After a four month process, Move, Inc. (Realtor.com) and the National Association of Realtors have formally amended their operating agreement, having completed an 8k filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
This agreement has not been updated since 1996 (you know, when Clinton was the President and Ella Fitzgerald and Gene Kelly were still alive) which until today did not account for the massive technological advancements since that time, namely web based advancements.
During this four month discussion, Move, Inc.’s Senior Director of Public Relations, Julie Reynolds said that they mostly found common ground with the National Association of Realtors which meant there was no arbitration surrounding the contract agreement updates. Reynolds says that they are “very pleased with the outcome of the discussion and excited to move forward in a collaborative relationship.”
Here’s the big news:
There is much speculation over the details of the agreement which have yet to be revealed, but the largest update is that NAR has agreed in the contract to allow Move, Inc. to syndicate to third party sites although no agreements with any third party vendor have been finalized as of yet. Industry insiders are speculating that Realtor.com in the future will syndicate to Zillow.com, Trulia.com and the like, given that their data is not as timely or accurate as Realtor.com data.
Reynolds noted that one of Move, Inc.’s core competencies is marketing services, so syndication is “a natural evolution” to that offering.
Supporters believe this move will allow for Realtors to streamline their aggregation efforts and arm consumers with more accurate data (allowing Realtors to take calls that don’t sound like, “but Zillow said…”). Others speculate that Move Inc. is making a move to offer bait of listings to third party aggregation sites, allowing them to improve their offering with this new data source, then ultimately pricing those third party aggregators out of business. Critics fear this could hit their bottom line down the road as an additional cost.
At this point, there is not much publicly available about the agreement update, so rather than jump to conclusions about who final partners will be or criticize a bottom line impact, Benn Rosales, CEO of AgentGenius.com said, “we are taking a wait and see approach. We like the words ‘collaborative’ between NAR and Move, Inc. and hopefully they’ll both open the door to conversation about what the architecture of this agreement looks like in five years so that the membership’s interests are protected.”
Article above amended to reflect that mediation did occur during this process and “Realtor.com” was replaced with “Move, Inc.” in regards to data syndication.
Full press release:
CAMPBELL, Calif., Sept 16, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX News Network/ – The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) and Move, Inc. (Nasdaq: MOVE), the leader in online real estate, today announced recent discussions related to their 14-year operating agreement have resulted in an updated agreement intended to drive more competitive and rapid innovations to their flagship site, Realtor.com®.
The discussions between the two organizations revolved around bringing clarity and alignment to key issues surrounding site innovations, content modifications, and approvals so Move and NAR can drive faster and more competitive improvements on Realtor.com.
“NAR is pleased to continue and strengthen our agreement with Move. Updating the operating agreement underlines both NAR’s and Move’s commitment to ensure that real estate professionals remain as the first point of contact in the real estate transaction,” said NAR President Vicki Cox Golder, owner of Vicki L. Cox & Association, Tucson, Ariz.
“We’re very pleased with the outcome of these discussions with our partner NAR. We’re looking forward to a stronger and more collaborative relationship guided by an updated agreement enabling Move to drive more competitive innovations on Realtor.com that will enhance consumer’s search experience while empowering Realtors® with a greater range of valuable marketing services,” said Move, Inc. Chief Executive Officer, Steve Berkowitz. “We entered the discussions seeking clarity and alignment yet achieved much more as we quickly found vast common ground related to our mutual objective to connect consumers with Realtors. The internet and competitive environment have evolved dramatically since our original agreement was crafted in 1996. Under this updated agreement, Move is now positioned to usher in a new era of innovation. The industry looks to us as the category leader in today’s fast-paced technology-driven market place.”
The updated operating agreement now provides provisions intended to streamline the development and delivery process for improvements to site features and functionalities, as well as clarifies certain areas of content now requiring NAR approval. As a result, Move anticipates it can make innovations to the Realtor.com site more rapidly to remain at the forefront of advancement in today’s highly competitive and information-driven environment.
“The agreement continues to ensure certain content protections for real estate brokers in regards to property listed on Realtor.com,” said Dale Stinton, chief executive officer of NAR. “In addition, and as a result of these discussions, approval provisions were added to the agreement that reflect and reaffirm both organizations’ commitment to ensure that brokers and Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) remain in control of their proprietary listing data and related information that displays on Realtor.com.”
In addition to the discussions surrounding the operating agreement, NAR and Move discussed the benefits Move can deliver to real estate professionals, MLSs, and consumers by syndicating listing data content to third parties such as online portals, real estate listing sites and other designated destinations. As a result, Move received consent from NAR to syndicate listing data content in accordance with each data content provider’s [MLSs and brokers] permission and instructions.
“Move remains committed to delivering the most valuable online real estate experience to real estate professionals, advertisers and consumers by remaining focused on continually evolving our products and services to meet their diverse needs and expectations,” comments Errol Samuelson, chief revenue officer for Move, Inc., and president of Realtor.com. “By updating our operating agreement with NAR and expanding the relationship to enable a more competitive approach to how we operate the business, we can fully leverage our leadership position to deliver the right products and services with the most comprehensive and freshest data content available in a manner that successfully connects consumers with real estate professionals and advertisers at the right time.”
The amended operating agreement between Move and NAR was filed on Thursday, September 16, 2010 as an 8K filing.
-Move, Inc. is an advertiser at AgentGenius.com. AG has no financial relationship with the National Association of Realtors.