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“A picture is worth a thousand words” is a rather famous old adage that refers to the notion that an idea with complex meaning can be conveyed in a single image. It allows the viewer to experience large amounts of information in a moment, and in doing so – often have an emotional reaction.

In real estate, photos are the most powerful and compelling elements of a listing – they are the essence of meaning. Many suggest that without the substance of a photo, you fundamentally do not have a listing. The notion dates back to the days of  Aristotle, who suggested that imagery is the purest definition of that which is real. Imagery not only identifies an object, but eschews volumes about its property, or state of being. A plant is just a plant, but beheld more glorious in the spring of bloom than in the struggle of extinction.

Today, even the worst camera on the crappiest cell phone takes glorious photos in high-definition with splendid resolution. Many agents extend great bounty for professional photography on their listing so that they might expose the beauty of a home. Technologists like virtual tour and print marketing companies have waited for years to take these raw, high quality photos and automate their conversion into artistry. Today is their day,  if they can only survive one foe, the MLS.

The MLS is the villan to beauty, to artistry, to emotion. They take the loveliest and grandest of megapixels and process them into low resolution grainy oblivion. There was a time for this pragmatist, but his day is day has past. Long gone are the days of dial-up modems. Even mobile devices pass data at 3G or higher speeds. Even the lowliest of device screens displays in high resolution. Terabyte data storage drives are $20. Bandwidth costs are trending down each year.

Why does the MLS still destroy the photo quality of the images it receives?

If you want to raise the bar in real estate as an MLS, stop destroying high quality photography. Accept it. Embrace it. Push it out in your data feeds back to your brokers so they can drive their marketing efforts. Perhaps you don’t know this, but brokers and agents spend hours deleting the photos they get from you and reloading the originals to power their print and virtual tour marketing. They provide you with great photos and you destroy them and return garbage. Stop that!

If your MLS has left behind the tyranny of truncating photos, speak out so that others may admire your leadership, for you have given the freedom of expression a voice – and perhaps a thousand words.

p.s. Feel free to continue sending awful photos out through the syndication feed. Surely it would not harm your customers if listings appeared sharper, brighter, and in higher detail on agent and broker sites.

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