The NAR will be considering (or should I say adopting, as there’s really no question it will be approved) a change to MLS Policy next week as follows:
A Multiple Listing Service must, upon request, promptly provide an MLS Participant (or the Participant’s designee) a data feed containing, at minimum, all active MLS listing content input into the MLS by or on behalf of the Participant and all of the Participant’s off-market listing content available in the MLS system. The delivery charges for the Participant’s listing content shall be reasonably related to the actual costs incurred by the MLS. The data feed must be in compliance with the RESO Standards as provided for in MLS Policy Statement 7.90.
Note: MLSs will not limit the use of the Participant’s listing content by the Participant or the Participant’s designee.
As I mentioned, there will be little (if any) resistance to this new policy, primarily because most MLSs already provide the broker’s data back to them if they want, using either RETS or RESO’s Web API. In fact, using the Spark Datamart, FBS’s MLS customers have been able to provide a broker or agent’s own data at no additional cost for a few years now.
What I wanted to write about, however, is that this policy is leaving one of the more challenging issues left unresolved. Specifically, though most or at least many MLSs already provide the “Participant” with access to their own data, the reality is that very often it isn’t the Participant directly who needs access to the data, rather it’s a corporate parent, franchise, or other entity above the Participant from an organizational perspective.
I know from working with one of my fellow RESO Board members, Dan Troup of RE/MAX, they’re having to build and maintain elaborate systems to enable each of the Participant’s to request the data from their MLS and then get the feed/credentials and aggregate it up to the franchise. This is an elaborate process that every franchise, large independent, or even corporate owned brokerage needs to repeat, and so it feels like a problem that could be addresed through better policies and tools at the MLS level. Of course, many of us remember the painful politics around the “Franchise IDX” debate, and this is a close cousin, but I think that it will remain a sore spot for many “brokers” even after the new policy is adopted.
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