Redfin clashes with think tank on MLS antitrust

CEO of high-tech brokerage says open access to listings would be a 'tragedy of the commons'
  • Redfin disagrees with a recent think tank study advocating for open real estate listings.
  • Without incentives to participate in MLS, some brokers would stop contributing listings, resulting in a less competitive market, Redfin argues.

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What would happen if the government mandated that real estate brokers make all their listings accessible publicly to everyone online, free-of-charge? It would result in "a tragedy of the commons," Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman and Vice President of Recruiting, Partner Programs and MLS Relations Chelsea Goyer wrote in a blog post published in late December. Their piece detailed Redfin's criticisms of a study published in November by a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF), which advocated for open listings and urged federal regulators to investigate the multiple listings services (MLSs) brokers use to post information on homes for sale and rent, for possible antitrust violations. It should be noted that ITIF has previously taken funding from Redfin competitor Zillow Group (though not for this specific study). "If we accepted the study’s recommendation, and today’s MLS participants could access MLS data without contribu...