Leading American MLSs Form Association to Seek ‘.MLS’ gTLD

One has to wonder where people get the ideas for new generic Top Level Domains. The latest (seemingly not thought through) idea for a new gTLD to be made public is .MLS. What does “MLS” stand for I hear you ask? At least I did.

MLS stands for multiple listing services, and supposedly 15 of the leading MLSs have got together to form the MLS Domains Association, a non-profit association of real estate multiple listing services, the sole purpose of which is to obtain, manage, and promote the use of the .MLS top-level domain on the internet. The Association has announced they will apply for the gTLD late in 2010 or whenever ICANN begins taking applications. If successful, MLSs will be able to obtain domains such as Maine.MLS, Chicago.MLS, etc.

“For years, MLSs and REALTOR Associations have objected to businesses referring to themselves as ‘MLSs’ in their marketing, when in fact they are not MLSs,” said Bob Bemis, interim President of the Association and CEO of the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service. Under United States trademark law, the term “multiple listing service” is generic; MLSs cannot claim exclusive use of it. “Our goal is to create a place, the .MLS top-level domain, where the web sites actually belong to MLSs, not to other types of business,” he said.

OK, so this is an American thing and maybe we just don’t get it.

So what would be the benefits? Well, according to their news release, the Association’s leaders plan for the .MLS TLD to deliver the following benefits:

  • Unique location of MLS data on the Internet. Use and effective marketing of the .MLS TLD only by MLSs will make sites at the .MLS TLD definitive sources of listings.
  • Key geographical second-level domains (SLDs) will be available to MLSs. MLSs can obtain common second-level domains (SLDs) on .MLS that have long since been sold on the .COM, .NET, and .ORG TLDs. Domains like Maine.com, Texas.org, Chicago.net, etc., were long ago registered by non-MLS entities. Texas.MLS, Chicago.MLS, and all other location and plain English-word domain names will be available to MLSs as SLDs under .MLS.
  • Better search engine ranking for MLS public web sites. According to some search engine optimization experts, sites at .MLS domains may receive higher rankings if consumers search for “MLS” on search engines. For example, a search for “new jersey mls” on Google would likely rank a site at “newjersey.mls” high in the results. Consumers might be more prone to select search results that have .MLS TLDs because consumers may believe they will provide more reliable information.

Anyway, good luck to them if they can make it work!

For more information on the proposal, see mlsdomains.org