Before it was zipFormÂ® 6, it was WINFormsâ€”the electronic forms platform
from zipLogix. But learning how to use the new software was no piece of
cake for REALTORSÂ® in San Francisco and elsewhere. Now, there is
another electronic forms platformâ€”from Instanet Solutionsâ€”that is
creating frustrations for REALTORSÂ® in the city and many REALTORSÂ® are
asking, â€œWhy the change?â€
After Almost 10 Years of Having Local Forms on WINForms/zipFormÂ® 6, the Arrangement Ends Abruptly
For almost 10 years, the San Francisco Association of REALTORSÂ®, under
an agreement with the California Association of REALTORSÂ®, paid an
annual fee to the State Association for every member who accessed the
San Francisco's local forms library on WINForms/zipFormÂ® 6. And, the fee
was not insubstantial, amounting to almost a fourth of the annual dues
paid by each member to the Association. But when the Association, late
last year, launched a competing platform, the California Association
abruptly announced that it was ending its forms hosting arrangement with
San Francisco, effective on December 31, 2010. The arrangement was
later extended by one month but finally ended on January 31 of this
The Decision to Offer Instanet Solutions' Suite of
Services Was Motivated Solely by a Desire to Provide REALTORSÂ® with
Advanced Productivity Tools
The decision by the Board of
Directors to launch a new forms platform was long considered and
motivated solely by a desire to provide REALTORSÂ® with a suite of
advanced productivity tools, demanded by today's sophisticated real
estate marketplace. And, while most of the attention has been focused on
the new forms platform, it is only one component of Instanet Solutionsâ€™
suite of advanced productivity tools which includes DocBoxâ„¢ (the
document storage module, added to SFARMLS), InstanetForms (the
electronic forms platform), TransactionDeskâ„¢ (the transaction management
program for brokers and clients) and Authentisignâ„¢ (the electronic
But in the discussions that have been
generated by the introduction of Instanet Solutionsâ€™ forms platform,
little has been said about these other services that could prove
critically important to the ability of REALTORSÂ® to provide unsurpassed
services to clients in the future.
Regardless of the advantages
these other services can provide, it is clear that Instanet Solutionsâ€™
forms platform is creating frustrations among a significant number of
REALTORSÂ® in San Francisco. So, to address theses frustrations, the San
Francisco Association recently convened a meeting of its Managers
Council, with the leadership of the Association in attendance to hear
what was said.
Certain Broker Managers Expressed a Desire, on Behalf of Their Agents, to Have the Local Forms Library Return to zipFormÂ® 6
At the meeting, certain broker managers expressed a desire, on behalf
of their agents, to have the local forms library return to zipFormÂ® 6.
Although the leadership of the Association is committed to making every
reasonable effort to arrange forthis to happen, being able to satisfy
that desire may not be as easy as it seems. The reason is that the
California Association is insisting on exclusivity for its zipFormÂ® 6
platform; in other words, for the local forms library to return to
zipFormÂ® 6, the California Association is requiring the San Francisco
Association to take down its competing platform first.
In this regard, a few comments about Instanet Solutions are in order.
The Big Problem: Using the Wrong Browser or an Older Version of Acrobat Reader Can Cause Serious Platform Performance Problems
The San Francisco Association would be the first to admit that Instanet
Solutionsâ€™ electronic forms platform at launch was less than perfect.
In addition, Authentisignâ„¢, the electronic signature program, had
significant problems. But both the forms platform and Authentisignâ„¢ have
undergone significant improvement after launch and both are now
operating reliably. So, why the complaints?
There are several possible reasons.
Some members who have had unsatisfactory experiences with Instanet
Solutions have not undergone training or, if they have, too much time
has elapsed between the training they received and when they first tried
to use Instanet Solutionsâ€™ electronic forms platform.Â Many more are
using the wrong browser or an older version of Acrobat Reader, both of
which can cause serious platform performance issues. Many just donâ€™t
like Instanet Solutions or Authentisignâ„¢, in spite of the improvements
made to both services in recent months.
The Leadership of
the San Francisco Association Is Committed to Doing Everything
Reasonably Possible to Arrange for Its Local Forms Library to Return to
Although it never was the intention of the
Association to have the zipFormÂ® 6 forms hosting arrangement come to an
end, the leadership of the Association, in an attempt to provide all
members with the tools they feel most comfortable using, is committed to
continuing its efforts to have the local forms library return to
zipFormÂ® 6. In addition, efforts will continue to improve the
performance of Instanet Solutionsâ€™ forms platform and Authentisignâ„¢, to
make those services even more powerful productivity tools for REALTORSÂ®.
A users group has been formed to work directly with Instanet Solutions
to give REALTORSÂ® in San Francisco a front row seat in influencing the
development of the company's productivity tools going forward. In
addition, a facebook group is being formed to facilitate an ongoing
dialog between members of the users group and solicit instantaneous
feedback concerning the companyâ€™s product development efforts.Â Once the
facebook page is up and operating, any interested REALTORÂ® member will
be able to follow the groupâ€™s progress.Â Look for an announcement
providing details soon.