The whole pie – that’s what we want to give to our consumers, buyers, sellers …
I’ve entered a new world in the past few weeks – I finally purchased and am in the process of integrating an IDX solution (Diverse Solutions) on my blog and other sites. In going through the announcement and listening to feedback from my readers and clients, I have encountered something a bit unexpected – there are a few companies in my market that refrain from participating in IDX. For the life of me, salient and substantive reasons for this are elusive.
A few of the arguments made for not participating in IDX –
1 – The companies don’t want uneducated agents showing their listings.
2 – They don’t like the concept of having their listing on other companies’ sites without clear and explicit disclosure – contact information for the listing company included.
3 – They don’t like that agents with good web presences but no listings benefit from their work/content.
4 – There’s a better chance that the listing company can sell their own listings (read: Dual Agency)
5 – Single-property websites – they have branding, but also more comprehensive information – maps, HOA documents, video tours, etc – branded information is banned from public display in our MLS/IDX feeds (and unbranded websites might be in violation of the Code of Ethics and the state regulatory agency).
6 – Buyers see everything on Realtor.com anyway, why should they care about IDX?
The arguments for participating in IDX –
1 – It benefit the seller with dramatically increased exposure
2 – Participation benefits all Realtors in the MLS – the spirt of cooperation and all of that
3 – IDX service providers often have better interfaces than MLS’.
4 – Sellers benefit from the increased exposure
5 – Realtors with good web presences benefit everybody – buyers, sellers and Realtors.
On the surface, it would seem that competing in a listing presentation against these holdouts would be a no-brainer – “If you let me represent you, you will get greater distribution of your marketing on the web” – but … what if they’re right? Could a return to holding our listing data close to the vest be around the corner?
Just a few thoughts for Tuesday afternoon.
November 18, 2008 at 10:08 am
BestHomePro is an IDX solution and we deal with these types of issues daily. For the most part we have seen many of the walls coming down. In North Carolina we have faced several MLSs that only allow a brokerage to have 1 or 2 IDX vendors. As of recently, one MLS has opened up to unlimited IDX providers. MLSs are now working on sharing data (NC Data Share). We aren’t sure where this will take us, but it looks like possible progress.
From an IDX vendor standpoint we find that many of the MLS rules, and the actions of some brokerages, stifle our ability to innovate and create better design and functionality.
Each agent and/or brokerage has their reasons for supporting or not-supporting IDX. My personal opinion is that consumers will drive the market. If they want open access to data, they will eventually get it.
November 18, 2008 at 10:45 am
These arguments always fascinate me because I’m in a market where everyone (or almost everyone, just in case) participates in IDX.
I’d not be in business if not for the IDX, since it’s buyers that have constituted 90% of my business this year. So naturally there are some who would prefer to see folks of my ilk disappear for lack of data to share.
At the end of the day, though, I can’t see a compelling argument that not participating in IDX benefits the seller.
If you have an issue with my web presence, come and compete with me.
If all you want to do is double-dip the listing, be up front about it. Tell your sellers you’re less interested in the buyers that I’m working with than your ability to collect both sides of the commission.
November 18, 2008 at 10:52 am
That raises an interesting question that has been asked about whether a listing agent should market a listing everywhere T,Z,C,etc –
But isn’t IDX use saturated enough where a listing agent may have to disclose to the seller that the listing won’t be sent through IDX? (Especially when a company doesn’t have a dominant web presence?)
November 18, 2008 at 12:35 pm
Jim, with the NAR/DOJ settlement near final, your MLS will be compelled to offer a VOW feed, which includes all listings and no opt-outs. Though initially claimed as of no consequence, I believe your case demonstrates that the settlement will have an impact in some areas of the country where there are significant opt-outs. Currently, the settlement allows/requires registration for consumers to access the feed but I believe a graceful transition can be made from IDX without registration to a registration-required VOW access with all listings.
November 18, 2008 at 7:10 pm
Jim, Just signed up yesterday with Diverse Solutions. It was as interested with the IDX itself, even though I’ll use it, as much as with the RSS feed that I can create. My MLS has a great IDX, just no RSS feed nor is that even anticipated. But you bring up an interesting point in regard to disclosure.
November 18, 2008 at 7:34 pm
I didn’t know it, but your comment is one of the reasons I wrote this post. Thank you.
Ah, the RSS feeds – one of the primary reasons I went with DS. My MLS has given me lip service about it, but nothing has been mentioned since and pushing them wouldn’t give me any real benefit. Better to get it done than fight a battle that wouldn’t bring commensurate benefits.
November 18, 2008 at 9:59 pm
I have been using IDX for years as our MLS gladly gives us the feed. I wouldn’t do much business without it. I’m sure you will like it Jim once you are up and running.
Daniel Rothamel, The Real Estate Zebra
November 19, 2008 at 3:58 pm
first of all, Diverse Solutions IDX rocks. Really, it does.
I was very glad to see Michael’s comment, and even more glad to read its content.
If folks were opting out of IDX and I knew it, I would destroy them in a listing presentation. I would hammer it hard. Or, at least, I would make sure that my potential clients knew enough about IDX to ask each broker if they participate.
For me, the issue is simple– if your client comes to you and says, “why isn’t my house being shown on “site X?” You better have one helluva a good answer. “I want to sell the listing myself,” ain’t it.
May 6, 2009 at 9:27 am
Our MLS just recent added the fields necessary to comply with the recent ruling. The one I find most interesting and think will be most unfollowed and misunderstodd by the Industry in general will be this one:
Seller Authorizes Blogging Features – This will default to YES and be a mandatory field. By choosing NO, the web site owner must turn off any comment or blogging feature used to provide feedback about the property. A blogging feature or comments is a tool on a web site which allows a consumer to post comments about the property. These comments may be viewed by other consumers. (Courtesy of MRIS)
I also wonder how many lstings agents will ocnvince their sellers to not authorize this for fear the transparency it creates is soemthing they cannot handle.