What's in the best interests of agents?

Jan at the logical dog has set up a petition that requests the NWMLS board to reverse it’s decision and continue sending listings to Realtor.com.

This got me thinking about the often-interesting dynamic between the “best interests” of brokers vs the “best interest” of agents, which is something I’ve heard Russ Cofano talk to quite eloquently. However, I really don’t have a feel for how agents feel about this issue. Is the decision to stop sending listings scene as something that was “thrust” upon agents, or is it something they advocated for? Because of the NWMLS unusual status of a “broker-owned” MLS, I’m assuming the former, but I’ve been wrong before so I’d be interested in hearing from agents in the audience…

138 thoughts on “What's in the best interests of agents?

  1. Ardell: No one there really answers the question… Is this something that is in the best interest of agents or do agents view this as another way that brokers are flexing their local muscle at agent’s expense? There is a third option as well in that the best interest of agents and brokers are so well aligned that my question is meaningless?

  2. Dustin,
    I never liked the relationship between NAR and Realtor.com. It seemed like be married to a devil that always has it’s hand always in your pocket. In NWMLS territory, we basicially have a free MLS, where all the players have all the inventory including a public site from the MLS. Realtor.com has never had Windermere listings in it, so from the start and end, Realtor.com didn’t represent enough listings in the NW for consumer credibility anyway

    The primary reason explained to me for Windermere’s absence was accuracy of information. That being said, Realtor.com has the reputation for being highly inaccurate.

    While I agree that exposure is one of the things a Seller hires a LA for, besides free MLS exposure, we can post in criagslist, google earth (where all Windermere listings go), and 6-8 other real estate and classified lisiting services.

    I have only had one Seller ask about Realtor.com. I said no, he listed anyway and the property sold.

    Speaking for myself, I”m glad the MLS broke that chain. The NWMLS article indicated that the vote by the board was 12-2. This vote wasn’t a squeaker.

    You ask is this in the best interest of agents? Realtor.com wasn’t a real factor in the NW before the NWMLS pulled out. I’m pleased the brokers are making a stand for free, accurate information.

  3. Why build another newspaper money pit. Every year the newspapers raise their ad rates and the brokers continue to pay. The papers up until recently have had the monopoly on real estate ad dollars. Once the public is educated that the best place to search for listings is X I guarantee you X will become very expensive. If you want to find listings you should go to a broker site or an agent site. The agents that say listings should be every place are thinking very short sighted. These same agents will be complaining when it goes from free to pay. I remember when R.com said that the most an agent would pay would be $99 a year. Well that only lasted 2 years now agents are paying Thousands of dollars a year plus buying leads. As Greg said in the NW R.com is not the most used site the brokers sites are the most used.

  4. Allen: I can’t surprised to hear your off-topic opinion…. We know that you don’t like RDC’s business model (which does not sell any leads by the way), but that doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not the NWMLS was trying to benefit agents or brokers (or both) with their action.

    Greg: do you really think it was the accuracy of the information? I hear stories that back in the good ‘ol days many MLS’ didn’t have web services of any kind and would send a daily (sometimes only weekly for the smaller MLSs) FedEx to the RDC offices with the updated listings on a disk! Needless to say, accuracy has increased tremendously since those days! 🙂

  5. Dustin,
    As I said, that is how it was explained. No doubt, control is a huge issue as well.

    We do know that R.com does have accuracy issues, let’s give them the benifit of improvement. It’s still not accurate and we have to pay.

    With our locally owned MLS, that is free and accurate, why play on thier field? What is the benefit to the consumer and what is the benefit to our MLS brokers for listing on R.com? In my mind, the only possible argument that can be made is for relocating clients……but I think we need to give them credit for being able to find Windermere or John L Scott (and other members) websites. I think in the end, the consumer will always choose complete and accurate and it seems we have that. And think about this, if the information is not complete and accurate both the consumer and the broker could be harmed. I would guess that IF the NWMLS changed their stance, mega brokers like Windermere would STILL decline to participate.

    Here’s a question. Do consumers (and real estate agents) around the country percieve R.com as complete and accurate?

  6. Greg: I’m pretty sure I understand what you mean by “complete”, but what do you mean by “accurate”? Is it the speed of updates? Or do you mean that the information is often wrong?

  7. Well, I’m a little light on my RE.net 1.0 history… But here’s my understanding…

    Once upon a time, there was a company called Microsoft that made a RE portal called MSN HomeAdvisor and a company formerly known Homestore, whose RE portal was called Realtor.com.

    To quote from the web pages of history

    Their goals were the same, but their methods were different – to attract and retain as many consumer eyeballs as possible. Realtor.com wanted to obtain as many exclusive MLS listing agreements as possible, limiting the number of listings available on competing sites. HomeAdvisor wants all listings open to all portals – especially theirs.

    The battle raged with gusto, and both sides fought dirty. HomeAdvisor cried out at the hypocrisy of exclusive listings by Realtors who are supposed to give listings the most exposure possible. Realtor.com used HomeAdvisor’s outsider status as a weapon – what does Bill Gates want with listings except to milk other services through the Realtor?

    Microsoft lost this fight due, in part, to the FUD tactics played by Realtor.com. Eventually, MS left the real estate web content biz and focused on more important things (launch the XBox, invent .net, fight the DOJ, take away the towels from the employee locker rooms, etc…) and most of the other players of that era have gone extinct (remember Homeseekers – ticker HMSK?)

    Ironically, after this “victory”, Realtor.com became the very thing the that they accused Microsoft of being, and as a result I think they lost their way with the real estate community they were supposed to serve.

    After a few years of darkness, a new dawn came. The web 2.0 era emerged with new competitors such as Trulia, Zillow, Google and others, with exciting new technologies and new business opportunities to explore. Despite the new battlefield, the same arguments and fears against change rage on.

    How will the RE.net 2.0 era turn out? That’s up to you….

  8. Robbie,
    Well said.

    What I mean be accurate is 1. ALL listings and 2. Pending and Sold need to drop out faster. They remain ACTIVE after the property has sold.

  9. Dustin,

    Im sorry if you felt my post was off topic. But I feel it talked about the core issues that are facing the brokers and agents (cost of doing business). Brokers and Agents should be in control of where they want to spend their marketing dollars. When the mls gets involved in marketing it has a very deep financial impact on the members especially the larger companies.

    As far as selling leads Move has been very active in this.


    Top Producers top marketer program?

    These sites are advertised and promoted on R.com as well as owned and operated by move. So Move absolutely is in the lead business.

  10. Whether it’s Eastern Washington not caring enough about Western Washington or Seattle not caring about anything but its local environs, I see a lot of small thinking in decision making.

    NWMLS is huge, and has incorporated many small towns far from Seattle. I’m remembering a call I received from a client who saw a lot by the ocean for less than $100,000 on Realtor.com. She bought it or one nearby it.

    If NWMLS is going to incorporate a HUGE member base, then they have to consider that member base when making decisions. Ocean Park and other Coastal towns often have a few small brokerages serving the real estate needs there. They had only joined NWMLS a few months prior to my client finding that lot on Realtor.com

    Realtor.com benefitted them, and many other 2nd home areas to the West and North, whose buyers rarely come from within the town itself. The agents are not super tech savvy out there and rely on the MLS they joined to consider their needs, and not just the needs of the Seattle Area.

    I agree that here in the Seattle Area our clients rarely use Realtor.com to search for property. But NWMLS is HUGE and their decisions affect many agents with small brokerages in small towns.

    I think it is unconscionable for a decision maker to vote on any issue based on self interest. If you are going to run for, and be elected to, a position where your decisions affect brokerages that are not yours, the decision must reflect the benefits to other Brokers MUCH MORE than to your brokerage. Otherwise you are voting to gain advantage over the other Brokerages, it is your charge to protect.

    How does pulling out of Realtor.com benefit the NWMLS members who are not part of the big machine? Every day more and more agents start smaller companies to try new ideas.

    When large brokers are in their own offices, they can certainly make decisions that benefit only them. But when voting as a Director of NWMLS the self interest decision is deplorable.

    If a NWMLS Director can’t understand that they represent ALL members and MOSTLY the least of them, and especially the small ones far away, when making NWMLS decisions, how are we to believe that they aren’t always and purely self interest motivated in all of their decisions regarding consumers as well.

    You don’t run for and get elected to positions of power to push through self interest agendas, any more than you run for City Council just to make sure the area around your house is benefitted by Council decisions.

    How does pulling out of Realtor.com benefit the small towns out on the Coastal Areas who recently joined NWMLS to gain exposure?

  11. I agree with Ardell. It seems the decision favors the big & urban brokers since they don’t need the exposure that the small & rural brokers would.

    What’s the make up of the NWMLS directors? All from big brokers I assume?

  12. Robbie,

    The board is made up of both large and small brokers. The vote was 12-2 not even a close vote.


    I disagree with you we provide services to many large and small brokers from the city to the back woods and on the beach. I feel this decision has empowered them more then damaged them. Some just have to sign a piece of paper and their listings will continue to be advertised on R.com. The difference is they control what they send when they send and how often the send the data. If the MLS would not have offered to provide this service in the beginning we wouldn’t be having this discussion and brokers would already have their process in place.

    The funny thing is we would probably be in a better situation if the board never agreed to send the data. Back when they first agreed to send the data R.com would have done anything to get the data. The brokers could have told them how they wanted to deliver the data instead now the process is dictated by move. The broker is not in the driver seat anymore but I feel the mls is helping get them back into it.

  13. Greg,

    Thanks for the clarification… From your earlier descriptions of accuracy, you made it sound like the data being published was wrong on a regular basis, but I can see that your real issue is with the speed of updates. That has very little to do with RDC, and much more to do with the feed that is sent by the NWMLS. Anyway, accuracy as you’ve defined it (speed of updates) is an easy technology fix should all the parties want more quicker updates. I can tell you that some of the backend changes that went along with the launch of the new RDC site mean that the site *can* update listings quite quickly, but not all the MLS’ want RDC to update as quickly as local broker sites…

  14. Allan,

    I totally don’t follow you… The RDC staff still goes out of their way to get data in any form. Ask Robbie how hard it is to add one new MLS to his backend and then multiple that by 800 or so since just about every MLS uses unique fields in their feeds that are often locally (or regionally) specific and occasional change without much notice.

    Anyway, Allan, I can tell from you comments that you’re still stuck fighting a battle with an RDC staff and business model that existed years ago…

  15. Greg,

    I just read your comments again and I realized I should clear something up lest you spread disinformation… You said “we have to pay” in order to get listed on RDC. I see that written a lot (especially on ActiveRain). However, there is no fee paid by anyone in the real estate industry to get listed on RDC. NAR doesn’t kick in any money to run RDC… No MLS fees get paid to Move… No agent dues go toward running RDC. Nothing. And yet (assuming the local MLS agrees to take part), all listings are presented (for free!).

  16. Dustin, I would say what’s best for agents is a consistent rule set for how the MLS will share their listings with other organizations. Right now only agents and brokers can display all the NWMLS listings on their sites. That’s a consistent, albeit strict rule. Before the rule change, Realtor.com received the listings with special considerations but any other organization that agreed to use the listings in the same way that Realtor.com used them was not allowed to use or display them. Realtor.com was given the exclusive non-broker feed and for no apparent reason. Additionally, as I understand it, Realtor.com was free of many of the rules that NWMLS brokers must follow.

    I’m not sure how sharing listings with Realtor.com is good for agents. I’d get the “it’s good for consumers” argument, but then I’d hope you were arguing for sharing listings with all organizations that meet a minimum criteria (or no criteria at all).

    I would suggest that if you want to use the NWMLS listings, you should consider becoming a licensed brokerage in Washington (as ShackPrices.com has) or post evocative questions about opening the data up for all comers, not just for the biggest player in the industry.

  17. As always, Galen, you provide a unique perspective that is very much appreciated…

    You’re definitely right that the fact that RDC is owned by NAR gives it some unique benefits… However, one of the guiding principals of the site is that it created a level playing field for all agents as they could all be equally represented for free. The reality is that NAR’s position in the industry (i.e. they are the National Association of Realtors) makes them unique qualified to take on this task of creating an equal playing field for all Realtors (although I fully suspect many on this thread would take issue with NAR’s implementation).

    I say this because RDC is not just another “big site”, but rather a site that is open to all Realtors… Your position definitely doesn’t surprise me as you are a local broker trying to make a living as a website owner… so, of course, you could see RDC as competition.

  18. Dustin,

    It’s not just the schema differences. If everything was just a database server or just a txt file, I could deal with it easily. It’s the different data access mechanisms and the data lifetime models that drive me nuts. Some MLSes are HTTP web services, Some FTP txt files, Some FTP zipped files, Some are firewalled SQL servers, Some store all current data on the server, Some only store todays data on the server, Some use RETS, etc…

    Unfortunately, judging by the design of the R.com feed spec, it obvious you guys believe if it’s tough to import, it should be tough to export. For example, the differences between Trulia and Propsmart standards took me less than 2 hours to resolve. Schema is just field name changes, mechanisms & lifetime are deeper code changes. If you want to compete and win in a world in which R.com is just another RE portal, you need to make your standard easier to support.


    Totally agree with you. I don’t know why R.com gets preferential treatment from MLSs. I don’t care what the rules are, as long as they are consistent applied.

  19. Dustin,

    What makes R.com not just another “big site”? What does R.com offer to brokers or agents that Zillow, Trulia, Propsmart, Oodle, or GoogleBase doesn’t, won’t or can’t offer?

    All of these sites are just as happy to present my clients listings for free as R.com is and they are easier and cheaper to support as well!

  20. Dustin,

    I know you work for the current move not the old homestore. However I have had the pleasure of having both Stuart Wolfe and Mike Long sit across my desk and tell me how things were going to be. Both of them talked about this huge contract between them and NAR. That agreement has never been enforced properly. That is not moves fault that is NAR’s fault. Simple example is why are there non realtor listings on the site?

    I have seen very little improvement in the responsiveness of move. I have sent 9 emails to the enterprisegroup and have left 3 messages in the last 4 weeks but have yet to hear a word from them. That doesn’t speak well for them. As far as your comment that move isn’t in the lead business what do you call sites like.


    All these sites distribute or claim to distribute leads. These sites are linked off R.com and linked off the bottom of each listing. Wasn’t TopMarketer specifically designed to distribute move leads?

    As far as data processing I have been sweeping data from mls’s since 1994 (screen scraping days). We currently deal with MLS’s all around the country that make data available in every possible format you can think of. If move is still struggling in the data collection process they are in worse shape then I thought.

    To be clear I have no grudge or issue with R.com my interest has always been in helping agents and brokers to be more professional and keeping them as the first point of contact. R.com only feels the agent should be the First Point of Contact if you pay for it. The agent doesn’t even get his name on the listing unless he is paying move.

  21. Its about the consumer – NAR boasts Realtor.com gets 6 million hits a month, Does anyone care? In the Ocean of billions of online daily hits on much better sites Realtor.com looks soft as a Internet contender. NAR and Realtor.com dont seem to have the best interest of the online consumer, OUR CLIENTS, in mind with the current restrictions. Whether being a NAR member or not, NWMLS listings will show up on NAR brokerage web site. If NAR members become members of other MLS organizations and the NAR brokerage is accepted for data downloads from the MLS site everyones listings, non-NAR member s included, will be viewed on that NAR brokerage members web site anyway. Those listings should then show up on R.com – NAR could generate more dollars by allowing individual Brokers and agents to join and lead by example instead to work in a clan type concept. NAR declined our company from becoming a NAR member because my agents do not current want to join NAR. One NAR Broker used this COSTCO analogy – He wanted the discounts and member benefits so he joined COSTCO – However – He was not required to have his entire family tree join to become a COSTCO member! What about the consumer? Thank you Jan!

  22. Allen,

    Dustin wasn’t censoring you, but Askimet’s spam filter was… I unmarked one of your comments, since it appears to have been posted in triplicate…

  23. Allen: Sorry about getting caught in the filter… My guess is that your three links in one comment caught the attention of the spam filter, but the spam solution I use is really a black box that I can’t see into (a pretty darn effective blackbox, but a blackbox nonetheless)… Please let me know if that happens again.

  24. Robbie, you talk about the mediocre implementation and I’m almost positive that you’re thinking of it from a completely technical perspective (as oppose to a business perspective) because it would appear that the solutions offered by you and Galen are more technology advanced.

    Maybe a little story will give you a picture about my current philosophy… After watching hours and hours of consumer testing of both Move’s products and our competitors, the thing I’ve been forced to accept is that most consumers in the market are completely confused by maps. I fully suspect that someone like Joel is always always always going to prefer the map-based interface on ShackPrices. However, the bulk of consumers look for any way they possible can to avoid a map and when they do get a map in front of them in their home search (especially of a new and unfamiliar area), they get quickly frustrated. This has been a painful realization for myself as I am (and continue to be) one of Move’s most adamant proponents of better implementation of mapping technology. The reason I mention this is because sometimes the “coolest” or “most advanced” solution is not the right solution for a site that serves a huge and diverse demographic.

    Your question was “why is the NAR’s implementation so mediocre?” and for that, I really can’t give an answer other than to say, I’ve been working to create more “cool” stuff, but the reality is that the technology works very well and the bulk of real estate consumers are very comfortable with the existing website, so small incremental improvements are the only way forward…

  25. Rick: I’m sure there’s a “there there”, but I couldn’t follow your logic… Sentences like “NAR declined our company from becoming a NAR member because my agents do not current want to join NAR” imply that there is more to your situation than meets the eye…

  26. Allen: You hit on a bunch of different topics, so forgive me if I don’t answer them all… It was way before my time when the folks at NAR decided to include all MLS listings on Realtor.com from a participating MLS (and not just listings from Realtors). My guess is that they decided completeness would better serve consumers and so NAR just bit the bullet on that one, but I could be wrong. Considering the existing legal climate, I doubt anyone wants to take on that issue besides a few bloggers looking for linkbait! 🙂

    In terms of lead generation, none of the sites you mention sell leads to real estate agents (yes, move does sell leads to moving companies through moving.com, but that has nothing to do with RDC’s business model, and I was clearly talking about Move’s Realtor business). The Top Marketer site is clearly designed to get consumers to click through and contact an agent, but that concept holds for almost any type of online advertising and no leads are sold by Move.

    Again, you obviously do have a grudge because you’re stuck on old business models and old technology issues… I have no problem with you having a grudge and I imagine it is people like you that keep the RDC folks on their toes. 🙂

  27. Ok guys,
    Dustin, your question was tl agents and brokers, and you tech guys took over!

    With 2.0, the I believe we’re seeing the tip of the iceberg on new listing aggregators. There’s a bunch right now, and we may have as many as a dozen new ones being worked on right now by enterprising guys like you.

    My question is this? Why should the NWMLS, send their listings to just R.com? Is having NWMLS listings in R.com a benefet to their members? The NWMLS didn’t ban it’s brokers from posting, but it did stop the MLS feed. Taking the discussion away from tech issues, how do agents and brokers benefit? I just don’t see the benefits.

    Won’t the consumer find what they want in NWMLS territrory when they go on line?

  28. Dustin,

    Could you maybe start a new topic on Maps VS Text. I find this very interesting. We have done tons of research with 1000’s of users all across the country.

    Move is a for profit company and Mike Long is a good guy. Mike needs to look out for his investors and the agents and brokers need to look out for themselves. I don’t believe that RDC is the lion over the hill that was so 1999. NAR needs to step up enforce its agreements and protect its members.

    I will end on this thread there is only so much RDC bashing you can do in weekend :).

  29. Dustin,

    Actually, it was from a business and feeds perspective (not the site itself). What differentiates R.com from the other RE.net portals? It seems all RE.net portals will take your listings for free and try to sell you value add advertising to go with it. (so from my perspective R.com is just a Trulia with more traffic, more listings, and less compelling technology).

    Also, why is your feed process so complex vs your competitors? End users don’t care about the feed process, but developers and the clients they bill do! If a broker has to pay their IDX vendor to provide these feeds to 3rd parties, why is R.com worth a larger investment than providing a Trulia feed would cost?

    Regarding the site and the Maps vs Text debate – I think the best sites present it as an option, versus making the choice for you. I think ShackPrices is too map centric for me (although I like the mapping implementation). I think Zearch is in general too text centric in it’s searching (perhaps old fashioned is a better word), but I like how my results & details page present both views. R.com to it’s credit doesn’t force it’s choice on you. Granted, IMHO, there are better mapping implementations, but you already knew that. 😉

  30. Greg and Allen: Thanks again for taking part… I do appreciate that you guys are interested enough to keep taking part! 🙂 However, rather than continue in circular conversations: (“What are the benefits?” … “Here are the benefits” … ‘Yeah, but what are the benefits?”… “Here are the benefits”), I’m going to take a break for the rest of the weekend as well…

  31. I agree with Robbie here – Realtor.com’s #1 concern is making money for Realtor.com. Whether they provide lip service to agents, brokers or themselves, they, just like everyone else in the industry, want to make money. Realtor.com is in many ways a more profitable version of many of the other listing aggregators in the industry. Most new contenders are aiming to be “a site that is open to all Realtors” but most of us would include agents who aren’t Realtors too.

    You listed the benefits, but I come back to the question: why not lobby for other for profit organizations to receive the same (special) treatment as your own? Just because Realtor.com shares a name with an agent-friendly non-profit doesn’t mean they have a lock on being agent-friendly, right?

    Your position definitely doesn’t surprise me as you are an employee of Realtor.com trying to keep a lock on the special (and profitable) privileges your company once received… so, of course, you could see a fair playing field as competition.

  32. “Just because Realtor.com shares a name with an agent-friendly non-profit doesn’t mean they have a lock on being agent-friendly, right?”

    Here’s a couple of examples of how Realtor.com is better than other “new business models” trying to get in on the act.

    It’s about the homeOWNER and not the Realtor. Lots of New Business Models don’ t understand the fundamental concerns of owners the way Realtor.com MUST, given their control by NAR.

    1) Zillow won’t let the property OUT once it is IN. So who says the NEW owner wants the inside photos of their house on the internet forever? The owner who SOLD IT put them in there, not the CURRENT OWNER. Zillow says “tough beans”! Once we’ve got the info, we’re not letting the info back out. Seems current owner should be able to opt out since they never chose to be in there in the first place, and they do own the house now.

    2) Some people don’t want their lovely homes referred to as “shacks” 🙂

    To be an aggregator of HOMES you first have to understand that it IS someone’s HOME and not just a piece of “data” to grow your business with.

    Realtor.com has always complied with policies that understand that this is someone’s home, and not just a product for sale.

  33. Ardell, you mention two reasons why the NWMLS may not want to share property listings with recent .com startups, but those were not the objections held up to the newcomers before – before this recent change, the rule was “be Realtor.com or be a broker.” No name change on ShackPrices’ part would change that and no amount of photo deletion on Zillow’s part would give them access to listings without being a brokerage.

    I am advocating for sharing properties with Realtor.com and any other comers who meet clear criteria or sharing properties with no one but other brokers.

  34. Galen,

    Well then you make Allen’s case for removal from Realtor.com. Allen is correct. Rule is now “be Broker”.

    OK Allen. I won’t sign the petition. Galen’s correct. Broker’s only is the answer. No exceptions.

  35. Jeesh Dustin, I wish you’d let me know when you use my name and site! I haven’t had a chance yet to read this thread, but I have to make a couple of things clear. One – I did not write the petition. I posted it to my website for my clients to reference. The petition was drafted by the Independent Broker’s Association. Our main beef is that no one asked the NWMLS members what they thought about this change in service and policy.

  36. Dustin,
    I have a life ;^)

    I have some questions and thoughts. First Greg said, “The NWMLS article indicated that the vote by the board was 12-2.” What article where? I heard otherwise; that in fact the vote was a ‘squeaker’ but the Board is not required – no, not allowed – to disclose any information about their meetings, discussions or votes. Where did you get that number?

    Sorry to pick on you Greg, but you also said, “we basicially have a free MLS, where all the players have all the inventory including a public site from the MLS.” Free? There are about 25,000 subscribers paying dues. (includes OMLS) Public site? The data is up-to-date but the site is archaic. Just a single photo? We can expect that to be voted down next…

    Let’s be clear about who owns NWMLS. It’s the 2,300 brokers, called ‘members’, not the agents, called ‘subscribers’. Ardell hit the nail on the head discussing that some board members may be ‘self interest motivated’ and that the independent brokers are not evenly represented. The Board consists of 17 members, 7 are from Windermere, 3 from John L Scott.

    Allen, you said Brokers “just have to sign a piece of paper and their listings will continue to be advertised on R.com.” It’s more than one piece of paper, and one of them is a NWMLS Form 110, the Broker Data Download Agreement, naming The Enterprise as one of only two available (per broker) IDX vendors. That’s a very valuable piece of paper to the mid-size offices, those with maybe 10-50 agents. Most of my clients have both available agreements already spoken for, which forces them to pay one of their vendors to program a system to feed data to REALTOR.com. And as Robbie pointed out, The Enterprise intermediary doesn’t seem to grasp the newest standards.

    Now none of this answers Dustin’s original question – sorry.

    I still feel that this decision made by the board was wrong. As was the decision last year to disable the client email updates from Locator. We have the technology but are unwilling to use it. I have no love of REALTOR.com but I see no problem with sharing a limited set of data with them and offering our sellers maximum exposure of their listing. In fact, perhaps one of the reasons they discontinued the feed was because as Galen said, “Realtor.com was given the exclusive non-broker feed…” and they were getting pressure from Google and others to get a similar feed. I say give it to them. NWMLS has the ability to provide its members, all of them, with the technology usually reserved only for those with very deep pockets.

    Let me end my rambling with a fact which totally boggles my mind. As an IDX vendor, I’m required to upload my client’s listing data and photos to The Enterprise on a daily basis. This data is then compiled and posted to the REALTOR.com website.
    As a broker, I can hire The Enterprise to be my IDX vendor. The Enterprise now has on its servers a complete set of data and photos which they use for my property search on my website. It’s probably updated at least a few times daily since it’s a direct feed from NWMLS.
    Now let me see here, as an IDX vendor, I have to package and upload data and photos THAT THEY ALREADY HAVE! Isn’t that a waste of time, effort and bandwidth? And to what purpose?

    Jan Chapman
    The Logical Dog Company
    Broker / Member NWMLS

  37. I’ve got a Hitwise report for the month of February that says that Realtor.com is the number one visited website in the real estate industry. I’ve seen several comments from people saying that most people in the NW don’t use Realtor.com. What data is that based on though? I think this is probably a loss for agents.

  38. Jason,

    I saw that report as well. One thing to keep in mind is there are a lot of markets where they only promote RDC. IF you take the aggregate traffic of mls sites and broker sites from around the country that total would dwarf the RDC traffic. There are 1000’s of broker sites not to mention all the agent sites. Also there are mls sites that totally dominate their markets.

  39. Allen,
    Exactly the point. “…there are a lot of markets where they only promote RDC.” So why not post our listings there?

    I posted a lengthy response yesterday and it hasn’t posted. Since I’m new to this, could someone tell me what I might have done wrong?

  40. Jan,

    Email me anytime that happens. Long responses often get trapped in the spam filter, even mine. Robbie, Dustin and I have the “power” to untrap the trapped. So email any or all of us when that happens.

  41. Jan,

    “and to what purpose”? There’s a mouthful in four words. Allen?? To WHAT purpose?

    In my world INTENT is all there is…what’s the intent?

  42. Jan, I asked the obvious question that you brought up about The Enterprise already having the data a few months ago to the RDC staff… (I asked why we couldn’t just put a flag next to brokers who agreed that we could use their data and only push those listings to RDC). The answer I was given was that there are very explicit rules about the listing data RDC can show on the site that are written into the Move’s operating agreement to run RDC for NAR. As I interpreted the response, the listings must derive from either a participating MLS or a participating Realtor… In other words, if the MLS is not participating, they must get the data directly from brokers (even if that means recreating a database that is already in-house!).

  43. So here’s my decision Allen,

    I’m going to sign the petition, I’m going to pay my IDX vendor to submit to Realtor.com and I’m going to return to Realtordom.

  44. Explicit rules can change when it becomes obvious that they are senseless in certain situations. I was told that John L Scott will be feeding all JLS listings to REALTOR.com on behalf of their affiliates. The independently owned franchises don’t need to waste a download agreement and pay their IDX vendor to do the work, yet there is no agreement directly between the designated broker and Move. Is that in keeping with Move’s operating agreement?

  45. BTW – I’m still looking for confirmation of the vote margin. I’m quite certain it was not 12-2 but something much closer to even. Can anyone confirm either ‘fact’?

  46. Jan, I couched my comments by saying “as I interpreted the response” because I’ve never read (let alone understood!) the details of the agreement and I was just going off of how I translated the response (into plain English) from the guy who was answering my question. I’m postive there are lots of details I don’t understand and I can only assume that the process that JLS is using is allowed…

  47. I don’t think I can help you get your old number back, but I’m always interested in your learning from your decision making process! 🙂

  48. Ardell —

    If an owner wants interior photo’s of their home removed from Zillow, please have the owner claim their house and flag those photos for deletion. And please remember that what we’re doing at Zillow is creating a live database of all homes, not just those for sale.

  49. Not fair David. If I put those photos in as the agent I should be able to remove them as the agent. I don’t know the new home owner, I know the old homeowner. Why should the NEW homeowner have to live with my actions on behalf of the PREVIOUS owner.

    Why should they be forced to even know what Zillow is to get the photos out of the internet? Not fair David. It’s a trap.

  50. Ardell,
    RE: “How could the vote be close to 50/50 …”
    Apparently the other half voted to keep it.
    Only about 25% of the broker members of NWMLS chose NOT to send their listings to realtor.com, which means 75% of the offices CHOSE to use this free service.

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