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RISMEDIA, April 12, 2010—New thinking, valuable technology services and a consumer-centered strategy will set the MLS of the future apart and increase its value perception as it begins to drive tangible benefits, such as brand exposure and leads, to its membership.

MLS 5.0 must then become a must-go-to hub from which members will launch into and conduct a number of their key daily business activities. By positioning itself as a central channel to brokers’ and agents’ operations, the MLS’s role as a critical business ally—and potentially indispensable value contributor to business success—would have achieved the ultimate goal.

The key enablers will be secure online access technologies coupled with important partnerships and online communities.

Strong Authentication (Two Factor Authentication)
Various processes and methods of authentication may be provided as determined by the local/regional/state MLS when appropriate and timely. While it is generally felt that more security will prevent or at least minimize revenue erosion, it could also serve to position the MLS as the prime location for the initial sign in of participants and subscribers. As MLSs create trusted relationships or federations with other organizations, the strongest required authentication partner would likely be the controlling federation and identity partner.

SSO (Single Sign-On)
SSO provides the convenience and the ability to sign into other secure Web locations after first signing into the MLS with the ease of a click.

-From MLS to other local MLS
-From MLS to Local Association
-From MLS to State Association
-From MLS to National Association (Realtor.org)
-From MLS to transaction-related sites (Winforms/Relay)
-From MLS to third-party Web marketing platforms and agent and broker websites
-From MLS to third-party CRM (customer relationship management) solutions
-From MLS to third-party social networking sites (such as currently being done from Rapattoni MLSs to RealTown)
-From MLS to non-real estate related sites: Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Gmail, etc.

Online Communities
Consumers will assemble around a website with accurate sold data and property listing data, enabled by the MLS. Social networking tools such as blogs, groups, bulletin boards and other community tools, should be readily available as this is where the “online conversation” will take place.

Communities can be open and they can be private, depending on the desire of the “community organizers.” Virtual prospecting may replace “face-to-face” prospecting in the next generation and beyond, and MLS 5.0 on its public-facing side will fulfill the vision of bringing the consumer and the Realtor together on the Internet—the ultimate tangible value benefit.

Tell us what you think or request the full article series to date. E-mail thefutureofmls@point2.com.

Saul Klein is CEO of Point2 Technologies Inc., author of MLS 5.0 – The MLS of the Future Whitepaper, a licensed real estate broker in California for the past 32 years and former president of the San Diego Association of REALTORS®. Klein is also creator of NAR’s ePRO Technology Certification Program and NAR’s Web 2.0 & Social Media Course.

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