Update on Dot MLS Domains Association

by Victor Lund on October 2, 2012

dot mls

There is some interesting news on the effort of a bundle of MLSs to procure the Internet Top Level Domain of MLS. But first, let me begin with a sidebar about Canada and trademark. In Canada, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) filed a trademark on the brand, MLS®. To avert a long winded discussion of the implications – think of it as a trademark that provides CREA with all of the rights that the REALTOR® trademark provides to the National Association of REALTORS®. It was a brilliant move that prohibits anyone from using the term MLS® in Canada. In Canada, only. MLS®, Multiple Listing Service®, and the associated logos are all registered certification marks owned by CREA and are used to identify real estate services provided by brokers and salespersons who are members of CREA. In America, the early colonists of MLS data did not seek such protections under United States Trademark law. As a result, the term MLS is not much different than the term Property Search. It is a common use word that may be adopted by anyone in marketing or otherwise. This has created a problem whereby some cleaver marketers are using the term MLS to falsely lure consumers who are seeking information about real estate listings and real estate services. Because there is no trademark protection, there is little that the real estate industry can do. Their only effort was to pass a NAR rule forbidding any REALTOR® from using the term. This effort has largely stopped REALTORS® from using the term, but non-realtors are free to do as they please. ICANN, the global policy maker on Internet Domain Names recognized that they are running out of possible Dot Com domain names on the Internet. This is astounding – but lets leave that appreciation aside. ICANN recognizes that there is benefit to creating classes of top level domains (TLD) on the internet. For example, Dot Gov relates to government; Dot Edu relates to education; Dot Sex relates to…well you get the picture. These classes help consumers access websites with information on the Internet and provide the surety that the domain names are sincere. The Dot MLS Domains Association submitted an application for the top level domain of MLS in an order to create a benefit for consumers and real estate professionals to differentiate property search online. If successful, Dot MLS would effectively provide benefits which […]