There’s always something to howl about

Dispatch from the NAR IDX Rule committee Meeting

I’m sitting in the room @ NAR Mid-Year listening to the IDX Rules Committee trying to get its collective head around the use of IDX data on franchisor web sites, social media, and whether or not price change and days on market can be shown on IDX sites.

Its kinda like watching fleas on a dog debating whether not the dog should go swimming as if they had a say in the matter. Don’t these people ever learn? It was precisely by trying to control listings on the Web that they created an environment that was conducive to the growth of Trulia and Zillow and thus realized what they ostensibly fear — loss of control over the distribution of listings on Web sites and and the creation of an incentive for consumers to look for information they want on third party sites.

The Internet was designed to route around obstacles much bigger than a rules committee — like the nuclear obliteration of a network hub. Take away the ability to use IDX to sling listings to Facebook or the ability of brokers to say how long a listing has been on the market and what the price changes were and another channel will open up to provide that very information. It is the nature of the network.

For the record, the committee decided not to decide anything w/r/t social media, unanimously voted to keep a rule that prevents DOM and price changes from appearing on IDX sites, and — saving the most interesting for last — voted to suspend the rule they adopted last fall that enabled franchisors to use IDX on franchise domains.

Now these recommendations go before the Directors for a vote on Saturday which, as we learned in the “scraping” controversy, does not necessarily mean they will be followed. It will be interesting to see if the Directors decide to listen to their own subject matter “experts” (and I use that term very, very loosely) or choose to carry the franchisors water on their own.

On a side note, it was a lot of fun to sit here and re-read Greg’s recent posts about NAR while sitting in a NAR committee forum…


6 Comments so far

  1. Greg Swann May 12th, 2011 11:55 am

    Thanks for that, John. That was fun reading.

  2. Cheryl Johnson May 12th, 2011 5:45 pm

    Oh dear. I’ve lost track or I’ve become confused or whatever. Is scraping currently OK or Not-OK?

  3. Thomas Johnson May 12th, 2011 6:24 pm

    Hmmm. The evil franchisors have brokers in every MLS. They can simply aggregate their own brokers’ IDX displays. The livestock left the barn years ago. With the largest portion of the listings, the franchisors could recommend that their franchisees pull IDX permission. This could increase the frequency of double end transactions at the franchisor level. Remember, each office independently owned and operated, but if C21 BOB sells a Coldwell Banker FRED house, Realogy still double ends. The franchise agreements could be redone to incentivize “in the family” transactions to encourage this behavior and the brokers would rewrite agent commission agreements to encourage agents to “keep it in the family”.

    The franchisors could also allow their brokers to abandon NAR membership in those markets where the franchise has market dominance. The big franchised brokers could probably increase profitability by double ending a greater proportion of their listings after abandoning the MLS system. The franchised brokers could also create their own organization and merge their listings into a super VOW. If Realogy (C21,ERA,Coldwell Banker, Better Homes and Sotheby’s), RE/MAX, Prudential and whomever else were to consolidate listings on a national franchise platform, it would represent probably close to 80% of the listings. I could see a non- franchise coop offered to independents that would be less than a franchise coop, shifting franchise royalties to the backs of the independents much like a relo commissionectomy. The franchisors certainly have the legal wherewithal to get this through the DOJ and the state realty commissions.

    Another step toward NAR 300k members.

  4. Teri Lussier May 13th, 2011 5:19 am

    >For the record, the committee decided not to decide anything

    Hmmm. I might be willing to pay them another $40.00/year if they would agree to spend their days sequestered away in committee meetings talking about stuff. 😉

  5. Jim Klein May 13th, 2011 8:34 am

    > For the record, the committee decided not to decide anything

    Great minds think alike; I loved that line too, Teri. I kept thinking, “If only they could learn to do that in all the governments…” Thanks for the insight, John.

  6. Gary May 18th, 2011 8:53 am

    Dealing with MLS groups is difficult, especially for an independent. They seem to dominated by the bigger players, and they don’t understand the technical issues they are facing. But many do seem to understand that if paperwork is turned in late, a fine is called for. Commercial real estate people like myself, are simply starting to opt out of the MLS entirely.