As with everything from living beings to planets, there is evolution. Real estate and business models are no exception. I happen to believe that the evolution of technology is creating a new opportunity for the independent brokerage to create a dynamic company with happy and loyal agents.
It will be done not by fostering dependence on the brokerage, the franchise model, but by encouraging the entrepreneurial and independent contractor aspects of the agents' businesses. The technology tools are out there, and most are so inexpensive that a brokerage can create an amazing suite of tools for agents at a cost that's far below any franchise fees. And, you can do better at lead generation than taking the trickle-down leads from a national site.