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Bob Bemis

Zillow has been taking it on the chin in recent days from a few real estate agents and Multiple Listing Services. First, San Diego real estate veteran Jim Abbott released a scathing video explaining why he was removing listings from sites such as Zillow and Trulia. Then, the largest Multiple Listing Service in Colorado announced plans to cut ties with Diverse Solutions, an IDX provider that Zillow acquired last year.

It is in that high-temperature environment that Bob Bemis has joined Zillow in the new position of vice president of partner relations. Given the recent turmoil, Bemis will have a lot on his plate from day one.

In the newly-created role (one Zillow says was well in the works before some of the high-profile news events), Bemis will be responsible for forging new partner relationships with real estate brokers, agents and multiple listings services and making sure existing relationships blossom.

Historically, the real estate industry has had a love-hate relationship with Zillow. And the company’s growing power, topping 30 million unique visitors last month, rubs some the wrong way.

As we’ve noted in the past, Zillow does not compete directly with real estate agents, instead cultivating them as potential advertisers on the site and its mobile applications.

Bemis appears to be well served for the new role. With more than two decades of real estate experience, he’s the former chief executive officer of Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service. He joined ARMLS as CEO in October 2007, and was named one of the 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders by Inman News in 2011.

“I am looking forward to the challenge of building bridges to Zillow’s current and potential partners in the industry, including MLSs, Associations of REALTORS, brokers, agents, appraisers, title companies, mortgage lenders and other service providers. I intend to foster a spirit of cooperation that has sometimes been missing in the dialog between licensed practitioners, their support organizations and the rest of the industry,” said Bemis in a blog post.  “This is a very exciting opportunity to make a major contribution to the continuing success of an industry that I have been a part of for nearly 25 years.”

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