is an end in itself when it comes to data transfer. Some people -- particularly engineers -- seem to find this concept particularly difficult to grasp.

Adopting an existing standard which is proven, in active use, and completely adequate for the intended purpose is always superior to creating a new one, ad hoc. While it may reward one's ego to "do your own thing", it's a pain in the butt for everyone else who has to implement your arbitrary creation as something "special" if it offers no measurable benefit except a lot more work for others who are already in the game.

RoR ("Resource of Resources", not to be confused with "Ruby on Rails") has been an established XML method for data transfer for several years, it already has a very well-define namespace for real estate listings, and it already serves a number of search engines.

If there's no clear advantage in creating a whole new namespace, then putting everyone through a lot of redundant work to conform to it can only be motivated by an arbitrary whim which offers no value added.


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