MLS & Associations

As real estate technology evolves, questions about roles of major players remain

MLSs, brokerages and tech companies will continue to grapple with control and use of real estate data

The real estate industry had something of an identity crisis in 2013 as the ever-changing technology landscape produced clashes around shifting roles and rules, but also fueled cooperation and innovation. Real estate is no stranger to the changes brought about by the evolution of technology, whether they manifest themselves as tools that create greater efficiencies or as battles over the control of real estate data and the eyeballs it attracts. In the spring, a debate over whether lockboxes should be a "basic" service covered by all members of an MLS ignited a larger feud over the role of multiple listing services and the services and products they should and should not provide as it has become easier for them to do so. With some MLSs already operating public-facing websites, the National Association of Realtors approved an amendment to a policy statement to allow MLSs to charge all members for the operation and promotion of such sites, regardless of whether members want or u...