Add MLS Data to the mix, and you’ve got a winner

Thanks to the Lost Remote, I came across this story from Northwestern University’s Readership Institute site that unintentionally makes the parallel between how Realtors think of MLS data (we want to keep it in a box, and control access).

One of the most striking developments in online news in the past year or so  has been -the rapid proliferation of interesting database applications-. Gannett Co. newspapers have been leaders in this area,  driven by the company’s “information  center” initiative, which is yielding new organizational structures and approaches to information gathering and presentation. The “data desk” is one of  the seven pillars of the company’s new approach to news.

As Gannett realizes, data should be a driving force in online journalism, for  at least the following reasons:

– Data is “evergreen” content.
– Its value to users does not end after 24 hours.

– Data can be personal.
– What’s more relevant to someone than, say, reported crimes in their neighborhood, or nearby property  assessments?
– Data can best be delivered in a medium without space constraints.

Michael asks a similar question this week – Are Listings Information or Advertising?

If Realtors could develop a product that had all of the information – All of it – They could use that as a tool to gain what everybody wants – consumers’ trust. (just having the information is not sufficient to earn trust) Everyone else is doing that (Zillow, Trulia, etc.) but for now, Realtors have the best data – for how long?

In the context of the Group I have been working on for the past year – what are the top 10 technological creations/developments over the past 12 months? Twitter? The iPhone? What has happened in the technology world that were not even in existence when the Group started?

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  1. Lonnie November 16, 2007 at 18:10

    I think the internet has changed the entire concept of selling things, but some less visionary people still don’t get it. I think the old methodology of selling things was just to cast a wide net, hoping that someone would see your ad and be convinced to buy. The power of the internet is that it allows people to be far more specific about what they purchase.

    When we bought our home, the last thing in the world we would have wanted was a massive house in a brand new subdivision. We wanted a smaller house in an area with old healthy forest, surrounded by a real community of neighbors. My point here is that we were willing to pay extra for the home that someone else would have overlooked. That’s exactly what a good real estate database should do, match the right buyer with the home that’s right for them. After all, there was a day when someone might have looked at Belmont’s crime stats and looked elsewhere, but for a certain kind of buyer that area was the perfect investment. They saw the crime stats and wanted it anyway, because it was affordable and close to where they worked. The days of blanketing people with ads are gone. It’s all about connecting customers and products. The people and companies that really get that are the ones that will ultimately succeed in our new electronic economy.

  2. Michael Wurzer November 16, 2007 at 20:21

    I love the comment from Lonnie because it demonstrates what I’ve been thinking about recently — the long tail of real estate search. Bedrooms, bathrooms, location (what every site provides), are important but nowhere near enough. As our Chief Software Architect has said, “MLS systems today capture what is common about properties but what sells the property is what’s uncommon.”

  3. Pingback: FBS Blog » Blog Archive » Moving From Distorted Advertising to Useful Information in the MLS

  4. Ruth An Cooper November 20, 2007 at 17:28

    Does anyone know Michael Werzer’s e-mail
    address? (Fargo Flex-MLS)