While multiple listing services can and do change, in many cases it’s in small steps rather than giant leaps and massive mutations.

Some ambitious plans hit a wall of bureaucratic red tape and internal feuding, and that’s to be expected. Power struggles and money can cast a cloud over the regionalization or nationalization of MLS information, and the merger of two or more MLSs.

This month, Inman News will highlight change, new approaches and ideas, and emerging issues with multiple listing services.

The coverage continues the dialogue on a list of top issues surfaced through the Inman News Roadmap to Recovery editorial project, which launched in November 2008. This project, and a subsequent 10 Points List, has challenged industry participants to re-envision the real estate industry and plot a course ahead — while avoiding the same pitfalls that landed us here.

We want your input:

What changes do you believe are necessary and imminent for MLSs, and what types of changes do you believe will require the toughest battles?

Will VOWs (Virtual Office Web sites) catch on? Will they ever replace IDX (Internet Data Exchange) as the dominant model for sharing property information with consumers?

What MLS rules and policies, if any, need tweaking? Are any new rules needed?

How will the debate over MLS-operated public-facing property-search sites be settled?

Should MLSs send property listings information on their participants’ behalf to third-party Web sites?

Is the regionalization and nationalization of MLS data a given? What is the perfect number of MLSs required to serve real estate professionals?

Are we inevitably heading toward a single, national MLS? Would that be a good thing or a bad thing for agents, brokers and consumers?

Please send us your perspective on any and all of these issues in the form of a guest essay. Essay submissions should be at least 400 words in length and should not be promotional in nature.

Send essay submissions to: future@inman.com.

The authors of essays that are published in full will receive a complimentary registration (applies to new registrants only) to the upcoming Inman News Real Estate Connect conference in San Francisco, which runs from Aug. 5-7, 2009.


What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor.

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