Rebranding of the real estate ad service – again – after a brand problem with a Belgian startup

A real estate listing service that covers most of eastern Ohio is changing its name after realizing that its current name had already been spoken by a Belgian startup.

Yes, MLS, which has 13,300 members in Ohio and West Virginia, will become MLS Now on January 1. This is the second name change in less than three years for the Multiple Listing Service, an electronic database established by cooperating real estate brokers to provide information. on properties offered for sale.

In May 2018, the Cleveland and Akron area listing services merged to form the largest such organization in the state and adopted the name Yes MLS.

At the time, executives filed updated business records with the Ohio Secretary of State. But they didn’t realize that a Belgian real estate broker with a vision to create a global business-to-business platform had claimed the name internationally.

Public records show Anthony Deketelaere registered his company, YESMLS, with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office a month earlier, in April 2018.

The local SEO service only discovered the overlap in mid-2019 after filing a late trademark application and being denied.

That’s when Carl DeMusz, President and CEO of the Ads Department, contacted Deketelaere. The 52-year-old broker, who described YESMLS as “my baby,” was unwilling to sell the brand.

“I spent my life savings on it and more,” Deketelaere said in a video interview about his “Slow Start” which produced an app designed to foster connections and stimulate collaboration among healthcare professionals. ‘real estate.

The situation could have led to an impasse and litigation. But neither Deketelaere nor DeMusz wanted to go down this road. And then Deketelaere made a suggestion.

“It was actually the guy from Belgium who said to me, ‘Here’s another name that I looked at,’” DeMusz said of MLS Now. “We kind of became friends. We emailed and had a few phone calls. They were mostly emails and it was very cordial.”

Having experienced his own branding issues, Deketelaere was sympathetic. He had to give up the first name he had chosen for his business – ImmoZoo, taken from a French word for real estate, “real estate” – because another Belgian real estate company had taken it over.

“I hate conflict and thought it was such a shame that they did all this work,” he said of Independence-based Yes MLS. “I did some research for them and I found MLS Now and I was like, ‘My God, that’s a good name.’ … I was glad I could help them. “

This time, the local referencing service has taken all precautions: international searches, registration of trademarks, even questions about possible name conflicts with Major League Soccer groups. DeMusz said he had to purchase a new website address, but the organization was able to keep its logo – a white roofline against a red cloud.

Since the old name and the new one are both six characters long, the SEO service simply replaces one set of letters with the other on their logo. DeMusz said he came to like the new nickname. Yes, MLS has passed on a reconciliation, he said, while MLS Now feels more current – and urgent.

Nonetheless, DeMusz is hoping this rebranding will be the last in his long real estate career.

“I hope I never have to do it again,” he said, adding that the ad service experience should serve as a caveat to other businesses.

“I know that: you’re going to have legal fees,” he said. “And you’re going to invest a lot of time.”

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