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Daily Real Estate News  |  May 13, 2011  |   Setback for Franchisors Seeking IDX Access
In a change to the National Association of REALTORSŪ Internet Data Exchange, or IDX, policy that went into effect in January, franchisors gained the right to display listing data from their franchisees’ IDX feeds on their national Web sites. Now, that move has some large brokerage organizations upset. They say the change effectively gives their listing information to non-participants without their consent.

Following a passionate debate at the REALTORSŪ Midyear Legislative Meetings Thursday, the Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee recommended suspension of the four month–old policy until several concerns can be addressed. The committee’s recommendation will come before NAR’s board of directors for a vote this Saturday, May 14.

Opponents to the policy, including Joe Horning, president of Shorewest, REALTORSŪ, in Brookfield, Wis., had called for a recommendation to rescind the policy altogether. “The data is curated by us and has legal liability attached to it,” said Horning, chairman of the Realty Alliance. “Brokers who choose to give their data to Zillow make that choice. It’s a broker’s choice. In this case we weren’t given the right to opt in.”

With the suspension, any public Web site operated by franchisors can no longer display their franchisees’ IDX feeds until the issue is resolved.

Speaking in support of franchisor display was Mike Brodie, former NAR treasurer and a major broker-owner with Keller Williams Realty International. Brodie said the IDX feeds offer “an opportunity to meet consumer expectations. That information should not be limited to third-party aggregators.”

If the NAR Board approves the committee’s recommendations on Saturday, the MLS committee will consider clarifications and enhancements to the policy including participant opt-out, a broadening of the policy to include real estate networks and other entities, and clearer information about what information can be displayed to ensure compliance with real estate law and regulations.

At Thursday’s meeting, the committee also discussed a proposed amendment to give MLS participants the option to display of other participants’ listings via social media sites, RSS subscriptions, and applications for mobile devices.

The discussion led to an animated debate about the appropriateness of attaching social media policies to IDX policy. Some attendees said a separate set of rules addressing social media and RSS feeds was necessary. In a close vote, the committee agreed to refer the proposed amendment back to a work group for further review.

—Wendy Cole, REALTORŪ Magazine

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