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MIBOR Blocks Change, NAR Committee Agrees- Politics Beats Agents In DC

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Predictable

It appeared that Realtors had won the battle on Thursday, but the war rages on as MIBOR defers the decision back to the committee and the NAR agrees. The issue will not be heard again until November.

Will stalling the issue work?

So, MIBOR ties the issue up in committee, thus leaving agents to dangle in the wind during a recession. Unfortunately, the only hope for agents may in fact be the DOJ (as it has been proposed by several brokers/agents) or even a class action lawsuit- will the revolution in real estate actually come from within?

It appears so, as the issue of limiting competition within the industry is becoming more and more prevalent. A recent backlash result was the broker of Sky Realty Austin, Curtis Reddehase taking a stand by withholding his MLS feeds from media sites and calling on all agents and brokers to do the same, while other brokers are beginning to follow suit.

As members feel more and more disenfranchised and unrepresented within the NAR, are we reaching a tipping point?

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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167 Comments

167 Comments

  1. BawldGuy

    May 16, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    The first to correctly tell the difference between the Keystone Kops and NAR wins the Grand Prize.

    Every time you think they’re about to pull their heads out…

  2. BawldGuy

    May 16, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Check subscribe, dummy.

  3. Missy Caulk

    May 16, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    Oh great…politic’s rules. This makes me sick.

  4. Jason Sandquist

    May 16, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    We can have a riot of words all we want, it will never get anything done. Looks like it might be time for a real one.

    It seems like we have ALL been working for promise already broken by the NAR, day in… day out.

  5. Benn Rosales

    May 16, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Bawldguy 🙂 you HAD to know folks were a little to eager to believe that the NAR had risen on the third day, I’ve been waiting for the punchline, and it appears we have it.

  6. Paula Henry

    May 16, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Punchline – more like a punch in the stomach! I’ll be back; right now I am so angry, I think I may have written too much:)

  7. Paula Henry

    May 16, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    I’m baaaack! 🙂 Okay – since it seems my comment is still being moderated over at realtor.org – I’ll say it here first:

    To say I am surprised is an understatement. There is absolutely no logic to the Board of Directors decision, since, from the beginning, it was a clarification issue of the existing verbiage.

    The fact is, no where in the current rule does it state Google or any search engine is a scraper, but when the question was presented to the NAR, they agreed with the local Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors interpretation that Google was a scraper site.

    And now at the pleading of an Indianapolis board member, (who obviously didn’t understand the fact Google is not a scraper in the first place), they decide they did not have enough time to evaluate the new rule.

    We don’t need a new rule, we need logic which understands the difference between malicious scraping and Google indexing. My fear is the ignorance which led to the original interpretation will now lead to years of trying to educate the same ignorant people who refuse to live and work in the 21st century.

    One more time – Google does not misappropriate information or reproduce data – it INDEXES the data so it can be easily found by a search query.

    Now NAR tells me to go back to my board and put heat on them – thanks NAR – you guys just keep sending me back and forth. I finally know the true meaning of rat race.

    For the original question – no this will NOT affect the way I do business, except, I will personally NOT give power to the third party aggregators whose hand is being fed by the data of MY clients.

    I left DC on Thursday feeling very positive, believing maybe, just maybe all the negative implications about this being a “dog and pony show” to appease REALTORS was surely a misunderstanding of how NAR works.

    I was wrong! and I so wanted to be right about this.

  8. Dave Montgomery

    May 16, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    I believe a broker has the right (with the sellers consent) to advertise his/her listings wherever they choose or not choose.

    However, I don’t connect that viewpoint with the ongoing argument over indexing vs scraping. I am hard pressed to believe search engine indexing can be construed as scraping except by the most Internet challenged.

  9. Benn Rosales

    May 16, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    Dave, I’m not sure they’re directly related, however, it’s a piling of issues such as Realtor.com, MLS, IDX, Media Syndication etc… the frustrations are going from quiet depression to outrage and action.

    So the question is/was are we at the tipping point? or will agents just bend over and ask for more…

  10. Lani with Agent Genius

    May 16, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    SO MIBOR thinks that they’ll keep this tied up in committee until November and hope that the crowd has forgotten or lost interest by then? NO FREAKIN’ WAY- it gives the enraged NAR members time to mobilize… don’t think you can sweep this one under the rug.

  11. Paula Henry

    May 16, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Benn – all that rant and I didn’t answer your question – it is indeed a tipping point which may change real estate as we know it, Hopefully, a change that will give power back to agents and their clients.

    I for one, will not bend over!

  12. Jason Sandquist

    May 16, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    looks like BringDownTheNAR.com is available for purchase… and maybe throw in a little MIBOR with it

  13. Kent Simpson

    May 16, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    If NAR doesn’t pull its head out & start listening to its members, I see a great potential for another organization to be born as an effective “voice of the industry.”

    Methinks the albatross has forgotten who built the nest in the first place!

  14. Tony Sena

    May 16, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    Sounds like you guys need to get the leaders of MIBOR removed and replaced with forward thinkers.

    Paula have you thought about running for a position on your board?

  15. Marc Rasmussen

    May 16, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Outrageous. These organizations make me sick. They lose sight of what is best for the consumer. It sounds like the old boys network.

  16. Nick Bastian

    May 16, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    wow… it was a great move by NAR to fly people in to represent agents in the field. Shows how much they listen and care.
    Oh, wait.
    Never mind…

  17. Paula Henry

    May 16, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Tony – I did on Thursday – well kinda; I talked to the person in charge of Grievance, gave her my card and she said she would call me when they start the next training session.

    I guess that’s not really running, but hey, it was a start.

    Today, I don’t know if there is any possibility of reaching these people. They do not get it! I am already opposed to their idea of handling a grievance 🙂 I know it’s a different committee, just sayin!

  18. Paula Henry

    May 16, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    Jason – I love your idea and almost bought the domain. I did buy a domain and by Tuesday will have a site dedicated to educating the uneducated at our local and national boards about the way search engines work. Also, a place for REALTORS(r) to state their opinion.

    Stay Tuned………..

    Marc – It is definitely a good ole boys network here!

  19. Todd Carpenter

    May 16, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    I just walked in the door from 6 days of work. I’m not going to comment on this again this weekend. Benn can accuse me of punting again if he wishes, I need a mental break.

    I only wish to tell you Paula, that bringing you to DC was not some “Dog & Pony Show”. NAR’s staff sees why this rule is a problem. They did everything they possibly could to move quickly in coming up with a solution. Part of that included showing the MLS Committee how you were personally being effected by this. Which is why it was important to bring you. We wrote possible language changes for the committee so they would have the ability to possibly act that day. The committee approved those changes unanimously.

    When I first invited you to D.C., I told you the most likely outcome is that we would get the issue on the committee’s radar for future action. That they voted for the changes then and there was more than I expected.

    Today, the board member who represents MIBOR (I’m sorry , I don’t have his name) moved to send the issue back to committee based on how quickly these changes had been made. He made a motion to send it back to committee. Honestly, I wasn’t personally expecting the motion to pass, but it did. So here we are.

    Paula, when I talked to you on the phone today, you wanted to know how to change this before NAR Annual in November. I told you the most probable way would be to work with your board locally. I’m assuming this comment comes from our conversation:

    “Now NAR tells me to go back to my board and put heat on them – thanks NAR – you guys just keep sending me back and forth. I finally know the true meaning of rat race.”

    I’m not telling you to “put heat on them”, and I’m sorry you feel we’re putting you through a rat race. I know your trip did not end in the best possible way, but progress was made. The issue is on the minds of the MLS committee and the Board of Directors. Now is definitely not the time to throw your hands up in the air. I think a solution is out there, but the fastest way to rectify it FOR YOU will be to engage MIBOR until NAR’s BOD meets again in November.

  20. Matthew Rathbun

    May 16, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Ah yes… AG’s newest punching bag; NAR…

    I will say that I and a highly respected member of RE.net were sitting on a table in the back of the room listening to this meeting as it happened. When the committee submitted it’s proposed verbiage, that person and I both felt that the change needed some work, there were potential issues with the changes.

    It was a poorly worded and swiftly drafted policy that led to this debate, yet you all want another swiftly drafted change to occur that may make it worse.

    I’m not denying that MIBOR needs to come from the cave, but let’s not jump-the-shark in the process of dragging them from the cave. I am less than impressed with their organization. VAR is progressive and much more on top of things; as is our MLS which is independent of any Association. (they are a corporation)

    It’s stupid; it’s politics – but show me anything that involves people that isn’t a pain in the butt…. It’s become evident that even RE.net has developed it’s own politics and that’s far more frustrating to me than NAR. NAR staff was supporting the change, it were members LIKE ALL OF YOU who screwed this up. So, NAR didn’t screw this up; Agents screwed this up.

    It seems everyone here is acting like a spoiled child that didn’t get what they want and are throwing temper-tantrums. A delay is not a denial.

    I also have reservations that allowing Google to harvest the data is the right answer… I do think that Google should be consulted. Do you really want a consumer to search for a home for sale in a certain area and see 13 pages of Google entries that were sold a year ago, yet never removed from the indexes?

    That’s not MIBOR’s position – they wish to keep the MLS books under the desk; I’m asking if what we say we want will really be what we want.

    Quality versus quantity…

  21. Jim Olenbush

    May 16, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    More ridiculous BS from NAR and the local associations. Are there any agents left that think the associatons are doing a decent job representing us? Even agents that don’t care about the internet dislike them.

  22. Paula Henry

    May 16, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    Todd – The issue is on the minds of the Committee today. In six months we will be so far behind where we are today and noone wants to take the ball and run with it.

    You did, in fact, tell me to put the heat on my board. I’m not throwing up my hands, but the truth is, Todd, it was for naught! When Tom Renkert told me I would be able to index my site now (his exact words) I took that at face value – my mistake.

    Todd – I believed the heads of NAR may have had the right motive. What I told you today was this – they were all quick to interpret a rule which never did say “Google or search engines are scraper sites” and yet stall at this point. It took one hour and two emails for them to decide Google is a scraper site and months to decide how to correct a misinterpretation.

    Am I angry at NAR? not exactly, but this could have all been handled a lot better.

    Leave it to some MIBOR agent to decide Google is a scraper and then my Board and NAR to just as swiftly decide he was right in his interpretation. That is what upsets me, because NAR sends me back to the very people who have no intention of making any change, if they can help it.

  23. Jim

    May 16, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    Paula – I personally feel gutted by MIBOR’s decicion to send this back to committee until Nov. This speaks volumes about how they regard your position.

    I’ll support any effort you make to take this to the courts in whatever means is necessary.

    From Canada – Jim

  24. Benn Rosales

    May 16, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    Todd, I hope you didn’t take the punt comment in a negative way, I always defer (punt) when I can’t respond- I think you were going into a 3 hr meeting? I actually thought it was nice that you let people know that the right folks were aware.

    I also really like the comment you left tonight, no one blames nor expects you to fix complaints with the nar, and I also thought you did well bridging the communication gap helping bring Paula and Jay to DC- to me, that’s how you’ll make the greatest indirect impact on the membership when you direct the issues in the right direction, educating, and so on.

    We’ll talk amongst ourselves while you rest, this issue isn’t going away anytime soon.

  25. Paula Henry

    May 16, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    Matthew –

    You are probably one of the most respected Association representatives, at least by me. I always read your insights with great interest and if you say I screwed it up, then I screwed it up. I’ll take that! I appreciate NAR trying to support the change, but in the end they sent me back to the cave.

    To say we are acting like spoiled children is a bit harsh. If I had a Board as progressive as your’s, Heck, no one would know my name, which would be fine with me. I don’t like to be in the mix of controversy – I much prefer to list and sell property. I also prefer to represented by a board which doesn’t live in a cave.

    I still believe the NAR acted too quickly when they made the determination that my Boards interpretation of the rule was valid. The rule does not say “Google is a Scraper”, but NAR agreed with MIBOR and within a few hours, we were told to stop indexing our site.

    I also agree, we don’t need another poorly worded rule to replace the previous one, what we needed was a proper interpretation. Is that really too much to ask?

    I don’t know how other sites work, but when a property is pended or expired on my site, the property no longer shows up, because it is a direct feed. There would be no issue with 13 pages of expired or sold listings. This is just another issue too few(MIBOR) understand, so instead of learn, they prefer to believe I am doing something wrong or just want to prevent competition.

    I apologize if you take this personally, but you don’t have the task of trying to go MIBOR to get help.

  26. Paula Henry

    May 16, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    Jim – That is the problem – my position as a dues paying member is not regarded by MIBOR. Thank you for your support.

  27. Matthew Rathbun

    May 16, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    Paula, I don’t believe you screwed up at all. You’re Association screwed this up – I’m not arguing that point. I give you credit for being far more active than the other angry people who comment here, as you actually DID something. You meet and spoke, you walked through the process and I don’t think you’ll loose in the end. I understand your anger, I appreciate it. I was a broker far longer than I’ve been on staff.

    I stand by my feeling that stomping ones feet and being ticked that something doesn’t happen in our preferred time frame is a child-like action.

    I don’t take it personally. Frankly, I feel the locals do FAR more for the members that NAR ever did. If NAR were to go away and left state and locals; it won’t change much of anything other than uniformity by state.

    MIBOR’s problem is that they are getting in the way of the member and consumer. That’s what irritates me…

    MIBOR pushed the issue back to the committee, but I am not sure I disagree with the sentiment that committee may want to vet this issue deeper, isn’t necessarily wrong.

    I get a ton of good ideas for our association, but the member driven voting process ultimately controls. People need to get out of the mindset that NAR, State or Local are “the other people”. It’s a democracy – it’s driven by members – like you and the other Realtors who comment here.

  28. Benn Rosales

    May 16, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    Matt

    Ah yes… AG’s newest punching bag; NAR… I would accept that criticism if we didn’t report the good and the bad. I would also accept it if it had a shred of truth to it which it doesn’t.

    No entity was flamed in what I wrote, these are real conversations happening all around me, and I make no endorsement of whether the doj, or attorneys should get involved, but I do think bringing attention to the frustration of the voiceless is and always has been part of our mission at AG and will continue to be.

    As I said, we’ll continue to talk about the good and the bad, and we’ll continue to voice our opinions in best way we know how- people are frustrated and should vent, it’s once the venting is over that reality takes root and solutions begin to form.

    My personal opinion is that NAR rolling this back into committee without allowing Paula to continue business as usual is wrong- MIBOR should suspend its complaint until November, or the committee should appoint a special panel to review this issue immediately- it’s vital. As it stands now, this ruling could take serious root in all boards across the country that want their whole pie back- thus the reality of this.

    A further note, when Paula first came to me for advice on the complaint against her with MIBOR, I suggested that she work within the board without speaking out, she took my advice until NAR agreed that Google was a scraper- that changed everything.

    This issue as big as it is hid in the halls at NAR behind closed doors, and phone calls for WEEKS, with not one note to the public that this huge change to the IDX rule was taking place that would impact 100s of thousands of agents and small brokers across the country- does this sound transparent to you? No, it was snuck in quietly until Paula brought the issue public.

    I’ll stand by my very simple question because I know that those that need to read are reading, it’s food for thought, and the comments here are honest and sincere, and I’ll continue to stand behind every one who chooses to voice their opinion so long as when the time comes, they’ll step up and take charge of a committee, or elect to educate a board member, or whatever they deem to be a help in their local association.

    The tipping point in my opinion is here, the question is, what will that outcome be…

  29. Matthew Rathbun

    May 16, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    Paula / Jim: You and your opinions should not be the sole regard of the Association – you, your broker and your peers should be. The majority needs to rule.

    My stance is that this is indicative of a group…an industry that is backwards, not a trade association.

    I assure you. If the members would surrender complete control to staff in stead of the voting process, you’d find a much different and probably more aggressive/progressive organization. I’ve rarely spoken to a staff member from anywhere in the country that doesn’t feel like doing the “right thing” is like pulling teeth with the political leadership.

    It’s like me going to Congress and saying “Hey you all are knuckle-heads and you need to stop giving money away to banks who made crappy decisions.” Whereas, many of us agree with that sentiment – President Obama isn’t going to listen to Matthew, unless Matthew and the rest of the voting populace agree.

  30. Benn Rosales

    May 16, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    …and by the way, Matthew, that includes your opinion.

  31. Sue Adler

    May 16, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    I was just reading this thread, and Paula’s comment popped out at me: “For the original question – no this will NOT affect the way I do business, except, I will personally NOT give power to the third party aggregators whose hand is being fed by the data of MY clients. ”

    Isnt this exactly what idx indexing is doing? Isnt it feeding the agents who have searchable IDX the data of other agents’ clients? At least with Trulia, Zillow, etc.. the link to the listing agent’s site is found on those listings.

  32. Matthew Rathbun

    May 16, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Benn,

    I do not regard AG solely as “you”. I regard it as a community. The commenters have beat the hell out of the Association (as have some of the authors).

    If I had felt it was only one person, I would have addressed that person.

  33. Paula Henry

    May 16, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    Matthew –

    You and your opinions should not be the sole regard of the Association – you, your broker and your peers should be. The majority needs to rule.

    Nor should the opinion of one of my peers who doesn’t like competition be the basis for MIBOR and NAR to interpret a rule in his favor and leave me to spend additional time and dollars changing my site to accomodate their interpretation.

  34. Matthew Rathbun

    May 16, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    Your peer (I use that loosely) was using a crappy policy invoked by the masses. He didn’t solely create the policy.

    I do feel bad that YOU have suffered, but many people in different areas of life have been the victim of selective and poor utilization of rules and laws.

    I wish I could fix it for you…

    My point remains that this policy will not change the fact that there will always be mean and difficult people. This broker would have found some other way to harass you. The Association cannot be responsible to fix people.

  35. Benn Rosales

    May 16, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    I didn’t say I read it as an attack on me, I took it as an attack on AG just as you meant it.

  36. Rob Hahn

    May 16, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    Hey, just out of curiosity… just how big a deal is this?

    Delay could be a good thing or a bad thing, but first, how big an impact is this whole “indexing IDX” thing anyhow? Todd thought it wasn’t that big an issue, while others suggest that the End of Days is nigh.

    How much MONEY are we talking about here? Is Paula, for instance, standing to lose like $200K because of this ruling by MIBOR? Or is it $20 because of this ruling?

    Even if the “principle of the matter” is that MIBOR and NAR are dead wrong, spawns of Satan, clueless dinosaurs, etc. (which I don’t think either are, incidentally, but go with it for a sec), are we talking real damage here or nominal damages?

    There is a legal principle, “de minimis non curat lex” — meaning, even if the plaintiff is 100% absolutely correct on some legal issue, if the impact is trifling or insignificant, courts will refuse to hear the case. It’s sort of a highfalutin’ way of sayin, “Who gives a #@*%?”

    So in this Index-IDX deal… is it a big thing? Or is it de minimis?

    Can some agent who is being affected by this (Paula?) educate me on how big a financial impact this ruling will have?

    -rsh

  37. Paula Henry

    May 16, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    Sue – In the simplest of terms, yes; at the same time, having an indexable idx is not feeding the hand of third parties whose only goal is to acquire data and use it to charge us for leads or make money from advertising.

    You may or may not have a direct link at some of these sites. I just looked at four in my area, two were submitted by the broker, which goes back to the whoever is on floor duty; you may or may not get the call. Two were listed by RealtyTrac which sells listings to agents.

    Right below the listing is a tab to compare to other listings, then below that is a list of ads for other REALTOR sites.

    In the case of realestate.yahoo, the listings info is marginal and to contact a realtor, you will be sent to one of their preferred realtors who have signed up to receive leads.

    Or you can check out Z where the buyer will be given an estimate of value which may or may not be close to the listing price.

    Throughout this whole thing, I have maintained, REALTORS are the only ones who have a vested interest in maintaining the integrity of the data.

    Would you rather have your listing on a site where the data is accurate and if it’s sold, it won’t show up, or give your data to a third party which will use that data to build a site whereby they will use your data to charge you for leads, or worse, tell the world your clients home isn’t worth what you have it listed for?

    It’s really up to you. I prefer to have accurate data on another agents website than to feed third party aggregators.

  38. Benn Rosales

    May 16, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Rob, Traffic is measurable, and any reduction in traffic is damage when your lead generation is in question. I know you know this, so the question is strange to me. Should we really send you data on SEO and how it relates to traffic, and how traffic relates to buyer/seller leads?

  39. Benn Rosales

    May 16, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Rob, btw, I had a blast today, sad to see you go so quickly…

  40. Rob Hahn

    May 16, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    Rob, Traffic is measurable, and any reduction in traffic is damage when your lead generation is in question. I know you know this, so the question is strange to me. Should we really send you data on SEO and how it relates to traffic, and how traffic relates to buyer/seller leads?

    Not necessarily, Benn.

    There is no direct causative relationship study between traffic to a website and conversion to dollars, at least that I know of. In fact, one of the big disciplines of interactive mktng is improving conversion, right? So yeah, if you have some definitive (or even suggestive) data on traffic to website –> $$$, I’d love to see it 😀

    Further even with raw traffic, I guess I’d be curious to see for an affected agent, what % of traffic is referred via search engines using the indexed IDX as keywords.

    If Paula (just to take an example, since she’s clearly impacted, and knows what she’s doing) derives 50% of all traffic to her site from search engines, but only 1% of that comes from indexed IDX… well… just how big a deal is it?

    On the other hand, if 80% of her search traffic is the result of indexed IDX, then we got something here. Of course, you’d still have to show conversion rates, etc. to show real economic damage, but at least we’re getting somewhere.

    -rsh

  41. Jay Thompson

    May 16, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    Rob –

    A very reasonable question. And one I can’t answer. But it’s not just about the dollars.

    The system is broken. Apparently a single broker can file a complaint, and a single board can call the NAR for clarification, and a couple of people at NAR can make a snap decision that then becomes policy that affects over one million agents. (But of course has zero affect on non-members).

    Then people can go to DC and speak before the MLS Committee. The 100+ member committee can then draft a clarification, and pass it unanimously and send it to the Board of Directors for approval.

    And again, one person can ask to table the whole thing, knowing it will be six months before it can be addressed again.

    The system is broken.

    And please, don’t anyone tell me to get involved. I dropped everything, got behind in the business that feeds my family and went to address the committee. And I’ve spent almost the entire day today drafting communications to local, state and national leadership as well as going through shitty websites at the local, state and national associations to figure out how to get on the local, state and national associations is a desperate hope that I can help a few people get aboard the Clue Train.

    Prior to leaving for Washington, I thought the best we could hope for would be for the MLS Committee to send the issue to a “work group”. And that was THIS CLOSE to happening until a NAR VP (Cliff N.) stepped up to the plate and encouraged the Committee to pass clarifying language.

    Was the language perfect? Of course not. But it was a hell of a lot clearer than what was there.

    I was elated (and shocked) when the MLS Committee passed the clarification. Most people I talked to told me they thought it would get through the BOD without issue. Unfortunately that didn’t happen.

    But believe me, a “sleeping dragon” has been awakened. To quote some patriot, I have just begun to fight. I will put up with the bureaucracy and the political bullshit and I will do everything I can to get this issue addressed.

    And I don’t care if it takes me ten freaking years, I will help educate the people that make the rules that impact my way of doing business. It became *crystal* clear to me as I talked to people in the halls at Midyear just how clueless many are.

    I for one don’t want clueless people making decisions on what I can and can not do to compete in this business.

    And for the record, being clueless doesn’t make one a bad person. I saw MANY that wanted to help (and many that did, including NAR staffers). I think if we can educate people, we can affect change.

  42. Rob Hahn

    May 16, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    PS, and it really was great to hang with you and Lani. 🙂 Must do that again soon!

    -rsh

  43. Paula Henry

    May 16, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    Matthew – Don’t feel bad for me, that is NOT what I want. I am not asking you to fix it for me either and God knows you can’t fix other people. I’m not asking the Association to do so. They were plainly told to consider the source and instead chose to forge ahead with their interpretation.

    Right now, I feel like I was handed back to the lions and there is not much recourse for me at my Board level. I do not beleive in my Board any longer.

    Tomorrow, well, I guess it is today – I will also forge ahead. Yes, right now, I am angry. What my Board tried to do was restrict competition – what they don’t know, because no one wants to take the time to learn, is, I will still be in the top of the search engines and since they have now also restricted anyone else from competing at the same level, I will continue to move ahead, with or without indexed IDX.

  44. Rob Hahn

    May 16, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    @Jay –

    Totally understand what you’re saying, and the frustration you and others must be feeling. This “index IDX” thing is the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

    And from a process standpoint, I think the involvement of folks like Todd and Hilary and the goodwill of the staff at NAR is going to make a difference. Just slowly. It takes time to change a large organization. Like turning an aircraft carrier at sea.

    At the same time, my question is far more narrow, and has to do with the straw itself. It may be that this particular issue is a non-issue, except for the fact that it highlighted systemic failures in decisionmaking. That’s all. 🙂

    You and Paula and Benn and Jim Duncan and Todd and Hilary and Matt and others keep fighting the good fight — I’ll be there with you on the systemic fight. It’s always a good thing when systems improve and decisionmaking improves.

    Having said all that, I’m still curious about this particular issue. 🙂

    -rsh

  45. Benn Rosales

    May 16, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Okay, here’s a case study for you 🙂

    Site x has 0 traffic and has 10 methods of collecting client information. 😉

    I do get where you’re going now, I like this “Further even with raw traffic, I guess I’d be curious to see for an affected agent, what % of traffic is referred via search engines using the indexed IDX as keywords.”

    I think Morgan Carey could better illustrate this as he sees a really broad range of indexing/agent websites- let’s hope he’ll step in, and I’ll drop him an email to see if he can shed some stats.

  46. Paula Henry

    May 16, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    Rob – I will not disclose the percentage of traffic I receive form direct hits versus indexed. To me, that was not the issue. The cost I was speaking of is the cost of time and dollars to have my site reconfigured, then reconfigured again because they wanted to restrict indexing more.

  47. Benn Rosales

    May 16, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Paula, I think this is better for Morgan to address, because he can do it in way that isn’t targeted at you, but more of a potential impact across the board if this were adopted by boards across the land. I’ll email him first thing, unless you want to do it now, it’s late…

  48. Rob Hahn

    May 17, 2009 at 12:02 am

    Yeah, I really don’t mean to single you out, Paula. It’s more of a generic marketer type of question, and Morgan may be best to answer that in a generic way.

    Honestly, if the data shows that the impact of MIBOR’s ruling is real money, you and the others should consider suing. If it’s not real money, then… well… I would use the issue as a starting point of discussion about how policies get made at NAR, but not sweat this particular one too much?

    -rsh

  49. Carolyn G-Tu

    May 17, 2009 at 12:23 am

    Without getting into specifics – of course there is real money at stake here – it’s going to be different for everyone though I’m sure some excel spreadsheets could give a jury a rough estimate on damages if/when it comes to that.

  50. Jay Thompson

    May 17, 2009 at 12:25 am

    Rob –

    My IDX isn’t indexable, so I can’t speak directly to your question. I do though, build individual sites that highlight listings. power-ranch-homes.com is one example (sorry, I can’t hot link it or this comment will go into moderation).

    If you Google 4368 E. Lantern Court, that site comes up #1 (and #2). Trulia comes up 3 and 4 (providing some evidence that the third party aggregators can be beat). A local agent with an indexable IDX comes up #10.

    This site does not get a lot of traffic, only about 40 unique visitors a week. The vast majority find it by searching for variations on terms like “Power Ranch Homes” (because quite frankly, that’s how I designed it). Occasionally someone will stop by because they googled the address.

    The conversion rate on this site is remarkable, ditto for another “neighborhood blogsite” I have at AgritopiaRealEstate.com.

    These sites make the phone ring and put buyers in the car (and hopefully one for that specific listing in Power Ranch, because I’d **really** like to get it sold for the owners).

    I *do* get search visitors to the localized sites for terms like “tw lewis casita basement pool two story” (TW Lewis is a local builder). I show up in searches like this because I have a page on the site with an RSS feed of the area listings converted to HTML — which the search engines can index. Again, not a lot of traffic on those very long tailish terms, but those using a term like that are very focused buyers who know exactly what they want — and I LOVE buyers like that. I suspect an indexed IDX would provide similar search hits.

    I’d LOVE to see more data on this, and I Morgan is likely the single best source.

  51. Jay Thompson

    May 17, 2009 at 12:29 am

    Oh, and for the record — if that local agent that is currently at #10 were to move up to #1, I certainly wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. Nor would I whine about him to my board.

    In fact, I wish every one of the 35,000 agents in Phoenix would rank for search terms related to that listing.

    I took the listing for one reason. To sell it. If there were 35,000 web pages in Google with my listing on it, I’d be tickled pink. I guess that’s where I REALLY don’t get this “Wah, someone ranks better than me” mentality.

    I want the damn thing sold.

  52. jfsellsius

    May 17, 2009 at 7:46 am

    Traffic is a good thing but not the best thing.

    My bet is IDX indexing definitely can help agents get more traffic and that’s a good thing, according to Martha. It may not be significant traffic but are 10 visitors better than 1?. Like all traffic, some are better at converting it. (The best thing is getting “the damn thing sold.”)

    NAR ought think about competing with the 3rd parties who are getting more attention of folks looking to buy the damn things.

    If the NARly rules prevent SEO benefit to agents from IDX indexing, 3rd parties will step in to find a solution. Org decisions ought to consider competing with these 3rd parties. The day the tech savvy brokers & agents get a seat at the decision making table is the day the TruZillas will be on THEIR way to extinction.

    Find your blue oceans.

    Jay Thompson shows there are other ways to “get the damn thing sold.”
    Even if IDX indexing helped agents get traffic, eventually every agent in your market using IDX would be in the same SEO boat. The real advantage lies not in swimming in the red ocean with other RE pros but in finding your own blue one.

  53. Matt Stigliano

    May 17, 2009 at 9:04 am

    In fact, I wish every one of the 35,000 agents in Phoenix would rank for search terms related to that listing.

    I took the listing for one reason. To sell it. If there were 35,000 web pages in Google with my listing on it, I’d be tickled pink. I guess that’s where I REALLY don’t get this “Wah, someone ranks better than me” mentality.

    I want the damn thing sold.

    This is what I can’t understand – why agents wouldn’t agree with Jay. This is how I felt from the start and I always thought it seemed silly to not want everyone and their mother to talk about your listing. Of course, in the past Jay has brought up the theory of dual-agency being the great reason for some agent’s distaste for it. Perhaps that’s the sole reason, I don’t know. I don’t know, because I don’t get it. I want my listings to be advertised and in fact, this is a standing call – if you want to put my listings on your sites, please do. Just bring me an offer and we’ll go from there. My sellers will love me for it and since I serve them, that certainly seems like a good thing to me.

    This whole operation has become a bit disturbing. I feel for Paula right now. I feel for Jay as well. Paula basically was given a hard-won prize and then had it snatched from her hands. I (in my personal opinion) would guess that MIBOR is the child in all of this. Throwing a tantrum and disrupting the flow of the battle by sending it back to NAR. MIBOR is probably embarrassed. One agent stood up and many others (non-MIBOR) stood up with her. MIBOR looks bad. MIBOR doesn’t like to lose. MIBOR quashes the rebellion. It’s obvious that NAR had already put some thought into Paula’s complaint and were preparing to help. When MIBOR started all of this, they went to NAR for advice…now they ignore all that happened in D.C. and ask NAR to rethink something they just re-thought. Are you kidding me?

    As for Jay, his comments about him being the “sleeping dragon” are refreshing to say the least. I myself feel a similar awakening although maybe not as fierce as him. I had no involvement in the politics of being an agent. I just wanted to buy and sell homes. Not anymore. Now I care. Now I’m doing things. Writing emails to my state committee members before Midyear made me feel a part of something and it’s only the beginning in my book. I may not be qualified to jump on a NAR committee just yet, but I’ve got my eye on a few other things.

    Benn’s question about the “tipping point” is a valid one and one I’m not so sure of the answer. I see the problem as one of apathy. Much like voting in America. We all talk a big game, but we’re not always willing to work to get there. I do see the need for some change and would love to look at the possibilities of mass change, but as someone just getting their feet wet, I’m not sure I have the answers. I’ll keep searching for them though.

  54. Benn Rosales

    May 17, 2009 at 9:13 am

    IDX indexing lends to better targeted traffic. We’ve been talking about micro targeting within google for over two years, and Jay’s comment should explain why. Kris Berg with Scripts Ranch, J Dalton has his, Marianna has hers, we all have them. Folks Googling down to the neighborhood streets is what this boils down to, and everyone is on the same train to meet folks on the micro level. I don’t need any report to tell me that a targeted traffic result is better than random banner ads or keywords like “homes for sale.”

    Indexing every single thing about the listing matters matters or every media company wouldnt focus so exclusively on walk ability or neighborhoods. Localism is another great example.

    What we had prior to indexing IDX is random, indexing IDX gets specific.

    The enemy to indexing would be listing agents that want the best shot at both sides, the friend to indexing wants the consumer to have choice, and the seller doesn’t care about the politics, they just want it sold.

    This policy is restrictive, period, and allows any board to adopt it’s interpretation without debate, that’s the issue. MIBOR should have had a good reason to stop Paula, instead they needed the rule to say what it didn’t say.

  55. Paula Henry

    May 17, 2009 at 9:31 am

    jfsellsius – Traffic for traffics sake is not the issue. At the heart of the issue is MIBOR’s insistance on restricting competition. I originally thought they had no clue, then thought they just didn’t understand indexing. I now believe they just want to control the data and restrict competition.

    I do have alternatives to driving targeted traffic and am working on them now.

    What this ruling does is open the doors for other boards to follow suit. I just can’t imagine another board would do so in light of the current uproar.

    Yes, Jay has found a blue ocean and he does a fantastic job; even so, Jay’s solution is NOT available for me. I could build a community site much like he has and it would be banned here under the current rule, as interpretated by NAR and enforced by MIBOR.

    That is the scary part!

  56. Jay Thompson

    May 17, 2009 at 10:58 am

    “That is the scary part!”

    Indeed. And I could wake up tomorrow to a letter saying I can no longer use RSS feeds. Or I could wake up tomorrow to find some other rule has been “clarified” that restricts my ability to do business.

    To me, the scariest part is that one guy can complain, and one board can make one phone call to NAR and one outdated and poorly written policy can be clarified that has the potential to impact everyone.

    I find it ironic (and pathetic) that MIBOR raises a concern that the proposed clarification “wasn’t discussed enough”. How much was the “Google is a scraper” statement discussed??? Apparently a nearly complete lack of discussion is OK with MIBOR when it goes their way, but is unacceptable when it doesn’t….

    When this whole mess started, I asked myself over and over how MIBOR could be this clueless. Now I don’t think they are. I think they know *exactly* what they are doing. IMO Paula nailed it when she said, “I now believe they just want to control the data and restrict competition.”

  57. Deborah Madey

    May 17, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Someone please help me understand where my logic is faulty.

    Upon initial MIBOR inquiry, NAR responded that the practice of indexing, from the web server’s view, was the same as scraping. Upon further discussion, NAR has come forward and publicly stated that indexing is not scraping. NAR has spoken clearly that the intent of the rule was not to prohibit indexing. The passage of the amendment only sought to clarify that position.

    Notwithstanding the passage of the amendment to formally reword the rule, what right does MIBOR have to go against the intent of the existing rule?

    Reference:
    Cliff Niersbach, NAR’s Vice President of Board Policy & Programs: “It should be understood that the focus of the rule in question has never been on blocking indexing by search engines. That potential effect was not contemplated when the rule was adopted by the NAR Board of Directors in 2005 and only came to light in the past few weeks. Simply put, the issue is whether – and how – indexing by search engines can be accommodated while at the same time clearly and objectively distinguishing that functionality from the scraping the IDX policy prohibits to protect MLS databases from misuse and misappropriation.”

    It appears to me that MIBOR is violating the rule. I am not an attorney. It might be interesting to hear an attorney’s view and advice on the matter as it pertains to the association rules and laws which prohibit restraint of trade.

    Since NAR has clearly spoken that the rule was not intended to prohibit indexing, I suggest that MIBOR immediately retract the cease and desist order, and that it be MIBOR that await for November’s meeting.

  58. Paula Henry

    May 17, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Jay – I can tell you exactly how long the issue was discussed between MIBOR and NAR –

    3/24/2009 at 7:24 a.m. – Tom Renkert sent an email to Cliff Niersbach for clarification that MIBOR’s interpretation was indeed within the guidelines of the rule

    3/24/2009 at 1:08 p.m. – Cliff Niersbach emailed Tom Renkert the following:

    You are correct that under the IDX policy and rules, Participants have an obligation to protect IDX information from “scraping” which includes “indexing”. I’m told that employment of a robots.txt file can prevent scraping of information Participants are required to protect.

    I hope this responds to your question.

    3/24/2009 at 4:03 p.m. – My broker receives the following email from MIBOR:

    Below is the response from Cliff Nierbach, Cliff is the lead policy analysis for the National Association of REALTORS®. The NAR is in agreement that allowing indexing of the MIBOR IDX database is a form of scraping and is a violation of the MIBOR/NAR IDX policy, Section 15.2.1.

    Section 15.2.2: Participants must protect IDX information from misappropriation by employing reasonable efforts to monitor and prevent “scraping” or other unauthorized accessing, reproduction, or use of the MLS database

    https://www.mibor.com/pdfs/blcrules.pdf

    To comply with the policy, MIBOR respectfully requests that Red Door Real Estate immediately employee the proper mechanisms or techniques to prevent other Internet websites from scraping/indexing the MIBOR IDX database available through RedDoorIndy.com.

    Please let me know if you have any questions or if you would like us to interact directly with your website vendor, Real Estate Webmasters.

    In my estimation, about 8 hours.

  59. Matt Stigliano

    May 17, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Question – Was there anyone representing MIBOR at NAR Midyear to defend their position? I’m curious and hadn’t heard anything, so I assume they weren’t.

  60. Carolyn Gjerde-Tu

    May 17, 2009 at 11:38 am

    The debate needs to move away from indexing vs. scraping – what google does “technically” is close to a scraper – Jay has it right – this can be seen now an intentional act to restrict members from doing business a certain way. It would be in MIBOR’s best interest to retract the cease and desist but I just don’t see that happening since they are the responsible party for getting this delayed.

  61. Paula Henry

    May 17, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Matt – There were representatives from MIBOR. I spoke to a few afterwards on Thursday and BTW, one who told me they would adopt the new policy immediately.

    They also are the ones who deferred the decision back to the committee for review in November.

  62. Morgan Carey

    May 17, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Hey guys and gals thanks for thinking of me. I have to run off for an apt, but I will try to post a more detailed breakdown (will probably be a blog post vs a comment as it will likely be long and detailed) but just to give you some very simple perspective.

    Traffic = (defined using Google analytics and their “absolute unique visitor metric)

    Conversion (visitor to lead) = defined as capturing first name, last name, email and optional phone

    Conversion (lead to sale) defined as the successful closing of escrow on a side (buyer or seller) typically 3% per side not counting the split with broker.

    Let’s say we have a market with an average sale price of $300,000 USD – that means $9000 USD in commission per side.

    Now Real Estate Webmasters websites properly setup with IDX and registration will generally convert on the lowest end around 5% (visitor to lead) and on the highest 15% (again visitor to lead)

    Let’s split it (because 10% also gives us easy math.

    Now I know for a FACT that we have hundreds of customers that generate over 1000+ absolute unique visitors per month via direct or indirect benefit of their spiderable IDX in search engines (no I won’t provide names, those are private – duh)

    Anyways take 1000 unique visitors, convert 10% of them into leads = 100 leads. (Per month) or 1200 leads per year.

    Now take your closing rate on web leads (typically between 1%-5%) how many deals did you just loose?

    I am going with 2% in my example which equates to 24 closed sides. Multiplied by $9000 USD in commission = $216,000 USD

    Worth protecting? Hopefully that clarifies what’s at stake here.

    Btw – here is a little tool I programmed some time ago to allow you to play with these numbers https://www.realestatewebmasters.com/commission-calculator.php

    And a previous blog post getting into the numbers in more detail https://www.realestatewebmasters.com/blogs/morgan-carey/7175/show/

    Have fun – I gtg

  63. Paula Henry

    May 17, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Revision Jay – it was about 5.5 hours! 8 hours until the time we received notice.

  64. Curtis Reddehase

    May 17, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Wow! I just had to say it, but the decision does not surprise me either.

    And thanks to all of you who have chose to you show your support for decision.

    I want to say thanks to all of you who have decided to show support for our decision not to syndicate. That is our decision to fight one of the two fronts we have to battle here. And let me be clear we at Sky are in to help resolve these issues. I am working to have one place for those who care to share their support for decision not to syndicate. This is step one to getting organized.

    We have to suffer being weekend and limited with our use of technology (by our own, NAR). We need to do what we can to limit the power of our competition. I will say that they are in part a victim of NAR’s decision, because we cannot let this happen to use with out acting to level our playing field. Or ask yourself this question; did NARs decision backfire on the aggregators. NAR’s position was the tipping point for us not to syndicate. I cannot say that the reversal of NAR’s decision position would change our minds to go back. We will forever now have to work to put these genies back in their bottle, or at least force them to work with us. If NAR were to let us share in the great technologies that company like Real Estate Webmasters produce then we I could stomach their existence. We did syndicate until our announcement last week, we did not like their existence but we chose to accept them and work with them. Thank you Morgan for all you have done, from creating great products and sharing in our battles.

    I wonder what the position of these huge companies would be if they had to work to build a relationship with us.

    The other front is NAR and I have no idea how to take on that one. I do believe that NAR does do some great things. I also cannot help but believe that NAR was influenced to take this position against its own agents. Does anyone have any information to help us understand what the real reason for their position is?

    I think rather than abandoned NAR we work to eradicate those who do not work in our best interest. We have people in that organization who for some reason will work to keep us in fair game when it comes to technology.

    The underlying problem is that agents have out sourced their jobs over the past few years. If we fix that we will reduce the options for these kinds of problems in the future. I expand on that positive approach to al this here;

    skyrealtyaustin.com/blog/do-not-outsource-your-own-job.html

  65. Deborah Madey

    May 17, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Paula,

    I read your quotes from emails from Cliff Niersbach……….dated 3/24/2009

    The following is a quote from Cliff Niersbach ………..dated 5/7/2009: “It should be understood that the focus of the rule in question has never been on blocking indexing by search engines.”

    Based upon that quote alone, MIBOR should allow your site to be indexed, and wait until further review by the MLS committee before issuing any orders. Has not MIBOR considered the fact that not one person spoke up and opposed during the committee meeting? Does that not indicate to MIBOR that their position is highly likely in error? Do they have any concern on how foolish they will look if they prohibit you from using your IDX feed, only to be told they were wrong?

    Have you gone back to MIBOR and requested they allow your IDX feed to be indexed until the review has been completed?

  66. Paula Henry

    May 17, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Deborah – Your insight is “spot on” and based upon common sense, would seem the right response from MIBOR and NAR.

    I asked Todd Carpenter yesterday why it could not be resolved before November, based on the fact the rule was initially misinterpreted. I guess it doesn’t work that way.

    I did ask my Board to reconsider until after NAR midyear.

    Current discussions at the national level about “whether a search engine is a scraper site was not thought of when the rule was enacted in 2005”, and “whether an agent indexed IDX actually incurs risk of misappropriation” may not be valid concerns.

    I ask MIBOR rescind their current sanction against my website until the matter is settled at the national level.

    They responded:

    Paula,

    Thank you for your email. The MIBOR Policy Committee did review this topic last week, at this time the BLC® listing service is obligated to enforce the policy as written and interpreted by the National Association of REALTORS®

    Based on this response, it would seem NAR could reverse their interpretation, since they admittedly interpretted the rule in a manner which was not intended. MIBOR does NOT want to change their interpretation.

  67. Matt Stigliano

    May 17, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Paula – Have you ever heard the phrase “passing the buck?” (That’s a rhetorical question, just to be clear.) MIBOR is trying to put the weight of the issue back in NAR’s hands and claim their hands are tied because they are only following the interpretation as it exists (that’s how I see it).

    This gets more shameful by the day.

    Keep your head up Paula, at least know that you have many people supporting you.

  68. Paula Henry

    May 17, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    Carolyn – While, it’s true froma server point of view that Google could be considered a scraper, NAR has stated

    “It should be understood that the focus of the rule in question has never been on blocking indexing by search engines.”

    As a matter of fact, the rule does not say we can not index or Google is a scraper. It was an interpretation, which in my point of view, can be re-interpreted. I have much more respect for someone who admits they made a mistake, than for a Board who continues to take this as their final stand.

    If NAR has admitted the interpretation was never intended to restrict indexing, then it makes sense the burden of waiting should be on MIBOR, not on individual agents, who should never have been attacked in the first place.

    We must also certainly be aware this could be a measure to restrict competition, while not losing sight of the original ruling.

  69. Paula Henry

    May 17, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Matt – exactly what I meant when I told @tcar I felt like I was running a rat race. MIBOR’s ruling had me running to NAR to present my case and NAR sent me back to “put pressure” on my local board.

    Thanks for your support!

  70. Deborah Madey

    May 17, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Paula,

    Thank you for sharing that update. It seems that MIBOR is setting itself up for negative attention and embarrassment.

  71. Matthew Hardy

    May 17, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Data ownership, portability and interoperability is THE issue going forward. A few years ago, I attended an NAR meeting of some kind and the then head (some guy into basketball I think), was selling Realtor/Move.com stuff and made one statement that to me anyway, was louder and more memorable than anything else he said:

    “Don’t worry about the data.”

    I watched a TED video where the speaker was espousing the idea of everyone having unlimited access to unlimited quantities of “free” data. Sounded kinda utopian to me and completely dismissive of any idea of “copyright”. As long as data has value, this debate will continue.

    It’s pretty easy to have esoteric discussions on data use… until people start paying attention that is.

  72. BawldGuy

    May 17, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    People — when are the rank and file gonna realize NAR moves at the pace it perceives best for the retention of it’s power over said rank and file. The rest is background music.

    They know what they’re doing, and they’re doing very well, as they’ve always done.

  73. Paula Henry

    May 17, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    Can I at least have background music I like 🙂

  74. Rob Hahn

    May 17, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    Thanks Morgan for the information — if I might dig a bit more, because maybe my question wasn’t phrased correctly.

    You said:

    Now Real Estate Webmasters websites properly setup with IDX and registration will generally convert on the lowest end around 5% (visitor to lead) and on the highest 15% (again visitor to lead)

    Do you have REW websites without indexible IDX? Is there a difference between the two groups? That is, Group A = sites with IDX listings where the IDX data itself can be/is crawled by Google; Group B =sites with IDX listings where the IDX data itself can’t be/is not crawled by Google while the rest of the site (including own listings) can be/is crawled.

    Does Group A’s conversion > Group B’s conversion on average?

    I’m looking for lift over control type of data here.

    Now I know for a FACT that we have hundreds of customers that generate over 1000+ absolute unique visitors per month via direct or indirect benefit of their spiderable IDX in search engines (no I won’t provide names, those are private – duh)

    Here again, do you have any data on the difference between “Group A websites” and “Group B websites”?

    E.g.:

    Group A websites generate, on average, 1500 absolute uniques per month.

    Group B websites generate, on average, 1200 absolute uniques per month.

    It’d be great if you guys at REW had both types because then we’re really comparing two otherwise identical sites.

    Or, some real life data like this:

    Site A had indexible IDX and generated 1,500 absolute uniques from Jan-Mar of 2008, conversion rate of 5%, and close rate of 2%. Due to MLS rule changes, Site A lost indexible IDX and had to go to a no-index IDX in December of 2008. From Jan-Mar of 2009, Site A generated 1,000 absolute uniques, conversion rate of 4%, and close rate constant at 2%.

    That would also provide some sort of idea as to how valuable indexible IDX is vs non-indexible IDX.

    Thanks,

    -rsh

  75. Clint Miller

    May 17, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    Wow…I completely missed this mess. I figured once the NAR said that the change was made, it would be made.

    Jay is right…this system is broken. It’s a shame that the organization that built the system is also broken…at the cost of its membership.

    I was hoping this was resolved.

    Riddle me this………What are these agents supposed to do for the next 6 months?? And, who’s to say that other boards wont repeat this idiocy??

  76. BawldGuy

    May 17, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    Paula — Sadly, probably not. 🙂

  77. Joe Loomer

    May 18, 2009 at 6:54 am

    As one of the exuberant ones when the word from Jay & Paula came out last week, I share the dissapointment that came later.

    Hindsight being what it is – I think we can all take a step back and realize the size of the organization we’re dealing with and how it was a pleasant surprise to get the fast action – but reality reared it’s head and revealed the truth in what dealing with a huge and complex behemoth modeled after government systems is really like.

    The Bovine Scatology associated with this brings me back to the only thing I did not enjoy about my Naval service – the plodding along waiting for intelligent policy decisions to be made further up the chain of command with too much responsibility and not enough authority. Sometimes they stepped on their collective tally-whackers (hope that one doesn’t get me removed), sometimes they implemented the right policy – never did it happen quickly. Such is the lay of the land, such is NAR.

    In a perfect world we’d get a quick and hearty “We’re wrong, so is MIBOR, issue resolved.”

    We sang Jay and Paula’s praises at a SM class here at the market center last week, and I’ll continue to do so and push other agents this way – we’ll keep it going as the dinosaur humpty-dumps his way along until November. This snowball is just staring downhill…..

  78. Louise Scoggins

    May 18, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Wow, what a mess I missed by not visiting AG for a few days!! I have read through all of the comments and agree with several: First being that a delay is not a denia (that’s good!)l, and second being that MIBOR should retract their complaint until a final decision is made in November. Paula should be able to conduct business as usual until we have clarfication on the verbiage. The whole thing is pretty outrageous if you ask me. It seems like simple common sense…why is it so hard for them to see that too??

    Paula, Jay, your efforts in representation of the Realtor community are immeasurable. Thanks for jumping into action and giving us a voice!

  79. Cal Carter

    May 18, 2009 at 10:11 am

    @Rob – I know you are trying to quantify whether the damage numbers would be substantial or inconsequential.

    The way Google indexes is based on quality and relevance by a top secret algorithm and even though you quantify results for site A, they will not be the same for site B. Rankings are in a constant flux and there are no absolutes.

    The only reason I mention this is that trying to break out the numbers here in this thread detracts from the topic of whether search engine indexing and scrapeing are the same thing and whether the policies of NAR and MIBOR are sensible for agents and consumers at large.

    I know Morgan can break out numbers from different sites and present a great analysis of “with” and “without” indexable IDX’s.

    However, lets just assume a very static site low traffic site that only generated 10 registrations in a year. Of those 10, there was 1 buyer. The site though had implemented an indexable IDX and picked up 1 additional registration and that registration became a buyer (a 10% increase in registrations and a 100% increase in sales from implementing an indexable IDX). What if the 11th registration had not purchased? There would be 10% greater registrations and 0% increase in sales.

    It is a crap shoot and the tech savvy agents are playing the odds. What is wrong with that?

    The listing agent sold his listing, the buyer agent invested time and money in his website and doubled his sales, the consumer found what he was looking for and purchased. It seems like everyone should be happy (except for short sighted listing agents that even when it may not be in the best interest of his client (or dual agency clients) still wants to capture both sides of a deal).

    In summary, breaking out the numbers or not, the current policy is illogical.

  80. Morgan Carey

    May 18, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Yeah I really don’t think there is the need to break out numbers in this thread – not just because of Cal’s point (taking away from the matter at hand) but because I have already done this work (and that is the reason I was asked)

    When I said it’s a “fact” that spiderable IDX’s generate substantial “additional” traffic and conversions, I chose that word intentionally. There are already many instances where folks have posted their numbers (going from other non REW sites with IDX to REW with IDX) going from REW templates sites with no IDX to sites with etc – here is an example of a recent one https://www.realestatewebmasters.com/blogs/mark-z/7714/show/ – if you would like to probe him a bit more for his numbers, then I would suggest you do so in the comments section of his post so as to not detract from his post. (That was rew template / no IDX to REW LEC with IDX btw)

    Here is another recent post example (just days after going live with an IDX powered site, from a custom site (non REW) with an iframed IDX. https://www.realestatewebmasters.com/singlepost252173-61.html

    Anyways – point being, although the numbers are staggering (and easily provable should it really be necessary) – I think at this point for this post, it’s best to not take it to far off track.

    Benn has my contact details or you can contact me at https://www.realestatewebmasters.com if you would like to ask me any other questions etc.

    Cheers

  81. Austin Smith - Goomzee.com

    May 18, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Jay and Clint are on the right track. It’s no longer a debate that the “system is broken”, and with that in mind I would agree with Benn that a tipping point has been reached.

    Rob, exact figures regarding monetary loss are not the issue here (although they are nice to look at, and hard to disagree with). I think I’m safe when I say that listing syndication is directly correlated with an agent’s profitability, therefore any restriction as to the availability of the listing info to consumers is a direct restriction on that agent’s productivity and profitability.

    These sort of instances *will* herald a ‘tipping point’; what the outcome of crossing that threshold will be remains to be seen, but I imagine it will involve some restructuring on the part(s) of both NAR and local, State Associations, and how agents will deal with these entities in the future. If I’m interpreting the feedback correctly, it seems that agents are feeling somewhat abused by the very Associations and Boards that they pay dues to. True, some of these claims may be valid, but just as legitimate are the instances in which these groups actually assist their members.

    Rathbun had a good point – child-like behavior. I don’t want to step on anybody’s toes here, but a division between Association and Agent is a very real possibility, to be dictated by the way this situation is handled. Some may say ‘Huray!’, but I say ‘Nay’; Associations and Agents are on the same team, and we need to keep it that way.

  82. Paula Henry

    May 18, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Austin – I never wanted to be at odds with my board and certainly don’t wish for division, however, when my board decided to seek persecution of one member at the request of another, they set themselves up for this very thing.

    Again, when they tell you one thing (they will abide by the new ruling) then are the reason the ruling was tabled , they have created a division.

    I have absolutely no idea how to approach them for resolution. The first reason they gave for coming after our sites was it was a violation Indiana Licensing Law, then they said, oh that’s not the reason, it’s because Google is a scraper. We argued their interpretation of the existing language, so they went to NAR and NAR agreed.

    Yes, the tipping point has been reached.

  83. Todd Carpenter

    May 18, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Morgan,

    I read your links and don’t think they addressed Rob’s point. Or mine. Let’s make it simple. Can you have one of your clients contact me, or post here and provide us with one example where:

    A. They completed a buyer’s side real estate transaction.
    B. The transaction can be traced directly back to an incoming lead from a link, from a SERP, from content created by the indexing of their IDX.

    The issue has been sent back to the MLS Committee. If you can prove this has a real world effect on the number of transactions an agent will be able to do, let’s show them in detail.

  84. Cal Carter

    May 18, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    I can answer that for Morgan. Yes he can!

    I could, and no I won’t.

    I imagine the sellers were quite happy to see the buyers. But, why should examples matter though? If A. and/or B. did not happen, then there is no issue and if A. and/or B. did happen, then we know why someone in Indiana is envious of Paula Henry.

    Go read “Atlas Shrugged” and see how progressive individuals and entire industries and societies get pulled apart and become of no value to anyone by creative policy making and the stroking of interests and egos as well as the placation of whiners who don’t want the industrious progressives to progress. Just as Dagny Taggert built railroads and sidetracks and bridges and terminals and a customer base – and just as James Taggert ripped it all apart for his own influence and feeling of self importance – and just as the Science Institute usurped value from influence peddling and arm twisting – we find that the industrious quit being industrious and let it all fall in on those that wanted to benefit from the others effort and end up with nothing that is even operational anymore.

    It is really sickening to see how we have all been sold “how to become internet successes”, “we must market ourselves on the internet”, “70% of buyers start their search on the internet” by NAR, their advertisers, and their vendors (that’s right and only $39.00 a month if you act now with this REALTOR endorsed product) only to be sold out when we discover that the snake oil salesmen are selling snake oil and the only way to success is knowledge, effort, and hard work along with wisely selecting the tools to put in ones tool box. (Oh, and what was NAR’s statistic for e-mail inquiries that were not followed up with?)

    By the way, this NAR / MIBOR / Google story has gotten out of the agent community over into the search engine community. As you will see, the conversation in the following blog post knows nothing about agency, IDX regulations, and Opt Out options. Please go there and help clarify some of the information where some of the facts are not known outside of the real estate community – https://www.bruceclay.com/blog/archives/2009/05/google_threaten.html

  85. Tony Arko

    May 18, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    What is truly amazing is it takes NAR 5.5 hours to make a ruling that could potentially hurt agents and consumers but they need 6 months to think about correcting the that same ruling. All the name calling and finger pointing and buck passing by NAR and its sympathisers cannot make up for their complete ineptitude and lack of professionalism. They should have held off on their initial ruling for 6 months, not 5.5 hours. It is obvious that people in the position to make these spur of the moment rulings do not posess the skill sets to do so correctly and should be immediately removed from the positions they hold.

  86. Louise Scoggins

    May 18, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Paula, is there anything Google can do to help the situation?

  87. Glenn

    May 18, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    The MLS Committee must analyze closed transactions to determine if Google is a scaper site?

  88. Eric Bramlett

    May 18, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    There is nothing Google would do. They respect the noindex directive, which MIBOR is forcing Paula to use.

  89. Todd Carpenter

    May 18, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    >> “What is truly amazing is it takes NAR 5.5 hours to make a ruling that could potentially hurt agents and consumers but they need 6 months to think about correcting the that same ruling.”

    It didn’t take 5.5 hours. It took less time. NAR’s staff tries to react to issues brought up by local associations and our members as fast as possible. The decision could take five minutes or four years. It’s irrelevant. MIBOR asked us if their argument fit within the rule as it is written. It does. Obviously, when the MLS committee wrote the rule 4 years ago, this was not the intent, but the rule is written the way it’s written. We went with what we had. Meanwhile, the same staff that clarified this existing four year old rule worked to remedy the situation by bring Jay and Paula before the MLS committee, by offering alternative language, and by explaining to the committee why a rule change should be considered right then and there.

    The rule change passed through committee unanimously.

    During the Board of Directors vote, MIBOR motioned to send these rule changes back to committee, based solely on how fast these changes had been written and adopted. The board voted to be cautious. No other board member stood up to explain why we moved so quickly. Based on MIBOR’s unchallenged argument, the motion to send the issue back to committee passed.

    When the rule was written in the first place, no one anticipated it would result in the issue we are facing today. From that standpoint, maybe it makes sense to spend some time, possibly form some sort of study group, and get the wording exactly right.

  90. Deborah Madey

    May 18, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Todd,

    I understand everything you said in your last post. I do however, think it would be prudent for NAR to reach out to MIBOR and ask MIBOR to allow Paula to continue with the program she paid for since it was not the intent of the rule to prohibit indexing. If it is necessary to await a study group, Paula could be allowed to continue. My proposal on this is quite logical, since it was unanimous at the committee meeting, and only met w/ one voice at the
    Board meeting. I suggest that NAR engage in further one-to-one discussion with MIBOR on this.

  91. Tony Arko

    May 18, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    It is not irrelevant that the staff jumps to decisions in a matter of minutes or hours that affect the dues paying members. How much does MIBOR pay in dues to NAR? Zippy, zilch, nada. But it is obvious that some unnamed MIBOR representative has more pull than Paula or all the members of the committee whose unanimous decision was overturned.

    The only reason there is an issue is because uninformed people are making decision without the necessary skill set or information and the membership has to suffer. Shame on all of you. Shame on the leadership for turning your back on your membership.

  92. Paula Henry

    May 18, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Todd –

    Obviously, we will disagree as to whether NAR or MIBOR is really concerned about defining the rule as it stands.

    MIBOR went on a witch hunt at the urging of one broker and it is a “stretch” to define indexing as scraping or misappropriation. IF it did indeed take less than 5.5 hours, then maybe there should have been more thought taken when the question was asked.

    It very well could have ended with Cliff Niersbach’s conclusion that the intent was NEVER to exclude indexing by search engines and therefore, indexing is NOT scraping.

  93. Todd Carpenter

    May 18, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    “It very well could have ended with Cliff Niersbach’s conclusion that the intent was NEVER to exclude indexing by search engines and therefore, indexing is NOT scraping.”

    Paula, It doesn’t matter if it wasn’t intended. The rule, as it was written, fits into MIBOR’s case.

  94. Jim Duncan

    May 18, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Tony –

    Regarding this –

    It is not irrelevant that the staff jumps to decisions in a matter of minutes or hours that affect the dues paying members. How much does MIBOR pay in dues to NAR? Zippy, zilch, nada. But it is obvious that some unnamed MIBOR representative has more pull than Paula or all the members of the committee whose unanimous decision was overturned.

    Some associations think that they are the customer rather than the individual agent because technically (@tcar or somebody *please* correct me if I’m wrong about this) –

    Realtors don’t pay NAR. They pay their local associations who pay the state associations who pay the national association.

    I think I’m right about this, though.

  95. Tony Arko

    May 18, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    My receipt says that I pay dues to NAR even though my local association collects it. If I am not paying NAR dues than I cannot be a member and therefore I don’t have to follow that most sacred of all documents “The Code of Ethics”. They can’t have it both ways. Nice try though.

  96. Cal Carter

    May 18, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    If you want to see the writing on the wall, here you go:

    A) Public relations post from above: “It very well could have ended with Cliff Niersbach’s conclusion that the intent was NEVER to exclude indexing by search engines and therefore, indexing is NOT scraping.”

    B) The reality of what to expect just posted on https://www.bruceclay.com/blog/archives/2009/05/google_threaten.html :
    “I’m the social media manager for the National Association of Realtors. As we have continually remarked in other blog posts covering this story, we are not classifying Google as a scraper. The way in which the IDX provider is publishing content (so that Google can read it) opens the door to scrapers as well. That’s not in compliance with the IDX policy voted upon by our members.”

    So, in trying to reconcile the two very recent statements, I get two messages:

    !) Indexing is not scrapeing and is OK.
    2) Indexing can not happen without opening the door to scrapers, so it is OK to get indexed but you can’t.

    Now, does anyone read this the same as I do? You can do it, but you can’t do it!

  97. Paula Henry

    May 18, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Louise – I don’t know if there is anything Google can do about poorly written rules and worse interpretation.

    Glenn – More logic – If they want to know my team sales for last year, they can get the data. If they want to know how many came from indexed IDX vs. another form of advertising – sorry, they are not getting my data to show everyone else where my clients come from. Maybe that’s why they need six more months, so they(MIBOR) can catch up on technological advances.

  98. Paula Henry

    May 18, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Cal – it’s already been proven R.com can be scraped –

    https://www.retechulous.com/category/nar-blows/

    the argument of protecting the data from scrapers is without validity.

  99. Lisa Sanderson

    May 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Jim: We each pay our State & National Association dues, it simply goes through the Local Association. Just to clarify.

    In speaking to an NAR Director today, I am amazed that anything even gets done by that Board of Directors. What are there, something like 800 Directors voting? When this motion to Refer to Committee came up, how could they possibly have any valuable discussion of the issue?

    It sounds like this system needs to be looked at. Even our State Association has hundreds of members on the Board and has trouble having good discussion when it is needed. We need to look at how our Organizations are set up and see if they are as nimble & flexible as changing needs, technology, etc, demand, and that they don’t allow one self-serving member (or small group of members) to throw a monkey wrench in to reasonable decision-making for the good of the whole.

  100. Todd Carpenter

    May 18, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    “Glenn – More logic – If they want to know my team sales for last year, they can get the data. If they want to know how many came from indexed IDX vs. another form of advertising – sorry, they are not getting my data to show everyone else where my clients come from.”

    Paula,

    All the way back to the first comment ever made regarding this ordeal, In my personal opinion, I’d be astounded if you, or anyone else was closing transactions generated directly from MLS number based search traffic. I wouldn’t be astounded, but I would be mildly surprised if you were generating business from address searches. Maybe you are. Go ahead and prove me wrong. I want to be wrong here. Until then, when asked for my personal opinion internally, it will remain unchanged. That the decision effects your IDX provider’s business plan a whole lot more than it does your pay check.

    I’ve asked for something that should be pretty simple for you or any other agent who has an indexing idx solution to provide. Proof of the real world damage this ruling is causing. Proof that I can use to move the issue forward. Because, if that proof doesn’t exist, I will be asked, “why does the issue have to be solved right away?”

  101. Brad Nix

    May 18, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Benn:

    I believe we are at a tipping point. The moment of times we are in will forever change our industry going forward. I believe we have a perfect storm of market conditions, individual REALTOR member frustrations (combined with advanced knowledge of the subject matters), ease of publication and massive distribution (for conversations like this one and for the real estate data in general), philosophical differences (share, open source thinking vs hoard, protect what is mine thinking), and leaders of change in key positions and public spotlights to make it happen (like yourself, Todd Carpenter, Paula Henry, Morgan Carey, Hillary Marsh, Jay Thompson, Jim Duncan, et al).

    We must all realize that these changes will not happen over night and the steps towards progress may be painful. Some will get lost in the details and not realize that a bigger movement is taking place.

    I hope for a future where minds like Paula Henry and Jay Thompson sit on R.com’s board of directors. Where people like Todd Carpenter and Benn Rosales, illustrate to brokers and agents ‘The Cluetrain Manifesto’. and the likes of Rob Hahn, Jim Duncan, and Curtis Reddehase become mastermind groups for a new or improved membership organization.

    Someone or many someones should put together an action plan for a better tomorrow. Who will write our industry’s future manifesto? what steps are needed to continue making improvements for consumers and practitioners alike? We have all written these blog posts individually and commented to enhance many other ideas, but no one or no one group has bound together to make an organized effort of real change. I hope these conversations create bonds to help facilitate real improvement. whoever wants to brainstorm, form a mastermind group, create a manifesto, organize a tea party, or just channel our inner rebels – let me know (bnix [at] maxsell.net or 678-683-9290).

    Paula – may the force be with you.

  102. Paula Henry

    May 18, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Todd –

    Most would say I am crazy to even put this data up – but I will. Do I close transactions – you bet. I closed one (well my broker attended closing) last week while I was in DC. I have another on Wednesday and closed another last week before I left. I showed homes yesterday and again tomorrow. I visited with a potential seller on Saturday, who also wants to buy.

    I have buyers agents showing homes almost daily and YES, they are also closing them. Are we the hottest ticket in town? FRankly, no, because I have more leads than I can handle, but I am growing; so please don’t tell me my online efforts don’t matter.

    You want proof how people find me: Here’s one day in March before they made me quit indexing:

    81 visits – using 64 keywords on March 15th, 2009

    indianapolis real estate listings

    indianapolis real estate

    atlantis realty indiana

    “prevailing interest rate” glossary

    10426 athalene

    12190 bridgewater rd

    123 buy a home

    13066 n fleetwood dr

    13819 amblewind place

    1385 trescott dr westfield 46074 mibor

    2864700 mls# danville in tax

    2867140 mls

    2901039

    2905886 733 westridge dr

    2940 locust drive indianapolis

    3040 river bay drive north

    3930 forest manor)

    4507 washington, indianapolis, in

    520 concord ct, fishers in 46038

    5531 n delaware st, indianapolis, in

    6687 beekman pl zionsville, in 46077

    6706 chapel crossing zionsville

    7007 lafayette rd, indianapolis, in 46278

    7534 winding

    8085 cardinal st ,

    909 n tacoma

    9971 worthington 46038 fishers

    apartments for rent in eagle creek indianapolis

    avon indiana realtor

    brownsburg indiana

    carmel indiana foreclosure

    century 21 heather ct. indinapolis

    claybourne dr 5955 in

    dawson lake dr.

    eagle creek homes indianapolis

    eagle creek land for sale, indiana

    houses on n broadway st indianapolis

    indiana foreclosure help

    indianapolis real estate investors

    indianpolis homes

    kensington grove, in, tom ray

    mls #2847327

    mls #2848558

    mls 2846332

    mls 2850447

    mls 2853928

    mls 2858035

    mls 2902156

    mls 2905570

    mls 2906804

    mls# 2864957

    mls2865281

    myindianapolishome

    paula henry real estate indianapolis

    paula@hometoindy.com

    real estate investing indianapolis

    real estate investments in indianapolis

    realtor short sales

    residential property avon indiana

    sell me a home for 1 dollar

    sell my house indianapolis

    sheridan, indiana foreclosures

    shorewalk rent geist, in

    summerlakes carmel for sale by owner

    vectren energy indianapolis

    viking meadows westfield

    watson park indianapolis

    wayne township, indianapolis,in

    zionsville indiana foreclosure

    14925 montclair dr, westfield 46074

    2864957

    4644 summersong rd. zionsville

    6737 chapel crossing

    buy a home in indiana

    mls 2835403

    Today – 81 visits using 78 keywords – with less than a 30% bounce rate and 24 visitors logged in and four direct phone calls – if I convert ONLY 2% of those people – over a weeks time, that would be 3 clients – assuming I had enough help to handle all I have. I won’t post my keywords for today – I hope you understand!

    Blatant self promotion – Indianapolis real estate agents – come work with somone who gets it 🙂

    As far as hurting Real Estate Webmasters, my IDX provider, if I get numbers like that with a site that only went live in February, he’ll probably be turning people away. While I’m throwing around blantant promotions, you can’t go wrong with REW and their service is amazing.

    Most agents in Indy, like the one who reported me, would rather whine and turn people in than pay for a dynamic website, so I know I won’t have much competition here. But just in case…….

    Ryland and Morgan, if you are reading this, the LEC4 for Indy is mine – please don’t sell to someone else 🙂

    Since I have been told there is nothing that can be done until November, I do not believe there is anything you can do with this data to help me or to move this issue forward, but it may prove a case for someone.

    Somehow, I think it will be used against me, but hey, what do I have to lose now!

    Here’s another day; just for fun!

    March 12th, 2009 73 visits using 62 keywords

    indianapolis real estate listings

    eagle creek real estate indianapolis

    indianapolis real estate

    paula henry

    mls #2903425

    “12169 nw teal”

    “320 n. harbison” indianapolis

    “foreclosure in indiana”

    10478 n county road 900 indianapolis in

    12913 tradd street

    1326 ledgewood ln avon, in 46123

    135 hillcrest 46074

    14173 princewood dr

    14669 whispering breeze fishers 46037

    1598 grant st. noblesville in 46060

    1598 grant st., noblesville, in 46060

    17886 forreston oak noblesville, in 46062

    17886 forreston oak, noblesville

    208 e 32nd st indianapolis, in 46205

    2147 dockside dr

    2865489 mls

    3621 n capitol av, indianapolis 46208

    3835 lomond ct., greenwood

    5435 fall creek road

    8703 santana ln

    9501 gladstone

    avon indiana homes for sale

    buildings for sale in wayne township indianapolis, in

    buy a home indianapolis no credit

    eagle creek real estate

    homes for rent eagle creek

    homes for rent in wayne township

    homes in wayne township

    indianapolis realestate

    indianapolis, in foreclosures

    kensington grove, greenwood,in.

    lockhaven+noblesville+for sale

    mls #2854658

    mls #2867684

    mls #2901132

    mls 2866660

    mls 2904460

    mls# 2858602

    mls#2909324

    oxbow, indianapolis

    paula henery

    paula henry indianapolis

    paula henry red door indianapolis

    plainfield indiana and a community of values

    real estate in wayne township

    real estate listings near indianapolis, in

    real state indpls

    realtor indianapolis

    red door real estate indianapolis

    sheridan, indiana foreclosures

    speedway indiana homes for sale

    speedway indiana real estate

    trillium ct 46074

    wynkoop realty indianapolis

    yardley court horizontal

    6332 oxbow, indianapolis

    foreclosure gunnery rd

    You want more data – you’ll have to call me personally.

  103. Paula Henry

    May 18, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    One more thing, Todd, I don’t have time to go back and figure out which of my current clients found me from which search term; I hope you understand.

  104. Paula Henry

    May 18, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    Oh wait – I have another comment. Why do people search by MLS? They probably found the home on a sight that didn’t have as much information and they wanted more info.

    Why do they search by address? They found the home while driving through a neighborhood or a friend told them about it and either a) they didn’t want to work with the listing agent or b) they called the listing agent and didn’t receive a call back or c) they wanted the anonymity of searching online.

  105. Benn Rosales

    May 18, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    lol that made my day…

  106. Jay Thompson

    May 18, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Todd wrote: “In my personal opinion, I’d be astounded if you, or anyone else was closing transactions generated directly from MLS number based search traffic. I wouldn’t be astounded, but I would be mildly surprised if you were generating business from address searches. Maybe you are. Go ahead and prove me wrong.”

    Todd –

    People DO search by MLS number, and street. And a bazillion other things.

    It is *extremely* difficult (I’d say practically impossible) to trace back a client or a transaction to a specific search term. I ask every client how they find us. Invariably the answer is “on the Internet”. They usually can’t even tell you what **site** they found, much less what they typed into Google to find it.

    I don’t even HAVE an indexable IDX search and I get visits from MLS numbers and addresses (because I do have some listings RSS feeds converted to HTML, a practice I’m fairly certain would raise the hackles of MIBOR).

    People don’t search by MLS number? Then how were these terms used to find my site???

    mls # 4161325
    mls #4166132
    mls 4116807
    mls number 4062732
    mls 4161279
    mls 4161374
    mls 4163583
    mls 4168728
    mls 4170760 arizona
    mls number: 4062732
    mls search 4102819
    mls#4161279+
    mls#: 4131321
    mls4163454
    mls 4166132
    mls number 4062732

    Astounding, isn’t it?

    People don’t search by street/address? Then how were these terms used to find my site???

    11339 e. fairbrook st., mesa, az
    2875 w highland street 1119 chandler az 85224
    3308 e. oakland street, 85295
    2426 e pelican st. gilbert, az
    6347 south blake street, gilbert az 85298
    24414 s 120 st chandler az 85249
    2740 e jade pl, chandler
    2875 w highland street 1119 chandler az 85224
    2881 east mead drive, gilbert az 85298
    3308 e. oakland street, 85295
    3404 e boston ct gilbert, az 85295
    3475 e mayberry ct gilbert, az 85297
    36 s. 29th pl gilbert az 85296
    3834 east thunderheart trail, gilbert az 85297
    4652 s hassett
    5136 e.evergreen st.#1142, mesa 85205
    5301 s four peaks way, chandler, az, 85249
    6347 south blake street, gilbert az 85298
    9517 e. kramer circle mesa, az. 85207
    3741 s. camellia chandler az
    9540 e. jerome ave mesa az 85209

    Mildly surprising, isn’t it?

    Can I tell you if I closed a transaction via one of these searches? Nope. But you can’t tell me I didn’t, and you *certainly* can’t tell me people don’t search by MLS number and/or street address.

    “Because, if that proof doesn’t exist, I will be asked, “why does the issue have to be solved right away?””

    How about because it’s wrong. How about because it (by Cliff’s own admission) was never the intent to prevent indexing.

  107. Paula Henry

    May 18, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Jay – You would definitely cause an uproar with your inconceivable practice of converting RSS feeds to HTML. Then again, here in Indy, they may not know what all that means 🙂

  108. Benn Rosales

    May 18, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    lol made my day part II

  109. Jay Thompson

    May 18, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    And here is an honest question I’d like an answer to Todd. If you can’t answer it, I’d appreciate it if you could forward it to someone who can.

    Since Paula is being asked to prove she’s lost (or could lose) business, what proof did the MIBOR broker than initiated the complaint against Paula and her broker provide that proved he has suffered damages?

  110. Jim Olenbush

    May 18, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Maybe traffic for addresses and MLS numbers really is worthless. Hey just for fun why don’t we see if Trulia and Zillow will add noindex to their detail pages?? No one searches for that stuff anyway right?

  111. Todd Carpenter

    May 19, 2009 at 6:05 am

    “One more thing, Todd, I don’t have time to go back and figure out which of my current clients found me from which search term; I hope you understand.”

    That’s unfortunate, because that’s the sort of thing that would convince me. I’m not asking for “leads”. I’m asking for closed transactions. If you don’t have time for it, I guess I don’t either.

  112. Todd Carpenter

    May 19, 2009 at 6:09 am

    “People don’t search by MLS number? Then how were these terms used to find my site???”

    Again, do these searches lead to closed transactions? Who searches for an MLS number? How about the listing agent? Or the seller?

  113. Joe Loomer

    May 19, 2009 at 6:24 am

    Oooooooooooh – How much anyone wanna bet someone at NAR told Todd something WRONG about MLS and street name searches? Perhaps someone who’s been there since before Bill Gates was born and doesn’t believe in this whole “inter-net” fad anyway?

    Seriously though – Todd – aren’t you the Social Media hire, not the IDX/SEO dude? Some of us have been buying street adresses as domain names for years and driving traffic there from print, flyers, handouts, mailouts, emailouts, and toppers.

    Go Paula, Go Jay, Go Paula, Go Jay!

    This is just what a Navy Chief needs in the morning to get the blood moving!

  114. Todd Carpenter

    May 19, 2009 at 6:25 am

    “Since Paula is being asked to prove she’s lost (or could lose) business, what proof did the MIBOR broker than initiated the complaint against Paula and her broker provide that proved he has suffered damages?”

    I don’t believe he needs to prove it. IMO, I don’t think he is. But he has the rule on his side.

    “Maybe traffic for addresses and MLS numbers really is worthless. Hey just for fun why don’t we see if Trulia and Zillow will add noindex to their detail pages?? No one searches for that stuff anyway right?”

    IMO, a way smarter move is own every address in your market without the help of an IDX. I’m guessing that’s what Zillow and Trulia do. Then you rank for addresses all the time, not just when the home is for sale. That I can understand. When a future seller googles their own home and finds you first, it’s a pretty good case for why they should list with you. That makes sense.

    Depending on an IDX provider to do that makes way less sense to me. One, because it only indexes listed homes (an sellers are the most likely people to be doing this search), and two, because every other agent in your market can rank just as well for these terms by simply buying the same IDX service you already have.

    I’d need a digital camera, a sunny day, access to public records and a copy of WordPress to do this on my own. But before that, I would need to convince myself it was worth doing.

  115. Todd Carpenter

    May 19, 2009 at 6:30 am

    “Seriously though – Todd – aren’t you the Social Media hire, not the IDX/SEO dude? Some of us have been buying street adresses as domain names for years and driving traffic there from print, flyers, handouts, mailouts, emailouts, and toppers.”

    Joe, I’ve been expressing my own opinions here, and stating that clearly. No one at NAR has told me anything about SEO. I can tell you that “driving traffic there from print, flyers, handouts, mailouts, emailouts, and toppers” sounds like a great idea from a marketing standpoint, but has nothing to do with SEO.

  116. Todd Carpenter

    May 19, 2009 at 6:40 am

    One more thing. Sorry for the multiple comments. I know Paula’s business has been damaged by this. I personally think the rule needs to be revised. I’m the most interested person at NAR is getting her a resolution. All I am asking for is for you all to help me.

    Show me how this is damaging RIGHT NOW with some real world examples. I need evidence.

    Or don’t. I’m skeptical that the damage is immediate, and significant, and can’t wait until November. I didn’t want the issue to stay unresolved until November, but the board voted and here we are. Show me why it can’t wait in a way that other agents will understand.

  117. Joe Loomer

    May 19, 2009 at 6:43 am

    @Todd, point taken, but you wondered how folks got to Paula’s site via those search methods and if she could prove closed transactions from it.

    Short of each closed Buyer or Seller actually stating “I plugged in this MLS number (or whatever search term) on this date at this time from this IP and these where the search results – and I got the MLS number from source (A) or source (B). I then got on your site and did (C), and voila, here we are at the closing table” – you’re not going to get the definitive data you’re asking for.

    I’d go back to Jay’s point – what did MIBOR provide the NAR?

    I’ll bet you can’t even prove to me who’s coming on AG from MIBOR in “stealth mode” and checking out how bad the s&%#storm is getting. Any way we can get AG to post the referring sites? IP adresses? Physical locations of same?

  118. Todd Carpenter

    May 19, 2009 at 7:12 am

    @Joe,

    In an earlier comment, Morgan (the person who sells this IDX service stated, “Anyways – point being, although the numbers are staggering (and easily provable should it really be necessary)”

    So it’s easy or it isn’t. Here’s something you could do. Compare all the transacted business you’ve done to all the leads generated by cross indexing by MLS number. It wouldn’t necessarily prove that the business came from that lead, but it might prove it didn’t.

    Most agents only do a couple dozen transactions a year. Not all of them from the Internet. Seems reasonable that they would want to know exactly where each of them came from.

  119. Paula Henry

    May 19, 2009 at 7:47 am

    Todd –

    Stating it has to “cause” immediate damage to be damage is illogical. For every lead I lose, I lose potential business and you have no way to prove I don’t. Most internet leads are NOT immediate buyers and since my site is only a few months old, I may not be able to provide you the exact data you need.

    Someone may come to my site searching an MLS number, get the information they want, then come back using a different search term, (neighborhood or subdivision) It does not mean there is not value in the MLS number or the address, since they did find my site originally looking for the MLS number or street/address. I’ve had several clients tell me they love the ease of using my new site vs. my old one, so it’s also about consumer experience.

    IF MLS numers, street addresses, etc. have NO value, why did the person who reported me ask REW for the exact same site, although he already has the #1 placement for many terms, including Indianapolis Real Estate. Instead he chose to create a site using RSS feeds for neighborhoods (funhomefinder(dot)com); he’s even created searches for homes with hardwood floors.

    There is value for the client in having spiderable MLS, not just for street names and addresses, but for helping consumers find what they are looking for.

    I’m not even sure why you keep adding details to the original subject at hand. I believe someone else was correct when they said we should just let go of the original topic and pursue this from a “restriction of competition”, because it is obvious that is what this agent was trying to do.

  120. Jay Thompson

    May 19, 2009 at 7:49 am

    “Again, do these searches lead to closed transactions? Who searches for an MLS number? How about the listing agent? Or the seller?”

    *Sigh*

    Todd, I have NO IDEA what individual searches with these terms. It is simply impossible to tie a single search term to a closed transaction. Hell man, I can’t even tie the use of the search term “Phoenix real estate” to a specific transaction. So using your logic, I shouldn’t even bother trying to rank for it.

    “So it’s easy or it isn’t. Here’s something you could do. Compare all the transacted business you’ve done to all the leads generated by cross indexing by MLS number”

    Again, how am I supposed to know what search term a lead used to find my site???

    *IF* they emailed me, I suppose I could track the IP addresses they used and then attempt to wade through server logs to find the first time they came to the site. Or do I go with the second time, or the 15th time? At what point did they become a lead? The moment they emailed me? So maybe they weren’t ON the site the moment they emailed me.

    And what if they called? How am I supposed to track what search term they used?

    “Seems reasonable that they would want to know exactly where each of them came from.”

    Of course it’s reasonable. And it is completely unreasonable and unrealistic to expect to know what search term a client used to find your site. I *do* ask how people found us Todd. And (like I said before), the typical answer is “on the internet”. When I dig deeper, *sometimes* I can figure out if it was the blog, the static site, a single property site, a neighborhood blog site, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or LinkedIn. The vast majority of the time I can’t even determine what site they found, or what blog post.

    And you want to know what search term they used?

    Tell me how to do that, I’d love to know. I just don’t see how it’s possible.

  121. Jim Duncan

    May 19, 2009 at 8:23 am

    Jay –

    I think you’re going to have to search through those server logs, as will a lot of other agents, when the DOJ comes calling.

    Todd – it’s the aggregate that consumers are looking for – they want everything, and it’s in our competitive advantage to have everything available to them Consumers are searching for *everything* …

    What if the person searches for an MLS number among other things and finds my site, likes how I write, and then subscribes to my feed and buys a house 18 months later?

    It’s this simple – by limiting Realtors’ competitive advantages when competing against the TPAs, we are disadvantaged.

    Right now, based on this, I can see other Realtors – who can access the MLS and *not* be a Realtor, being remarkably tempted to turn in their Realtor memberships.

  122. Todd Carpenter

    May 19, 2009 at 8:35 am

    “It’s this simple – by limiting Realtors’ competitive advantages when competing against the TPAs, we are disadvantaged. ”

    Awesome Jim, that’s the sort of input I appreciate and can pass along.

  123. Donna Johnston

    May 19, 2009 at 8:40 am

    I have heard about this but not actually dug down deep. What can we do to help stop the national feed? I totally believe in protecting what we have. I feel like our biz has been hurt so much already, why on earth would any agent want this to go through? Paula, what can I do to help in Charlotte, NC?

  124. Clint Miller

    May 19, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Wow…things are gettin’ chippy.

    As my paralegal wife would say…There is the “letter of the law”…and then there is the “spirit of it’s intent”. Cliff has clearly stated the spirit with which this rule was intended previously by stating that it was NEVER (pretty strong word) to include indexing by search engines.

    Yet, that isnt the way the rule is written. I understand Todd’s point in that regard.

    What I dont understand is, if that is the case, why require the mountain of specific evidence to make the change that the head of NAR says wasnt supposed to be an issue in the first place? If this is true…why not simply ammend the original rule to reflect Cliff’s statements?

  125. Jay Thompson

    May 19, 2009 at 8:56 am

    “Right now, based on this, I can see other Realtors – who can access the MLS and *not* be a Realtor, being remarkably tempted to turn in their Realtor memberships.”

    That’s another very valid point Jim makes. I’ll be perfectly honest — if I didn’t have to be an NAR member to get MLS access, these types of competitive restrictions would be exactly what would make me turn in my NRDS number.

    Yes, NAR does some good things, particularly when it comes to lobbying efforts. But handcuffing me and imposing restrictions that don’t allow me to compete with non-members far outweighs that. My association is supposed to HELP me, not hurt me.

    Isn’t it?

  126. Todd Carpenter

    May 19, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Clint, a mountain of evidense is not required. I’m trying to move this forward no matter what. Morgan, the vendor who sells this IDX claims that the amount of business this product provides is substantial and easily documentable. So if he or Paula can do that, then that’s one more thing I can use.

    I continue to doubt that indexing an IDX is a particularly viable long term SEO “strategery”, but it’s besides the point. I’ll work on the issue either way.

  127. Matt Stigliano

    May 19, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Paula, It doesn’t matter if it wasn’t intended. The rule, as it was written, fits into MIBOR’s case.

    This may seem a bit naive, but wasn’t it the interpretation of the rule and not the rule itself? It seems that many agree that the interpretation might be the flaw here. Sure, the language needs to be fixed, by wouldn’t a new interpretation of the rule help all of this. It’s not as if NAR doesn’t get the fact that Google is not a scraper, they sure seem to based on the tons of comments I’ve been combing through for days. Instead the issue has become who’s willing to do what about it. Couldn’t NAR re-interpret the language of the rule and help Paula for now and then we can work on getting the committee’s rephrasing accepted in the coming months?

    One of things that bothered me (and I mentioned this to Paula) was that there seemed to be some issue with the speed at which the committee accepted the new wording and that it might take some time to consider. Perhaps NAR’s interpretation shouldn’t have been made so quickly? Perhaps MIBOR shouldn’t have taken the interpretation as law so quickly? Does anyone else see the irony in that? It seems to me that MIBOR wanted quickness in order to stop Paula, but they wanted molasses when NAR made a progressive decision.

  128. Eric Bramlett

    May 19, 2009 at 9:11 am

    It seems that many agree that the interpretation might be the flaw here.

    Exactly. The rule does not explicitly state “google is a scraper site.” NAR has interpreted that google scrapes data, listened to the counterpoint, and went back to their original interpretation.

  129. Clint Miller

    May 19, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Matt — I think you have a valid argument.

    Todd — Understand that I appreciate your comments and the candor with which you answer…and, I respect you. But, that really didnt answer my question.

    As Matt stated a moment ago…why not just adjust the interpretation knowing that Cliff has already stated that this rule was never to be applied in this manner? Seems like a simple fix for a potentially explosive situation that would allow Paula to operate, eliminate the MIBOR complaint, and give NAR the time required to fix the language in the rule.

  130. Matt Stigliano

    May 19, 2009 at 9:19 am

    Clint – Do you know exactly where it was that Cliff said that. I was trying to find it, but there’s so many different discussions going on, I couldn’t find it. I wanted to quote it and reference it in my comment.

  131. Clint Miller

    May 19, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Matt — for the purpose of my comment, I used a line that Paula had put into one of her comments. I do not have an original source other than her with regards to that statement.

  132. Tom Royce

    May 19, 2009 at 9:49 am

    Jay

    Regarding searching by MLS #s I do it all the time.

    I am a consumer buying a home long distance in the next year. I will find a home I am interested in on one of the different sites, Craigslist, Trulia, Zillow, ect… Once I get the MLS number I put it in to a local real estate brokers IDX site that I like the most. Then I find out the agent if I do not already have it to call if I have a question.

    MLS numbers are important for the consumer. They are the touchstone used to search for a specific property in today’s world.

  133. Joe Loomer

    May 19, 2009 at 10:05 am

    Tom,

    Can I be your agent ?

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  134. Bob Wilson

    May 19, 2009 at 11:56 am

    The SEO benefits of indexing listings is short lived. Once they are pending or sold, the listing is gone. Most sites don’t have the link equity to support these pages, and agents in the same market with the same product are competing with basically the same content, so Google seldom indexes most of them anyways. Therefore, arguing the SEO benefits is pointless.

    The issue here for me is the principle of a level playing field and the use of common sense. Realtor associations around the country support the distribution of listings to local papers and 3rd party aggregators who allow their content to be indexed.

    I know the above was stating the obvious, but apparently what’s obvious to most isnt to NAR.

    Todd, do you really have to ask how this is damaging to the agent? The question should be, “Who is damaged by having this information indexed?”, followed up by “How can we (NAR) help the Realtor better serve the home seller and home buyer?”

    Instead, what we get is backward thinking from a NAR that can’t keep up with the fluid environment in which we now live and work. What is clear is that NAR is reactive and not proactive. They are always behind the curve. This is merely an extension (or consequence) of the IDX policy in a search engine driven world.

    I truly don’t understand the absolute lack of logic and common sense that permeates NAR’s decision making. For me that means that my future as an agent and soon to be broker will be as one that is not a member of NAR as it currently exists.

    Unfortunately, I think this is going to be an “I told you so” moment and this will only get resolved by a lawsuit or the legitimate threat of a lawsuit.

  135. BawldGuy

    May 19, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Bob Wilson, IMHO has had the last meaningful word on the subject. Thanks so much for that, Bob.

    If this isn’t a classic case of the Emperor without clothes, I don’t know what is.

  136. Jay Thompson

    May 19, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Bob Wilson gets the newly founded “Phoenix Real Estate Guy’s Best Comment EVER Award”.

  137. Jay Thompson

    May 19, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Matt –

    In his email response to a letter I sent him, Cliff said:

    It should be understood that the focus of the rule in question has never been on blocking indexing by search engines. That potential effect was not contemplated when the rule was adopted by the NAR Board of Directors in 2005 and only came to light in the past few weeks. Simply put, the issue is whether – and how – indexing by search engines can be accommodated while at the same time clearly and objectively distinguishing that functionality from the scraping the IDX policy prohibits to protect MLS databases from misuse and misappropriation.

    I published Cliff’s entire response (WITH HIS PERMISSION) in one of the comments on one of the posts here. I don’t recall which one.

  138. Clint Miller

    May 19, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Jay — Since it’s your newly founded award, you probably don’t need a ‘second’ for the nomination. But, just in case…

    I second the nomination. 😉

  139. Cal Carter

    May 19, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    If traffic for specific addresses has no value, then you would think the same would hold true for specific subdivisions – yet this MIBOR Broker must seem to think there is some value in subdivisions – I wonder why? https://mswoods.com/Subdivisions.htm

    And at the same time I wonder who the someone might be that wants to cut the legs out from under his competition. It really tells the tale that the site owner above “gets it”. He is using the very keyword phrases he complains about on his site. What is the difference? https://mswoods.com/in/Avon/Subs/Avon_Subs.htm

    Perhaps we should create a policy that states all agents must populate websites with cheesy slogans and statements about how great they are and nothing more and wait for the traffic to roll in on those phrases.

  140. Matt Stigliano

    May 19, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Jay – Thanks, I knew I read it, but without proper documentation and sourcing I didn’t want to quote it, only to find out I misquoted or cut it short and therefore changed the meaning.

    Now go back and read my comment and keep this line in your head while you do it:

    It should be understood that the focus of the rule in question has never been on blocking indexing by search engines.

    That’s my emphasis.

    The focus “has never been” and someone made an interpretation beyond the scope of the focus of the rule in question, should we not question the interpretation?

    Thanks for posting that back up there Jay, for the life of me I couldn’t find it.

  141. Lee Ali

    May 19, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Folks, IDX performed its function. It’s time is up.

    Long Term – All the MLSs in the US should be consolidated into one web-based MLS.

    Short Term – All MLSs should only be populating Realtor.com with all kinds of listings not just home listings. We can then have links from Realtor.com to agent’s websites. IDX vendors can re-write their data feeds to point to Realtor.com API (Application Programming Interface.)

    Therefore, I envision massive consolidation of MLSs and elimination of IDX.

  142. Paula Henry

    May 20, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Update: NAR has taken the position they will not advise on the language and will leave the interpretation to the individual boards until November.

    My broker and I have been asked to meet with the leaders of our board on Thursday. We are hopeful for a resolution. I will let you know the outcome.

    Again – thanks for all the support.

  143. Clint Miller

    May 20, 2009 at 7:47 am

    Paula — Of course NAR took that position. Why would we expect them to do anything else??

    Hopefully your board can see the flip side to this and work WITH you on this issue. We are right there with you!

  144. Bob Wilson

    May 20, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    Simply put, the issue is whether – and how – indexing by search engines can be accommodated while at the same time clearly and objectively distinguishing that functionality from the scraping the IDX policy prohibits to protect MLS databases from misuse and misappropriation.

    Simply put, you cant stop anyone from scraping.

    As long as one can find data like this online, mls data is easily scraped.

    Jeff and Jay – thank you.

  145. Bob Wilson

    May 20, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    my bad. the first paragraph above was supposed to be in quotes.

  146. Deborah Madey

    May 20, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Hi,
    Consumers give me MLS #’s all the time. Many times, they obtained the MLS# from their search on a 3PA, subsequently Googled it to locate additional info, and share their findings and further questions with me.

  147. David Abernathy

    June 21, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    Paula and Jay,

    Help me here, when we look at the NAR 2008 Profile of Buyers and Sellers (I would assume NAR trust these numbers) they report that 87% of buyers search the Internet. They also report that 32% of buyers that purchased a home last year first discovered the home on the Internet.

    When they report that only 7% of Buyers find their agent on the Internet would seem to clearly substantiate that it is a much larger benefit to the sellers of homes to have more than just the listing company promote their property and that having the IDX listings indexed provides a more balanced market for sellers.

    If NAR were to decide that only the listing brokerage can have the listings indexed – they are clearly moving in a direction that provides a significant disadvantage to sellers that list their property with smaller and/or less Internet marketing savvy brokerages.

    Please let me know how we can assist most effectively.

    David Abernathy

  148. Jay Thompson

    November 16, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    For those still following this saga (and honestly, you should be) just moments ago the NAR’s Board of Directors just passed, without debate, changes in the MLS policy that allows indexing of IDX listings:

    Old Language:

    2. Participants must protect IDX information from misappropriation by employing reasonable efforts to monitor and prevent “scraping” or other unauthorized accessing, reproduction or use of the MLS database.

    New Language:

    MLS participants may not use IDX-provided listings for any purpose other than display on their websites. This does not require participants to prevent indexing of IDX listings by recognized search engines.

  149. BawldGuy

    November 16, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Jay — Would you please translate the ‘new’ language for me please?

    Does it mean the agent won’t be able to allow site visitors to use IDX? What are the real meanings to this new language, in your opinion? Thanks

  150. Matt Stigliano

    November 16, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Jay – Thanks for keeping us up to date on this – both here and on Twitter (and I suspect at some point a blog post of your own). As you know, this issue and what happened here on AgentGenius in regards to it helped me decide to get up off my butt and become a part of things in terms of NAR, TAR, and SABOR. I thank you and Paula both for that. I’m glad NAR chose to send you to the MLS committee and you were able to do what everyone had hoped – provide a perspective that clearly understood the ramifications of the MIBOR situation and what it would mean to agents in their everyday work.

    And to the BOD and the Committee – thanks. You did the right thing.

  151. Bob Wilson

    November 16, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Jeff, indexing the idx page is fine. An example of not protecting the data would be an RSS feed of IDX listings where I could scrape it and repurpose the listing data on a 3rd party site. A few IDX companies do this now and it violates this principle.

  152. BawldGuy

    November 16, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Thanks Bob.

  153. Jacci

    December 1, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    And yet we have another big mess!

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Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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