The first question I posed during our panel discussion on public facing MLS sites is a variant on the classic “level the playing field” issue and whether public facing MLS sites benefit big brokers, small brokers, both or neither. Victor Lund starts off the discussion suggesting that public facing MLS sites would benefit big brokers more, because, having more of the listings, they would get more of the leads or traffic. Duane Sauke, the broker on the panel, said that, if it is true that big brokers would benefit more, then they’ll still not want an MLS web site because they’ll want to own the space entirely.
Brian Larson then follows that up with his mantra throughout the panel discussion, which can be paraphrased as “show me the data.” Lastly, Brian suggests that MLS web sites have the possibility of dampening competition by “treating everyone equal” and puts forward Zip Realty as a new web competitor that has succeeded but may not have if it was competing against a public facing MLS site. Combining Brian’s observations, I wonder what the data shows about Zip Realty in Houston?
What do you think? Do public facing MLS sites benefit big or small brokers more? Or neither? Or both proportionally? Following Alex Chang’s suggestion that the answer depends on how the site is constructed, how does IDX fall into the mix?
P.S. Isn’t the ablity to deep link into a Viddler video awesome?