Yesterday, I was part of a panel at Inman Connect about the Future of MLS. As it happens, I did not get to talk about the Spark Platform (about which I’ve made posts here yesterday and the day before). For folks who may have attended yesterday expecting a conversation about that, I apologize. I’ll continue with the blog posts on the topic starting again on Monday.
A second issue arose late in the session, when I made a comment regarding NAR’s role in MLS matters, specifically in the context of RPR. The gist of my comment was to urge MLSs not to worry about the (conspiracy) theory that RPR is expected or intended to be a national MLS. I stand by that advice: If you are spending time in your board meetings worrying about that, you are wasting precious leadership time. If you have a business case for signing up with RPR, do it (and by all means, hire us to negotiate the agreement for you as we have for many MLSs); if you don’t have the business case, don’t do it.
However, in the process of making my comments about RPR, I made another regarding NAR’s role in MLS matters that unfairly minimized those places where NAR has played a positive role. An NAR staffer, someone whom I have liked and respected for years, came up afterwards and expressed distress about the comment. That prompted me to reflect on it, and now I’m inclined to apologize for it.
I have criticized NAR’s role in MLS matters before: I think NAR’s leadership and staff are often out of touch when it comes to the day-to-day and strategic issues that matter to most MLSs. However, NAR has played a positive role in a number of regards, of which I’ll mention just two examples. One I raised in my talk yesterday: Last year’s settlement between the industry and CIVIX over its patent claims, engineered by Laurie Janik at NAR (with help from Ann Bailey and Chris Osborn), was a swift and intelligent response to an issue that could have cost the industry countless hours and millions of dollars of resources. (I’ve written before about my approval of NAR’s role in that effort.) There was also much talk yesterday of the progress RESO is making; I’m sure everyone remembers that NAR effectively founded and funded the initial development of RETS and has been an important supporter of standards in our industry since the beginning. (I remember those NAR-funded meetings in the late 90s where the RETS concept was hatched.) There are other examples of NAR playing a constructive role.
I think it’s fair, and in fact necessary, to look on NAR’s involvement in MLS matters with a critical eye, and I will continue to do so. But it’s unfair for me to make flip remarks that minimize those places where NAR has played a valuable role. For doing that yesterday, I apologize.