Frequently Asked Questions

 

hometour360º® Program

 

In order to provide increased flexibility in terms of technology and pricing, the hometour360º Program was launched in November, 2004. The hometour360º program focuses on providing a best-of-breed virtual tour solution to virtual tour service provider companies.   

 

About the hometour360º® Hosting and Distribution Program:

 

1.  Virtual tour companies who participate in the hometour360º Program are able to access www.picturepath.com to upload panoramic and immersive images, powered by the following technologies to create a hometour360º:

 

a.      IPIX – images created with the Interactive Studio leading Immersive Image Technology

b.      iseemedia – images created with a leading image creation software

c.      PT Viewer – images created through non-patent infringing technologies can be displayed through the current PT Viewer Applet 

 

2.  Homestore has created a virtual tour template that allows the user to take advantage of all of the following features:

 

a.       Display more photos with a combination of twelve full screen interactive images and six flat photos 

b.       Build personal brand awareness with personal photo and contact information prominently displayed

c.       Make each listing a link for leads through the Find Out More™ and Send to a Friend features

d.       Printable Brochure, with three layout options, provides ready-made offline property flyers

e.       Mapping/Driving Directions allow homebuyers to obtain easy-to-use instructions for locating the property

f.         Desktop Tour gives the ability to save tours and flat-photos to your desktop or CD, which can be included in offline listing presentations

g.       Full Screen Tour - 4x view of all virtual images

h.       Listing Information – City/State/Zip Code/MLS ID#

i.         Reseller Branding – Virtual Tour Company Branding

 

Program Benefits Include:

 

j.         Each tour hosted for one year

k.       Free Distribution on REALTOR.com® for Tours loaded to listings belonging to Showcase Listings Enhancements subscribers.

l.         hometour360™ is compatible with multiple technologies and provides advanced immersive and panoramic imaging solutions

m.     Reach more Internet consumers through the REALTOR.com® Virtual Tour Distribution Network which includes broker, MLS, national and local real estate Web sites.

 

3.       As always, a hometour360º can be distributed across the Internet via the Virtual Tour Distribution Network (VTDN).

 

4.       Homestore charges a per tour hosting and distribution fee on a pay-per-use basis to the virtual tour company.  Invoices for this service are issued monthly.  Real Estate Professionals, who use the hometour360º product to market their clients’ homes, will pay the virtual tour company directly for their services.

 

5.       Homestore will not charge a per-tour distribution fee for Tours loaded to listings that have been enhanced with Showcase listing enhancements. The hosting fee, however, will be charged for all tours loaded to REALTOR.com® (both to Showcase & non-showcase listings).

 

6.       Participants will receive automatic discounted rates based on their monthly volume as per the hometour360º rate card.  Tours loaded to listings that have been enhanced with Showcase Listing Enhancements will not count towards the monthly volume rate/discount.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What are the benefits of the hometour360º® Hosting and Distribution Program?

There are many benefits to the new hometour360º Hosting and Distribution Program including:

 

1.                   Flexible Technology Options – choice of three different technologies

2.                   Flexible Pricing – pay-per-use monthly invoicing

3.                   REALTOR.com® Distribution fee waived for tours loaded to listings enhanced with Showcase Listings Enhancements

4.                   Feature Rich Template – multiple property, agent branding and provider branding features 

5.                   VTDN – Virtual Tour Distribution Network – Distribution network of 600+ websites

6.                   Annual Hosting Terms – world class hosting facility

 

 

How will I be charged for the hometour360º® hosting and distribution product?

Participating customers will be billed monthly based on the number of virtual tours they create through www.picturepath.com.  A hometour360º will be considered created upon successful upload.  The rate card provides discounted pricing for various levels of volume. It is important to note that tours loaded to listings that have been enhanced with Showcase Listing Enhancements will not count towards the monthly volume rate/discount.

 

The number of new tours submitted in a given month will be used to calculate the rate for that month’s invoice regardless of successful distribution to any given site.

Tour deliveries will not be carried over from month to month.  Please contact your Major Account Director or hometour360º@realtor.com for more information.

 

 

What technologies will the new hometour360º® program support?

Homestore will continue to look to leading technology providers to support the hometour360º product. IPIX images created through the new IPIX Interactive Studio as well as panoramic images created through iseemedia’s PhotoVista will be accepted.  Customers who wish to display panoramic images through the PTViewer applet will also have the ability to do so.

 

Why have the above technologies been selected?

Homestore has chosen to support these three technologies because they represent multiple options for our users.  The IPIX technology will provide the industry leading 360 x 360 image formats while the iseemedia and PTViewer solutions will provide excellent panoramic options.

 

 

Can I distribute my hometour360º® to other distribution sites?

The hosting element of the new hometour360º provides Homestore with the control necessary to continue to distribute the hometour360º to other real estate Web sites via the VTDN. As always, distribution will be contingent on the presence of an active listing on the destination site.

 

How can I create an account in www.picturepath.com?

Please contact vtsupport@homestore.com or call 1-866-483-4749 to request the set up of a PicturePath account.

 

Does Homestore still support the hometour360º Wizard program?

No. Homestore ceased selling hometour360º Wizard keys for technology, hosting and distribution on November 30, 2004. This included keys sold through the store and through Homestore’s Major Account Directors. The hometour360º Wizard program was officially retired on 12/31/2005.

 

 

Showcase Listing Enhancements - New Featured Tour™ Benefit

Frequently Asked Questions

 

General Product Questions

 

What is the Showcase Listing Enhancements New Featured Tour™ Benefit?

Currently, REALTOR.com® charges a per-upload or distribution fee for each tour uploaded via the Picture Path GUI or AUI. With the launch of the new Featured Tour Benefit, you will NOT be charged the distribution fee for tours loaded to properties with Showcase Listings Enhancements on REALTOR.com®.

 

How will REALTOR.com® market the Featured Tour™ Benefit to customers?

Free Distribution of Virtual Tours will be marketed as a new Showcase Listing Enhancements feature to all current and prospective REALTOR.com® Showcase Listing Enhancement customers.

 

How will the new “Featured Tour™ benefit” help my business?

With the added value of free distribution on tours loaded to Showcase Listings on REALTOR.com®, we expect the demand for Virtual Tours to grow significantly.

 

Can Showcase Listing Enhancements subscribers create and load their own tours to their REALTOR.com® listings?

No. In order to take advantage of tour distribution on Showcase listings, Showcase Listing Enhancements customers will need to go through a REALTOR.com® authorized PicturePath Link or hometour360º partner.

 

Pricing Questions

 

How will you determine whether a tour is being loaded to a Showcase or Non-Showcase listing on REALTOR.com®?

Once an MLS ID (Listing Number) and Address have been submitted on an order, our system will access the listing on REALTOR.com® and will determine whether or not it is a Showcase listing.

 

  • If the listing is a Showcase listing, the appropriate Showcase Product code will be assigned to the order number within our systems, and you will not be billed for the tour distribution on REALTOR.com®. You will still be billed for the hosting cost of the tour, if applicable.

 

  • If the listing is not a Showcase listing, a non-Showcase product code will be assigned to the order number within our system, and you will be billed the full distribution and hosting cost for the tour.

 

If an Agent does not have an active listing on REALTOR.com®, is there a way for me to determine whether the customer is a Showcase subscriber?

Functionality has been added to the PicturePath Web application that will allow you to check the Showcase Status of your customer (the Realtor).

 

The new “Check Showcase Status” screen will query on the Customer Name, MLS, and Public ID, and will return the current Showcase status (Showcase / Non Showcase) of the customer.

 

The primary purpose of the “Check Showcase Status” functionality is to allow you to verify the Showcase status of a customer, regardless of whether or not they have active listings on REALTOR.com®.

 

 

REALTOR.com® and VTDN Distribution Questions:

 

What happens if I try to load a tour to a listing that is not on REALTOR.com®?

If the MLS ID (Listing Number) does not exist on REALTOR.com®, the order cannot be distributed to REALTOR.com®. You will receive an error message and your order will be rejected.

 

If I try and load a tour to a listing that is not on REALTOR.com®, will there be automatic repeated attempts to load the tour to REALTOR.com®?

Automatic repeated attempts to distribute a tour to REALTOR.com® (in the case that the listing was not live on REALTOR.com® at the time the tour was loaded via the GUI or AUI) will no longer be supported.

 

Can I load a tour to other websites within the VTDN network if the MLS ID is not on REALTOR.com®?

You may load a tour to a listing that does not exist on REALTOR.com® to other sites within our VTDN network. You will be charged only for hosting and distribution to websites other than REALTOR.com®.

 

Additional Property Identifier:

 

What is the difference between the MLS ID and the Additional Property Identifier fields?

The Additional Property Identifier field is for VTDN Tour distribution only, whereas the MLS ID field can be used for Tour distribution on REALTOR.com® and within our VTDN network.


Credits and Cancellations:

 

One of my customers just became a Showcase Listing Enhancements subscriber. Will I be credited for tours previously posted to their REALTOR.com® listings?

No. Tours loaded to listings belonging to customers without the Showcase Listings Enhancements Product will not be credited if the customer later decides to subscribe to Showcase Listings Enhancements.

 

 

One of my customers just became a Showcase Listing Enhancements subscriber. When will the distribution fees be waived for their tours loaded to REALTOR.com®?

The discount (Distribution Fees waived) will only be applied to tours that are loaded after the customer subscribes to Showcase Listings Enhancements, and only to listings associated with an MLS ID tied to the Customers Showcase Listing Enhancements package.

 

The Showcase Listing Enhancements subscription for one of my customers has expired. What will happen to my customer’s Tours on REALTOR.com®?

Tours uploaded to Showcase Listings are part of the “Showcase Listing Enhancements package.” Expiration of the Showcase Listings Enhancements subscription causes all listing enhancements, including the tour, to no longer be visible on REALTOR.com®.

 

The Showcase Listing Enhancements subscription for one of my customers expired, and their Tours were removed from REALTOR.com®. What will happen to the Tours if they decide to renew their Showcase subscription?

All tour are stored on our servers. If at any time the Showcase subscriber decides to renew their Showcase Listings Enhancements subscription with REALTOR.com®, their tours will immediately be restored to their listings.

 

I have a customer whose Showcase Listing Enhancements subscription has expired. Will I be charged full price on the tours loaded to REALTOR.com® for this customer?

Yes. Any tour loaded after the Showcase Listing Enhancements subscription has expired will be billed as a Non-Showcase listing, or FULL price.

 

Edits to Address Information and MLS IDs:

 

I have submitted an order with a valid MLS ID (Listing Number) and have selected REALTOR.com® distribution. Can I go back in and change the Address on this order?

No. Changes to Address information will no longer be allowed after a valid MLS ID (listing Number) has been entered and distribution to REALTOR.com® is indicated.

 

 

I have submitted an order with a valid MLS ID (Listing Number) and have selected REALTOR.com® distribution. Can I go back in and change the MLS ID on this order?

 

Changes to MLS ID’s will only be permitted when:

 

  • The address from the original order matches the address of the new MLS ID you are entering.
  • The Showcase state of old and new MLS ID’s match. In other words, you may not change the MLS ID on a Showcase order, to an MLS ID that is a non-showcase listing.

 

I have a special circumstance and must change the MLS ID / Address on an order that has already been submitted for REALTOR.com® distribution. I am unable to make these changes in the Picture Path web application. Who do I contact?

Our Virtual Tour Support Team can be contacted at 877-353-4749 for assistance if changes to the address and/or MLS ID must be made, and you are unable to do so within the Picture Path utility.

 

Changes to the Picture Path Web application

 

How do I determine whether a listing is a showcase or a non-showcase listing prior to submitting an order?

A new “Confirm Product Price” page has been added to the Picture Path utility. This page will display whenever an MLS ID is entered for the first time, and fees have not yet been assessed. The Confirm Product Price page will display the following information:

 

  • Product Description - (Showcase/Non-Showcase Listing)
  • Product Price – (as determined by Showcase status.). 

 

Product Price displayed will not reflect the discounted rates you receive based on your monthly volume, as per the hometour360º rate card.

 

I have loaded a tour for REALTOR.com® distribution, however the MLS ID cannot be validated in the Picture Path Web application (ie: the MLS ID is not on REALTOR.com®). Can I still proceed with the order?

When a MLS ID is entered for distribution to REALTOR.com® and the MLS ID cannot be properly validated, you will be given the option to correct the information entered or proceed without distribution to REALTOR.com®.


How do I review the Showcase status of an order that has already been submitted to REALTOR.com®?

The “Showcase State” of an order displays on the “Order Search” results screen within the PicturePath Web application. In addition, when edits are made on existing orders, the “Showcase State” is displayed on the “Tour Data” screen.

 

 

Changes to the Automated Upload Interface (AUI)

 

How do I confirm whether an order I have submitted via the AUI will be billed as a Showcase or Non-Showcase order?

Additional responses have been added to the AUI response file, including the status of the submission and confirmation of all products and prices ordered.  Product Price displayed will not reflect the discounted rates you receive based on your monthly volume, as per the hometour360º rate card.

 

How do I determine whether a listing is a showcase or a non-showcase listing prior to submitting an order via the AUI?

Functionality is provided that allows validation of pricing for each product associated with the new order or edit prior to submission,  including the impact of the characteristics of the listing (i.e.: Showcase / Non-Showcase).

 

When submitting a “MLS ID validation” (to determine Showcase / Non-Showcase status) via the AUI, what kind of message can I expect to see in the Response file?

The response received will be the same as would have been received if the order or edit had been submitted, with the following caveats:

 

  • This is only useable for tours submitted for REALTOR.com® distribution.

 

  • If there will be both a MLS ID and Additional Property Identifier involved on any given order, they should be submitted at the same time to assure accurate validation of both listing numbers.

 

  • Since the order number is not used in the submission, this feature should not be used for adding the Additional Property Identifier, or pre-validating edits to the MLS ID or the Additional Property Identifier.

 

Can a Tour order be resubmitted to Realtor.com if the “Showcase State” (Showcase/Non-Showcase) of a listing has changed since the order was originally created?

Yes. An additional order can be generated via the AUI if the “Showcase State” (Showcase/Non-Showcase) of a Listing has changed since order was originally created.

 

For example:

 

An order is submitted via the AUI for a Showcase customer, and you are billed $0.00 for the order, due to the “Showcase” status.

 

A month later, the customer cancels their Showcase subscription, which results in the free tour or link being removed from their REALTOR.com® listing. In order to get the tour back on the listing, the order will need to be resubmitted via the AUI. As long as the Showcase State (Showcase/Non-Showcase) does not match the order already logged in our systems, the order will be allowed.

 

Does the new version of the AUI (v.5) have backwards compatibility?

While the current version of the AUI is designed to be “Backwards Compatible” with previous versions of the AUI / Bulk upload specification, it will be necessary to upgrade to the latest version of the specification in order to take advantage of the new features in this release.

 

  • Business Rules deployed in the new AUI version are enforced for all versions.

 

  • Edits of orders created in previous versions have special rules.

 

Further details on processing changes, including new business rules and special rules for existing orders, additional AUI responses, product pricing confirmation and warnings and error messages can be found in the updated PicturePath Automated Upload Interface Implementation Guide (v.5).

 

Changes to the Monthly Usage Report

 

How has the format of the Monthly Usage Report changed?

The format of the report has changed to include the Additional Property Identifier, Product Codes and Product Descriptions.

 

Has the content of the Monthly Usage Report changed?

Yes. The report now contains all products purchased including those required to support Showcase and Non Showcase Distribution to REALTOR.com®.