What is the role of the MLS to run consumer facing, lead generating real estate websites?  This has been a question that the industry has struggled with since the beginning of the internet search era. For many years, many brokers were not in support of MLS consumer websites because they felt they were competitive with their own online efforts. The classic mantra was “don’t level the playing field.”     

Two of the largest portals have evolved from advertising to referral models and one has become a competitive brokerage. Agents now pay these portals a significant percentage of their commission, further reducing company dollars available to brokerages. These significant business model shifts are changing the focus on MLS consumer-facing websites. Brokers are looking for another way to deliver listing exposure and lead generation more affordably. They are now turning back to their MLSs as a free, objective, “your listing, your lead” online promotional source. Likely feeling outgunned, interest for the MLS to step in and deliver optimized, engaging property search sites is on the rise in multiple markets.

The WAV Group Customer Experience Index (CXI), a new research program designed to help MLSs monitor the awareness, engagement, and satisfaction of their service offerings, is uncovering this emerging trend in several markets across the country. The CXI also provides MLSs with a way to benchmark their performance against other MLSs around the country. 

It is becoming clear that brokers and agents are highly interested in MLSs that are committed to delivering affordable business opportunities by investing and upgrading their MLS consumer-facing websites. In the markets that have been polled to date, as many in 3 out of 4 subscribers are in support of the MLS investing more in the consumer-facing website to improve listing exposure and lead generation. 

The recent launch of Metrolist.com is a perfect example of the type of investment in technology that is needed to compete for traffic. Clean search results, pre-built geographically targeted searches, and, most importantly, the opportunity to search agents by specialty


If you would like to poll your subscribers to determine if your market should also be investing in its consumer-facing website, join the ever-growing number of MLSs that are fielding the WAV Group Customer Experience Index in their markets. The deadline to participate in the Customer Experience Index for 2022 is quickly approaching. You can learn more by reaching out to WAV Group at jason@wavgroup.com.