Will MLS become a thing of the past?

Jeff Corbett - the XBroker - has a very good article questioning traditional real estate business practices and asks if MLS can itself survive. He makes some tremendous points about how an industry recovers from a bubble business model but more importantly how it evolves with the explosion of social networking and technology.

1) Compensation reform (initially) on the Broker to agent level (CGI splits, desk fees) is manifesting out of brute downward pressures on the market: depressive home values, heavy inventory and lack of credit. These conditions are pushing many agents out of the industry and causing the best agents to become rather brand or franchise agnostic, perpetually asking: What have you done for me lately? Loyalty means little in a Bear market. Broad compensation reform between agent and consumer is an inevitability.

2) My overall point that the agendas of the Zillow's and Trulia's of the world don't line up with the individual agent brokerage is shared and expounded on (far better than I could) by my very smart friend Rob Hahn. How long is it before a critical mass of the best agents adapt to open their own (very virtual) brokerages, adopt these types of sites as primary marketing channels, utilize their superior products and services in place of the expense of affiliating with a broker-franchise-brand that provides diminishing, even negative value?

3) The 'open web' proliferated by the likes of Facebook Connect and Google Friend Connect offer the 'open Social Networking Optimization framework' described above on highly scalable and cost effective levels. Aggregating and sharing granular information has never been faster, easier or cheaper with free communication syndication platforms like blogs, Twitter, FriendFeed and FeedFuze. Agents that have learned to harness these tools and services don't need to work for a major brand to succeed. They are becoming the brand.

Well worth the read. Hat Tip:(Sandy via twitter)

Comments (2)

  1. dylan:
    Jan 14, 2009 at 08:56 AM

    I've heard this point made by customers more than once "the agendas of the Zillow's and Trulia's of the world don't line up with the individual agent "

    The business model of charging agents to distribute data(listings) they've created is not sitting well with successful REALTORS. I've heard more than one say "we're pulling our data from Zillow, Trulia etc..."

    Interested in what other have to say

  2. Christopher:
    Feb 15, 2009 at 09:51 PM

    Nice post Rick. After leaving a major real estate company two years ago, our new company is viral, web 2.0, and Internet marketing savvy. We are just reaching out to social media and the communities within to expand our message. Albeit slowly, I think we're making headways, and people (potential clients) are adhering to and believing our technology platform. The MLS is already fragmented in our community and so our virtual brokerage is stronger than ever through strong SEO efforts and Google of course!

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