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How NAR has changed the future of the entire internet forever

The internet is changing, and NAR is playing a historic role – find out what they’re up to and what it means for their members.

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.realtor

Last fall, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced that they had procured the rights to the .REALTOR top-level domain (TLD), allowing their members (and members of the Canadian Real Estate Association) to obtain their own .REALTOR site and soon, Associations and brokerages will be able to scoop their domains up as well. It is already the sixth fastest growing top-level domain in history, with actual sites in use (not domains squatted upon like other top-level domains) and over 100k domains already live.

The trade group has spent the last eight years in the application process through the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) which coordinates domains and IP addresses globally, overseeing thousands of new (and future) TLDs like .jobs, .cars, .ninja, and the .MLS and .realestate TLDs also under NAR’s administration.

Associations, brokerages next in line

A few hundred state and local Realtor-owned associations may sign up for their .REALTOR pre-launch on May 6th, before the official launch when all will be allowed to apply on May 7th at 10am cst.

Just as with Realtors applying for the TLD, there are rules. Associations and brokerages may only claim a domain that matches the name they are doing business under, or an acronym of the name. Anyone looking to snap up their domain will pay $79 annually, and there are discounts after the launch, as well as multi-domain and multi-year discounts.

So while Realtors are restricted to their name (j.smith.REALTOR or Tulsa.JohnSmith.REALTOR or BuyWithJohnSmith.REALTOR), Boards have restrictions as well and combinations will be allowed, so the Florida Association of Realtors can have FAR.REALTOR or FloridaAOR.REALTOR or even FAOR.REALTOR, and Associations can even get five years free if they participate in the .REALTOR marketing program (applications are due April 30th).

Why operating a TLD matters

Protecting the Realtor brand is a clear benefit to NAR being in charge of these top-level domains. Nearly a decade ago, NAR was intrigued by the rumor that ICANN would be launching new top-level domains, so they teamed up with the experts at Second Generation to become a player on behalf of members.

“We have a responsibility as stewards of the real estate world,” NAR’s Bob Goldberg explains, noting that as with the TLDs, they set the trend 16 years ago through realtor.com.

Tom Embrescia, Chairman of Second Generation said, “nearly all real estate searches start online, and Realtors are the PhDs of doing real estate, so it’s important that they separate themselves online, and using an exclusive domain does just that.”

But it’s more than just a marketing play. Embrescia stated, “.coms will always exist, you just never know what you’ll get.” Just because something is BrazilianRealEstateMan.com, when you go there, it very well could be a virus-laden trap, or someone selling fake Nikes.

How this program is history changing

We’ve talked about this program for months now, but most don’t understand exactly how history-changing it is. You see, .REALTOR is actually a case study for ICANN. That’s right.

The reason for this pedestal is because NAR offers something most can’t – the NRDS. The National Realtors Database System is where all member data information lives, and every member has a unique ID number. When applying for a .REALTOR domain, it is tied into NRDS, and only active members may obtain a .REALTOR URL – active being the key word, as they trade group holds all members to a Code of Ethics. Consumers will eventually know what they’re getting as this goes mainstream which takes time, but on behalf of the industry, NAR is ahead of their game.

Aside from the “knowing what you’re getting” through NRDS factor, NAR is also making history by being among the first to have an approved TLD. They’re protecting the industry under the new way the internet works.

What most people haven’t grasped yet is that top-level domains are reorganizing the entire web, and changing how the internet works through segmentation. NAR understood this a decade ago.

Google is snatching up top-level domains as well, so Second Generation believes that brands using a TLD like .REALTOR will eventually see a clear SEO benefit (Google’s playing the game, they understand it, so they’ll likely reward it).

What’s next?

The wild west of the .com world will always exist, but through this new segmentation, watch for the web to finally organize. Matthew Embrescia, President of Second Generation explained that this is what was originally envisioned for the web, which originated with .com, .gov., .edu, and the like, and decades later, is finally becoming a reality.

ICANN isn’t handing out top-level domains like candy – the process is intense and slow, so don’t expect an explosion. ICANN has high standards, for example, they are working with the banking industry on security measures for .bank TLD applicants, and won’t be issuing a .home TLD due to security and technology issues (home = houses, web home pages, used in lines of code).

There are thousands of applications in the process, and most are not yet approved (although Second Generation pointed out that some are having fun with it, like .SUCKS, which you’ll want to procure in your name so others can’t – see, wouldn’t it be nice if .SUCKS was tied to some sort of verification database!?).

We suspect that NAR may be announcing other TLDs in the future, but not en masse. Because ICANN is studying NAR + NRDS as the history-altering model, we believe that its success will lead to other industries following suit, ultimately leading to a new internet. The future is here, folks.

#NARTLD

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The Real Daily and sister news outlet, The American Genius, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

Real Estate Associations

Why NAR’s Realtor Safety Network is so critical [personal story]

(REAL ESTATE) NAR has launched the meaningful Realtor Safety Network – here is a personal story, and an exclusive interview with NAR CEO, Bob Goldberg.

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It was a Wednesday evening, the sun would soon be setting, and I was exhausted after pulling an all-nighter the previous night. Our study group would continue, but as a safety-conscious person, I knew it was best to head out.

I walked alone, which was normal for a college student that lived on campus. I held my pepper spray at the ready, had my keys in hand before leaving the building, and was alert. Although tired, I knew I had enough energy to go to dinner with my grandparents.

I get to the full parking garage, and halfway to my car, I hear steps behind me. I look back, and no one is there. I didn’t even see someone duck behind a car. “I’m being paranoid,” I think. “Why is no one around? It’s a full lot!”

I take a few more steps, and I am confident that I hear someone coming up behind me. I turn around, and nothing. I’m ready to use my pepper spray because there is definitely someone following me and I needed to make a decision quickly.

I had three choices – run quickly to my car where I may or may not be able to close the door fast enough, turn back and walk with authority the way I came (risking confrontation), or just straight up confrontation.

I quicken my pace, they quicken theirs, and I know what is about to happen. I turn around so I’m not blindly ambushed by someone I cannot later identify, and it is someone I recognize. Someone I had a class with. But not someone I had ever spoken with before. I hadn’t calculated how I would react in that situation and it slowed me down.

My hesitation meant he was able to shove me, and I fell backwards.

I re-calculate my choices, but this time there was no hesitation because I already knew I was in danger. As I tried to get up, he poised himself to pounce, and I used the pepper spray, knowing I’d probably get a dose, too. I missed his forehead (which is the ideal target as it drips into their eyes, extending the impact), and mostly got his mouth, but enough got into his face that it stalled him.

I rolled over before he could fall on me, and I ran. I was only yards away from a large, densely populated building.

This was nearly 20 years ago, before cell phones were mainstream, and I quickly found help from the school who called police. I won’t go into how they brushed me off and nearly refused to write a report, didn’t want to look for the guy, and so forth.

But I notified my professor as to why I couldn’t possibly go to class the next day. She was the one who insisted the University get involved, and the city police take action. She knew his name and gave it to all entities. And she was the one who never made me step foot in that classroom again, just in case. I got a restraining order, and it apparently scared him enough to stay away, but I knew he could violate it at any moment, so I remained on alert. I’m still on alert today. For him or others that think I might be an easy target.

I later learned he had stalked dozens of students, and attacked several before and after he tried to get to me. He has been in and out of jail since then.

But I always had a nagging thought… what of the other potential victims? Back then, the schools didn’t have any sort of alert system (for school closings or mass shootings). An alert system of systemic attackers could have saved others from being harmed.

It is for this very personal reason that I was moved to hear of the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) new Realtor Safety Network, which was inspired by a Realtor’s child going missing (who is now safe).

NAR CEO, Bob Goldberg took the time to talk me through what the network does – it’s not a pointless group where people whine about missing pets, no, it is activated when there is a potential safety issue, be it physical or online.

NAR is now able to gather information about potential safety issues and either issue a national alert, or share the information through local and state associations via social media, email, and text where applicable.

At this time, it is not set up like an Amber Alert where you can opt in for texts (although I do hope this is ultimately an option), so we encourage members to read any email that is sent to them as an alert, and follow the social media hashtag, #realtorsafetynetwork.

They do have criteria that must be followed prior to a Realtor Safety Network alert being sent out by NAR. It must be a widespread threat impacting Realtors. Qualifying incidents include a pattern of assaults on Realtors, a Realtor or immediate family member going missing (and there is an open police investigation, and the family asks for NAR’s aide), or an association name is being used fraudulently to scam members out of money or identifying information.

Members and Association Executives can fill out a simple incident form, and Goldberg notes there is dedicated staff ready to respond.

While they are going to “continue to perfect” the program, it can be invoked immediately. Goldberg says that members are “our family,” and that the goal is to coordinate with local authorities to keep members safe physically, and keep their identities secured.

Goldberg notes that they intend on using the network sparingly, which makes perfect sense – remember when car alarms came out and you’d jump when one went off, but now you ignore all car alarms as a nuisance? The association has long offered Realtor Safety reports and statistics, as well as safety guidance and classes, but to see this meaningful step taken is one worthy of applause.

My inner 18 year old that still remembers the heart-in-my-throat fear of an impending attack thanks NAR. Truly.

This story was first published here in March of 2019.

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Real Estate Associations

NAR pushes back on DOJ’s reneging on antitrust settlement

(REAL ESTATE) After coming to a settlement with the DOJ, the National Association of Realtors is petitioning the court to keep the DOJ from reneging.

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The National Association of Realtors (NAR) filed a petition in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to push back on the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) reneging on their existing antitrust settlement agreement reached in November 2020.

In a statement NAR notes that the DOJ began attempting to “withdraw from that fully binding agreement in July 2021, after NAR had already begun to implement its term,” adding that this is “a breach of the agreement and the law.”

It is uncommon for the federal government to reach a settlement then go back on that agreement, which is why this stands out.

The Petition’s first line summarizes the scenario aptly: “The National Association of REALTORS® brings this petition to quash a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) issued by the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice because it violates a binding settlement negotiated and agreed-to by the last Senate-confirmed head of the Antitrust Division.”

“The DOJ action should be considered null and invalid based on legal precedent alone,” said NAR President Charlie Oppler. “The DOJ must be governed by principle, and NAR simply expects the department to live up to its commitments.”

Oppler points to this case as damaging in the long-term for the federal government, as American’s trust and confidence would be eroded. If the DOJ can reconsider terms of any agreement, Oppler states, “If that view prevails, it would undermine the strong public policy in favor of upholding settlement agreements and public confidence that the government will keep its word in future cases.”

In their public statement, NAR asserts that they have always pushed for competition in the marketplace. We long ago agreed in our news stories, debunking the anti-trust suit allegations.

So will this petition make a difference? Going before the Courts is the only option for relief possible, and since the association took that step, NAR members we spoke with today feel optimistic. It appears that NAR is simply pushing for the DOJ to make good on an existing agreement, it’s not complicated.

“NAR remains hopeful the DOJ will honor its agreement,” Oppler said. “We also remain committed to advancing and defending independent and local real estate organizations that provide for greater economic opportunity and equity for small businesses and consumers of all backgrounds and financial means.”

Dig into the docs:

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Real Estate Associations

NAR and AARP partner to create livability index for house hunting

(REAL ESTATE ASSOCATIONS) The National Association of Realtors® and AARP integrated the AARP Livability Index scores across the Realtors Property Resource® platform.

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A neighborhood with close-together houses, with different livability factors.

When you’re searching for your dream home, there are a lot of things to consider besides what you can afford from a financial standpoint. Factors such as being able to have a short commute to work, living in an area with a good school district, or being close to nearby entertainment and restaurants are all things you might take a look at. These are all considered livability factors — the measure of how various community characteristics play into where you choose to live.

Having access to all this information can be difficult to come by, especially if you live out of state and aren’t familiar with the area. The information you do have access to is what is available in the home listing and answers you get from your realtor or seller, but not much else.

So, where can you go to get that information? Well, the National Association of Realtors® and AARP are making it less of a hassle to acquire that information. In a joint effort, the two are integrating the AARP Livability Index scores across the Realtors Property Resource® platform.

“One of AARP’s goals through this collaboration with NAR is to help people better understand their housing needs over their lifetime and address the barriers that prevent people from living in their desired communities as they age,” said Rodney Harrell, VP of Family, Home & Community at AARP. “We are thrilled about the AARP Livability Index integration as it will provide homebuyers and other movers with the necessary information to make informed choices that meet their needs for today and into the future.”

To assist and give property buyers a chance to make “age-friendly decisions and purchases for the home”, the Index will offer insights on community factors. The tool will access these 7 categories of livability:

  • Housing (affordability and access)
  • Neighborhood (access to life, work, and play)
  • Transportation (safe and convenient options)
  • Environment (clean air and water)
  • Health (prevention, access and quality)
  • Engagement (civic and social involvement)
  • Opportunity (inclusion and possibilities)

The tool will score each neighborhood between 0 to 100, with an average score being 50. Communities with more diverse features that appeal to all ages, incomes, and abilities will score higher than those that are not.

Although a total livability score is based on the average of all 7 category scores, the Index lets you customize your score based on your personal preferences. If transportation is more important to you than housing or the environment, the tool will take into account what you set as most important.

The AARP Livability Index will give Realtors® access to “robust national data” that can be broken down by address, ZIP Code, city, or county to share with buyers. This data will have information on updated metrics and policies. You’ll also be able to compare up to three community performances side by side and even share a score on social media.

What is considered “livable” is different for each person. It can be that affordable home right in the middle of town or that spacious house removed from the bustling city. Whatever your form of livability is, the AARP Livability Index score aims to help you find the right home in just the right community.

This story first appeared here in May 2021.

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