Universal MLS data feed?

One of the best ways to market real estate online is to get your listings in front of as many people as possible. This is pretty much common sense. On the other hand, negotiating ways in which the data that makes up a listing can be shared is a particularly touchy subject. Against a backdrop of prolonged discussions of a national MLS and an increasingly competitive market, technology companies are going ahead with plans to create a universal feed for syndicating listings.

There is a relevant “geek speak” phrase that come to mind in the real estate online marketing landscape of early 2008: Steward Brand’s “information wants to be free.” Here’s the full context, from his speech at the Hacker’s Conference way back in 1984:

“On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.”

Sounds a lot like the careful dance of getting an MLS online in the most effective manner, doesn’t it.

As people were discussing at Inman Connect NYC, Yahoo!, Trulia and Zillow are getting together to work on a standardized feed for syndicating real estate listings. Here’s where they’re at now. Very interesting indeed.