How to Build a Statewide MLS
2. Data Exchange/Data Sharing: Each MLS provides the other with a data feed that gets integrated into each primary system.
a. Can provide brokers and agents with an alternative to paying multiple MLS fees by exchanging listing data between participating MLSs.
a. Unless listing data from data sharing goes directly into the primary system, it will be ineffective. In my experience with MLS Advantage, a free statewide MLS attempted in Florida, listing data provided on a secondary platform, separate from the primary MLS, showed user levels of only 10%-15%.
b. Data sharing that does not include an agreement to cover use of listing data by third party vendors is useless to many agents and brokers without the ability to use CMA programs, advanced tax programs, combined market statistics, etc.
c. There are multiple risks to the MLS in this type of data sharing, including on-going data inaccuracies, lag time between MLS updates, high initial cost, and high ongoing costs to maintain. Data inaccuracy in particular plagues this type of data sharing because there is constant translation between MLSs that may have different field names, different numbers of mandatory fields, different character counts per field, open fields or not, etc. To make matters worse, any change made by an MLS to its fields requires significant advance notice in order to program an update for the data feed. All too often, a small change in one MLS breaks the data feed to the other, unfortunately leaving the offending party with a working system while their data sharing partner’s is broken. MLSs are particularly at risk from data sharing partners in this type of data sharing.
d. There will be considerable cost to program the translationing required to operate this type of data share. Every time one of the parties changes something in their MLS, it will require programming expense to update the data share.
e. Update frequency may vary between the parties, causing one MLS to offer more accurate/timely data than the other. Even in increments as small as 15 minutes difference, members will notice the lag.
f. Data sharing does not resolve the duplication of costs, services, etc., inherent in areas of overlapping MLS markets.
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