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By Saul Klein

Editor’s Note: The following information is compiled from a White Paper recently released by the author. The White Paper is titled, “MLS 5.0: The MLS of the Future” and can be accessed by clicking here.

RISMEDIA, Aug. 12, 2008-Time is of the essence. The real estate industry has the opportunity to “take back its future.” In order to do so, it must begin the process of socializing and implementing MLS 5.0.

While many in the real estate industry have heard of Web 2.0, with all the press it has received, few understand or can define it. Understanding Web 2.0 and what it entails is essential to the understanding of MLS 5.0, as MLS 5.0 incorporates Web 2.0 concepts, principles, core characteristics, technology building blocks, applications and uses.

To understand MLS 5.0, consider the evolution of the MLS:

• First Generation: Listing sheets and ringed binders with weekly updates and errata
• Second Generation: The bound MLS book
• Third Generation: Computer access to MLS data through “dumb terminals” over telephone lines
• Fourth Generation: Web-based MLS (no more banks of phone lines and busy signals)
• Fifth Generation: MLS 5.0

MLS 5.0 is parcel based and not listing based. It includes all parcels of real property in the region/state/U.S.-not just the inventory of properties available for sale at any given point in time. It leverages property information to bring consumers and real estate professionals together on the Web to participate in an ongoing conversation with real estate at its center.

MLS 5.0 has a public facing side for consumers to interact with real estate professionals and a private side (business network) for the use of real estate professionals.

An army of real estate professionals have the local knowledge to create a force that can compete with any companies currently working to harness the power of property information as the center of their online business model. Consumers frequent different destinations on the Internet for different reasons.

MLS 5.0 will be the authoritative and trusted source of all real property information, not just property “for sale.” MLS 5.0 is the resource that will give real estate professionals the opportunity to transcend the present and continue their success into the future. Along the way it will be required to leave some ideas and habits behind. Knowing that old habits die hard, it will require nothing less than a “Crusade” to socialize and then transition real estate professionals to this new tool.

MLS 5.0 is built in the spirit of Web 2.0-open and collaborative. It is no longer sufficient to advocate that real estate professionals be at the “center of the transaction,” as was promoted in the 1990s. To be at the center of the transaction, the real estate professional must now be at the “center of the conversation” about real property, and this is essential to the mission of MLS 5.0.

In addition, through the use of Open APIs that provide access to listing data, applications can be built cost-effectively, leading to a richer ecosystem of features and software that will benefit real estate professionals and ultimately consumers, encouraging user designed experiences.

MLS 5.0 provides a single point of entry for listing data. Based upon the election of brokers or their agents, it will distribute that information to web portals, newspapers, and even radio and television, and track and return information about prospects to the broker. Why pay for Internet leads generated from your listings? With MLS 5.0, you benefit from inquiries about your listings.

MLS 5.0 incorporates “Single Sign On” in a range of ways.

MLS 5.0 is a property wiki and a social networking site.

To access the complete White Paper “MLS 5.0,” click here.

Saul Klein is CEO of InternetCrusade(R) and CEO of Point2 Technologies, Inc. For more information, please visit