MLS Domains Association acknowledges likely competing bid for .MLS
Operator of real estate website MLS.com appears poised to apply to ICANN
Minneapolis, February 20, 2012: MLS Domains Association announced today that at it will likely not be making the only application to ICANN for the new .MLS top-level domain on the Internet. ICANN is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and is responsible for managing top-level domains worldwide. Its window for applications for new TLDs is open from now until April 12, 2012. “We know of one other likely applicant,” said Bob Bemis, president of the Association.
MLS Domains Association noted that Nanning Billin, the China-based company that owns and operates the website at www.MLS.com, has filed a U.S. trademark application for “DOTMLS.” Nanning Billin has also informed MLS Domains Association that it intends to oppose the Association’s application in what is called a ‘rights objection.’ “We are firmly convinced that the claims of the MLS.com folks are unfounded, but we expect some kind of fight with them going forward,” said Bemis. These facts suggest that the operators of MLS.com may be planning to apply for .MLS.
“We have no idea what their business model may be, if they apply,” said Bemis. But he pointed to a possible business model under which a speculator would sell agents or brokers in U.S. cities exclusive rights to market themselves and their listings at addresses like DadeCounty.MLS or Atlanta.MLS. (Consultant Brian Larson described such a possible business model in a post on the Association’s blog last August. See http://www.mlsdomains.org/what-if-the-mls-industry-does-not-apply-for-mls/ .)
“We have no crystal ball to know who will apply, or what they plan to do,” said Bemis. “But we are taking all appropriate steps to ensure that legitimate MLSs in the U.S. will be able to use .MLS domains for real estate purposes and that other entities will not be able to do so.”
* * *
About MLS Domains Association
MLS Domains Association is a non-profit association of U.S. real estate multiple listing services, the sole purpose of which is to obtain, manage, and promote the use of the .MLS top-level domain on the Internet. Its members include more than 50 MLSs in the U.S. representing around 600,000 MLS subscribers. The Association is seeking classification as a 501(c)(6) business league from the IRS.