Listing syndication workshop at NAR Midyear Legislative Conference

May 16, 2011

Listing syndication- a heated debate

Listing and data syndication is one of the biggest elephants in the real estate room right now and there is a great deal of heat around the very complex issues involved ranging from rights to regulations involving social media, blogs, RSS and the like.

Recently, the Council of Multiple Listing Services (CMLS) wrote to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), “From the 30,000 foot level, our members recognize that there are already serious problems in relation to the syndication, licensing, proper use and protection of our broker’s data. Portals have multiple sources for content and therefore difficult decisions on which source is the most accurate. Adding RSS feeds to the mix may further dilute the value of on-line content by adding multiple additional sources that may not be current.”

Gearing up for NAR Midyear legislative conference and expo, Vendor Alley founder, Greg Robertson opined about the IDX rules to be reviewed at the conference, urging NAR committee members to “Let Franchisors and Brokers compete with other real estate portals by allowing advertising around these indexed IDX listings (I’m not going to give them a pass on this one).”

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We interviewed Robertson about the CMLS panel at Midyear that captured our attention, we invite you to read his extended thoughts below:

What was the CMLS panel about?

“I’ve been a member of the Board of Directors of Council of MLS (CMLS) for several years. CMLS is an organization of MLS providers that are about sharing best practices in the MLS industry. In the past CMLS has put together an annual MLS industry conference. Recently at the request of our membership the BOD has been asked to take a more active role in the issues and policies facing the MLS industry. This Listing Syndication Workshop was one of the first things we put together beyond our normal annual conference. Instead of taking sides on this issue we wanted to bring together all the players in this industry for an open discussion about the pros and cons of listing syndication.”

What was the general mood of the panel?

“The mood was good. The conference was free to any CMLS member, but we only had a room that could hold a little over 100. We were sold out in less than 24 hours. Merri Jo Cowen, our current CMLS board president, was quick to set the tone that the workshop would not be confrontational. As one of the moderators I was asked to keep my questions respectful but relevant to the topics.”

What was your biggest surprise or takeaway?

“I thought it was curious/interesting that the Zillow rep, Greg Schwartz, when asked about a revenue share with MLS providers said something to the effect, ‘You can’t squeeze blood from a stone.'”

What was the audience’s response?

“The audience response was great. They had lots of great questions. CMLS will definitely hold more of these issues specific workshops in the future.”

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