Department of Justice has sued the National Association of Realtors (NAR)
Last week, the DOJ sued the NAR for anti-competitive practices. What it all revolves around is the display of listings on web sites, like SloCountyHomes.com. When you search a listing on my website, you’re using what’s called IDX, or Internet Data eXchange. This is something that was defined a few years ago that says that Brokers can share their listings with other Brokers and Agents and have them displayed on their website. With IDX, Brokers can choose to “opt-out” which means they can say that they don’t want their listings displayed on other websites. So, when a buyer is searching for homes, they may never see some of the properties that are in the MLS. The DOJ says that is a disservice to consumers.
There are 2 sides to this issue:
On one side, Brokers say that the “opt-out” provision allows for home owners to not have their property listed on websites who don’t want the exposure beyond other agents.
The other side said the opt-out is a way for Brokers to protect their 6% comissions. Plus, they say that it limits web-based brokerages.
IMO, the IDX-MLS Search I currently have on my site works just fine (but in some areas of the country agents don’t have IDX available to them). The only problem with the current approach is that some homeowners may not know if the Broker has chosen NOT to display their home on the Internet. This could be addressed by yet another form for the homeowner to sign to say if the home goes or doesn’t go on the Internet.
* Here’s a link to a good article about the suit (courtesy of blog reader Kirk!).