Forty multiple listing services representing 300,000 Realtors have signed up in the last 90 days to offer their members an Internet Data Exchange (IDX) listings search application for agent and broker Facebook pages from real estate applications company N-Play.

In the last month alone, N-Play has doubled the number of MLS clients it serves. At the end of September, the company said it had signed 20 MLSs to use the app. Since making that announcement at a conference hosted by the Council of Multiple Listing Services, N-Play has been "overwhelmed with interest" in the app, Jeff Gellman, the company’s director of MLS services, said in a statement.

"Most MLS executives I speak with understand how Facebook is a game changer for their members and the need for compliant tools to conduct their business on these new platforms," Gellman said.

N-Play’s Facebook app is compliant with Internet data exchange (IDX) rules and regulations, which govern the display of listings data shared by brokers within individual markets, the company said.

The National Association of Realtors has been working for several years on a policy for the display of IDX listings on social media sites but has yet to make a final decision. The trade group’s MLS Policy Committee will reconsider the policy at NAR’s annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., this month.

NAR’s MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Subcommittee is recommending that individual MLSs be allowed to decide whether or not their members have the ability to authorize electronic display of their listings by other members through text messaging and social media, but not be allowed to require members to consent to such display.

"There is no question NAR recognizes social media as a new frontier for the industry," said Gregg Larson, CEO of real estate consulting firm Clareity Consulting, in a statement.

"The demand for products like N-Play’s IDX solution for Facebook is exploding, as evidenced by their growing list of MLSs. How to incorporate these new technologies while maintaining IDX standards and rules has been the challenge."

It will be interesting to see if NAR’s MLS Policy Committee adopts the subcommittee’s recommendations, he added.

"It is quite possible this issue will be left to local MLSs to continue to administer and police noncompliant IDX solutions as they do today," he said.

Among the 40 MLSs, N-Play listed nine that are newly signed: Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc. (MRIS); Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED); Georgia MLS (GAMLS); My Florida Regional MLS (MFRMLS); the Miami Association of Realtors MLS (MLS of MIAMI); CRISNet MLS; the Combined Los Angeles/Westside MLS (CLAW); the Connecticut Statewide MLS (CT-MLS); and the Arizona Regional MLS (ARMLS).

For existing markets, the cost of the app is $9.95 per month or $49.95 per year.

Last year, N-Play rolled out a free app that allows consumers on Facebook to search for agents by location and expertise who have added their profiles to the directory. In order to have access to the Facebook IDX app, agents must first join the directory.

Another player in this space has been Los Angeles-area software company AppLa.Bz which has developed a similar Facebook IDX application and signed up Northern Colorado MLS Information and Real Estate Services (IRES); Lisle, Ill.-based MLS MRED; and, most recently, San Diego-area MLS Sandicor. Currently, Sandicor’s nearly 16,000 members have exclusive access to the app in California, AppLa.Bz said in a press release last month.

"AppLa.Bz is opening the door to a billion potential clients. We strive to provide every one of our subscribers with the most innovative tools to be successful in this challenging market," said Ray Ewing, Sandicor’s CEO, in a statement.

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