If you listen to some, you’ll hear phrases like “the battle is over and the real estate industry lost.” Or, “It is too late to turn back. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle; you can’t put the horse back in the barn. It is what consumers want. The consumer always wins.” All of this is, of course, text from stakeholders who have an interest in these quotes being true. The problem is, the industry is walking like lambs to the slaughter. As you listen to all of the experts opine on this subject, keep in mind that different stakeholders have different objectives. Also keep in mind the words, popularized by Jesse Jackson, “Text without context is pretext.”
So why public MLS portals? The answer: direct monetization of listing data—by the MLS. Everyone knows the data has value, but few entities seem ready to pay you for it. Prove the data has value yourself (or not) with a public-facing MLS website. If your association already has a public-facing MLS website and is not happy with the results, or if you think your association can’t afford a competitive public portal for listings display with all leads generated sent to the listing broker in charge, Point2 has a program tailor-made for you. With all of the controversy over listing data, third-party websites, lead sales to brokers and revenue possibilities for derivative works, Point2 decided the industry may embrace a public portal solution that will not require the use of member dues or fees to fund.
Point2 recently announced the release of its Public-Facing MLS Portal Initiative. The subject of public-facing MLS websites is currently at the forefront of industry conversations as a result of recent actions by the MLS Committee, Executive Committee, and NAR Board of Directors (http://bit.ly/17PIVhG). The future of associations and MLSs may be unclear, but there is no doubt that data will play an ever-increasing role in that future. It is time for MLSs to use the strength they have today to ensure their position in the future. Data is one of the MLSs primary strengths.