I’m writing this brief post here, as the Facebook group I got this from isn’t exactly the widest-read one out there. But the issue posed is both interesting and important.
Basically, the question is whether or not the most important function of the MLS in the minds of brokers is to simplify the sending of listing information to portals. This is new to me, so I thought I’d post this to ask my brokerage audience.
Some background follows after the jump.
Background and the Question
On a Facebook group about “Listing Syndication”, I ran across a post by Kathy Howe, a broker/owner in the Phoenix area, who was unhappy that one of her listings on Realtor.com was displaying only one photo. Apparently, the email from Realtor.com’s support suggested that Kathy login to the Control Panel and upload the photos directly. In the discussion that followed, she posted that if brokerages were forced to login to the portals and upload listings and photos directly, what did they need the MLS for.
That idea jolted me. The implication is that brokers do not need the MLS if they get the ability to send data directly to the various portals.
So I asked the brokers in the group whether they really felt that way about the MLS. The discussion is ongoing, but two answers in particular are interesting. One was that since Zillow and Trulia were the most important place to advertise one’s listings, the MLS shouldn’t get in between. “It has its place” was the phrase that struck me. The other was that brokerages are looking for an efficient way to deliver listings to portals, and not have to put the same info in multiple times to multiple MLS’s.
And then a followup, when I asked for clarification, one of the brokers answered that since the dominant topic at boards across the country is delivery of data to the portals. Ergo, the primary role of today’s MLS was to simplify sending listings to the portals.
Since then, a number of others have suggested (including Jay Thompson, of Zillow) that cooperation & compensation is the most important function of the MLS.
So… what do you think? I’d love to get your opinion on this.
Because if the primary role of today’s MLS is to deliver accurate data to the portals, then the MLS = Listhub.
Even for those who think that the MLS’s primary value remains cooperation & compensation, I’d like to know where on the list of “important functions” you would put “deliver data to the portals”. Is it #2 on the list of important roles? Is it #15? What functions and roles of the MLS do you put ahead of “deliver data to the portals”, if any?
[EDITED to remove comments that belong to a private, closed group. I thought the setting were that comments are visible from public. That is untrue. Accordingly, I’ve removed comments. My apologies to those members.]