Videos in the MLS and the Long Tail of Real Estate Search

Jan 20, 2008  |  Michael Wurzer

One of the best videos I’ve seen linked into the flexmls Web system is from Jeremy Hart at NRV Living in the New River Valley MLS.


Jeremy highlights the energy efficiency of the Auz-Bloc or Timbercrete siding on the house. I think this is the kind of detail for which buyers are looking and it raises an excellent question of if and how such details should be tracked in the MLS system. As Greg Kilwein from FBS has said, “MLS systems today capture what is common about properties but what sells the property is what’s uncommon.” The MLS could leverage the long-tail of real estate search, but the question is whether it should? Data quality is a constant concern and trying to track extra details like this may make that more difficult. On the other hand, if these kinds of details are what sell homes, maybe the agents would be more inclined to pay attention to these kinds of details. Either way, capturing these details in a video like Jeremy has done is very useful.

P.S. In an upcoming post, I’ll be highlighting Craig Mische from Alexandria, Minnesota, who also makes good use of video. Stay tuned.

9 Responses to “Videos in the MLS and the Long Tail of Real Estate Search”

  1. Bob Bemis says:

    Greg Kilwein’s quote is important. I’m convinced that MLSs need to reexamine their purpose, their definition, and their mission in the face of growing competition from all sides. We MLS operators won’t continue to serve our realty constituents if we just keep doing the same old thing – facilitating cooperation, hosting data, and doing our best to make sure the data is factual. MLSs that will thrive will be those who recognize that the MLS IS a marketing medium and can serve two audiences (agents and consumers) equally well if they put their minds to it. That means not only allowing but also offering innovative tools and techniques that convey what is “uncommon” about each listing.

    The YouTube approach will give many MLSs heartburn. There is no way to control the content, and what many MLSs fear most is loss of control. I heard of one system operator who banned a particular virtual tour provider because the VT-Op had the audacity to allow agents to change the captions of the photos/videos without oversight of the tour vendor. H-O-R-R-O-R-S. And since the MLS’s screening bots couldn’t read the captions, they just banned the tool. So rather than give agents a new tool, with which to be innovative and different, they took away the tool because in the hands of a very small minority it might be “dangerous.”

    We as an industry need to do better than that.

    As an aside, I watched the video and immediately went to Google to see if there was any application for Auz-Bloc in Phoenix. We don’t have a snow problem, quite the opposite. It’s 115+ here in the summer. I don’t know how long Jeremy’s video and blog have highlighted this listing, but he managed to capture the top four spots on the first page of the Google search for “Auz Bloc Arizona.” The top spot includes the address of the house – Jeremy, your seller has to love you. But it also shows what reach these new marketing tools, new media, and new thinking can have.
    Bob Bemis
    Arizona Regional MLS

  2. Awesome comment, Bob, and great tip on the Google juice from video! That’s deserving of another post. Or maybe something over at Phoenix Real Estate Technology Exchange.

  3. Ben Martin says:

    Rah, rah Virginia REALTORS! Michael, you should have the opportunity to meet Jeremy and 500+ of Virginia’s virtuoso REALTORS when you speak to VAR next month. Look forward to seeing you in February. We’ll be freezing but you’ll probably think it’s downright tropical!

  4. Ha, no doubt! Maybe I’ll bring my beach towel. 😉

  5. Jeremy Hart says:

    All – thanks for the comments. My wife thought I was crazy when I said “let’s go to Floyd and record some video”, but it seemed the perfect time. We hadn’t had weather like that in a while and when it started snowing last Thursday I figured no better time than now!

    Bob, there is a HUGE market for this kind of application in places like Phoenix … or Dallas, or Vegas, or “Insert Location Here”. The block can be applied just like concrete, and is a great alternative not only for exterior walls but also things like sidewalks, pool decks, etc., because it’s cool to the touch.

    If you’d like, email me ( and I’ll get you in touch with the owner here in our area. Maybe there’s a connection there that we can work out.

  6. John C says:

    Great work on the video, Jeremy. A question for both Jeremy and Michael – When he uploaded and linked that video to the MLS, did it not matter that the video is “branded” with his website URL? In our flexmls uploading process, it asks us to load a branded and non-branded version. I always have done my videos as a non-branded link, which I take to mean that you can’t promote your own URL or phone # within the video. Am I wrong about the definition of branded / non-branded? Or does Jeremy’s MLS not care? Maybe they don’t have the rules that we do.

    Either way, great work on an informative, original video.

    John C
    Lake Martin, AL

  7. […] few days ago, I posted about a video from Jeremy Hart and a couple of the comments here at the FBS Blog and over at Phoenix Real Estate […]

  8. Great question, John. In fact, I thought it worth another post to see if others had similar questions. In Jeremy’s case, there was no problem with the MLS rules, but I think the nature of video makes the issue of branding/no-branding very interesting, yet hopefully not confounding.

  9. […] Highlights:  This is the second in what may become a series of posts highlighting real estate agents we know who are blogging or […]