California Association of REALTORS Statewide MLS Business Plan Confirms flexmls Web Has “Most Desirable” MLS System Features

Jun 4, 2007 Michael Wurzer

Dustin from Rain City Guide posted recently about being asked to speak before the California Association of REALTORS® (CAR) committee on MLS/Computer and Business Technology, and in doing research for his speech, Dustin reviewed CAR’s business plan for creating a statewide data repository or statewide MLS. As I reviewed the business plan myself, I was very excited to see that the menu of functions for our flexmlsâ„¢ Web system was the source for the vast majority of the functions listed in the business plan as “all features available on the most desirable MLS service.” This is quite a compliment.

One place where the description deviates from our system, however, is in the photo storage area. The business plan is estimating six photos per listing. (It’s unclear whether that is a limit or just an estimated average, though we’ve found such limits common in larger MLS systems.) In the flexmlsâ„¢ Web system, however, photos are unlimited, as they should be given that photos are critical to effective marketing of homes for sale.

This is another example of where I think mega-regional MLS systems are missing the mark. Even if such monolithic systems are best of breed in the beginning, they will not change nearly as fast as competitive markets will. Accordingly, if mega-regional systems do evolve into dominant forces, they undoubtedly will have photo and other limits, and the result will be a variety of companies sprouting up to allow agents to supplement their marketing efforts. As a result, eventually, you’ll see the data and other media for the properties disbursed far and wide of the repository, and we’ll be right back to where we are now. For this reason, the CAR is right to focus their business plan first and foremost on developing listing data standards to provide a platform for innovation and competition. All the goals of minimizing data distribution and other headaches can be solved without cramming everyone into a single MLS system, limiting innovation and competition.