This piece is primarily for Puerto Vallarta and Nayarit real estate companies to help them better understand how they can receive MLS feeds on their websites.
This can be handled in a few different ways. In the US and Canada, this has traditionally been done through what’s called an IDX feed. MLS systems were built upon databases that were not hosted publicly on the Internet but instead just provided this information through a back-end, member’s only, system. Realtors would sign in and have access to the MLS information. The next evolutionary stage involved realtors wanting to have this information on their websites. A problem arose though, in that the MLS services didn’t want to provide a “live” feed, as this could lead to problems and complications on what people could do with the information, such as manipulating or “stealing” it.
So what they did was come up with a system called IDX (Internet Distribution Exchange? – I have no idea), which would send out packets of information in intervals, say every 1/2 hour with the latest MLS data. This data would be picked up by a realtor’s website that had been built with a receiving database in their website. The database was set up to regularly visit the MLS data packs and update their system. So in essence, it wasn’t a live feed, but for all intents and purposes, it seemed live to the user. This limited abuse of the system.
A downside to this is that every real estate office has to build their website to be able to receive this information, which is a little more complicated than just a regular website and involves all investing in this individually. It also means that if changes are made to the MLS system, new fields, etc., realtors may need to make changes to their site as well. And if you have 1000 real estate websites, that’s a lot of people who need to make the changes at a large expense.
A second, and more recent way this can be done is to just have one central data information system, a website, that all real estate companies link into. When visitors go to use the search interface on a realtors website, they think they remain there but actually they are moved to a sub-directory of another site. The only way to tell this is if they look at the domain address. But it has all links going back to the realtor’s site. Again, for all intents and purposes, people don’t even know they have left and returned to the realtors site. Now, when changes are made to the MLS system in any way, the changes are automatic; there is no updating that realtors need to do on their sites, providing a cost saving for every office.
This method is commonly used by hotel reservations companies or travel sites such as Expedia. Expedia provides a reservations system without their navigation system but with the clients. So people get all the services that Expedia provides, but on the client’s website. And the client gets a commission on anything visitors buy.
This system is also used on our Mexico Boutique Hotel’s site. The provider is a company in Australia, so when someone is making an online reservation on the MBH site, they actually are working on the Australian company’s site, wherever it is hosted. Same goes for every one of the boutique hotel member’s sites. It provides a huge savings for all of them, something these small hotels could not otherwise afford.
The new MLS Interface for Multi-List Vallarta works in this manner. When installed on a realtor’s site, it has the look and feel of the realtor’s site, but people actually are visiting http://www.realtorcompanyname.mlsvallarta.com. They do their searching and can return anytime to other pages of the real estate company’s site as all links are the same as on their site. Again, most people would never know they left and returned from the original site. This provides huge savings for each real estate website and ensures that updates can be done easily and painlessly.