Merri Jo Cowen named President of the MLS Domains Association

by Marilyn Wilson on June 12, 2012

The MLS Domains Association (MDA) today announced that its board of directors has named Merri Jo Cowen President of the Association. She takes the place of Bob Bemis, who resigned his positions as president and board member to focus his energies on a new executive position. Cowen is CEO of My Florida Regional MLS, a large regional multiple listing service serving Orlando, Tampa, and the rest of central Florida. According to MDA’s corporate secretary Brian Larson, “Merri Jo has been a member of MDA’s board of directors since the formation of the Association in 2010, and she has been a valuable and constructive presence in our strategic discussions ever since.”

Cowen has been an active participant in the MLS profession for close to thirty years.  She is a member of the Council of MLS board of directors, having served as president in both 2003 and 2011.  Cowen was recently named one of the most 100 influential real estate leaders by Inman News. Cowen serves on the “MLS Issues and Policy Committee” and the Technology and Emerging Issues sub-committee for the National Association of REALTORS® and participates in MLS forums and meetings with the Florida REALTORS® as well.

MDA’s board of directors also appointed Russ Bergeron, CEO of Midwest Real Estate Data LLC (MRED) to replace Mr. Bemis as a member of the board. MRED is a real estate data aggregator and distributor providing the Chicagoland multiple listing service to nearly 8,000 real estate offices and 40,000 real estate professionals, and it was one of the original stakeholders that formed MDA. Bergeron is known throughout the country for his leadership in bringing technological advances to the multiple listing industry. In recognition of his leadership and innovation, he was named one of the nation’s 100 Most Influential Leaders in Real Estate for 2009, 2010 and 2011 by Inman News.  Russ currently sits on advisory boards of Realtor.com, Trulia.com, Realtors® Property Resource, Supra and CoreLogic/Realist.  He is a member of the Illinois Association of Realtors® Strategic Planning Committee. “Russ brings industry credibility, intense engagement, and a great sense of humor to our board meetings,” said Larson. “We’re excited to have him.”

According to Cowen, “The Association’s board of directors and members were reluctant to accept Bob Bemis’s resignation. He was an early leader of the MLS Domains Association initiative while he was CEO of Arizona Regional MLS.” Larson added “Bob’s involvement was critical for getting our effort off the ground and especially in recent negotiations with The Canadian Real Estate Association. His leadership will be missed.” Bemis took a position this spring with Zillow.com as Vice President of Partner Relations.

The remaining board officers are veteran industry consultant Judith Lindenau, Vice President; and Treasurer Dennis Durkin, CFO of Trend MLS in Philadelphia. Continuing board members are veteran MLS executive Patricia Bybee; Cantey Davis, CEO of First MLS in Atlanta; and Ray Larcher, CEO of Raleigh Regional Association of REALTORS® and Triangle MLS.

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About MLS Domains Association

MLS Domains Association is a non-profit association of real estate multiple listing services, the sole purpose of which is to obtain, manage, and promote the use of the .MLS top-level domain on the Internet. Its members include more than 50 MLSs in the U.S. representing around 600,000 MLS subscribers. The Association is seeking classification as a 501(c)(6) business league from the IRS.

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victor lund June 13, 2012 at 6:11 pm

When the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers decided to expand the domain landscape — letting brands and anyone else with the money apply for the rights to own and run .anything — it did so to create competition in a world of expanding demand.
And competition is what it’s getting. That’s clear now that ICANN has revealed who’s going after what domain extensions and where there are competing applications.
The basics, according to ICANN and some data crunching from Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services:
1,409 unique domain names applied for
116 are Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), meaning they use non-Latin script
230 domain names have more than one applicant vying for the same name
13 applicants for .app
10 applicants for .art
11 applicants for .home
3 applicants for .sucks
Microsoft is applying for 11
Twitter and Facebook are applying for zero
The big collision among the applicants: Amazon vs. Google. Google is going after 101 new domain extensions — not just names like .Youtube, but odd ones like .Dog. And Amazon is going after 76.

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