The WAV Group, a real estate consulting firm, has published results of research that demonstrates the high value consumers place on the term “MLS.” The research, commissioned by the MLS Domains Association, includes surveys of consumers using MLS public websites and of a representative sample of consumers who have purchased or sold real estate in the last twelve months. It supports three key conclusions:
• For consumers, an MLS represents property search, home valuations and “the good stuff,” as one respondent described it—the term “MLS” equates to high-quality, educational, objective information about property;
• A majority of consumers prefer MLS sites as sources of real estate information over brokerage sites and third-party sites such as data aggregators;
• Fifty-seven percent of consumers would be more interested in looking at homes on .MLS websites rather than .com websites.
These findings are significant to MLSs, real estate associations, and their subscribers/members. The WAV report observes, “The study clearly points out that consumers trust MLS data more than other sources.”
Bob Bemis, CEO of the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service and Chairman of the Board of the MLS Domains Association, says the WAV group study establishes a strong rationale for the association’s efforts to secure the top-level domain of .MLS to be used by U.S. Multiple Listing Services.
Bemis further observes, “Consumers trust MLSs as a source for accurate real property information. Securing the rights to administer who can use this domain will reinforce our trustworthiness and protect MLSs against imitators.”
The WAV Group agrees and recommends the MLS Domains Association pursue its efforts to obtain an exclusive domain name. The report concludes that, “This study makes it clear that consumers recognize and trust the MLS brand and are more interested in a .MLS domain than a .com domain. MLSs have a chance to leverage this important asset by taking control of it and encouraging every market in the country to leverage this strategy to the full benefit of their agents and brokers. By encouraging consumers to go to ‘the’ source of data when they are in the early phases of their real estate search, MLSs have an opportunity to encourage consumers to engage with their subscribers by promoting their expertise and allowing them to contribute content that clearly demonstrates their unique and local expertise.”
The MLS Domains Association represents the efforts of MLSs serving more 600,000 US real estate brokers and agents to obtain the .MLS domain name rights. Applications for new top-level domain names will be received by the international domain name authority (ICANN), from January 12 through April 12, 2012. ICANN expects to award only 500 new domain names to supplement the now-overcrowded .com. The next opening date for new domain name applications will not occur for several years.
“It’s an unprecedented opportunity for real estate business entities to stabilize and leverage our positive professional identity with consumers,” says Bemis.
The report is available for download (PDF) at the WAVGroup website: http://waves.wavgroup.com/files/2012/01/120105-wav-group-mls-domains-full-survey-report2.pdf
Other information about MLS Domains Association is also available at http://www.MLSDomains.org.