WAV Group would like to share an update that was released today from the MLS Domains Association. If you are not familiar with the initiative, it is a collaboration of companies that seek to buy the domain extension of DotMLS. ICANN, which is the international group that determines domain extensions is in the business of licensing domains to legitimate parties. Determining what a Legitimate Party is can be quite a cumbersome (and expensive) task. .Com, .Biz, .Gov, and all of the county domains like .CA, .IT and the like have already been issued. ICANN became widely known when they issued .XXX. ICANN is trying to expand the names available for internet addresses in the best possible way – it is obvious that an extension like .XXX would allow people to block those sites from minors. The strategy of .MLS is to provide consumers with a definition that would allow them to differentiate websites that display MLS data from other websites that pretend to display website data but are unauthorized to do so. If successful, MLS participants and agents using the .MLS domain would have a special advantage online. Unfortunately, getting accepted as the registrar for .MLS is really hard, and very expensive. Here is the update on the initiative. If you have an interest in supporting or joining the .MLS Domains Association, please contact Judith Lindenau at mailto:email@example.com Re: Status Report on the Progress of a ‘.MLS’ Top Level Domain Name Greetings! The Board of Directors of the MLS Domains Association would like to offer a year-end summary to our Association members and friends. Here an encapsulated version of our activities this year and where we stand with the .MLS applications. Partnering with CREA. As we proceeded through the application process, we formed a partnership with the Canadian Real Estate Association to apply for the .MLS top level domain for the US and Canadian multiple listing services. We did so for two reasons: (1) CREA owns the trademark “MLS” in Canada, thus giving more weight to our claim, and (2) CREA was willing to share expenses with us in pursuing a world-wide license to use the domain name for only for CREA and MLS Domains Association members. CREA is the entity applying for the .MLS top level domain; MLS Domains will manage it for MLSs in the U.S. Filing Two Types of Applications. The worldwide organization that manages domain names, ICANN, […]
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 […]
The Los Angles Times reported today that ICANN, the international non-profit that manages internet top level domains has indicated that they will not be releasing any new TLDs at this time. If you believe the article, this will stall the efforts of the MLS Domains Associationand the Canadian Association of REALTORS who were hopeful that they would be successful at securing the .MLS domain extension for real estate. (MLS Domains and the Canadian Associaton of REALTORS announced that they are working together). But alas, the news sometimes gets it wrong. Which may be the case here according to MLS Domains Association director, Brian Larson: “The news story on which your post is based misstates the situation (or perhaps overstates it). Only digital archery was suspended. According to ICANN, the evaluation process is continuing as designed.” http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/announcements-and-media/announcement-23jun12-en As many know, the efforts to secure the .MLS domain name has two separate but important strategic goals that will benefit the real estate industry. The first goal is defensive: block some third party from securing the .MLS extension. The second is aspirational: to create a place for listing content on the internet that assures consumers that they are viewing listing data derived from the MLS and displayed by authorized site owners who agree to a rules structure. Both excellent strategies. The Times cited a mirage of reasons behind their decision to suspend the release of new TLDs. To summarize, it seems that the ICANN organization is unorganized and remarkably incompetent. In fairness to ICANN, their task is not simple. 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. 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 — […]
Rapattoni has long offered Association websites and MLS consumer property search solutions in the markets that they serve. I believe Rapattoni may have been among the pioneering MLS vendors at offering such a solution. Having said that, there has been little attention paid toward innovating the search component of that platform. In the deployment of the new website, Rapattoni and iHomefinder collaborated to deliver an elegant solution. This week, the California based Ventura County Coastal Association of REALTORS (VCCAOR) debuted their new website powered by iHomefinder. Board President Cindy Diaz-Telly spoke with the WAV Group about the site. According to Diaz-Telly, the launch of the new site is the fruition of a strategic goal of their board spanning two years. The Association has long offered a consumer facing website as a member benefit, so this new site is a relaunch rather than a new launch. Real Estate agents and brokers are supportive of the site as a means of connecting the consumer with REALTORS. The board had made a strategic decision not to publish the site to the MLSCloud Network until the new site was launched. VCCAOR is also a participant in the Southern California MLS data share called CARETS. CARETS participants are allowed to display all CARETS listings on their consumer facing websites but VCCAOR has chosen not to do so at this time. Visitors to the new site will immediately notice the user search interface improvements. iHomefinder has introduced a map search based on the Google Maps API. They have also dramatically improved the form based search solution and the listing detail page as compared to the Rapattoni Solution. At this time, VCCAOR has elected to keep the website clear of advertising like the REALM from Real Estate Digital or the advertising solution from MLSListings.com. iHomefinder modeled their MLS partnerships with Metrolist MLS in Sacramento, also a Rapattoni customer. iHomefinder seeks to launch additional MLS solutions this year combining their public portal solution with agent IDX and websites offered through the MLS. Call Victor Lund at 805-709-6696 for any questions about the information in this article.
The WAV Group has published results of research that demonstrates the high value consumers place on the term “MLS”. The research, commissioned by the MLS Domains Association, includes surveys of consumers using MLS public websites and of a representative sample of consumers who have purchased or sold real estate in the last twelve months. It supports three key conclusions: For consumers, an MLS represents property search, home valuations and “the good stuff”, as one respondent described it—the term “MLS” equates to high quality, educational, objective information about property; A majority of consumers prefer MLS sites as sources of real estate information over brokerage sites and third-party sites such as data aggregators; Fifty-seven percent of consumers would be more interested in looking at homes on .MLS websites rather than .com websites. These findings are significant to MLSs, real estate associations, and their subscribers/members. The WAV report observes, “The study clearly points out that consumers trust MLS data more than other sources.”
Congratulations to Metrolist MLS on the relaunch of their MLS consumer facing website. Looks and works great! Here are the top new features Mobile – Use your smartphone to search the mobile-optimized site. Property Alerts – Property alerts notify you when potential properties become available. Open Houses – Search for local open houses to tour properties first-hand. Home Valuation – Check out your home’s current estimated value. Rentals – A searchable rentals database is coming in early 2012. Visit the website now and let us know what you think http://www.recolorado.com/ Here is a link to articles on launching successful MLS consumer facing websites: http://waves.wavgroup.com/tag/mls-consumer-website/
The United States Senate may be a new challenger to the successful bid by a group of MLSs (MLS Domains Association) to gain approval for a Top Level Internet Domain. A top level internet domain is .com, .net, .org, .XXX, or the curent application for the new .MLS. .MLS promises salvation for many of the ills that torment consumers and real estate brokers online. Notably – it suggests a rule set for displaying listings to consumers in order to qualify to purchase a .MLS domain. By subscribing to the rules of .MLS, publishers provide consumers with a level of certainty about the quality of listing content. A classic real estate example of a domain name gone wrong is MLS.com – a website that is not an MLS, nor is it associated with any MLS. Today, real estate brokers and agents have agreed to similar terms by subscribing to MLSs offering Internet Data Exchange programs (IDX). These rules are enforced by MLSs across the nation. If Dot MLS is successful, website publishers would extend a similar set of rules to the internet itself – giving the Top Level Domain Administrator the ability to suspend any website from the Domain for failure to comply with .MLS terms.
Arizona Association of REALTORS® refocuses its attention on ARBI – Arizona REALTOR® Business Interface which puts MLS, Document Management and a bunch of resources all on one page. The AZMLS Statewide MLS has found new life. No acquisition of ARMLS for now, but MLS partners are aligning to get it done. Perhaps ARMLS will simply move from first to “maybe a little later on.” WAV Group released a new whitepaper in an ongoing series about the Shift in Real Estate for brokers and agents. In the first paper released in June, we looked at the shift happening in enterprise broker software. Last week, we published a new paper that examines the keys to technology adoption. Building and offering great software is the easy – driving adoption is the hard part. Take a look if you missed either of those, for a complete list of WAV Group Whitepapers, browse this page. There is another paper in the works for October, so stay tuned. If you have an idea for WAV Group research, call or write Marilyn Wilson, Mike Audet, or Victor Lund to discuss it.
Thanks to so many of you who requested Marilyn’s powerpoint presentation that was delivered at the MLS Cloud Conference hosted by the Houston Association of REALTORS. It has been a pain to email given the size, so it is posted here and you can download it. Contact Marilyn directly if you would like any details, narration or publishing permissions.
In 2009, many of the most progressive real estate technology CEOs set forth to combine their efforts around providing an internet construct that allows consumers to know when they are on an official website powered by MLS data. The problem that consumers face today is that there are so many property search websites which claim to offer MLS data, but do not. Under the current Internet guidelines and provisions, it is nearly impossible for organized real estate to put an end to these false MLS claims that hoodwink consumers. To cure this issue for consumers and provide a platform for official MLS data to thrive, the MLS Domains Association (also called Dot MLS) was organized to pursue the approval of a top level domain on the internet of .MLS as an alternative to .COM or other top level domains.