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More on MLS Networks

I wanted to continue the discussion/dialogue about MLS networks…

First, this weekend I listened to the Listing Bits Podcast episode with Michael Wurzer which touches on the staying power of the MLS. Greg Robertson and Michael both have years of MLS technology, and discuss the future of the industry (among other things).

Second, Michael wrote a response to my last MLS post titled Creating MLS Networks.

I definitely agree with Drew that cooperation exists independent of any particular technology, but Drew goes on to presume that the trust created by the MLS would continue even without the MLS. The problem with this analysis is that the MLS works with brokers and agents to create the terms of use, if you will, that outline exactly what it means to cooperate. Without the MLS, therefore, the cooperation necessarily goes away and the question then looms, who establishes the rules on which the brokers will cooperate? Zillow terms of use? Not likely. No, without the MLS, there literally is no cooperation among competing brokers. And, as Sam says, that’s the end game.

I believe that an agreed upon terms of use — and enforcement of those terms — is absolutely necessary to facilitating cooperation (among any group of people, not just agents/brokers). On the enforcement front, the primary incentive to not break the rules is the threat to revoke an agent/broker’s access to data. The MLS is no longer the only entity that has all the listing data. To me, the core question is what is the difference between MLS’ and real estate associations (who control licensing)? Why is the MLS needed to write a set of terms of use related to compensation — and enforce them? Could the associations not handle that?

PS: I’m liking this “RE.net flashback” discussing a topic back and forth with blog posts (rather than tweets). It’s hard discuss anything meaningful in 140 character bursts.

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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