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MLS 5.0 – ‘Distribution Trumps Destination’

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MLS Matters by Saul Klein

RISMEDIA, December 23, 2009—No one goes to just one website; most people go to many and most people have their favorite. If you go to HitWise.com and search for the top 20 real estate websites, you will find that the nature of real estate search on the Web is extremely fragmented, and that the number one, most-visited real estate website garners barely 8% of the total traffic.

It is, therefore, in the best interest of the homeowner to have their listing appear on the Internet on multiple websites—from Google, to Yahoo!, to Trulia, to Craigslist, to Realtor.com and more. It is a lot of work for agents to enter the data multiple times. This process should be no more difficult than entering the data once and having it distributed to the media outlets of choice as determined by brokers. This is why the MLS of the future will include a syndication engine with comprehensive reporting features to enhance Web advertising initiatives by brokers and agents.

The traditional MLS was not created to market to the world outside of its subscribers and participants. The MLS of the future will bring a marketing service and benefit to the industry by being the single point of entry for listing data and then, based upon the election of the broker, distribute that information to Web portals, newspapers, even radio and television, handheld devices and applications.

No single Web destination is adequate; distribution of listing data is essential for maximum exposure as the Web continues to evolve. MLS will go from being a tool for the sharing of inventory to being the primary marketing control point for brokers and agents, and providing marketing analytics back to listing agents that will help with advertising decisions as more advertising dollars continue to be spent online in the future. Online advertising can be targeted and more effective than older forms of media. As brokers begin to spend more money online, how will they decide where to spend their dollars for greatest effect? Tracking and analytical tools coupled with predictive marketing technologies.

Advertising clout and reduction in advertising costs will be realized by the broker and the agent of the future, through their MLS.

Syndication will become one of the MLS’ key value-added benefits, delivering leads directly to its members. With advanced listing syndication software, all leads can and should be directed to the listing agent—and at no additional cost. Listings are marketing assets and the leads created from the work expended to acquire the listing should go directly to the brokers and listing agents. A benefit might be that the MLS of the future will have new leverage and tools to protect members and apply pressure on predatory lead generation and resale practices.

Tell us what you think or request the full article series to date at: thefutureofmls@point2.com.

Saul Klein is CEO of InternetCrusade and Point2 Technologies Inc. For more information, visit www.point2agent.com.

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