There is a big ongoing battle in comercial real estate's information service providers. CoStar and Xceligent have sued and countersued one another over real estate data and information, specifically with regards to stealing/harvesting one's existing data and whether or not there is an existing monopoly in place over that information. In recent days, Xceligent's CEO Doug Curry was fired from his position and CoStar has been busy with PR in the form of emails, web announcements, and sending out mailers to existing subscribers with new information to discredit Xceligent and provide evidence into its legal fight with the competing company. We've attached a copy of the letter we received from CoStar for your reference at the end of this RE Blog post.
While this RE Blog posting isn't going to provide an in depth commentary on the legalities of the court filings, an informal and unprofessional review (we are not attorneys) shows that Xceligent did indeed gain access to its information by unlawful means that go against the terms of service provided for by CoStar/LoopNet. CoStar alleges that Xceligent was aware of and promoted the data mining by illegal means and that Xceligent's countersuit is baseless. We'll be interested in the end results regardless because it will definitely have deep implications on the future of commercial real estate's information service providers and professionals. We believe that there will be resolution by some sort of settlement between the parties. Whatever truth unfolds, we are not in favor of any person or any company obtaining something by way of illegal or unscrupulous means. We'll update in a later RE Blog posting when that time comes.
REAL ESTATE IS INFORMATION AND EARNED EXPERIENCE
When you break down real estate to its simplest terms, it's a field in where information and experience are keys to success. The basis of real estate is all informational. What's the size of the property, what is the zoning, what are the allowed uses, where is it located, what is the area's demographics, how much income can the property produce, how much is it worth, etc. Every question can be answered, however, the time it takes to acquire and collate the information is a tremendous task, especially if a property is located outside of where a broker's expertise or home market lies. For this reason, real estate data/information service providers have grown to be so large and profitable. Time is money and allowing a service provider to gather and provide all the information for you is a time/money saver. The value of having well earned experience in dealing with various real estate situations, from negotiations to setbacks one may encounter during a deal and how to overcome them, is something you can't buy with money but only with time invested on the job.
The commercial real estate industry is undergoing tremendous change, from the way information is provided to the underlying technology that is powering the new generation of brokers and principals. In due time the real estate environment will be even more open and level so that big and small companies vying for the same clientele will be differentiated only by their level of customer service and experience. For now, however, commercial real estate's information is still largely a proprietary service provided by just a small handful of companies. We look forward to more progress in this arena of the industry.
What makes a real estate company stand out to you? What are some things you look for when choosing which company to work with? Let us know!