by G. Sax, Director of Growth Management, RESO
Welcome to “Three Questions,” an interview series that introduces you to real estate industry professionals, their businesses and how they interact with real estate standards with a goal of humanizing the tech side of the industry, fun included.
This week’s interview is Giselle Abadi, Co-Founder and CTO of Realtyna. We talked about putting the MLS on an international stage, about applying the word “organic” to technology and the power of choosing where you live and work. Enjoy!
Q1: There seems to be a resurgent interest in the notion of spreading data standards and MLS-style organized real estate to the rest of the world, but you have been pushing for these causes at Realtyna for more than 14 years. Is it getting any easier to convince the world of a RESO way of life?
Giselle: There has been a chain reaction, partially exacerbated by COVID. International portal sites increasingly brought real estate traffic to consumers. In other countries, there is a tendency for one portal data provider to dominate the market.
People don’t go to brokerage offices to interact with other people like they used to. However, since usually the data on these portals are outdated or even fake, those who are really serious about buying and renting usually have to physically go to real estate agencies in order to have access to reliable data.
This has made both consumers and real estate professionals push for a more standardized course of action from the consumer side, because the portals have proven to not always be reliable about what is available and what that availability costs.
On the other hand, National Association of REALTORS® ambassadors worldwide have been spreading the word about how organized real estate is done for some years now, and the professional agents in these countries have become increasingly intrigued by the U.S. way of doing things because of all the existing hassle.
Our core focus at Realtyna has been helping agents and brokers in North America to display MLS data on their websites in an organic way, building SEO value, generating leads, etc.
We’ve been there from the time of IDX data on FTP to RETS and through all sorts of complications due to nonstandard data structures, especially when brokers need more than one feed from different MLSs.
RESO came along and, lo and behold, there is structure. Then the Web API came along, so now we have a unified feed for all major MLSs in North America.
So when we released our MLS server-side solutions, we advocated RESO from day one to our international clients.
Q2: I’m glad you said “organic.” That word “organic” appears several times in your product line. You yourself have a product background, so I suspect that the use of this word that you do not often hear a lot in technology circles is purposeful. What does “organic” mean to Realtyna?
Giselle: Other IDX vendors were using HTML iframe solutions for providing MLS data to REALTOR® websites. But this doesn’t bring any SEO value, because the real data resides on another server. “Organic” refers to the organic traffic from search engines vs. ad-sponsored traffic.
So organic MLS integration means the SEO value is good enough for search engines to index the listings on your website and send organic traffic.
Q3: The Realtyna website says you are based in Delaware. Very clever (taxes). But you are personally based in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Paris. Technology today allows us to be based anywhere, yet not everyone follows their bliss and not every company allows it. How did you get so lucky?
Giselle: I’m a company co-founder, so I get to call the shots, haha.
We actually started in Dubai in 2007 but left in 2009 for Paris for both fun and business.
Today, we have about 70 people in the company. As an IT company, we embraced remote work early on. When COVID hit, we were more than ready.
We have content writers, business development personnel and sales people all over the world. We have employees in Türkiye, Egypt and the U.S.
Our tech support is located in Georgia, and I maintain a second home there as well.
RESO (G. Sax): Given the international nature of this conversation and of your company build, I presume we’re talking about Georgia on the Black Sea, not the Georgia with Atlanta.
Not the Georgia with Atlanta, no.