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…

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