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Bright MLS, and a new Era of MLS

Bright MLS launched their new website

bright-mls-website

Greg’s right, it’s audacious. I like it. There’s no sense batting for a single when a home run is possible.

There’s one section I question in their Our Story section:

We want to empower everyone to get more out of the MLS.

We want brokers to access better business and recruiting insights.

We want agents and appraisers to have first access to more data. And we want to give them better tools for doing so.

We want consumers to have access to information necessary to make informed decisions.

We believe working toward these goals gives us a real estate marketplace that is both more efficient and more successful.

That’s the power of all of us working together.

We’re ready to make it happen.

Everything about an MLS is to serve its members, and I’m not sure where the consumer fits in with their goal of serving its members. What am I missing? Perhaps I just don’t understand the strategy of how that sentence fits in with the rest of the vision.

That said, I’m stoked to see how this plays out — because I do believe there is a need for a new era of MLS.

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog / Geek Estate Labs. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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  • I think it is great that bright talks about serving consumers. My MLS does not, and some decisions are not consumer friendly because of this. The MLS can be Realtor and consumer friendly at the same time.

    The consolidation sounds good. We have a different MLS for the other islands. I would love to see our entire state under one MLS.

    • “The MLS can be Realtor and consumer friendly at the same time.”
      How exactly? Those two bodies of people want very, very different things.

      Playing devils’ advocate — WHY should an MLS be consumer friendly?

      • Freedom of information, which the MLS controls, benefits both consumers and Realtors. When a consumer has a better understanding of the market, everyone wins, IMO.

        Another example would be larger photos or more room for text descriptions. Again, I think these types of improvements benefit both agents and consumers.

        The MLS should be consumer friendly because that helps Realtors reputation. According to what I read our reputation over all is not that positive. If we start hiding data from consumers and doing things only with our interest in mind that is going to make the situation worse.

        • I’m not saying either stances are right/wrong… but consider the following:

          1. (Much of) the industry doesn’t want some of those things to happen for consumers. More information in consumers hands, means (to many) less reason to interact with them, the agent/broker.

          2. “The MLS should be consumer friendly because that helps Realtors reputation.”
          Many individuals could not care less what “Realtors reputation” is… they just want to earn enough money to put food on the table, and pay their bills.

  • I imagine the consumer angle has to do with broad, standardized data across geographies. Consumers looking in two different cities have access in one location to that data. They can make more accurate comparisons on one platform with apples-to-apples fields and stats.

    That’s not to say that the MLS should necessarily deliver the data directly to the consumer–it provides the platform that allows brokers and agents to deliver better informational tools to consumers.

    • “provides the platform that allows brokers and agents to deliver better informational tools to consumers”

      So you think this is going to become a platform for vendors to utilize?

      • IDX data and aggregator data will improve if the MLS’s ability to deliver deeper data improves–so yes, that’s my hope.

  • Sounds good in theory, but have they thought about where this ends up? Imagine in 10 years there is a centralized MLS for the US. Who will own it? You can say the Realtors or the brokers, but when a multinational offers $1B for the data, someone’s going to want to sell it (NAR & Realtor.com?). Alternatively, a Senator will decide it is a “public good” and want to nationalize it. Follow the money.

    Big data is the “next big thing”, and MLS consolidation is big data. Before Realtors are sold on the benefits, they should know the risks and safeguards. Once the process starts, there is no going back.

    • Follow the money (aka incentives)… yup, agreed.

      How do you safeguard something like this against the scenarios you mentioned?

      • Not sure, but at least part of the answer is that Realtors need to hear both sides of the story. Bright is selling the advantages only. And they might be right. But like the old adage goes, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

    • Regionalization does not necessitate national centralization. I think leadership in the industry is keenly aware of the downside potential of a single MLS monopoly. Consolidation is already rolling downhill and picking up steam, though, and keeping concerns like Mark’s top-of-mind is important.

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