Baseball and Real Estate
I don’t particularly care for baseball, but I appreciate a level playing field.
Doubtful due to their exclusive contract with the NAR, but one has to wonder … why does Realtor.com get to play by different rules than the Realtors supplying their most valuable content?
This recent article from >Inman was striking, if only for its boldness (bolding mine):
He said Move is also boosting its investment in content, and is focused on its relationships with MLSs to use more sold data and expand Realtor.com’s existing capabilities that allow consumers to see home values in relationship to other properties.
Move has begun positioning itself as a source of expertise and tools for generating and managing leads through Realtor.com, Top Producer, blogging and social networking.
To sell more agents and brokers on Top Producer products, Move is integrating its Top Producer and Realtor.com sales forces. In the past, an events team that puts on more than 150 events a year for real estate professionals has sold only Realtor.com services. Recently, they’ve begun pitching Top Producer as well, “creating what has effectively become a more consultative sales approach,” Berkowitz said.
“I don’t care where the leads come from, we want to help them manage leads anywhere in the cycle — that’s where I see this industry going,” Berkowitz said in a follow-up interview.
What a great idea!
Display sold data in a way that is consumer-friendly, that adds value to your site and creates a sticky, valuable consumer experience.
Wait a minute…
My first thought as a Realtor and partner in a brokerage upon reading the above article was, “I want to do that too!” My second thought is – why do they play by such different rules than Realtors?
And AVMs, too?!
Why this is troubling
The relationship that NAR has with Move/Realtor.com is troubling for (at least) one reason – regular old, run-of-the-mill Realtors have to abide by some remarkably rigid regulations in order to display sold data, among other things.
Why the different rules?
NAR is enabling Realtor.com/Move.com to compete against NAR members – the ones who are generating the data that allows Realtor.com to be profitable – whether via ads or traffic or “upsell” opportunities to the Realtor members.
Lamentably, the members are the ones allowing this to happen. Our collective complacency, combined with a general ignorance about the contract that allows Move to operate Realtor.com, is a recipe for disaster, if not an unfair playing field.
Answer these three questions:
1 – Would you ever sign a lifetime contract – for anything?
Homestore signed an exclusive lifetime deal with the National Association of Realtors in 1996. Under the agreement, Homestore operates the NAR’s Realtor.com official Web site, which includes home listings from real estate agents nationwide. The company’s previous agreement called for Homestore to pay the NAR a 15 percent royalty on the revenue it earned through Realtor.com.
2 – Does the NAR/Move/Realtor.com partnership/relationship seem anti-competitive to you?
3 – If the answer to #2 is no, why not? If yes, what are you willing to do about it?
My proposed solution – Realtor.com needs to stop with the games and play by the same rules as everybody else – and work to earn Realtors’ business in the way that Cyberhomes, Zillow and Trulia are – provide value for their customers – from a level playing field.