Ask An Ambassador: Boom!

Real Estate Agent with Transaction Alliance 513.520.5305 SAL.2002007747

Back in my Navy days my last job was as the ship's Ordnance Officer.  Guns, missiles, associated radars and the men that kept them running were my responsibility.  If you're a young man in his early 20s, could there be a better job on a ship than to stand out on the bridge wing as a practice missile went WOOOSH off the rail to chase down its target?

Now many moons later, what passes for excitement in my life is of a far different (and less combustible) variety.  Sometimes it's good, other times it's more of a "something fell down and went BOOM!".  The latter can be a test of preparedness and flexibility.

Recently our MLS service provider didn't so much fall down as they got pushed by some ransomware hackers.  Net effect, MLS went down hard with no clear estimate as to when (or if) service would be restored.  And it wasn't just our MLS, but nationwide to anyone who had the same provider.

Initially, there was no way to enter new homes for sale, to do searches, to email listings to clients, all just GONE.  And not like the old days with a printed book, the best you could do was look at the portal sites and know status could be wrong.

The good news, our MLS was able to create a site to enter NEW listings.  They flexed some rules about timing and marketing to allow for the circumstances.

Our MLS had already planned to transition from one provider to another, so they expedited the move and after a few weeks we had an operating system again, but with a few strings attached.  We didn't get all the bells and whistles out of the gate.  No aerial maps.  All our previously set up searches?  None of those transferred over either. 

The net effect is there's a lot of work to be done to recreate what we had.  The good news?  IDX data transfers seem to have been clean, so we don't have to tinker with 100s of custom searches set up on our Wordpress site.

More good news?  Blog posts aren't impacted by MLS outages if you link to sites of your own creation!  Even during the outage, we still received calls from potential clients.

Yes, it's more work in the short term for us to be 100% restored, but when you don't have all your eggs in one basket, a BOOM event may scramble some of those eggs, but your other eggs will be okay.

Are you prepared for BOOM type events?

Until next Tuesday, just Ask An Ambassador if you need help,

Bill & Liz aka BLiz

Posted by

Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas

The Liz Spear Team of Transaction Alliance
Elizabeth Spear, ABR, Ohio License SAL.2002007747

William (Bill) Spear, Ohio License SAL.2004011109  Kentucky 77938
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!

Bill Direct:  513-520-5305
Liz Direct: 513-265-3004     
Fax: 866-302-8418


Search Homes:  Https://

 FacebookWordpressYouTube Pinterest






Comments (19)

Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Bill (and Liz too) - I am sorry you as well as your other MLS members, their clients and all sorts of folks I might not be able to imagine had to deal with this glitch.  Our dependence on technology echoes throughout everyday life.  

Sep 05, 2023 12:50 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

It does go through everything it seems.  A couple of weekends ago my phone decided to stop recognizing my memory card and wanted to pretend all those photos had gone POOF.  Fortunately on a memory card reader they were all there with the exception of 2 corrupted photo files.  I removed those, copied everything to a new card and my phone is happy again.  Fortunately that snafu wasn't too painful.

Sep 05, 2023 01:50 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

BOOM is right!

I am so glad that your new system is up and running. Two weeks seem like an eternity when you don't have MLS access. 

Sep 05, 2023 02:59 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

It definitely kinked up business as usual.

Sep 05, 2023 05:27 PM
Buzz Mackintosh
Mackintosh REALTORS - Frederick, MD
“Experience, reliable, leadership”

A throw back to a bygone era , I remember waiting for the new MLS books to come out. Glad your transition to the new MLS was right around the corner. Your experience reminds me of our power going out for over a week during a blizzard years ago and my Nephew said " I'm tired of playing Amish"......

Sep 05, 2023 03:38 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

I remember my in-laws contending with that same storm.  We're planning to have back-up to our back-up system for our new home just in case there's a repeat.

Sep 05, 2023 05:28 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good evening Bill,

Wow! That was a big deal to have your MLS down for two weeks! We are so dependent on technology! It really does echoes throughout everyday life. Glad you are back up!!

Sep 05, 2023 05:03 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

We have been spoiled by the time savings (when everything works right).

Sep 05, 2023 05:28 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Bill- There are two things I want to car when I push start and my computer!  I am sorry that you and others in your MLS had to work through the glitch.  I am all about redundancy and have paper backups, thumb drives, external hard drives, etc. I also have a signed promise from Larry never again to work on my laptop without first removing the battery. (I have a photo of the fried hard drive,) Good suggestions about linking to sites of your own creation. 

Sep 05, 2023 05:40 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

It's the tightrope between what should reasonably be expected to be safe and what happens if something key fails?

Sep 05, 2023 06:59 PM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Seems these BOOMS are happening more and more frequently. Sometimes hard copies do come in handy.

Sep 05, 2023 06:39 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

We went from news MLS was just down to hackers and ransomware were the cause.  Which system will be next?

Sep 05, 2023 07:00 PM
Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
A moving experience!

I can't even (and don't even) want to try to imagine how I would function without an MLS for a single day, let alone... what happened to you guys.  And I don't know that I would have been able to be as matter-of-fact as you are about it.  I would have been more of the BOOM variety.

Glad you were able to recover so quickly.

Sep 06, 2023 04:24 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Some days it's good to be an engineer who is used to websites (this one included) that break, other tech that goes sideways, etc.  All I can do is analyze, fix what I can and accept what I can't and move to Plan B (or C or....).

Sep 06, 2023 06:46 AM
Peter Mohylsky, Beach Expert
PMI. Destin - Miramar Beach, FL
Call me at 850-517-7098

Change may be good and it may be bad.  But we learn to work thru it and end up spbetter on the other side. 

Sep 06, 2023 04:34 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

We have little choice, react, adjust, repeat cycle as needed.

Sep 06, 2023 06:46 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Wow, that would have been quite the BOOM event. I'm glad there was already an MLS transfer planned and it was "only" two weeks. Yikes!

I suspect we might think we're ready for an event such as that, but we won't really know until things go BOOM - which hopefully they don't!

Sep 06, 2023 04:50 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

The one disappointing thing is we've been hearing the hype about how great the new system would be, and I'm just not seeing it.  Some key functionalities in how I used the old system do not appear to be present in the new.  Perhaps just something new I have to learn, but so far I'm not seeing anything that makes my life easier or my business grow.

Sep 06, 2023 06:48 AM
Kat Palmiotti

We switched MLS systems earlier this year and many are not happy with the loss of some functions either, Liz and Bill Spear .

Sep 06, 2023 09:02 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Before I let my Kentucky license go this year, I had to work in 3 different MLS, and each one had a different provider.  Now just 2, and they're each completely different to do the same job.

Sep 06, 2023 02:53 PM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
Relocation to NW AZ with elbow room & more freedom

Having a hard copy works for me because of potential "boom" challenges.  When we rely too much on technology, we are subject to all the inherent opportunities for others to turn that technology to their advantage and our disadvantage.

Sep 06, 2023 07:18 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

I've had times where phone and laptop outages have consumed a lot of hours getting back to normal.  Even "routine" transfers like moving from one laptop to another never goes as smoothly as predicted.

Sep 06, 2023 02:54 PM
Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
Carolina Life RealEstate & Relocation 919-602-8489

Oh wow! I heard about the MLS that was attacked. Hopefully other providers will be more prepared should this happen to them. I sure this was an unpleasant distraction. 

Sep 06, 2023 08:53 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Not sure how the hackers got in, but they did and a lot of agents had business stall because of it.

Sep 06, 2023 02:55 PM
Edward Gilmartin
CRE - Boston, MA

There was a day when agents waited for the mls book to arrive to see what had changed since last wee

Sep 06, 2023 02:45 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

When we first bought our house it was dot matrix printed MLS sheets.  I still think I have that sheet in a fireproof box :)

Sep 06, 2023 02:55 PM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Hi Bill,
Not everyone is prepared for a "bump" let alone a "boom". It does bring to the forefront the need to have a backup plan. I wonder what benefit the hackers got other than the satisfaction of knowing they crippled the MLS for a couple of weeks. Do they profit from such events?

Sep 07, 2023 06:03 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

My understanding for this version of hackers is "give us money and we'll give you your site back".  That said, if you pay them, how do you know they won't come back for more?

Sep 07, 2023 08:20 AM
Kathy Streib

Liz and Bill Spear exactly!  Blackmailers will never stop. They need to be stopped and prosecuted (if you can find them.)

Sep 08, 2023 07:22 PM
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint-Idaho
Sandpoint Realty LLC - Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

Events such as the one you, and many others, experienced with the MLS demonstrates how dependent we have become on technology without realizing how fragile it can actually be.  mdm

Sep 07, 2023 07:31 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

The apple cart can be tipped.

Sep 07, 2023 08:20 AM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Wow!  What a debacle!  I seem to remember there being another MLS provider and we must not have that type as Arizona was unscathed as far as I know.  No notice or warning either.  That must have been AWFUL!  We rely on technology to be instantaneous and as we rely on their data.  Ouch!  

Sep 07, 2023 09:31 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

I think there's a decent sized variety of providers, I've worked with about 5 different over the years.  Fortunately the timing wasn't too bad for me, I had some other projects to keep me busy!

Sep 07, 2023 11:45 AM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

OMG Bill what a mess for you and everyone else! I can't imagine MLS being down for so long - Wow. I'm glad there was a solution on hand and they made it happen as quickly as possible. Makes me think about it.........what if?  So glad you wrote this post!

Sep 07, 2023 03:13 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

We were fortunate that they'd already been planning a transition.  I don't know if the other MLS are back up, hopefully so.

Sep 07, 2023 04:50 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


I'm glad to hear the problems got resolved but I can imagine the chaos that reigned around the country with all the MLSs that were affected. It didn't impact my area but did in the Bay Area. It's pretty scary to consider the impact this sort of thing has on our business and on buyers, sellers and appraisers. No doubt it put all MLS systems providers on high alert and working on strategies to deal with this should it happen again.


Sep 07, 2023 04:04 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

There was definitely no way to do business as usual.  Contacts with other agents were at a premium to hear about new homes for sale.

Sep 07, 2023 04:51 PM
Doug Rogers
RE/MAX Coastal Properties - Destin, FL
Your Real Estate Resource!

Seems like 2023 has had more than its share of "Boom" moments. 

Sep 08, 2023 11:38 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Every year has its moments, this event just adds to it :)

Sep 09, 2023 09:01 AM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Liz and Bill Spear OMG that was quite a dilemma having your MLS go BOOM -- GONE!  Glad you are back up and running although you all probably had to scramble to stay above the fray during this debacle.  Makes me think about the upcoming grid issues we keep hearing about -- when everything goes BLANK!   Now would be the time to start thinking about how I might handle my business if and when this happens.  Something to make me think "hmmm"

Sep 15, 2023 03:47 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

We're still working through the issues with MLS.  Do we go back to the original provider?  Run a hybrid?  The new provider hasn't proved to be everything that was promised.

Sep 16, 2023 05:27 AM