Google Maps Version 2 Cancellation Questions

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Please use the comments section of this blog post to ask questions and seek answers regarding Google's decision to cancel version 2 maps as of May 19th, 2013.

The problem:
Version 2 Google Maps is going to be cancelled as of May 19th, 2013

What this could mean:
This could mean that any older websites using version 2 Google mapping could see any part of their website that uses Google maps cease functioning and / or potentially show an error message. We say "could" because we cannot predict for sure what will happen, but we are recommending that you do not take any chances.

The solution:
Simply put, if you are running an older version of Google maps you need to upgrade your website.

The "recommended" upgrade is to the current 4.2 backend. Not only will this fix the issue (all new 4.2 installs use Google maps version 3) it will also unlock many new features that will help you be more productive, and manage your leads better.

After discussing with the team we have come up with some scenarios, baseline estimates and some ways to save $ on the upgrades.

4.x Estimates

4.2 to 4.2 patched: Approx 1 hour

4.1 to 4.2 upgrade: Appriximately 2 hours

4.0 to 4.2: 4 hours for standard upgrade

On all upgrades, labor will increase if customizations exist that need to be replicated or if customizatons create conflicts that need to be resolved.It is best to allow yourself a few extra hours just in case (even if you customizations are minor). Please note, almost ALL rew customers have customizations (this is the reason we cannot easily just do a find and replace, and each customer requires personal attention to resolve conflicts).

For sites with MAJOR customizations:

Obviously there will be far more conflicts with large, custom sites with hundreds of hours of customizations. There is no standard estimate for these sites, so you must go to the sales@realestatewebmasters.com to request your estimate or just approve a "just get it done" project.

For large sites on 4.x (0-2) (with large estimates) there are alternatives:

4x Patch: We are writing a patch for 4.0, and 4.1 that will be essentially a "new" version of 4.0 or 4.1 with the only change being maps. So instead of an upgrade to 4.2 (with all the goodies and new features) it would simply be as you have it now, but with the new maps. On average this would likely take 5-10 hours.

Disable Maps: We can disable the Google maps which should on average only take a programmer 1 hour to find all the spots and disable.

Older than 4.0 what can you do?

For sites older than 4.0 there is really no standard estimate. Your sites are many years old and have been due for an upgrade for just as long. My personal recommendation here (if you are not highly custom) is to just upgrade to whole new site (and framework) because likely both your site and your backend need updating anyways.

I will not charge any customers (1.0 through 4.x) for a "brand new install" of whatever non custom product they are using (which includes 4.2 and fixed maps) you will only need to cover the cost of labor to get it running. For example if your old website is a template with IDX we will give you a new 4.2 template + IDX with no setup fees. If your old website is an LEC 2009 we will give you a new LEC 2009 with no setup fees etc

The labor costs going this route: The only things you REALLY need REW for is to integrate your logo (1 hour) do a bit of IDX compliance on your new site (1 hour) and if you hae a lot of users on saved searches, you might want to have us recreate those for you in the new system (2-3) hours. So you could have a brand new site for less than the cost of an upgrade

The options below are things that can be done by yourself or ordered through REW (for billalbe time) depending on whether you want to save $ or not.

Content transfer - you could do your own content transfer (copy paste) which will reduce the time spent on the upgrade.
Snippet recreation - you can also recreate your own snippets saving even more $
Lead transfer (basic) - this is free anyways (we do it as part of the site live)

For large custom sites that do not want to upgrade (because it's not cost effective) and are unwilling to replace their sites:

The only solution here is to apply what is referred to as a "hot fix" - basically this is having someone from the REW team go through every bit of code that involves mapping and try to hack it to work with version 3. It can be done, but each site will be different in terms of how long it takes.



How to order your upgrade:

You need to send a request to sales@realestatewebmasters.com requesting an estimate for your upgrade. We will provide it as quickly as possible and we will need you to approve the estimate in order to get you into our production queue. The faster you approve the project, the faster we can get you going.

OR

You can send an email to sales@realestatewebmasters.com stating you approve the upgrade "whatever it takes" - please be advised, in doing so you are waiving your ability to dispute any balances owing. We of course will be as diligent with "whatever it takes" projects as we would be with those where estimates have been provided.

Hours booked for upgrading to 4.2 will receive a discount of $25 per hour off of the standard retail price.

NO CUSTOMIZATIONS MAY BE REQUESTED DURING THIS PERIOD

For those of you who could not possibly upgrade your site to 4.2 in a timely manner (because of how custom your site is) the alternative is to approve the team to "patch" your version 2 maps to version 3. However please be advised, this has never been attempted and may be quite time consuming / costly.

Time is of the essence:
Although some upgrades might only take 2-4 hours (4.1 to 4.2 with no customizations for example) others might take 20-30 hours (extremely custom sites) and this change will potentially effect over 1000 websites, so waiting will mean you are at the back of a very long queue and we might not be able to complete your project before the switch over.

Comments

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Morgan Carey

Question from facebook groups: How do I tell which version I have?

Answer: Logout of your backend and visit yourdomain.com/backend - there is a version number in the top right hand side. If you do not see a version number, your site is REALLY old (pre 4.0)

Sarah young

What exactly is google maps? I'm not sure I have it because some other company called trying to see it to me?

Jason Painter

Couple if thoughts...1. How long have we known about this mapping issue and just now we are doing something about it? Seems a little last minute.2. Its a shame to be forced to upgrade to 4.2 when 4.3 is just around the corner as mentioned with the new LEC promotion. I think an offer to upgrade from 4.2 to 4.3 for free later would be a nice thing to offer.

John Skrabec

This is terrible news!

Want to get in the cue ASAP to fix the Google mapping issue - but hesitant to give you the 'upgrade with whatever it takes', unless you can assign to the same designer and programmer and they can track all OUR custom changes correctly. I need your recommendations on how we can get this critical fix made at the lowest cost.

A side note: This really concerns me. We JUST spent $$$$ thousands $$$$ upgrading to 4.1, and now this? Yikes! Our site is VERY customized, and we've spent months working on it, double checking your work, etc. The thought we have to go through that again sucks.

NO CUSTOMIZATIONS MAY BE REQUESTED DURING THIS PERIOD?? If not, we're screwed. Why?

Will the suggested "patch" solution of of version 2 maps to version 3 work? Sounds like this is untested and a temp fix. Don't recommend it if you don't know how much it will cost or if it will even work!

thataway61

So, what if we were waiting on release of 4.3 in June?

phake

Uh...This sucks.

So, I need to either spend $1000s of dollars, maybe even more, or my website may blow up in 30 days?

I need the features that are coming down the pipe for 4.3, specifically lender integration.

I also want to switch to a responsive site in the near future.

If I follow your plan, I will have to upgrade in haste to 4.2, only to turn around and have to have the same custom changes reintalled on a new site later the same year, and possiby a third time if I don't update to responsive at that time.

I assume you guys have quite a few clients who ar running 4.1 or earlier versions of the CMS.

Wouldn't it make sense to attempt patching a test site running that platform to see if it will works, before instructing everyone to through the baby out with the bath water.

If it is impossible or impracticle after testing a patch, than we can go from there.

Larry Jensen

My site was done in 2010 if I remember correctly. I don't see anything there so I'm guessing a 2.4 year old site is REALLY REALLY OLD?

Jason Sessions

This is crazy, what does the yearly website cost cover? This type of thing should be included. Last year I paid for a backend upgrade already and now again.

Why isnt this part of the webmasters responsibilty? The only people this change benefits is REW. They should do the work at cost.

Jeff Mikolajow

When do you expect that 4.3 will be ready? Skipped 4.2 when we started hearing about responsive design.

Mike Brown

Argh, thanks Google... First you make it harder for me to game the search results now you change how your mapping works and cost me additional money. F/U Google.

Morgan Carey

Sarah Young, Google maps, is the API we use to map properites on details pages, draw polygons on sniipets, do map searches etc. Your website http://www.remaxsouthernproperties.com already has version 3 Google maps, so you have no issues and this post does not apply for you.

CarlosAndTeam

Morgan, I think you guys need to find out what it will take to do that patch and train some of the new guys to apply it as quickly as possible so that perhaps we could get a bigger discount on it. As you've seen, it's not easy for anyone who has spent tons of money on custom work to upgrade right now. I'm personally waiting for 4.5 backend to upgrade ;) the last time I upgraded, to 4.0, it took a lot of time and energy both from REW and myself to get my site back on track, and it's not something I'm looking forward to anytime soon!Also, you guys need to find a way to make your sites more "custom work" friendly please! Usually by the time you finish an upgrade the next version is already coming out and we can't upgrade quickly to that one. And sure, I've heard you recommend people don't do so much custom work on their sites, but it's more money for you guys in the end, so perhaps it should be easier to upgrade so that we can all keep customizing and paying money!In any case, I'm all for a patch if it can be done in a reasonable ammount of time or with a good discount.

Morgan Carey

Lots of comments here (as expected) and totally understandable. Let me first address the question regarding 2010 deprecation.

Yes it is true that maps have been "deprecated" since 2010, however that just means no longer supported / being developed on because there is a newer verison.

Originally Google Said:
"Note: The Google Maps Javascript API Version 2 has been officially deprecated as of May 19, 2010. The V2 API will continue to work as per our deprecation policy, but we encourage you to migrate your code to version 3 of the Maps Javascript API."

Because Google stated they would continue to work, there was no rush to upgrade our IDX for version 3 (although we clearly had by end Q3 of 2012 anyways)

Now Google says:
"The V2 API will continue to work until May 19, 2013. We encourage you to migrate your code to version 3 of the Maps JavaScript API."

This message they did not change until late 2012 and because it was an edit to their original message on a page that we rarely (if ever) look at, it was not noticed right away.

We did receive an email regarding the Google API (we are a corporate client) however there as some confusion regarding being offered an extension.

Google says:
"We're extending the deprecation timeline for V2 by six months. This means the Geocoding API V2 will continue to work until September 8, 2013 and we will shut the API off on that date"

To the person receiving this email this appeared as though we had a lot more notice to provide to customers and as part of the pre 4.3 release blast emails we were fully planning on explaining the situation to all customers as a compelling reason for it to be time to finally upgrade.

However - somoene only in the last few weeks started discussing the difference bewteen "maps GEOcoding API" and "maps javascript API" - they are indeed NOT the same thing. and so I felt we needed to get this out as fast as we could.

There was of couse some delay due to the fact that we wanted to have a solution / some answers before we sent out such a dire sounding notice.

I am sorry that this situation is happening without more notice. But we will do everything we can to get customers upgraded as soon as humanly possible.

Morgan Carey

Jay Seville, we are having an options meeting here in my office at 10 AM - but regardless of what comes of it, REW would of course offer a "reasonable" payment plan to you and anyone else that needs it.

Solutions I want to discuss with my team:
Why not a hotfix? (Just patching the Google maps part instead of upgrading) this would be especially helpful in cases like John Scrabek above where his site is so customized it's far more than "a few hours" to upgrade.

What is the cost of just disabling Google maps until 4.3 is released.

What about just giving them new sites altogether (brand new template, 4.2 with fixed maps etc) what is the cost to transfer content etc

Other options

Nancy

I could not be more upset. My website is my livelihood and I do not have the means to upgrade to a 4.2 backend. I have been a member of Real Estate Webmasters since 2008 and would expect that you received more than a month's notice concerning this development.

As a valued member I would hope you would be working with the team for a solution to this problem so the majority of us affected would not be placed in a financial situation we have no means to handle, and will hav such devastating consequences to our business.

Believe me I would have loved to have upgraded to a 4.2 backend but the money was not there and I have put too many customizations into my site.

Morgan, I am asking you to take a step back and think how you can use your resources to help your old customers whose business will suffer from this change in the website.

Thank you

Dylan Darling

I'm in agreement with most here. To throw out the "must upgrade" card with only a month deadline is not good business. I have 4.1. Please let me know what version of maps I have and if I have to upgrade. http://www.dylandarling.com. I think you're going to have to reconsider your $25 discount to more like FREE.

To spend thousands of dollars on a website then have to pay for every little thing you want changed (and can't change it yourself because of the set up of the site), then to have this "must pay for upgrade by" thrown out in the manner it was? Bad business my friends...

Morgan Carey

Nancy I certainly sympathize with you (and all REW users) - it is unexpected and I would have liked a lot more notice myself (we will be calling Google and begging for an extension) - however for now, I need to prepare for the worst.

As for resources - we will be pulling ALL available resources and implementing forced overtime paying 1.5 to 2.x labor cost for our own programmers to try to get through these. We will even be pulling support resources and our system admin if they can be trained quick enough and have them working overtime as well.

Believe me, this is NOT how I would have liked to see this happen, and there IS a significant cost to REW both in actual physical labor costs being escalated but also opportunity cost - I am going into my meeting right now, I will have answers for you / options shortly.

Morgan Carey

I have just updated the blog post after meeting with our entire team (programmers, support, sales, team leads, billing etc)

We were able to come up with several scenarios / solutions to this issue (please see blog post for updates).

I tried to include estimates where I could.

Also many people have been talking about 4.3 (launched with LEC 2013 at the end of June) and wondering if we can't offer a discount for those who have to upgrade now to 4.2 if they want to upgrade later to 4.3 - the answer is yes, we will most certainly offer a discounted rate for anyone who has already upgraded to 4.2

As for labor availability - we have 20 REW programmers all working mandatory overtime (minimum 5-10 hours per week) we have pulled R & D completely for upgrades, we have even pulled support people who have coding skills enough to be able to handle these upgrades. I have offered significant incentives to the teams to get the work done not only correctly but "quickly" (bonus for each completed) so they are motivated to get your projects done in as little time as possible.

We are doing everything we can to try to mitigate this situation and I do appreciate the frustration that each customer has with this situation.

Morgan Carey

Getting back to quesitons / comments - Jay Seville, we can switch you to bing, yes - but would likely cost at least 3 times as much as upgrading to 4.2 with version 3 maps.

thataway61

I'm in the queue. Thanks for the options.

Morgan Carey

Jason Painter: To answer your question as to how long we have known - myself personally I received an email April 5, 2013 Subject: Considering the worst case scenario for Google Maps v2:

So for me, it was 6 days (which included a weekend) from the time I received that email to the time I posted this. (4 business days)

I would have posted sooner, but obviously given the serious nature of the situation we wanted to discuss all options internally before creating a panic. There was also some confusion as to whether it was May 19th or late September which we had to clarify.

Am I happy we are getting to this so late? Obviously not - I would have rather had a LOT more time.

As for "free upgrades" - we simply can't offer that. Each project can be anywhere between 1 hour and 30 hours and there are thousands of websites. If we offered upgrades for free, we would have to charge a lot more than the $49.95 per month we charge (which inlcudes hosting, email, license of the technology, customer support, overhead and profit)

Just 1 free 30 hour project for instance with a value of $125 hour retail (total $3750) would erase all revenue generated over nearly 4 years (not just profit) - so hopefully you can see why we can't justify free labor in our model.

Can we / will we offer a deal for those that want to upgrade to 4.3 (were going to wait) but have to upgrade to 4.2 first? Absolutely. It is a topic we are discussing right now in fact.

Eddy Kicker

Morgan,

I am assuming since I am 4.2 then nothing is needed concerning this. However in the blog you have: 4.2 to 4.2 patched: Approx 1 hour

Since I just went to 45 days ago I think I have the latest maps?

Morgan Carey

John Skrabec, please see my new comments in the blog post itself regarding options - you might not need to go through another upgrade if you don't want to - you could instead have your 4.1 "patched" which would be the most cost effective for a highly customized site. And YES you can request your previous programmer, we have no problem with that.

Russell Volk

Hey Morgan,

I just had a new LEC 2012 installed a few months ago. I believe I have 4.2 backend. I see in your comments that there's a 4.2 to 4.2 patch (1 hour). Is that something that needs to be done to my website or do I already have the latest version of Google Maps?

Thanks

Morgan Carey

Phake - please see my update in the blog post regarding options - I think that will help you with your decision. Ideally though, if you are goign with a repsonsive site, you would not upgrade to 4.2, then 4.3 then responsive - I would skip the "then responsive" and do 4.3 and responsive at the same time.

Morgan Carey

Mike Trinch - I have posted alternatives for people who have highly customized sites on old backends, you certainly are NOT being forced to upgrade

See hot fix, or maps disabled:

That being said, your site is incredibly old and it does need to be upgraded (I know you said you were still happy with it) - I built it in 2008 and we have not done a ton with it since.

Websites are not supposed to last for ever - they are supposed to hold up for a few years and be totally replaced every 3-4 years (technology as another pointed out moves incredibly fast) - to expect to have to do minor updates to a site every 6 months and a "major" update to a site every 3-4 years is completely reasonable.

Yes you spent a lot on customizations (that YOU wanted) somewhere around 30 hours per year - but you did so because you were investing in your business and seeing an immediate ROI on those changes. You certainly were never forced to make those upgrades - you chose to. I don't think the fault is in REW that finally (5 years later) because a system that you have been using and benefiting from for free (google maps) has changed and requires your code to be updated.

It's not different when a new browser comes out - your site was built to work on all current browsers, now there is a new one - is it reasonable to expect your vendor to cover the costs (if any) associated with making your site work in that new browser? Of course not, it's the cost of doing business.

Don't get me wrong - I DO understand your frustration (especially with the time crunch, but we have also been encouraging you for years to upgrade your site and reminding you and others of the benefits of upgrading (so that these changes are not so expensive) - instead of following the recommended path, you chose to delay and try to stretch out the life of your own site by making tweaks - that's fine (and up until now has worked out) you mention fault / cost. So the quesiton for you (and many others is)

"Who should pay for my custom website updates if I want my site to work with new technology or if old technology is cancelled and it effects my site?"

Fault? Noones - but clearly the cost should be bourne by the website owner. We are not forcing you to update, we are just trying to be pro-active and warn you what "might" happen if you don't. It's still completely your call.


phake

I planned on doing an update to 4.3 and responsive all along. I didn't want to do an update to 4.2 inbetween.

Is there something I am missing in your post that accounts for that.

Would I just do the patch on my 4.0 backend for $500 to $1000 and then switch to a responsive 4.3 site when they are available in a few months?

I really don't want to go through the hassle or pay to to have all custom work reinstalled on a 4.2 platform, and then turn around have to do it again for the new site and 4.3 backend.

Morgan Carey

Russel Volk, you are totally fine - please see http://www.ephiladelphiarealestate.com/idx/map - note the circular gray bubbles, that is a way to tell you are on verison 3 maps.

For those of you with square / colored icons on your map search, that is when you will need to be patched. Again - this is nowhere near all REW customers - just those with older sites.

Russell Volk

Cool. Thanks Morgan.

Morgan Carey

pHake that sounds about right - order a 4.0 "patch" (instead of an upgrade) and then wait for 4.3 to come out - should work fine.

Should I get that into the system for you? Did you require a patch estimate?

Morgan Carey

Larry Jensen - your path is much easier because I don't think you have much if any customizations. You should be able to just order a 4.2 LEC 2009 (which is free to you) and then just pay the labor for your logo, content transfer etc.

Am I right in assuming your don't have many customizations?

Morgan Carey

Just received a message from Google:

"Hello,

At the moment the only information we've published is that the API will end it's 3 year deprecation period on May 19th. After this date the API will no longer be supported, receive bug fixes, and can be turned off. At the moment we haven't announce any plans to turn off the API exactly on the 19th of May, during previous deprecation cycles we've provided a few weeks of breathing room to help users finish up their migration; it's too soon for us to announce any sort of extension on that front.

Thanks,

Brian M

Google"

phake

Isn't the estimate 5 - 10 hours for the 4.0 "patch"?

If so, than I approve the 5-10 hours to get this fixed.

That leaves all my existing customizations in place and just updates the mapping, right?

Morgan Carey

The "average" is 5-10 hours yes (and yes you will keep all your customizations) - of coursre there is the potential to be below or above average depending on how many customizations there are. I will get this into the queue for you ASAP

thanks

phake

Thanks

CherryCreekPro

I emailed a request for quote this morning. I see your revised notes, however I have an LEC1 with a 2.5 backend, what are my options?

Larry Jensen

I'm still awaiting a price quote. Been waiting all day.
E-mailed it and posted on the forums, still nothing

John Skrabec

I see that you are suggesting a patch for our site. However, I am concerned about your statement:

"For those of you who could not possibly upgrade your site to 4.2 in a timely manner (because of how custom your site is) the alternative is to approve the team to "patch" your version 2 maps to version 3. However please be advised, this has never been attempted and may be quite time consuming / costly."

Can I be assured the patch will work? and NOT be time consuming or costly?

Michael Paul

Hi Morgan-

While I do love my 2.x site, I realize it is not the latest technology in many respects. I realize upgrades are needed from time to time.

Where can I find a detailed description of the 4.2 system?

I have a number of add-ons, which I assume I would need to re-purchase? (quick search, featured listings, suckerfish, saved polygon searches) Are you offering a discount on those hours?

pboren

Morgan: If I'm reading all the above correctly, it looks like my site (boulderhomeresource), which is an LEC 2009, would need the 4.0 "Patch" that requires an estimated 5-10 hours to fix? If so, I'll go ahead and approve it. If not, please let me know what I'm looking at. Thanks.

Andree Huffine

I have just ordered upgrade to premium 2 template, but I assume that will not be coompleted in time - do I need to do this now on my current website? I've got 4.0 on the current but the P2 would have 4.2 with no need to do anything wouldn't it? Please advise.....I have a lot of custom searches set up that are map searches and don't want to have those blow up....

KD Vancouver

Question: If Gmaps V2 has been a depreciated version since May 2010, meaning no new features and G using only mimimal efforts to maintian ("when deemed critial"), then why were sites built with V2 instead of V3 until Q3 2012?

Thanks, Kerri

Dylan Darling

KD Vancouver hit the nail on the head. I spent thousands on a new site not even a year ago and it was built with version 2 even though it was already on the way out and version 3 was available?

Nancy

Morgan,

I hate to ask you this with all the sites you have to deal with but what all my options cost wise with my site(2008) LEC2 the way it is. What would I loose and what could I save? I have updated my IDX and have 165 pages. How many pages could I copy over myself?

Morgan Carey

Cherry Creek Pro (Brian Kinkade) - there has never been an LEC 2007 version with 4.x so there is no option to upgrade that site (it's too old) your options are:

#1: A new template
#2: A new responsive premium template
#3: A new custom site (could not be done in time thought)
#4: Do a "hotfix" to your existing site (line by line billed hourly)
#5: Have your maps disabled
#6: Do nothing, hope it does not actually break (REALLY not recommended)

Morgan Carey

Larry, I apologize for the delay - as you can imagine our queue for estimates has also blown up today - it might be a few day before they get to all the estimate requests. Thank you for your patience.

Morgan Carey

John Skrabec, yes you can be assured a patch will work (they will stay signed on to resolve any conflicts) however I cannot assure you that it will not be time consuming or costly - I don't know your site well enough to comment or even guess how long it might take - you seem to be indicating it is quite custom.

Morgan Carey

Ian Bell, you have version 3 maps and have nothing to worry about. If you go here: http://www.firstexclusive.com/idx/map notice the grey balloons - they are circles, that is an easy way to tell.

You will also have a version number if you log out of your site and go to www.yourdomain.com/backend/ top right hand side.

You're all good!

Morgan Carey

Eddy Kicker, you are on new maps as well http://www.eddykicker.com/idx/map - no updates required.

Morgan Carey

Jeff Mikolajow, 4.3 is currently in development. Our plan is to continue development during the summit (the R & D team responsible for the 4.3 product will be attending and working throughout the summit and also taking requests for addiitons before the final build.

The final build (in beta) is due some time in June. Once we have thoroughly tested it (end of June, Early July) we will be rolling it out on new installs of 2013 LEC (throughout) July - Contemporaneously we can start providing estimates for upgrades to 4.3 (late June / Early July) and you could probably order a 4.3 upgrade in early July.

As for responsive design - that has nothing to do with 4.3 - many REW products (LEC's and premium templates as well as custom builds) are already responsive on 4.2

Hope that helps.

Morgan Carey

Mike Brown, I think we ALL echo your sentiments - There is no reason Google should be discontinuing this service with so many still operating on it.

Morgan Carey

Carlosandteam - you are correct, I DO in fact try to discourage people from doing custom work so that it IS easier and less expensive to upgrade. We want to innovate for you and bear the burden and cost of R & D (and as I'm sure you've noticed over time this has gotten much more efficient) - we can't however (and won't) stop you from customizing if you really want to (That is one of the things REW hangs our hat on) - however it will always mean, the more complex and custom your site - the more it costs if you ever want to upgrade.

Having a site that is "easy and cheap to upgrade" and "really custom" is impossible, you can't have both.

Morgan Carey

With respect to those that have commented about this kind of thing needing to be built in to our pricing (upgrades should be free) we do actually have that model available in both our IDX (through REW IDX iframes) and in our new program REWSites

However the monthly cost for REWSites is quite a bit higher and we do not allow any (zero) customizations if the customer wants to be able to receive future updates for free.

It's really just 2 different models: Pay very little now and "hope" this sort of thing doesn't happen very often and bite the bullet when it does OR pay a lot every month, but not have to pay "extra" when you want your updates for free when they are needed.

We do have both, but most of our REW customers that I have shown the other model to have no interest in switching because of the difference between $80 a month vs $500 a month and beign allowed to customize (REW model) vs no customization (REW SITES model).

Morgan Carey

Michael Paul, if you email me a request, I can send you access to a demo of 4.2

With respect to your question about having to pay for modules again, that is incorrect. Anything you have that is "fixed cost" (modules and such) on an old 2.x template will be transferred over to your new 4.2 site absolutely free. You don't have to pay for them again - just the labor time it takes to switch you.

Martin

I can't understand why the bulid of a site last year would not have had the newer version of api maps. Technology changes but this version has been around for a while. Wouldn't it be prudent of the company who I entrust to take over this for me to use more current technology? I was under the impression that I would have the latest version of features on an older lec.

Morgan Carey

Mike Trinch, it might surprise you to hear that the trend, focus and dollars has actually been away from SEO and into conversion / lead management.

You see, so many of our REW customers (yourself included) bring in big numbers (comparatively) for lead volume - however they never really looked at their conversions as a whole to see if they could be improved.

In the last few years many of our REW Summit types have started taking a closer look and realizing their systems and conversion is far more important to focus on than lead generation. Basically getting leads is easy, converting 5% of them? That's tough! We can always get more leads.

I do think you could benefit from an REW Summt, it might help you change your mind (and your focus). Don't fall prey to the trap "I'm doing well, so I must not need to change or improve" - imagine doing half as much work for just as much $ - Or twice as much work for 4 times as much $ by building teams ans systems anything is possible.

veronica

Morgan, my site was launched mid year 2010 and you guys didn't start the work on it until 2010 - I don't see a version number on my back end - how is it possible that my back end isn't a 4.0? I saw someone's post above that they were a 4.0 on the same timeline.

I don't want the backend upgrade right now and want just a fix .. My site has way too many bugs and I don't have the time to go through any conversion. and I don't use the features in the upgraded backend.

I also had some custom work that was paid for a couple months ago and have no update on when that is going to be done. How does this affect that?

Morgan Carey

Marin Crane, I can answer that for you:

Your site (LEC 2009) was built in 2009 (prior to any changes) and while you have the latest backend (latest as per when your site was installed) it did not include the versions 3 maps because we were not using them.

You see, there was nothing that indicated (untill July of 2012) that Google had any intention of cancelling their maps version two, thus we had no reason to focus our efforts there. In fact, we only started using them due to the fact that version 3 had some features we wanted that version 2 did not. So some time in the summer of 2012 the decision was made to invest some R & D into the maps product for future versions. Again even at this point, we did not know Google was going to be cancelling the service.

What folks don't often Realize is that REW's codebase is HUGE and very complex. While we do throw considerable resources at R & D, we do so in digestible chunks where we feel we need it most (and where our customers demand it)

So we might spend 6 months of R & D on email functionality, next we might focus on mobile for 6 months, then we might focus on the UI etc So something like the maps (unless there is a problem or demand) might not get touched again for several years.

Does that make sense?

Morgan Carey

Veronica, your project was entered into the system 2009-11-23 (November 2009) - REW's 4.0 backend was not released until August 12, 2011 (nearly two years later) - there is no way your site would have been built on 4.0

As for a patch, there is not even one available for your site. You need to go the "hot fix" route or disable Google maps. What we can do (which will likely be most efficient) is use the same programmer already assigned to the 60 hour project I see in our system and approve them to fix your maps. You should use them because they are already familiar (recently) with your extremely custom site, thus they will likely be able to apply fixes faster and more cost effectively. You will need to approve the time it will take to do this however.

Let me know if you would like it added to your project.

Martin

Any esponse to this - I feel the same way!

KD Vancover

Question: If Gmaps V2 has been a depreciated version since May 2010, meaning no new features and G using only mimimal efforts to maintian ("when deemed critial"), then why were sites built with V2 instead of V3 until Q3 2012?

Thanks, Kerri

Dylan Darling 2 hours ago

KD Vancouver hit the nail on the head. I spent thousands on a new site not even a year ago and it was built with version 2 even though it was already on the way out and version 3 was available?

Morgan Carey

Martin, I actually addressed it for you above (Kerri and Dylan same answer)

Just because version 3 was available didn't mean we automatically would start using it, there was no demand for version 3's features, there were no problems with version 2, upgrading mapping was a HUGE project and we had not circled back to IDX / mapping as R & D had other priorities.

There are many things that are quite old in our system that we would like to eventually upgrade (the WYSIWYG editor for instance which is much older that maps) there are newer, cooler editors out there - but because demand has been on modile, lead management etc and there are few complaints about the wysiwyg - it simply does not get any priority. Nor will it if customers keep informing us that there are other things that are more important to them.

Hope that makes sense

Morgan Carey

Sorry Veronica, info on what? Please add meaning add the upgrade to version 3 maps as "approved"? And inform Jesse M (your assigned programmer, and one of our best) - please clarify, thanks.

Martin

Your response is understood but I would believe that it would have been prudent to use the later version of this and other coding to ensure it is and stays compatible with changing technology. It's progress. You take the time to update the back-end on a regular basis why not other items. I don't whip out the old MLS book when one comes in to find a home. It would work but things change and you have to adapt.

I appreciate you taking the time to communicate with me. I feel like REW sat back a little too long and rode the gravy train and is now playing catch up with all the new functions, creativeness, and features that have been developed in the recent years. I've been patiently waiting for the 4.3 version and requested several months ago to be queued for this. I figured it had many updates I wanted to do as customizations because they had not been offered at the time of me singing up. I also had been informed that I would be able to get the responsive done too but then later was told the lec I had was not going to be included for the upgrade at a reasonable price. If I had known all this would have played out this way I would have gone with the newer lec last year. It's frustrating. I still can't figure out why basements are not pre-configured into the standard format for searching. It seems like things are methodically left out so one will have to do customizations.

Thanks for listening to us all vent and responding to these posts. I honestly don't see goog just shutting it down unless they have a security flaw.

I'm still perplexed on what option is cheapest to get me to 4.3 and will upgrades to 4.3 be delayed because of these fixes? Or take the gamble nothing happens till I'm updated to 4.3?

On another note did you get settled into the new building purchased recently? Congrats!

Scott.Hack

Sorry if this has been answered before. I'm way behind and responding with questionsable wifi.

I am on the 4.1 backed, but when I view my maps, I don't see gray icons. So I'm not sure if I have an upgraded version of maps already or not.

I know that development is working hard on 4.3

I'm curious if this might not be a good place to get several of the custom modifications built into the core product for 4.3 to help aleviate the cost assocated with upgrading again to 4.3 and to help production keep from getting buried this next 6 months.

Morgan Carey

Hello Martin, as to the venting, no problem at all! I am frustrated with this situation myself and of course (hindsight being 20 / 20) I do wish we had gotten ahead of it sooner. That being said, there would have been no cost savings to do so, we would still be talking the same labor for the same upgrades for most people (as you have seen, many people havent upgraded in many years, so even if we had upgraded our stuff sooner, they would be in the same boat).

Your comment on gravy trains though is not accurate. Every year REW has dedicated and invested more and more time and $ into support and R &D 3 years ago R & D was only 1 person plus myself and occassional design support. 2 years ago it was 2 people full time plus myself and this year we are 4 people plus myself.

Each of those R & D staff members are dedicated solely (on REW's dime) to first listening (via forums, REW summits etc) and then implementing the features / changes customers request. It just so happened that maps did not fall high on that list compared to other things and we can't do everything.

As for the cheapest path to 4.3 obviously it is do nothing until 4.3 comes out and hope for the best with a close second being spend an hour or two labor wise having us disable all your map features.

Is it worth the few hundred dollars to not have those features until late July / early August at the soonest? (it could be longer there is no guarantees with software release dates and issues do tend to come out last minute)

That's a call you have to make.

Morgan Carey

PS - yes we have occupied our 2nd commercial space, thanks for asking. In fact we just expanded the sales team and support teams (both tiers) and support is moving down there for more room (10 tier ones) next friday. R & D, Marketing / SEO, Sales and Tier 1 support are down there now.

Morgan Carey

Scott if you are 4.1 you don't have new maps (only 4.2 does).

As for your custom features comment - I am sorry, I don't follow you.

Morgan Carey

Phil Boren, no you did not read correctly. You do not have 4.x you have a much older version (probably 2.5) - what you need to do is have us install a fresh LEC 2009 on version 4.2 (there is no charge for this, including moving any fixed cost modules) - what we charge for is reimplementation of your logo, content, saved searches and any custom features you want re-implemented.

The estimate is likely similar, shall I proceed?

Scott.Hack

Thanks Morgan -- for my particular situation, is there a responsive 4.2 version of my LEC that would make sense?

Regarding custom work suggestion, was just saying if there are 1000 sites and 100 of us have the same custom work done, or something similar, maybe it makes sense to move the custom work into 4.3's core. Would think it would help production and customers.

Morgan Carey

Andree Huffine, if you just ordered a premium template we should be able to have it ready for you before the deadline, I would not worry about doing anything with your current site or spending any more $ on it.

Note - I don't see your order in the system, have you been invoiced? Paid?

Morgan Carey

Have I missed anyone? Sorry it's been a long day (20th hour posting comments) - please let me know if you still have questions or need to get into the queue.

Thanks everyone again for your patience and understanding as we work through this crazy and unfortunate situation. Again, you have my apologies for the inconvenience.

Martin

Thanks again for the response. I now understand how you tackle these projects. I thought they'd be dabbled in continuously. But thinking about all your coding I am cross eyed and see why you tackle these one at a time. I imagine that one little change can domino all other areas. Please queue me for a fix as I don't want to have site errors. I hope it stays under 5 hours I have little to no customizations. What's the hourly rate running? What am I looking at for 4.3 upgrade? I didn't realize 4.3 was so far out. Allison B have me the shorter time frame but did say it could be delayed. I hope I'm still in early queue for the 4.3. I requested to be day it was mentioned. Please take care of me! Thanks! I look forward for more cool features. Thanks a bunch!

Morgan Carey

Thanks Martin,

Your request has been sent into billing - you will be queued up on Monday, the rate is $100 per hour.

Allison B (Sales manager) is a little more optimistic than I am (sales vs R & D I guess), but I have been through a lot more of these so I prefer to err on the side of caution.

I have no doubt that she has a list of her favorite customers and those she has promised to notify about 4.3 as soon as it can be esimated and I am sure she will do so, but please realize there are many other sales people here at REW and we have resellers as well - so each of them will have a list to notify and we will all likely to it at the same time, so even if you are one of the first Allison notifies, thousands of others will have been notified at the same time, so approving your esitmate and paying your deposit quickly will ensure you get ahead of the crowd.

She will take good care of you

Morgan Carey

Scott Hack - what you are referring to is "collaborative projects" and those are of course always welcome at REW (when customers get together and share ideas and the cost of development for a project) it can be a great way to trailblaze something new without having to bare the burden of the full cost.

Such a project however would not be a part of 4.3 - the R & D queue and what goes into the products is developed / decided on well in advance and we have already shut down the feedback loop on 4.3 so we can finish all the great things we have already started before June. It is true that at the REW summit "some" small requests might make it in, but no major projects or updates.

As for the responsive version of your site - why not, it's free (other than the labor required to move your stuff) - I would take the responsive over the non responsive in a heartbeat. What is your site?

Andree Huffine

Hi Morgan - no, I haven't been invoiced yet. I've been communicating with Gerry. I called yesterday to check on it, because I didn't want to miss the deadline for the promotion. I'm sorry I can't remember the name of the person who I spoke with , but she said Gerry was out of the office and will follow up on Monday. Thanks for getting back to me - happy I don't need to worry about changing current site

Morgan Carey

No worries (on missing the promo or getting it in) - I have sent in the request to billing for you this morning, they will send an invoice for a premium template at the promo rate for you. It was just a premium site (no moving custom work) correct?

D Pease

Hi Morgan - Its been some time since we talked, kinda miss that but I could use some help on this one. You are, or at least were my sales rep and familiar with my site. But to refresh your memory I have the LEC 2 w/v2 backend, wow time flies. I read all of your post & comments and I'm considering two options.

I have watched google change their algo's over the last couple years as they have moved all those big sites like Tru, Zil, Realtor com, yahoo real estate, etc up the search results as they have moved many local agents sites down. I know... Most internet leads have found me somewhere besides my main key words/phrases but never the less it is constantly changing just like this issue so here's the two options I'm considering and could use your help.

Option 1.) In you paragraph "Older than 4.0 what can you do?" it seems I could get a fresh install of my LEC 2, I don't believe I have any customizations other than the "get local" module or whatever it’s called and what we called back in the day "secret sauce" LoL. I do NOT want the get local module anymore which will save me the Demographics Data Access hosting fee, I would still want Sitemap & Listings Site Map although narrowed down more to my area only (which could be as simple as my county), as far as my IDX I would want all available data allowed for RMLS-OR for listing results. I'm willing to do my own Content transfer & Snippet recreation as you posted above and the Lead transfer (basic). I need to save $$ every step of the way.

Option 2.) Shut down my website and get a refund on remaining hosting fees of over 6 months. You would refund on that, right?

Hopefully I’ll come out of this with a better website without too much cost! I look forward to your feedback on both options please.

Morgan Carey

Hey Dennis, I miss our chats too! (Still remember how you came and helped me out in Portland all those years ago at RMLS) always grateful for that.

You are correct, you could go with the 2 options you mentioned above (and scrap the get local) - and yes you would save "some" time and $ re-doing your pages yourself (I recommend having us move the content which is wicked fast, and you just replace the snippets (that's the labor intensive part).

As for the other option - yes of course, if you have pre-paid hosting and you cancel a site you would always be refunded the unused portion.

I sent you a third private option I'd like you to consider. Hope to see you again soon my friend

Cheers

D Pease

Hey Morgan - Yeah that was a good time and visiting you guys in Nanaimo was even more fun! OK so I'm still onboard with REW, do I need to email sales? I'll need an estimate of hours.

I will go with your recommendation to move my content (wicked fast) and I'll do the snippets and we need to do work up a logo.

Thanks again my friend!

Cheers

Andree Huffine

Thanks Morgan. yes, there is custom work to be moved too. Last email had 9.75-17.5 hrs for custom hours which was redoing my customizations plus the base upgrade..

Morgan Carey

IC Andree - I will update the order on Monday. Thanks

judyo

Morgan, you were my salesperson. In order to get a responsive site I'd have to switch my regular template to a Premium Template so what would the cost be to do that plus the logo change and switching content. I would do my own snippets. Are there multiple premium templates to choose from and where could I see them?

Morgan Carey

Mitch, honestly the simple answer to your question on how you are "off" here is you do not have any concept or understanding of the REW Framework or how complex it is and what it takes to update it. You are making the classic programmer statement "this should be easy, I could do it in a few minutes if I had access" (I'm paraphrasing) but in reality, each customer site requires the amount of time we bill for (we don't bill for time we don't use) and it really does take this long for EACH customer site. The reasons are too long and complicated to get into, but in a nutshell, it is because each customer has theor own instance or install that is "fixed" once installed - it does not pull from a common code base. And from this "fixed" install customers make tens (if not hundreds) of hours of customizations. OF COURSE it is going to take hours to go through all those changes and make sure everything is updated and still works. Check for php conflicts, check for operational / display conflicts and the older your site is, the more difficult it is because version tracking was not as evovled as it is today.

I DO agree with you that REW should bear the burden 100% of investing in the "fix" in terms of figuring it out (version 3 maps maps patches) for old sites. We are already doing this (and on our dime) - when we refer to "patches" the patches are already being worked on (on REW's dime) and when they are ready, we are only charging for the "labor required" to apply it to your site.

But to downplay how much time it takes simply shows a lack of understanding of the REW system - for our own framework (wtih no customizations) it was probably over 100 hours of coding time just to implement the new version 3 maps into the system. It's not as simple as changing a few lines of code.

Also note - anything that DOES have a common codebase, we do update at no cost. (Like other vendors do) - example rewidx.com iframes or REWSites - the difference is that those products DO share a common code base and can be updated once (does not require labor per customer) - but the downside is that in order to maintain a single code base, customers cannot order customizations.

It's never been a secret at REW that if you are customizing and something needs to be updated later on (because of a browser, or technology change) that it is the customers responsibility to bear the burden of the labor to do so. In fact our policies (which are provided to every new customer) state this very clearly - http://www.realestatewebmasters.com/csr/billable-hours.php

  1. The client is responsible for the risks involved
  2. The client pays for time, not complete solutions
  3. Our free support team does not support your custom code

There is greater elaboration at that link - but when you customize, it means later it could cost more to update. That's not something we "want" (because it clearly upsets customers) it's just the reality of the way things have to be.

I DO also agree with you about the "firedrill" - Noone wants this on such short notice. I would have way rather had more notice before I wrote this blog post, and I knew full well the kinds of reactions (justified reactions) I would get when I published it. Customers are upset (and rightly so) - it would have been nice (for both sides) to have more time to upgrade. And we are in communication with Google trying to get an extension - but as I stated above, less than a week after I first knew - you were notified. It is the best I could do - and I do apologize for not being able to give more notice.

Morgan Carey

Hello Judyo - premium templates are currently on sale (along with many other REW items) via our April promotion here: http://www.realestatewebmasters.com/blogs/morgan-carey/27385/show/

If you are "upgrading" your content transfer and basic lead transfer is free (you will need to adjust your snippets to the new system) - also you want programming time to modify your old saved searches to new ones so they continue to work.

I have been asked for live examples by a few folks:

First here are the defaults:
pt1.rewtemplates.com
pt2.rewtemplates.com
pt3.rewtemplates.com

Note I "think" only pt2 is responsive so far and that "just" came out a few weeks ago, so I don't know if anyone is live with a responsive version yet or not. I'll check on Monday.

I can't think of a pt3 live off the top of my head (I'm not really in sales much any more, so don't really sell "new" customers) - but I will look one up for you again on Monday.

As for pt1 - www.napleshomes.com would be an example

As for pt2 - www.edmontonrealestate.ca

Please note the "live" sites may or may not have customizations - so please use the default examples for "what it looks like / functions like"

Morgan Carey

One more comment on vendor responsibility - I would like to point out, I have offered to do an install for free to any customer wanting their product on a current version. If you have an old template I will install a NEW 4.2 template of the same type for "free" - If you have an old version of the LEC (as long as it has a 4.2 current version) I have offered a free install of a 4.2 version.

Any "fixed cost" products or modules you had on your old site will be on your new install "for free".

The only thing we don't do for free is move your content, leads, snippets, or provide any free labor to work out conflicts with your custom code or implement logos / graphics. Anyone who doesn't want to pay for the custom code part can just give up their customizations on their new site and start fresh.

GerryThomasen

Quick correction to the post above - "The only thing we don't do for free is move your content, leads, snippets, or...":
Transfer of LEADS actually IS free; it's included in the site-live process.

Morgan Carey

But the updating of saved searches labor is not correct? (If they have a super old 3x or 2x they need a programmer to do that right?

REW JesseB

You're right Morgan.

The saved searches coming from older versions, need a programmer to re-serialize the data for the newest released version (4.x). The system is much more efficient and robust than the older versions.

Due to this, we require a programmer to go in and "re-create" the saved searches, IDX snippets, etc.

Thanks everyone!

Jim B

I was forced to purchase a custom site due to my market area starting developement in 2011. Less than 2 years old and have racked up about $50K in charges. So, obviously there are a ton of customizations. This is really frustrating as I've been continually working out kinks and browswer compatibility issues, etc. I don't feel my site is really old:(

Can someone email me with all affordable options for the Google fix?

Morgan Carey

Hello Jim,

We certainly appreciate your frustration and I looked at your account, and you did in fact order a custom site in 2010 (almost 3 years ago) and have had a total of 286 hours of work done over that time.

Since that time new browsers have come out, and thus adjustments needed to be made, and now this. It's frustrating, we get it - and I am sorry that these things do happen every couple of years.

On the flip side - you have an amazing site that honestly (for what it is) past the original build has not actually required that much up keep. I would hope that it has performed well for you.

I will go ahead and get your request for an estimate into the queue - Thank you for your patience.


Dylan Darling

I e-mailed for a quote for the cheapest fix for me and haven't heard back. Please send me a quote as I just sent the government all my money and need to budget. Still don't understand why my site with 4.1 developed under a year ago wasn't developed with v3 of google maps. I assumed that REW used the latest version, especially when the other version was obviously on its way out at some point soon.

Nancy Comenitz

Hi Morgan,

I asked for a quote on moving my pages to a new site where I do the snippets and what it would cost to move my IDX. I just got a big bill from my accountant for my taxes and I was thinking I was getting a refund. This could not have come at the worst time. Also I am going to Florida to visit my father at the end of the week so I wanted to settle this before I left town.

I understand the money I spent on my custom color scheme will be lost. My biggest question is; do I get a choice of templates coming from a 2008 site or am I dreaming? Does my ability to have wide pages and turn of slideshows carry over but I pay for the labor to switch them. It seems to me these costs are going to add up very quickly and then I am going to have a new template where I know I am going to be unhappy with the hompage and want to change the format, but will have no money to do so. Also you said that you were retiring the 2009 design because it was so outdated but you are talking about putting us in that design. It seems like we are going from one outdated design to another. You are going to tell me that the backend will be updated. Will it be responsive?

I don't want you to think I don't appreciate all your efforts on our behalf. It is a frustrating time for all of us. You are also running a business that has to make money and that is understandable. I just wish I could choose a template where I would make the least amount of changes. I loved the 2008 template. The IDX is very important to me. I customized mine twice and I know that is going to cost a good chunk of money to recreate.

Picking up bits and pieces of your converstions with others is a little confusing because I don't know the other person's circumstances. So I am unsure if it pertains to me.

I guess I am back to where I was when I emailed billing asking what my options were financially?

Thank you Morgan

Nancy Comenitz

NewtonandBrooklineHomes.com

Tom Walker

Morgan - we're going to need to work up the costs to become compliant with the new Maps system for each of our sites - davishomes2sell.com and woodlandhomes2sell.com. Each is on a different template with slightly different backend versions. I think each has some minor cutomizations.

If you could let me know which version each site is and get me a quote to upgrade each site, we can make a quick decision on which way to go.

Thanks,

Tom Walker

satxproperty

Will this require a move to a new server with a "clean" IP address to better control spam with the Anti-Spam features in 4.2. (Specifically the email verifciation/double opt-in of leads.)

Morgan Carey

Dylan, I have pinged sales to make sure they have your request in their queue. As for understanding why - let me try to explain again.

We adopted version 3 maps for our NEW backend (the one you don't have) and launched it in October 2012 (version 4.2) at the time we made the decision to launch a new backend (many months earlier) there was no reason to think that Google would cancel version 2 maps because they had made no indication they were doing so, thus we did not have any motivation to update older versions of the backend.

Your site was installed exactly a year ago - looks like April 20th to be exact. April is 6 months prior to our launch of the new backend, which explains why you don't have it. It did NOT exist when you purchased.


Morgan Carey

Nancy, I never suggested going from 2008 to 2009 - that makes no sense. I suggested going to a "current" premium template (For those that were looking for an upgrade) - and yes "premium templates" are responsive (but they are not free).

What IS free - is a brand new install (with 4.2) of your LEC 2008 - so yes you need to forfeit custom colors, and wide hacks and anything custom if you don't want to pay for the labor to re-implement - but you will get a brand new 4.2 install of LEC 2008 if that is the path you request. You can then choose to move the content yourself (and the snippets) or you can have us do it.

As for financial obligations and tax time - I have offered to finance anyone over a few months to relieve the burden if they really need it. It sounds like you may be one of those cases, and I am happy to help on that front.

I know you love your LEC 2008 (I love that design too) but it is simply too old to support, and is no longer relevant to today's usibility standards. You can email me privately for other options if you wish.

CJ de Heer

I have a highly customized 2.x site. I'm in the process of getting out of real estate, so I don't want to spend a lot on a big upgrade. The hot fix option you offer people in my situation couldn't be that different from site to site. Can you give a ballpark range for that?

Morgan Carey

Some of the hotfix estimates have been coming in around 4-6 hours.

Sorry to hear you are leaving the biz - last I recall you had some great positioning, is that still the case? If so, do you have an exit plan for your domain? (Sorry sidetrack - perhaps you might email me?)

Dylan Darling

Morgan- I've found that Google did say that they were basically shutting down API v2 in 3 exactly years (there are other articles out there as well). That's why I'm wondering why you didn't adopt it sooner. REW is always on the cutting edge, why not switch when news like this came out. You've went through a couple of new backends since then. I know that 4.2 wasn't available when I ordered my site, but why wasn't 4.1 using v3 with articles like this out on the web. I don't see how you could have thought that Google was going to leave v2 up forever with news like this. With the money that people spend on REW sites, we expect the latest technology when we order the latest backend. Just really frustrated... and now broke...

Google Maps API June 28, 2010Tags: google mapsmapping api

"The Google Maps Javascript API Version 2 has been officially deprecated as of May 19, 2010. The V2 API will continue to work as per our deprecation policy, but we encourage you to migrate your code to version 3 of the Maps Javascript API."

"For a period of 3 years after an announcement (the “Deprecation Period”), Google will use commercially reasonable efforts to continue to operate the Deprecated Version of the Service and to respond to problems with the Deprecated Version of the Service deemed by Google in its discretion to be critical. During the Deprecation Period, no new features will be added to the Deprecated Version of the Service."

Morgan Carey

Dylan, the piece (for the most part) that uses maps is all IDX based. Yes we have had updates to our backend, but we have not launched a new IDX since 3.1 - I have explained our R & D process above and the reason we have not needed to launch a new IDX (or rather chose to upgrade other things) is because our IDX holds up incredibly well (we have had no real challenges to it) but more importantly our USERS have indicated that other things were a greater priority. So with limited R & D resources, we go where our customers ask us to go.

Yes, if I though it would be cancalled altogether (and had known about it) I would have given it more priority in the queue - but we did not and hindsight is of course 20/20 - I disagree that it was reasonable for us to see this coming - Google has traditionally left things alone for the most part, and it is only until recently that they seem to have someone new there shutting things down (example Google Reader, how long as that been deprecated for?)

Also I appreciate you rely on REW to be cutting edge, and compared to our competition we most certainly are (and will always be) - but you need to realize that we can't simply update every piece of our software constantly - it takes time, and needs to be planned and in response to customer request. I gave the example of our WYSIWYG previous as well - it would take quite a bit to rework a new one into REW, but because it is not really needed (or often requested) we choose to use REW resources for R & D elsewhere - not that it wouldn't be cool to have a new one every time a new one came out - but we do not (nor does any company) have unlimited resources - and there are literally thousands of items for us to choose to improve - we need to pick some and get them done, and in doing so, others do not get picked.

I know why you're frustrated (I do!) - and I don't envy anyone in this position, as another member aptly pointed out it kind of feels like a firedrill.

But in our defence I would like to say that we "are" ahead of this change / not behind it. 4.2 has what is needed and we have announced it and made it commercially available since October 2012 and as with every update we DO encourage (in fact strongly encourage) users to upgrade to the newest technology.

I hope this all makes sense to you Dylan, and again, I am sorry for the "firedrill" situation we are in now. We don't like it either

Morgan Carey

I just checked and wanted to confirm we did in fact post about the Google maps, and can confirm:

"Google Maps Version 3: In the latest 4.2 release, all instances of Google Maps API have been updated to use the latest Google Maps API (version 3.x). Google Map Version 3 includes a few new benefits and features such as optimized tiles for Retina devices, as well as Flash-Free (HTML5) Streetview and speed improvements and optimization for Mobile devices. Some of the improvements of this upgrade may go un-noticeable, as they are "under the hood". The most noticable are the new icons for listings and amenities, as well as better support of handling listings at the exact same location."

http://www.realestatewebmasters.com/blogs/michael/26794/show/

You can bet if the developer posting at that time had know they would cancel version 2 he would have mentioned it (and pointed out that it is almost a "must upgrade" - he simply did not know)

Morgan Carey

I have just spoken to a rep at Google maps and he has updated our case to "priority 2" which I am told is the second highest priority Google gives anything ever (and more than double what our ticket was at) - I am expecting a call regarding an extension within the hour from a senior maps advisor.

GerryThomasen

Hi Mike, I'm still getting estimates for your solution and will let you know when I have them - thanks.

Susan Gunnin

I would guess other real estate web builders are scrambling right now with this mapping change. Morgan, have you heard anything? By any chance is REW ahead of the curve on this one? Are there going to be thousands of Realtors across the country blind-sighted by this on May 19?

Cindy Knight

Hey Morgan I thought I posted yesterday but I'm not seeing it here. Anyway after reading all the above I'm totally confused so need your help.

I'd like to update MacombHomeFinder.com to the new 4.3 backend. It's an LEC 2010 and the 4.1 patch was done last year. I don't think I have a ton of upgrades but some may have been done before the patch.

Just do what you think is best.

KD Vancouver

Building against a depreciated API is known to be 'worst practice' in the developer world. In G's Terms of Service there is a caveat to the Depreciation Policy which uses the terminology "economic or technical burden." Legalese for they'll drop the API when they please. This is why developers don't build against it. In my opinion this is not really an R & D issue but rather a basic business practice. While I understand that there was no precedence set, I simply don't agree with how this was handled and I'm disappointed. Furthermore, the Geocode API end date wasn't extended until its end date of March 8, so I'm not sure how the extension misunderstanding (of Sep 8) even applies to what is now being referred to as the fire drill. The bell had already been rung, and re-rung...with end dates posted and reposted. I guess what I really want to know is how will depreciated product be handled by REW in the future?

Morgan Carey

Kerri, respectfully - we did NOT build against a deprecated API - the IDX you and many others have was built "before" the deprecation of version 2 maps. As I have clearly pointed out, it has been years since we have updated the IDX and in fact have not launched a new one (we are still using one from 2008 / 2009) - so when the technology was "built" the API was not deprectated.

How are things handled in the future?

Every time a new product (LEC's, backends, IDX's etc) are built we ask ourselves "what does this product have to support" and we go through a list.

Example LEC 2013 needs to support IE 8,9 & 10 as well as Current versions of firefox, Safari (Mobile IOS Browsers) and Chrome.

It will incorporate the "current" 4.3 version of the backend which also happens to use the "Current" version of Google maps.

Will it support Google maps version 4? Of course not, that version does not exist, nor is there any guarantee Google will ever switch from version 3.

Will it support IE 11? Again, impossible - we don't even know what it might look like, let alone how to built to anticpate it.

There is clearly some confusion here with respect when we developed our newest IDX and if you go through our records / blogs you will see it has been years since the IDX launched (here is one from 2009 http://www.realestatewebmasters.com/blogs/morgan-carey/8472/show/ with a preview)

We have NOT launched a new IDX since then - we DID finally "tweak" our backend and IDX in October 2012 - but before then, we had not circled back to touch (or even consider) the code in question because there was no need.

I know you don't like it (and I'm not asking you to) it's inconvenient and it costs you unexpected $ -

I don't like it either (and I have been trying to avoid pointing out the serious financial negative impacts to REW) not to mention the obvious negative PR problem it has created for us.

But at the end of the day, we are doing everything we can in order to make the labor available to get it done (everyone is working mandatory overtime here, and many people double overtime and we are in constant contact with Google trying to get an extension.

We're trying our best, and we are sorry you are frustrated.

GerryThomasen

Quick note, a lot of people have sent requests to sales@realestatewebmasters and I have been responding as quickly as possible, in the order that they are received. Please do not send further emails, as it only adds to the confusion and slows the process. I WILL reply to your email. Thanks!

Jacob Waschke

Wondering what we can do for our site www.nwhomes.net it is one of the VERY old sites. Would our site require a hack? What would be more cost effective - a framework upgrade or a software hack? I have been told our site is very custom - this sounds like it is going to be a painful upgrade..

Morgan Carey

To be honest Jaboc, I would completely throw out that old website. Not only is it "very custom", it isn't REW that customized and the customizations are not very good at all. It's also "very old" - not just in framework / technology but also in design style.

What I would do? Upgrade to a new template or better yet an LEC / premium template and seriously re-evaluate how that site is set up (it doesn't even use property snippets for example) - I could probably quadruple leads from that site in a day.

What is most cost effective? Likely a hotfix - but it's not the route I would go (hotfix is likely 10 hours for that site)

Jacob Waschke

Thank You for your response. I will bring this info to Lori and see what she wants to do. I do agree that when you look at that site you are thrown back to 2003/5.

OCTeam

I may have the contrarian view point here....
I just had the fix done on two custom sites with 4.1 backends to move to the new maps. Pretty painless and the new map works great. Yes, it cost some money, but I want my sites to work with no flaws and be the best out there. So, bottom line for me, the money is well spent and the REW programmer did a fabulous job in testing to assure it works as it should. Should I, would I, could I or who should pay was never an issue since my REW site has generated a bunch of business for me. I can complain about a lot of things, but if something make me money.... well, I just keep quiet. REW has been a partner in my business for years.

Morgan Carey

Thank you Drew, I am glad to hear your upgrade went well. Did you do a patch, or an update?

2paula

Being that you did know the old maps were on the way out over 2 years ago, it seems unfair that you’re dropping this on us now (I know you just got the email but I also know that you understand what a depreciating map system is).

It’s not right to be charging clients for these necessary upgrades. I understand that it’s the cost of doing business, but that’s your cost—not ours. You are essentially asking established clients to pay their way along, while new clients won’t have to be bothered with this. I understand that paying this for your client base will cut into potential profits; however it’s the right thing to do. You will make your profits up with a happy client base and new clients who sign up.

What you’re currently doing will simply alienate potential clients and I’m positive you’ll lose some current clients. Necessary upgrades that are a requirement of changing technology SHOULD be included to all clients at no charge, and I personally know other web providers who DO offer this to their clients. As an agent, if I am to move to a new brokerage, should I send out a bill to all of my listings asking for money for sign replacements? I mean, the sign in on their lawn…

There was no “demand” for version 3 because none of us really knew of it, this was your job to understand that while we are not “requesting” it…in a depreciating status (and with google’s urge to stop using V2) we most certainly would “need” it. It would be helpful to have the list of other upgrades you mentioned that could pose a monetary cost to us clients. I have no intention of doing/paying anything right now, I suppose I just need to know if it will only be the mapping element on my site that will be “out of order” or is there anything else I should be aware of?

GerryThomasen

Mike, we've been trying to get some solid testing of the hot fix on sites as old as yours, but it's been a challenge. They have finally got 1-2 done on slightly more updated sites, and I'll email you now with the estimates.

Morgan Carey

Paula,

I think you might need to re-read the commetns above - we did NOT know the maps were "on the way out" - "Deprecated" simply meant (to us and many others) 'no longer supported". There was no reason we should have "seen this coming".

As for "charging clients for upgrades" - this has always been REW policy, but they are always optional - and in fact this upgrade (although highly recommended) is completely optional as well. Noone is forcing you to do anything - we will provide the same software at the same price as we always have to you - however if you "choose" to run a very old version of software, you need to realize it might not function with "new' browsers, api's etc - we don't (nor should we be expected to) guarantee our software will work and be current forever - what we do guarantee is that we will continue to innovate and make "new" software available to you so that you can keep up with the fast paced world of CRM / technology.

As for existing customers vs new customers - you are 100% wrong. I have offered a "free" solution to all customers - if you read above, I offered to install a "current" (4.2) version of your product (template, premium template, LEC) at absolutely no charge.

What is "not" free - is labor. If you want us to move your content, move your leads, move your saved searches etc - we certainly cannot be expected to do that for free (nor do we do it for free for new customers coming from other platforms) - The reason this cannot be free is because the labor required can vary wildly (it can be 2 hours it can be 200) and again, it's not reasonable to expect us to cover this labor.

So would you like a "Free" template installed with 4.2 on it? That's not a problem at all, we are happy to do it for you. I'm not trying to alienate you or any other customer, nor am I forcing you to do anything.

One other thing - regarding "other vendors would do this" - You cannot compare REW to "other vendors" if those other vendors do not offer significant customizations - it's apples and oranges. In fact there are NO other vendors that do what REW does in terms of the level of customizations offered / allowed

In order to get what REW does done you need to hire your own designer, your own programmer, etc and I can guarantee you that no custom site designer or would upgrade your site for "Free" for you several years later if something stopped working - the simple fact is, when you have "custom work" it needs to be maintained, and the cost of that maintanence is 100% (as it should) the responsibility of the client.

I'm sorry, I simply (and strongly) diagree with your position. Upgrades and labor should not be free at REW. As I said, we DO have a model for that (rewidx and rewsites.com) - upgrades to those platforms will always be free because they are a single code base and don't allow customizations (like the people you are referencing) - so in that respect REW does offer exactly what other vendros offer.

GerryThomasen

Paula, worst case scenario is that all IDX pages (including CMS pages with IDX snippets on them) will get a popup about the page having the wrong Google Maps API. User can click "okay" to close the popup and then the maps (if any are showing) will show incorrect info.

Re: other website vendors paying for these kinds of upgrades:
That's because they're able to update a centralized body of code that all of their clients' sites are connected to. However, our sites are not deployed in that way -- if they were, our clients would not be able to customize their IDX's in the way that our clients can. I hope everyone remembers that we have never had to "force" an upgrade in the past (aside from times where certain MLS boards required changes to clients' sites).

I should stay out of the conversation, though, as I am trying to get everyone's estimates to them, and their upgrade projects ordered.

For your part, Paula - I see you got an estimate in December for upgrading your site (last updated in July 2010) - that estimate should still apply, in case you do want to approve it at any point.

REW Kyle

I want to note that in the upgrade process, transfer of lead data as well as the blog data (if applicable) is handled by Support and is done free of charge. Snippets, Pages and if the site is prior to 3.1, Saved Searches are what require production programmer time to migrate.

I'd like to mention that here is Google's "Legacy Deprecation Policy"

https://developers.google.com/terms/deprecation

"While this policy is applicable to the Services, Google will use commercially reasonable efforts to continue to operate the Deprecated Version of the Services and to respond to problems with the Deprecated Version of the Services deemed by Google in its discretion to be critical."

It does mention possible shutdown of the deprecated services here:

Google reserves the right in its discretion to cease providing all or any part of the Deprecated Version of the Services immediately without any notice if:

  • providing the Deprecated Version of the Services could create a substantial economic burden as determined by Google in its reasonable good faith judgment; or
  • providing the Deprecated Version of the Services could create a security risk or material technical burden as determined by Google in its reasonable good faith judgment.

Given how prevalent and ubiquitous Google Maps v2 is, it doesn't seem unreasonable to me to think that they would continue to operating the service indefinitely.

Morgan Carey

Hello OC - myself personally I would NOT wait until 4.3 - the reasons being:

#1: Maps are slated to go down (potentially) May and Google has said nothing about an extension yet.

#2: We have no idea when 4.3 will be launched. My goal is late June for production release on LEC 2013 and July to start giving estimates - but to be honest, it's software, and it will realy depend on how many feature requests we try to sneak in after we complete the summit this week.

Are you here in San Diego for the Summit?

Jacob Waschke

Hi again Morgan, Lori was wanting me ask you a few things:
1) Lori doesn't think transferring all the data on the site is going to be realistic (even with a new model). What's your take on that?

2) She would like to get your read on the cost & best way to go about this.


We've spoke to sales and they are talking about a 30+ hour estimate for our exsiting site.

Morgan Carey

Yes we have an extension to Early November! - I am writing a blog post on it to update everyone. Those of you with projects that have not yet started will get an email with some options.

There is also a sticky thread in the Real Estate Webmasters Facebook chat group that is discussion options.

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