It happened — Metrolist and Santa Barbara booted Diverse Solutions (now owned by Zillow) from their list of approved IDX vendors. The Metrolist decision was reported by Geek Wire, while Inman picked up on the fact (premium content) that Santa Barbara had also pulled the plug. Eric Stegemann has a good read as well.

Personally, I don’t buy any of the reasons given by Metrolist. As marketing Director Melissa Olson says, “At some point, we have to start taking a look at our current offering and how many vendors really make sense in our marketplace.” Politically correct? Yup. But the truth? I doubt it. They cut ties because Zillow now owns Diverse Solutions, and are worried about the data usage behind the scenes.

At least Laurel Abbott at Santa Barbara was honest about their decision:

The (Diverse Solutions IDX) product is actually a fine product, it’s just that they sold to Zillow…Zillow is not a friend to organized real estate, so we’ve voted not to support (the company). There were concerns of misuse of our data. (The Zillow website) is grossly inaccurate. (The site overinflates) what our (for-sale) numbers are (and) includes information from properties that have sold months ago. It’s not an accurate site

MLS’s around the country are obviously fearful that Zillow will somehow use IDX data to their advantage to make the MLS even more obsolete to their members.

I’ve heard rumblings for a few months that some MLS’s were considering this move (I’ve heard Sacramento may be considering making this move as well), but I didn’t think any would actually go through with it. I’ll admit — I was certainly proven wrong in this case.

To current clients of Diverse Solutions in Colorado and Santa Barbara – this is going to be a huge pain in the a** to have to switch vendors within the allotted time (a month or two I believe). In some cases, those agents could have spent dozens of hours customizing links, pages, email alerts, etc — and an MLS committee decides to wipe all their work out overnight just because they don’t like Zillow as a company? That seems heavy handed to me.

To me, these decisions take me back to the questions “What is the core competency of an MLS?” and “What is the value add they bring to their members?”

If it’s data? If it’s deciding what the best IDX vendors are for their members?

Then they are going to obsolete within a few years.

What do you think? Is this trend going to continue in 2012, or will MLS’ come to their senses?