Inman Connect Summary: I call BS on anyone who says the current MLS model is broke

Jan 15, 2010 Michael Wurzer

I’m at LaGuardia airport ready to head home after the Inman Connect conference in New York this week.  The conference was great and I applaud Madelyn, Brian, Brad and everyone associated with Inman for putting on another great event.  My biggest take-away from the event is that I’m sick and tired of hearing people say the MLS model is broken.  Last time I checked, we live in the United States of America where competition proves value.  On that fact alone, MLSs are proving their value every day.

For anyone out there who says the MLS model is broken because there are too many MLSs, the answer is straight-forward.  Start your own MLS, write your own MLS software, and put down all those stupid MLSs that supposedly just protect their turf and provide lousy support.  As I listened to Joel Singer from CAR talk about calREDD this morning, I thought I was being thrust into the novel 1984 and that black was now white and white was black.  According to Joel, the MLSs and MLS systems today are antiquated, redundant, and his calREDD system is the solution.  Really?  The market is speaking pretty loudly to refute that claim.

In addition to Mr. Singer, Brad Inman and others repeatedly said that it was ridiculous that there are so many MLSs.  BS.  The MLSs are the ones competing and proving value.  There is nothing to stop anyone at any time from starting a competitive MLS anywhere.  You have a better idea how MLSs should work?  Prove it in the market.  You’ve got better technology and think everyone else’s is lousy?  Prove it in the market.  Until then, I call BS.

I also counter ahead of time comments or responses about how the existing MLSs are barriers to entry and that there really isn’t any competition.  That claim is BS, too.  The fundamental value proposition of any MLS is that they’ve gotten brokers to agree to cooperate with each other in terms of offers of compensation and sharing their listings with each other.  To compete with that, you need to organize the brokers and get them to work with you.  If you can’t do that, too bad, you’re a failed competitor or a cry baby, nothing more.

I’ll put our MLS software up against any system any time.  If you think you’re more innovative, bring it.  I’ll also put the community building power of the 110 MLSs we work with up against calREDD, RPR, Zillow, Google or any other MLS wannabes any time.  Think you can build a better community and attract more brokers?  Bring it.  Until then, I call BS.