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Ethics

“What’s Your License Worth?”


No Consequences

Until recently, there’s been an attitude fairly prevalent throughout the Internet that people cannot/will not be held accountable for derogatory, slanderous, or libelous things they say in public chat-rooms, forums, and blog posts. The roots of blogging go down deep in the soil of adversarial discussion and heated debate, where white often fades into gray, and ocassionally turns into the blackness of personal attack.

Safe & Secure

We’re fortunate in industry-related platforms like AG, and even ActiveRain, to have the luxury of a more sedate, controlled environment. Discussions can often times become impassioned, but rarely does the call go out for back up.

Bad Apples

Still, there are those who are under the notion that they can hide behind their monitors, cowering under anonymous profiles and bogus e-mail addresses, and unleash their verbal vomit without penalty.

Just recently, a real estate agent in Wisconsin made some extremely defaming remarks towards another local agent, a woman, in postings on one of the larger real estate networks.

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“Book ’em, Dano!”

Unfortunately for the loose cannon, the folks up in Cheeseland take such things seriously, and a Judge ordered him not to practice real estate for 18 months. He was also fined nearly $2000.

Real Estate RoboCops

I believe we’ll only see increased legal action of this type as blogging and social networking in general become more prevalent. In addition, look for increased policing & prosecution of copyrighted images, one of the new cash cows for vultures/lawyers.

Could you afford to lose your license for over a year? Guess you could always join the Olympic Team at Home Depot!

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Written By

Writer for national real estate opinion column AgentGenius.com, focusing on the improvement of the real estate industry by educating peers about technology, real estate legislation, ethics, practices and brokerage with the end result being that consumers have a better experience.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Mark Eibner

    August 29, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    we’re at it again “What’s Your License Worth?”: Getting out of the fe.. https://tinyurl.com/64d6kt

  2. Vance Shutes

    August 29, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Rich,

    There was a book years ago with a title akin to “Everything I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.” One of the tenets of that book is “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” A simple tenet, easily followed.

    It seems that some in our industry have forgotten the lessons they learned in kindergarten.

    When one Realtor says (writes) something derogatory about another Realtor in the public forum, it only serves to further diminish the public perception of our industry. If we have a problem with one of our peers, the best solution is a private conversation with the other Realtor. A simple tenet, easily follow.

  3. Steve Simon

    August 31, 2008 at 9:21 am

    You can disagree, you can debate the merits, you can even strongly critisize a practice; but why would you want to make a personal attack like that?

    I do hope that a high standard was set as far as proving that this poster was over the line.

    if he was just nasty and mean, nothing should have happened administratively.
    He may be a creepy sort, but unless he specifically fabricated events or completely misquoted an individual, and it caused harm to that person, I think he should have received less of a penalty.

    A lot of people get carried away with talking, and posting; they say some things that are very negative, that is poor behavior, but i would not classify it as criminal.

    I have had the privledge of knowing a lot of judges over the years… I would imagine that in this case the poster was particularly horrid!

  4. Vicki Moore

    September 1, 2008 at 1:46 am

    We all have to have personal responsibility – even if it has to come from a judge.

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