While attending RESO meetings last week in Las Vegas, I heard that the RETS standard data dictionary would soon be ratified by RESO, and that the new Web API would be ratified by the middle of 2015. This is great news! While the data dictionary will continue to be improved, even adopting what we have in the data dictionary now will be a big deal, making it far easier for publishers, brokers, and other aggregators of MLS content to build applications and combine content from multiple MLSs. But, without adoption of these standards at the local level, this great promise will go unfulfilled. So, it is with great pleasure that I share the following information:
The MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board makes the following recommendation for consideration by the Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee at the 2014 REALTORS® Conference and Trade Expo on Saturday, November 8 from 9:00am to 12:00pm in New Orleans.
Possible Recommendation: That MLS Policy Statement 7.90, Real Estate Transaction Standards (RETS) be amended as follows (underscoring indicates additions, strikeouts indicate deletions):
The integrity of data is a foundation to the orderly real estate market. The Real Estate Transaction Standards (RETS) provide a vendor neutral, secure approach to exchanging listing information between the broker and the MLS. In order to ensure that the goal of maintaining an orderly marketplace is maintained, and to further establish REALTOR® information as the trusted data source, MLS organizations owned and operated by associations of REALTORS® will comply with the RETS standards by December 31, 2009,and; will adopt and implement the RETS Web API by January 1, 2016; and will keep current with the standard’s new versions by implementing new releases of RETS and RETS Web API on at least one of the MLS’s servers within one (1) year from ratification. Compliance with this requirement can be demonstrated using the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) compliance checker. (Amended 11/0914)
I am very hopeful that this will be adopted.
A second recommendation, this one relating to IDX policy as well as MLS Model Rules and Regulations, is as follows:
Participants must refresh all MLS downloads and displays automatically fed by those downloads not less frequently than every three (3) days 12 hours.
This would be a good change, though it would have limited impact, as most website providers update at least every day, if not every hour already. With the amount of stale data outside the scope of IDX, I don’t think this change would be noticed.
A third recommendation would provide the ability for IDX participants to co-mingle MLS IDX data across MLSs. This makes a lot of sense, as it would allow such participants to provide a search experience to consumers unencumbered by the artificial MLS market area boundaries and overlaps. If no one is restricting “publishers” from co-mingling content, why restrict participants?There are four possible sub-recommendations:
Recommendation 1 would amend IDX policy as follows: An MLS Participant (or where permitted locally, an MLS Subscriber) may co-mingle the listings of other brokers received in an IDX feed with listings available from other MLS IDX feeds, provided all such displays are consistent with the IDX rules, and the MLS Participant (or MLS Subscriber) holds participatory rights in those MLSs. As used in this policy, “co-mingling” means that consumers are able to execute a single property search of multiple IDX data feeds resulting in the display of IDX information from each of the MLSs on a single search results page; and that Participants may display listings from each IDX feed on a single webpage or display.
Recommendation 2 would amend IDX policy as follows: MLSs cannot prohibit participants from downloading or displaying or framing other brokers’ listings obtained from other sources, e.g., other MLSs, non-participating brokers, etc., but can, as a matter of local option, require that listings obtained through IDX feeds from REALTOR Association MLSs be searched separately from listings obtained from other sources,
including other MLSs.
Recommendation 3 appears to be the same as Option 1, but applied to Model MLS Rules and Regulations.
Recommendation 4 would amend Model MLS Rules and Regulations as follows: Listings obtained through IDX feeds from REALTOR Association MLSs where the MLS Participant holds participatory rights must be displayed separately from listings obtained from other sources
, including information provided by other MLSs. Listings obtained from other sources (e.g., from other MLSs, from non-participating brokers, etc.) must display the source from which each such listing was obtained. Displays of minimal information (e.g. “thumbnails”, text messages, “tweets”, etc., of two hundred  characters or less) are exempt from this requirement but only when linked directly to a display that includes all required disclosures. (Amended 05/ 1214) O
A fourth recommendation would provide for IDX display of sold listings. There are two possible recommendations:
Recommendation 1 would be to amend IDX policy, so that “MLSs must, if requested by a participant, promptly provide basic downloading of all active and sold* listings,” with the asterisk pointing to a note that “If “sold” information is not publicly accessible, sold listings can be removed from the MLSs’ IDX feeds/downloads.”
Recommendation 2 would be to amend the model rules, options section 18.3.12, so that “If ‘Sold’ information is publicly accessible, display of ‘sold’ listings may not be prohibited.”
Of the four main recommendations, I expect the most discussion regarding the fourth – display of solds. The question I pose again is this – if no one is restricting “publishers” from using this content, why restrict participants? I expect a lively debate.
Following are my recommendations for additional changes to IDX policy to go with the display of “solds” in IDX, if that recommendation passes:
Any IDX display controlled by a participant or subscriber that
a. allows third-parties to write comments or reviews about particular listings or displays a hyperlink to such comments or reviews in immediate conjunction with particular listings, or
b. displays an automated estimate of the market value of the listing (or hyperlink to such estimate) in immediate conjunction with the listing,
c. displays the price of sold listings
either or both any or all of those features shall be disabled or discontinued for the seller’s listings at the request of the seller. The listing broker or agent shall communicate to the MLS that the seller has elected to have one or both any or all of these features disabled or discontinued on all displays controlled by participants. Except for the foregoing and subject to Section 18.2.9, a participant’s IDX display may communicate the participant’s professional judgment concerning any listing. Nothing shall prevent an IDX display from notifying its customers that a particular feature has been disabled at the request of the seller. (Adopted 11/14 05/12) M
Participants are required to employ appropriate security protection such as firewalls on their websites and displays, provided that any security measures required may not be greater than those employed by the MLS. A participant’s website and display must employ reasonable efforts to monitor for and prevent misappropriation, scraping, and other unauthorized uses of MLS listing information. (Amended 11/14 05/12) O M
Unrelated to display of “solds”, there are other changes that should be considered with relation to IDX and VOW policy, but perhaps not during this meeting:
- More specificity with regard to what “prominent” display is.
- More specificity with regard to “apparent” control. Currently, IDX data is used by some franchises (which is not the intent of IDX as per discussion at previous policy meetings) – via compliance with this unfortunately loose definition.
UPDATE TWO – RESO requests a change to the RETS-related recommendation, as follows:
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