The Canadian Real Estate Association has secured the rights to the top-level domain extension “.mls”, after bidding US$3.36 million in an auction held on December 17. The association emerged victorious after a bidding war with Afilias, a global registry company based in Dublin, Ireland.

CREA had earlier attempted to avoid having the rights go to auction by applying for a Legal Rights Objection against Afilias, a process open to parties who believe they have a legal right to the domain extension. CREA has registered Canadian certification marks for the letters MLS and the term “multiple listing service”, and is the exclusive licensee of the Realtor trademark, in Canada.

However this objection was unsuccessful, with a panel of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) ruling in favour of Afilias, noting “The Panel cannot see the justification for refusing to allow the Applicant [Afilias] to operate in every country because the Objector [CREA] has a certification mark for a generic term in Canada.”

CREA then proceeded with a Community Priority Evaluation for .mls, which can be made by organizations that have a unique “community” association with the domain. The rules require that at least 14 of 16 evaluation points must be met in order to be successful, but it was determined that CREA only met 11.

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“This win is a great example of how CREA and NAR (National Association of Realtors) are working together for the benefit of our members. MLS systems are widely recognized by consumers as a go-to resource when they want to buy or sell real estate,” says CREA president Beth Crosbie in a news release. “Owning the .mls domain protects the integrity of what the MLS trademark signifies to Realtors, consumers and real estate boards and associations.”

“It was important to keep the .mls domain in the Realtor family, and NAR was happy to work with our Canadian cousins in this effort,” says NAR president Chris Polychron in the release. “As Realtors on both sides of the border, we all stand together to create order for real estate information on the Internet and give our members the online advantages they need to best serve their clients and customers.”

NAR also holds the rights to the .realtor and .realestate top-level domains. NAR has a marketing partnership with CREA that allows CREA members to use the .realtor domain.

NAR worked with CREA to secure the .mls domain through its wholly owned subsidiary, the Realtors Information Network. The MLS Domains Association, a non-profit group of 55 U.S. multiple listing services, was also in support of CREA’s application, says NAR.

CREA applied for the .mls top-level domain through the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the entity that co-ordinates domains and IP addresses for the Internet.


  1. In all my decades in real estate, in my view, this is by far the best move that CREA has ever made. Not a cheap or easy decision and a tough hill to climb gathering support. Well done and thanks for protecting our business!! Bring on 2015 and the years of success with MLS yet to come!!

  2. Curious ” … Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the entity that co-ordinates domains and IP addresses for the Internet.

  3. Aggravated member et al – you miss the point completely – the value of .MLS far exceeds the price paid. Protecting intellectual property is far more important these days than ever before – because of the internet. As a member of CREA for more than 40 years I can attest to the value of MLS and the value to which all REALTORS should attribute to control of the MLS symbols and uses. To the rest of the naysayers you only need chat with any active U.S. REALTOR to know just how valuable they think our one stop control of MLS in Canada.
    To Neo – just Google the name your calling a non REALTOR before pontificating with tripe. And if you can’t compete with mere posters YOU are the non REALTOR. :-)
    Happy New Year all ..

    • Honestly, to me it seems like what we have considered our Intellectual Property can and has been given away by the likes of the Competition Bureau so why do we bother to keep paying and playing this game?

  4. I never usually comment on these things because I have far more important things to do…however, I find that spending any money to just prove a point on the net is a complete waste of money…”mine and yours together as members”!! As one of the comments stated that we will just end up paying “extra” to pay for it, I also firmly believe that this .mls will net us exactly zero in return now or in the future. Wake up CREA! We are in the physical real estate industry, not intellectual property. I say we go back to the Dublin company that we out-bid and beg them to buy it back from us, then CREA should ask “us, the members” with half a brain what we could actually spend our money on that would actually bring us a return on the investment.

  5. Do I smell a fee increase coming for all of you registrants? Merry Christmas! Let’s see…3.59 million dollars divided by 109,000 registrants equals…$30.82, plus HST (Holy Shit! Tax) per tax payer. Doesn’t seem too bad for a one-time-hit when it is distributed equally amongst the rate payers. So easy to spend when it is someone else’s money. If only CREA had met the 14 point evaluation bar. CREA failed again, but succeeded in paying more for the name than anybody else. CREA is like the Toronto Maple Leafs; mired in mediocrity, never good enough for a successful post season, if the post season is even realized at all. Like the Leafs, CREA is due for a mega trade. Let’s see; ten key punchin’ upper management CREAcrats for one really good, loyal to the team (you guys and gals) street fightin’ brawler…at a tenth the combined salary, plus performance bonus, of the misbegotten sent down to the minors from whence they came. Do I hear an opening bid?…………………………………………………………………….
    Is there anybody out there?……………………………………………………………
    Looks like nobody wants ’em. Yer stuck with ’em, President Crosbie’s what ya can ‘n’ can’t say coach’s ‘n’ all.

    • Correction: That should be 3.359 million dollars, not 3.59 million as I noted. I guess I would make a perfect CREAcrat. What’s a few hundred thousand one way or the other?

  6. Now that crea has bought this with our money I gave no doubt that now there will be a crusade to now sell it back to the membership at high prices per domain. Reality is that the three letters after the dot mean little as search engines which drive traffic are unlikely to show a website on the first page of results even if you enter the entire website address as a search criteria. As usual our money has been wasted by a dinosaur organization more interested in its own affairs and survival than that of the membership.

  7. Hmmm…. Where exactly does CREA get that kind of money from?!
    Oh, must be from all the fees paid by the Realtors! And what exactly does the MLS do for the Realtors who PAY to have the “privilege”? I mean don’t we just serve it on a silver platter to the mere listing companies who go against the Relators and take our bread after they have already taken our bread? Funny business this real estate!

    • Too bad you’re so busy ranting you haven’t thought this through before commenting.

      “Relators”?? Really?

      • The spelling cops arrived! crap, time to slow down and focus on spelling and grammar instead of the issue at hand…

    • I agree with you and would just add that it warms my and makes me feel warm and fuzzy, given that CREA a couple of years ago couldn’t find a mil. Or 2 to defend it’s membership against the Competition Bureau but can spend 3 mil. Plus for these rights, there is something wrong with this picture and it really brings into and begs the question who or what is CREA! !! Just an afterthought did I get to vote on that expenditure?

  8. Excuse me if I sound somewhat ignorant, but if CREA and NAR now own the rights to MLS, how do others have the right to post on MLS. I fail to understand why MLS must share this name, yet other big names i.e Coca-Cola, McDonalds , just to name a few own the rights to these synonimous trade names, that are not shared with others.

      • It’s clear you’re not a Realtor but still… do some research before posting – You might though be involved in the mere listing junk we keep seeing littering our MLS. Do you call yourself a Realtor? You are not – you just found a legal way to circumvent our system but your days are numbered I hope.. it’s a real shame to see that garbage in our industry – trying to undercut undercut, cheaper, cheaper until there is no more to cut – then you quit and find another industry to leech from. Been doing this for 2 1/2 decades and JUST recently the whole industry has degraded substantially. “Realtors” doing whatever they want like the wild west – anything goes. Now you even give people money to work with you or find you a client. All the competition bureau did was degrade the integrity of our industry and allow for more unscrupulous people in.


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