eNeighborhoods MLS Alliance – pros and cons?

Note: This is a post directed primarily at other Realtors and those who work with Realtors’ data.

All the rage nowadays seems to be regionalization of MLS‘.

They work with Google Maps.

eNeighborhoods has an MLS data sharing service called MLSAllianceâ„¢ that links together different MLS services, so that real estate professionals are able to make one search for properties and retrieve results from multiple MLS systems. This revolutionary service also provides home sellers with exposure for their property to a wider geographic base of potential buyers. Google Maps for Enterprise will soon be added to MLSAlliance sites in California, Ohio, and Florida, giving real estate professionals in these markets access to all listings, with an equal amount of comprehensive data for each of those listings.

I’ve read about them at CallClareity. It’s mentioned only twice in the REMBEX, primarily at Inman.

What’s the downside? It seems that this product eliminates the need for Realtors to join multiple MLS’ (I currently belong to and pay dues to three Boards). It minimizes the turf wars that seem to always be percolating between regions by not forcing data standards on various MLS.

Some questions I have:

– Do member Realtors have access to, and rights to use, all data – solds, withdrawns, expired, actives, Days on Market, etc.?
– Partnering with a “for-profit” third-party such as eNeighborhoods smacks of the Move.com/Realtor.com alliance/fiasco, which is widely derided by Realtors as a frustrating failure – both for the Realtors providing the data and the consumers seeking information.
– What control over the data display do Realtors have? ie. Homegain, LendingTree, Yahoo, Google, Zillow, HouseValues, etc.? What recourse would Realtors have over scraping sites?
– How does eNeighborhoods make money in this? They certainly wouldn’t do this for a set fee ($3-$5/month per user); they must have a plan to make a greater profit – what is that?
Does an offer of compensation have to be put forth? What about an offer of cooperation?

Those of you who use it – what do you think? Is it good for the Realtors and the consumers?

On the surface, this seems to be a workable solution to a real problem. What are the warts hidden beneath the surface?

What impact might the NAR MLS PAG’s (now approved – PDF) vision have on this Alliance? (Hat Tip: FBS blog)

This is exciting stuff. Properly executed and appropriately managed, the Gateway has the potential of re-engineering the entire U.S. residential real estate marketplace while at the same time laying the groundwork for an international real estate marketing system. When completely implemented, the Gateway will both reconfigure existing relationships within the Realtor community and significantly impact every real estate professional in the country. The Gateway project is easily the most far reaching and important piece of work undertaken in NAR’s history.

I haven’t found out yet if what they approved is the only the Realtor-side or not, but if they approved everything, I would be both shocked and hopeful that something productive could be done.*

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* I was a member of the MLS NAR PAG, so am constrained by the NDA we signed.

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7 Comments

  1. 4MySales July 5, 2007 at 01:05

    Linking and combining various MLS’s is actually more of a survival tactic for local geographies. Thanks to new tools such as Zillow and Trulia, the consolidation of MLS is the next logical step in order to remain competitive as more and more listing information becomes avaialable online.

    -4MySales

  2. William Dryburgh July 5, 2007 at 14:57

    Hi Jim
    I am the CEO of the Florida Gulf Coast Alliance. The Alliance is made up of nine (9) boards. Each one with their owen operating syatem.
    Now to the questions you asked.
    All Realtors have access to all of the data (not the general public).
    I am not sure what you ment by move.com/Realtor.com alliance/fiasco. But if you will do your home work you will find that the system has been working (very well) in Southern California for almost Ten (10) years. Our Alliance has only been up and running for a short time, but given the comments I recieve from the agents it has been a tool for them to use to make money in a tight market.
    The contract does not allow eNeighborhoods to give the data to any third party.
    There is NO start up cost and as for how does eNeighborhoods make money….The fees agreed to in the contract times the number of members should give you the answere to that question. I have some 23,000 members in the Florida Gulf Coast Alliance.
    When your alliance is formed…you will make an agreement For Computerized Internet Access between the parties and signed by all parities. In that agreement (as there is in our section 4)there will be the UNIVERSAL OFFER OF COOPERATION AND COMPENSATION.
    I can only tell you in our area IT WORKS and works very well. I can see all of the listings in all of the boards at one time….we could not do that before the Alliace….now thats great.
    I will be glad to answere any question you may have about the alliance….you have my e-mail and if you would like , I can give you my number as well.
    Good luck
    Bill Dryburgh CEO
    Florida Gulf Coast Alliance

  3. Jim Duncan July 6, 2007 at 06:48

    Bill –

    Thanks so much for taking the time to visit and respond.

    I’m working on a response with more questions.

    –Jim

  4. Jim Duncan July 10, 2007 at 06:45

    Bill –

    Again, thank you for visiting.

    Regarding the Alliance – what are the negatives? What are the “warts” that one doesn’t know about until 9 months in?

    Regarding my terming of the “fiasco” – I am wary of a company coming in, gaining data control and the the Realtors seeing their data going to either 1001 different lead generation sites and, also from the public display of the data perspective, not seeing any meaningful innovation. It doesn’t sound like this will be the case.

    You have helped allay some of my fears; I sincerely appreciate your helping me with my “homework;” I couldn’t find your first-hand perspective anywhere else. Thank you.

  5. Jim Duncan July 13, 2007 at 16:43

    One question I neglected to ask – is it mac compatible?

  6. yaat July 16, 2007 at 03:42

    As an individual realtor, I am interested to know how to join mls alliance.