MLS Isn’t Just a Conduit

Jan 25, 2017 Michael Wurzer

My post from yesterday is generating a bit of discussion on Facebook, which prompted me to think about another aspect of Rob Hahn’s post that disturbed me, specifically:

product mix, governance, business models… all of these things need to be thought about if the MLS is no longer the destination but the conduit of advertisements.

What troubles me about this line of thinking is that I believe it’s exactly the same propaganda Zillow Group,, and even brokers want everyone to believe. Hey, the MLS is just the conduit for the broker’s listings, and doesn’t provide any distinct value, so why should we pay the MLS more than a nominal fee? As I said on Facebook, what a bunch of BS!

Want proof? Simply ask ZG or any other portal whether they’d rather have an opt-in or opt-out syndication feed from the MLS. The cost of going broker to broker to get them to opt-in is a great measure of the value created by MLS cooperation, which no other entity has yet replicated.

The challenge facing the industry now is that portals and brokers have beaten down some MLSs into starting to believe this propaganda. Sure, the broker owns the listing but, again, a single broker’s listings are not nearly as valuable as the aggregate, which is valuable beyond and distinct from any individual broker’s listings. Put simply, this is why the MLS is the goose that laid the golden egg, so go ahead, keep hammering away folks, until you kill it.