I have been working on data feeds for more than 8 years and I am just horrified at how many MLS' have no clue how to even pull their own RETS feeds. We have been dealing with a number of MLS' where they have decided to move to another RETS provider because they are cheaper or because the board made the decision not realizing the impact on their agents and their vendors.
The answer, "other vendors do it" is one that we get when having issues with some RETS providers, and to me, is not a solid response because they have no clue how many hoops other vendors have had to go through in order to change feeds. I would like to see MLS' pull a full feed (in-house) and then a partial feed from their RETS provider and see just how much of a pain it can be. When Providers have limits like 5000 per pull and there are 34,500 members and maybe 11,200 offices, I can't help but wonder, how do they think you will make sure to get every member/office without a hick-up? You can't is the answer and that is why a full feed should not have limits.
Realtors(R) are always wondering why vendors keep going up on their costs and they really should look at why their MLS is not making sure the feeds to their vendors are as easy as possible to make it reliable when being sent to the vendors. When we have to write special code because the so-called RETS (standard) is not the same with every RETS provider, because some want to restrict the number of queries or the max number of records pulled, well then you will find that cost will go up. When RETS providers push all the images to the vendors because they don't wish to host the images, then even more of the cost goes to the vendors. I just don't understand why the MLS and/or the RETS provider wants to put all this on vendors who can't even make money on the feeds in the first place.
Let's work a bit harder on first making the feeds reliable by not putting restrictions on the pulls and allowing vendors to link to the images, which will save bandwidth and cost to the agents. Let's try not to change RETS providers every year or two which also brings up the cost to the agents. Remember that changing RETS providers cost the vendor 1 or 2 weeks of man hours to convert the feeds and update their sites because 9 times out of 10, all fields have to be remapped and the agent's pages have to be recreated because of feature changes, city, and school id changes.
Realtors, help your vendors keep these things from happening! Tell your MLS to pull the feeds themselves, all at once and daily, so they understand the process they are putting the vendors through. Make sure your MLS allows the vendors to link to the images so that you know they are always recent images and not something the vendors have to pay more storage for. Remember, with RETS, there is not a system in place to tell us which images to delete so we either have to dump them all and pull a full dump of images every month (more bandwidth cost) or write special code that is specific to your MLS to delete them. Or just keep letting them stack up on our servers which slows down sites and increases cost.
Remember, the vendors rely on the Realtors (R) to help keep the data feed process as simple as possible. The simpler the process, the more reliable the data, and that are what is all about!