In my news alerts for anything related to E.W. Scripps, PR for a new site, ColoradoMLS.com, has popped up. Apparently, one of the developers previously sold a real estate site to Scripps.
It’s amazing to me that this little start up has managed to get a couple of mentions in the Colorado business press. First, calling the site “MLS” is terribly deceptive, since it doesn’t really contain data from a bona fide MLS feed; second, it isn’t hard to set up a classified vertical and offer free listings. This is hardly a revolutionary business model. In fact, Google “MLS” — listing sites of all types abound.
The Coloradoan is the latest news organization to fall for this tripe, but at least the reporter asked some questions and talked to some sources.
On the issue of using the MLS initials:
“We don’t see ourselves in direct competition with the MLS. We just saw the name as a well-recognized concept,” said Peter Niederman, co-founder. “We’re not advocating that people pull listings from MLS. This is just one more added exposure.”
And the reporter found a source with a suitably skeptical quote:
Keeping track of so many listings as they go under contract, withdraw or change will be a real challenge for the new site, said Dave Pettigrew of Prudential Rocky Mountain Realtors in Fort Collins.
“It’s easy to name and set up a Web site,” Pettigrew said. “The difficulty is attracting users. And it’s got to be a massive job to keep all the information current.”
What really deserved a stronger reportorial challenge though was the self-reported traffic data:
… traffic has grown from 64,000 hits the first day to 150,000 hits Tuesday.
I haven’t seen “hits” quoted as a business metric since about 1997. I thought that deceptive stat was retired with Mosaic. What I want to know is how many page views and how many daily unique visitors?
Well, at least Mr. Niederman is good at getting free publicity. That’s good for more “hits.”