For example, when my MLS made a decision to give Zillow our listings, they did not do a poll to see if their members wanted this service, they just did it. My guess is those that make money from Zillow leads would want it, those that do not would not. I believe that more members do not make money from Zillow vs. those that do, so taking a poll might show a clear majority of members do not want Zillow to have our listings.
Those that argue it does not matter what the member’s think might use as an example a company such as Apple. They say that Apple just innovates, they don’t ask their customers what they want, they feel they know what they want, and the market has proved them right.
My counter argument on this is Apple is a lot more innovative than an MLS. Also, an MLS is a monopoly, Apple is not. When Apple comes out with a product which is not popular, the market lets them know. In the case of the MLS, if you do not like what they are offering, it does not matter, there are no other options. There is no Android MLS, no Microsoft MLS to turn to, so you continue to use the MLS no matter how you feel.
Another example is the MLS promoting their own public facing website. In this case, I would guess that members that make money from their own website, or brokers that spend millions per year on their own website, would prefer to get as much traffic as possible. So they would say they would rather get those leads than having them go directly to the public website of the MLS.
Those that have no website and no website offering from their broker probably like the idea of the MLS providing a place for their clients to view listings.
Some buyer’s agents might not like it because the MLS gives the listing agent contact information for every listing, so it is a great place for buyers to go to eliminate the buyer’s agent in a transaction.
The bottom line is I believe the MLS should care about what their members think. If you read the mission statement from the MLS or your Board of Realtors, their mission is to best serve their members. The best way to serve members and understand what they want is to ask them.