Zillow calls it a Living Data Base of All Homes. I call it a PropertyWiki. Partnering with MLSs (a pipe dream at this point, seems to be one of Zillow’s intentions.
n 2008 in my Paper, MLS of the Future, MLS 5.0 I stated that the next generation of MLS…MLS 5.0, will be a Property Wiki – a Parcel based and not listing based MLS.
A wiki is a collection of web pages, where the content is written by contributors (Wiki in plain English). Wiki software can have many uses and applications, the most well known being Wikipedia, which is an encyclopedia written by volunteer writers and editors. Companies today often use wiki software to create searchable, retrievable information about the company. A wiki begins with something referred to as a “Stub,” which can be a word or a phrase and then contributors write about the stub. Because of a concept known as the “wisdom of crowds” the information about that stub becomes more and more comprehensive and accurate. Wikis are fundamental to Web 2.0. Do not be led to believe that wikis are not accurate. To test, go to Wikipedia.org and search for a word or phrase that you are familiar with and check the accuracy.
The word wiki is the Hawaiian word for fast or quick. If you have every flown into the Honolulu International Airport, you have probably taken a ride on the Wiki Wiki Shuttle.
A property wiki then is a wiki where the stubs are property addresses or parcel numbers, to which information from contributors and editors can be added to create a comprehensive record.
Imagine a blank web site for every property address in the US. To that blank Web site imagine adding anything publicly known. Now imagine inviting the property owner and REALTORS® to add what they know about the property. While there are some concerns about accuracy, Web 2.0 concepts, self-policing, flagging, and social capital will in time minimize the inaccuracies.
This is a key to understanding MLS 5.0. A listing is merely a moment in time of the life of a property. MLS data is a subset of a larger body of data relative to a parcel of real property. Of value to REALTORS® and consumers is information about a parcel before the property is listed for sale. Property history, in one convenient place, is a valuable asset that grows in value as more information is accumulated over time. Pictures, video, audio, text and other formats of information relevant to a property and conveniently aggregated have value. A prospective buyer might be interested in pictures of a home before and after a remodel.
Zillow understand the value of a propertywiki…and from what we have heard…so does RPR.
And as the battles now escalate in earnest, remember that Zillow is an advertising site. To call it a consumer site is a push to the outer limits of my imagination, how about yours?