A friend of Curbed SF tipped us to CleanOffer, an online service offering 100% MLS access to potential buyers in San Francisco. Realtors are the customer here, using CleanOffer to control access to the full-on professional version of the MLS for buyers with a committed "agent relationship." We at Curbed don't understand the branding concepts behind CleanOffer but we do understand the concept of less work for Mother.
CleanOffer enables realtors to permit their web-happy (better than web-savvy, no?) clients to do their own passwword-protected shopping in the MLS without having to come up with listings and those pesky comparables day in and day out. For the client, it's why leave the house when you can drive by online? And clients can do it in the middle of the night if they so desire, notching realty porn up one access level. After enumerating benefits like "great to keep track of the market" our tipster confessed to "total addiction."
Of course none of this answers the question of why there's restricted information on the MLS in the first place. Or the liability question: is permitting access to restricted information compromising the realtor's fiduciary duty to the seller by exposing it to buyers? Alternately, since the MLS is based on data provided by the realtors, does any of this matter anyway?