The MLS of Greater Cincinnati; Rapattoni.
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News

A win for Rapattoni as Cincinnati MLS members vote to keep it 

In the wake of a cyberattack that knocked the Ohio MLS offline in August, the organization rushed to roll out a new system, but bugs frustrated agents.

September 29, 2023
3 minutes

Key points:

  • Following a rocky rollout of the Perchwell system, MLS members demanded a vote on restoring Rapattoni.
  • Members of the MLS of Greater Cincinnati voted by nearly a 2-1 margin to bring back Rapattoni.
  • The vote was a win for the MLS platform, which was facing a declining market share even before the cyber attack.

It's been a tough couple of months for the Rapattoni Corporation after a cyberattack on the company took down MLS systems nationwide, but they just got a win in Ohio.

Members of the MLS of Greater Cincinnati overwhelmingly approved a plan to stick with Rapattoni as a "short-term solution." The MLS had been in the process of switching its system to Perchwell; at the time of the cyberattack in August, the new system was "90% ready," said Anne Uchtman, president of the MLS of Greater Cincinnati. 

Despite the disruptions caused by the cyberattack, MLS members were not on board with the change, and they called for a vote. The outcome: Rapattoni, the organization's long-time provider, should be back in operation in the next eight weeks, said Uchtman.

When the cyberattack happened, Perchwell agreed to complete delivery of its product before it was ready. But the transition did not go smoothly. Members complained that the product was plagued with problems, said Brett Keppler, a real estate broker in Cincinnati who helped lead a petition to bring back Rapattoni.

"All the membership cares about is having a reliable and dependable system to help us sell real estate right now. Perchwell wasn't ready to play at that level," Keppler said in an email.

While it's unclear what Rapattoni has done to improve the security of its system, Keppler is confident the company has taken the necessary steps to protect itself, and its customers, from a second attack. 

In a phone interview, Uchtman acknowledged that members were frustrated with the Perchwell rollout — and that was apparent in the vote, which was nearly 2-to-1 in favor of restoring Rapattoni. But she's not ready to turn her back on Perchwell. 

"I still believe Perchwell has the potential to be an excellent platform," Uchtman said, noting that it made great strides in fixing bugs in the past four weeks. "I think they just needed more time."

As the board of directors works to figure out a longer-term solution for its MLS system, Uchtman said she's eager to get back to the business at hand: "coming together as a great Realtor community and getting homes sold and fulfilling our consumers' needs."

Rapattoni struggling to hold onto market share

Times were tough for Rapattoni even before the August cyberattack, according to a survey by T3 Sixty. In the first quarter of 2023, the company operated in 22 markets, representing 4% of all MLSs. That's down from an 8% market share in 2019. (Note: T3 Sixty and Real Estate News share a founder, Stefan Swanepoel.)

Rapattoni also scored the lowest among all MLS systems in several key areas, including innovation, technical advancement and future preparedness. Among existing clients, 60% indicated that they are either "unlikely" or "not likely at all" to renew their contracts with Rapattoni.

Correction: An earlier version of this story mischaracterized Perchwell's decision to launch early.

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