I have made a central theme of my posts and a foundational basis for my type of marketing real estate online is that the MLS has got to be protected. Why?
For one it is your only tangible service that you provide. It is something that the consumer can get its arm around. Thus it has value. Henceforth, the gazillions of seed Capital for this new era of Dot Com exuberance.
This will only serve to take away the consumers access to agents as the primary contact point. An intermediary will serve to capture the lead and charge you for privilege of accessing that lead. Not to mention the possibility of swaying the consumer away from a Realtor served MLS system.
Of course it isn't being protected much. And I believe it end will be a losing battle for the real estate industry.
Actually as a side thought...in order to have a battle implies a fight. So maybe I should not call it such.
Which is amazing to me since the data that is being given away is being financed and underwritten thru Realtor dues. Yes, my friend, like it or not you are financing eventual changes that you may or may not like. I would assume for the vast majority of you it would be the latter.
Think I am nuts? Well all we have to do is look at what the search giant Google is doing over the pond to get a glimpse of things to come here in the good ole US of A. Can you say MLS.google.com?
From the NYTIMES :Google is planning a big push into the European retail industry with plans to launch a service aimed at giving bricks-and-mortar retailers a base from which to market and sell goods on line......planning to develop Google Base, a product still in test, into an on line retailing platform. ......Nikesh Arora, head of Google's European arm, said in an interview with the Financial Times that Google wants companies in retail – and possibly other sectors, including real estate – to hand over private internal databases of goods and prices.
The times, they will change. How & when is up to you.