Why does Massachusetts (MLSPin) and New Hampshire (Innovia) MLS systems sabotage their own sales?

Services for Real Estate Pros with | Nashua Video Tours

I guess I don't get it.

I don't understand why on earth MLS systems go to great lengths to sabotage the sale of home, especially in this economy.

INNOVIA/ New Hampshire:

It's been proven for years that the quantity of photos and the quality of photos helps to sell homes.  Yet, Innovia offers only 12 photos.  Not only that, they're exactly 290 x 218 pixels, just a little bigger than a lousy postage stamp!  In addition, up until recently, descriptions were limited to a very small number of characters, forcing agents to abbreviate their brains out trying to fit everything in.  Of course, the result for the consumer was an intelligible mess of made up abbreviations!  Finally they got wise a few months ago and increased the size of the comment box.  Now how about those photos, Innovia? It's 2009!!!

MLSPin/ Massachusetts:

MLSPin at least offers 30 decent sized photos, but beginning in August, they now have REMOVED all descriptions of all properties... unless you register of course!

This is absurd.  This is 2009, and this is a blatant attempt at a closed system once again.  And if they think buyers are SO STUPID as to fall for this game, they need to think again. People are very sensitive about giving out their email addresses and the resulting stream of spam.  It's 2009.  This is the age of transparency, yet MLSPin seems to want to take a few steps backward.  Maybe we should just remove the IDX from the web altogether and start printing up MLS Books so everyone will be FORCED to call an agent if they want information?

The whole idea here (unless I'm mistaken) is to sell HOMES, not to put barriers up to keep that from happening.  I believe the MLS is supported by agents, yet I can't imagine most web savvy agents thinking that removing ALL descriptions helps them sell homes or helps their sellers get their homes sold.  

To make the online experience of buying a home less meaningful is doing a disservice to agents and to sellers, and hobbling the ability to sell a home in this market.

I've always believed the real estate industry was about 10 years behind regarding technology.  This just proves I'm still right.

I would strongly suggest agents in Massachusetts and New Hampshire let their feelings be known to THEIR MLS that this is not acceptable.  Information should be free and open to the public and every effort should be made to facilitate the sale of a home.



Comments (23)

Vickie McCartney
Maverick Realty - Owensboro, KY
Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY

Hi Fred~ How absurd and antiquated that is!  The buyers will find another way to get the information they want.  Forcing them to call an agent is not the answer!

Nov 17, 2009 09:18 AM
Elizabeth Bolton
RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA - Cambridge, MA
Cambridge MA Realtor

Hi Fred ~ I posted about the MLSpin issue before and would love to join with others to get this insane policy changed.  What is most outrageous about it is that zillow, trulia, google, homes.com, etc. etc. DO get to post the descriptions.  They become the authority site - not the agents whose listings the MLS is comprised of.  It is soooo backwards I really can't fathom it.


Nov 17, 2009 09:32 AM
Geoff ONeill
John L. Scott Medford - Medford, OR

I think there would be a roit in the streets if they tried that in Southern Oregon.

Nov 17, 2009 09:42 AM
Fred Light
| Nashua Video Tours - Nashua, NH
Real Estate Video Tours for MA and NH

I'm actually finding that most MA agents do NOT know about this!  Who supplies these listings to the MLS?  Who pays the MLS?  Duh.  It's ridiculous.

I noticed it because I upload real estate videos to a dozen websites, like YouTube, etc. and I need descriptions of properties for those listings.  I could NOT figure out why all of a sudden I can't find them ... anywhere!  So I finally called MLSPin and they said they instituted this in August of this year.

I find it very aggravating sometimes dealing with the real estate industry.  They are just SO out of touch with today's marketplace it's not funny.

Nov 17, 2009 09:51 AM
Steve Loynd
Alpine Lakes Real Estate Inc., - Lincoln, NH
800-926-5653, White Mountains NH

Fred...A picture is worth a thousand words, many of the views the properties I have for sale are the main focus of wowing a potential buyer up north to take a look I have never liked the Innovia...photo set up. Lets hope the changes will come further and faster.

Nov 17, 2009 10:34 AM
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

I for one would like to see the whole MLS concept completely go away, with brokerages and agents in a true meritocracy and have something like GoogleBase or some other entity have every listing on the planet, fsbos, everything and then we will see how the market changes.  I cannot stand anything that is proprietary.  I respect and defend the need for intellectual property and patents, but MLSs are dinosaurs, even the good ones.  It's from a bygone era that the REALTOR community won't release it's lock on.

Nov 17, 2009 12:08 PM
Elizabeth Cooper-Golden
Huntsville Alabama Real Estate, (@ Homes Realty Group) - Huntsville, AL
Huntsville AL MLS

That is ridiculous.  We get 24 photos in my market, but are NOT allowed to display addresses on our MLS...is that not crazy? (Agents don't want them....they keep voting against it).  Lord, grab a club and drag me back into the cave. 

Nov 17, 2009 01:17 PM
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Wow, Fred, that is shocking. St. Augustine and some of the smaller beach towns have INNOVIA. We have FlexMLS which now allows us to have unlimited photos.

Nov 17, 2009 01:31 PM
Bob Haywood
McGraw Realtors - Owasso, OK

This is crazy!  We can add 12 photos here and they're not the tiny things either.  We also include address and other pertinent information as well.  You're right, consumers will find the info.  Sounds like your MLS is trying to put itself out of business.

Nov 17, 2009 02:09 PM
Riel Roussopoulos
RealtyXL Marketing Inc. - Vancouver, BC
Real Estate Marketing Expert

Don't get me going about antiquated information sharing policies.

All MLS's are still clutching to the idea that the information and access to it, is their main value.

When trying to develop social media solutions and using 2.0 technologies, the main technical hurdles are the ones to make the MLS data "safe".

I find it insulting to agents that there is no value placed on area knowledge, personal service and an agents ability to close a sale.

In the end, the more they try to control the spread of information, the more less they'll be serving the needs of the very customer that that they are supposed to be supporting.

Look at the music business and try to learn from it, when consumers needs are not being met, they make a move to where their needs ARE being met.

Apple understood that, while the music publishers did not and we can see what happened to the industry of selling music - it shifted where the consumer wanted it to be.

Nov 17, 2009 02:28 PM
Scott Miller
Best Connections Realty - Boca Raton, FL

They are a monopoly, bureaucracy and dictatorship, all wrapped up in one.  You should either vote the idiots at the top OUT of office immediately, or get together with other brokers and start a competing MLS.  


Scott Miller, Realty Associates, Boca Raton, FL 

Nov 17, 2009 04:37 PM
Russell Benson
Old Republic Title - Norman, OK
We'd love to close your deal at Old Republic!


I belong to 2 MLS systems.  My main one is Tempo which is great but the 2nd one is through Innovia and is horrible and I mean horrible to use.  Now, I don't know if your system and this one is the same or similar but my feelings are shared by many others.  I'm not sure about the photo sizes but it seems to me when looking at them they are of decent size and not as small as a postage stamp.

I would hope they could change it or maybe your board would consider using someone else for your MLS needs?

Nov 17, 2009 04:43 PM
Judy Jennings
Top Agent Plus - Middleboro, MA
Tap into Judy's real estate expertise & resources.

Fred - It is extremely annoying that MLSPin removed the comment section. We also have Cape Cod MLS and many agents put their listings on both services. You can see a description for one property, but not the other. It looks ridiculous and will cause the potential client to move on to another website to get the information somewhere else. Grrrr

I did not realize that the sites Liz mentioned above have some preferential treatment. My guess is that they PAY MLSPin extra for the comments to be visible.

Nov 17, 2009 10:41 PM
Jill McTague
RE/MAX Andrew Realty Serfvices - Medford, MA
DebOnTheWeb & Associates - Medford, MA Real Estate

I called MLSPin when they first instituted the new policy to complain, but it obviously hasn't gotten anywhere!

Nov 17, 2009 10:49 PM
J. Philip Faranda
Howard Hanna Rand Realty - Yorktown Heights, NY
Associate Broker / Office Manager

I'll tell you what I think. 

New Hampshire. Massachusetts. 

Isn't it obvious?

It's the Curse of the Bambino.  

Nov 18, 2009 02:07 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTORĀ® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

Fred, we had a Realtor rebellion against our Board leadership about five years ago. We now have a membership driven CEO and a membership driven Board. We use Houston as an example of how to benefit the public and the members. I suggest that you get a coalition together and get on the Board. Remember that MLS systems are for profit. They do take care of Board expenses, but how the money is spent beyond that is decided by a few people. I can tell you that in this period I served three years on our MLS Board. When I saw the budget and saw where money was being spent, I was angry. That has all changed because Realtors devoted to making the business better for it's members took action.

Nov 18, 2009 02:24 AM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

8 images in Maine..maybe time for a national activerain mls done right. Built by brokers not pencil pushers that are not in tune with today's need to give more information, imagery, video, details. Good to see your post Fred..missed them.

Nov 19, 2009 12:28 PM
Lesley Burton-Dallas
Turtle Clan Global - Stratford, CT
Environmental Consultant

Hi Fred!

Thanks so much for this site!!! LOVIN'IT!!!...

AR has shot us up to page one on every search after less than 3 weeks!

But we reallly miss Lance!


Lesley and Mikey

Dec 01, 2009 06:01 AM
Laura Hall

Hi Fred

This is crazy,  Who is to blame here?  MLSpin tells me all the info is there including the descriptions and it is my 3rd party idx that is not taking the feed correctly.  My 3rd party idx says it is MLSpin

Oddly only a month ago the feed to my website did include descriptions but only 250 characters not the 500 that MLSpin allows so all the descriptions were cut in half, now the descriptions have disapeared, now thats a good reason not to hang around on my website!

Laura Hall

May 04, 2010 08:00 PM
Jeanean Gendron
The Address Realty - Redding, CA
Specializing in Selling Unique Properties

Fred, we will continue to see this type of thinking go by the wayside eventually. Until then it's suffer along. Good post!

Aug 24, 2010 02:32 AM