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Please please please let me, let me, let me… get what I want this time.
I’m at the CMLS 2013 meetings, and thought I’d post some further thoughts about a discussion/debate I had on Twitter (#cmls2013) about something I’m hearing quite a lot about at this event.
There’s just a ton of conversation on panels and on stage and in the hallways about data, about “our data”, about monetizing it, protecting it, leveraging it, etc. etc. with a heavy emphasis on just how valuable and important the MLS data is to homebuyers, home sellers, investors, renters, to Wall Street, and to other users of real estate information. One of the panels featured Chip McAvoy from CoreLogic and Dale Ross from RPR, companies that sell to Wall Street type of firms — especially a product called “match and append“.
My point from my panel — that I regard this focus on consumers by the MLS as dangerous, and that the MLS should focus on its core competency, that of regulating the relationship between real estate professionals with the key mechanism of cooperation and compensation — is something that needs expanding.
Plainly put, what I fear is that on the current path, the MLS is extremely vulnerable to being classified as a public utility and being regulated directly by the government. Those MLS’s that are super-excited about becoming the trusted source for data to consumers — including CMLS, which is pushing its SourceMLS program — should pause and consider what it is that they’re wishing for. Because they might get it. Good and hard.
Let’s get into it.