May 2017 Revisions to IDX Policy (Effective Jan. 2018)
The Internet Data Exchange (IDX) policy of the National Association of REALTORS® (Multiple Listing Policy Statement 7.58) was first adopted May 2000. The policy and accompanying model IDX rules have subsequently been revised several times; most recently the Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee adopted revisions at its May 2017 meeting.
Those changes do not become effective until January of 2018 and MLSs are not required to include the changes in local MLS rules until March 1, 2018. To view the recent changes to MLS and IDX policy review the minutes of the 2017 REALTORS Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo.
The applicable actions from the May 2017 Committee minutes are provided below:
Audio Delivery of IDX
It was moved, seconded and carried:
That MLS Policy Statement 7.58, Internet Data Exchange (IDX) Policy be revised as follows to authorize the delivery of IDX listing information via voice-activated devices such as the Amazon Echo and Dot, Google Home, and Microsoft’s Cortana. (Underscoring identifies additions:
strikethroughs identifies deletions)
Section 1 Internet Data Exchange (IDX) Policy (Policy Statement 7.58)
The IDX policy gives MLS participants the ability to authorize limited electronic display and delivery of their listings by other participants via the following authorized mediums under the participant’s control: websites, mobile apps, and audio devices. As used throughout this policy, “display” includes “delivery” of such listings.
(Adopted 05/12) Associations of Realtors® and their multiple listing services must enable MLS participants to display aggregated MLS listing information by specified electronic means in accordance with this policy. Requests for IDX feeds/downloads must be acted on by the MLS within five (5) business days from receipt, barring extenuating circumstances related to an individual’s qualification for MLS Participation, and review of the participant’s and vendor’s use of the IDX information consistent with the MLS rules, in which case an estimated time of approval or denial must be issued. Electronic display subject to this policy means displays on participants’ public websites and, displays using applications for mobile devices that participants control.
For purposes of this policy “control” means participants must have the ability to add, delete, modify and update information as required by this policy. All displays of IDX listings must also be under the actual and apparent control of the participant, and must be presented to the public as being the participant’s display. Actual control requires that the participant has developed the display, or caused the display to be developed for the participant pursuant to an agreement giving the participant authority to determine what listings will be displayed, and how those listings will be displayed. Apparent control requires that a reasonable consumer receiving
viewing the participant’s display will understand the display is the participant’s, and that the display is controlled by the participant. Factors evidencing control include, but are not limited to, clear, conspicuous, written or verbal identification of the name of the brokerage firm under which the participant operates in a readily visible color and typeface, except as otherwise provided for in this policy (e.g., displays of minimal information). All electronic display of IDX information conducted pursuant to this policy must comply with state law and regulations, and MLS rules. Any display of IDX information must be controlled by the participant, including the ability to comply with this policy and applicable MLS rules. (Amended 05/15)
To comply with this requirement MLSs must, if requested by a participant, promptly provide basic downloading of all active listings, a minimum of three (3) years sold* listing data, non-confidential pending sale listing data, and other listings authorized under applicable MLS rules. MLSs
and may not exclude any listings from the information which can be downloaded or displayed under IDX except those listings for which a seller has affirmatively directed that their listing or their property address not appear on the Internet or other electronic forms of display or distribution. participant has withheld consent, or listings for which the seller has prohibited Internet display. Associations and MLSs can also offer alternative display options including framing of board, MLS, or other publicly-accessible sites displaying participants’ listings (with permission of the framed site). For purposes of this policy, “downloading” means electronic transmission of data from MLS servers to participants’ servers on a persistent or transient basis, at the discretion of the MLS. The MLS’s IDX download must be refreshed to accurately reflect all updates and status changes no less frequently than every twelve (12) hours. Data transmitted must exclude the listing or property address, respectively, of any seller who affirmatively directs that the listing or the property address not appear on the Internet or other electronic forms of display or distribution. (Amended 11/15)
*Note: If “sold” information is not publicly accessible, sold listings can be removed from the MLSs’ IDX feeds/downloads. “Publicly accessible” sold information as used in IDX policy and rules, means data that is available electronically or in hard copy to the public from city, county, state and other government records. MLSs must provide for its Participants’ IDX displays publicly accessible sold information maintained by the MLS for at least the last three (3) years. (Amended 05/15)
MLSs that allow persistent downloading of the MLS database by participants for display or distribution on the Internet or by other electronic means may require that participants’ websites (1) utilize appropriate security protection, such as firewalls, provided that any security obligations imposed on participants may not be greater than those employed concurrently by the MLS, and/or (2) maintain an audit trail of consumer activity on participants’ websites and make that information available to the MLS if the MLS has reason to believe that a participant’s IDX website has caused or permitted a breach in the security of the data or a violation of MLS rules related to use by consumers. This policy does not require associations or MLSs to establish publicly accessible sites displaying participants’ listings. (Amended 05/12)
Unless state law requires prior written consent from listing brokers, listing brokers’ consent for IDX display may be presumed unless a listing broker affirmatively notifies the MLS that the listing broker refuses to permit display (either on a blanket or on a listing-by-listing basis). If a participant refuses on a blanket basis to permit IDX display of that participant’s listings, then that participant may not display the aggregated MLS data of other participants on an IDX site.
Alternatively, MLSs may require that participants’ consent for IDX display of their listings by other participants be affirmatively established in writing. Even where participants have given blanket authority for other participants’ IDX display of their listings, such consent may be withdrawn on a listing-by-listing basis as instructed by the seller. (Amended 05/12)
Access to MLS databases, or any part of such databases, may not be provided to any person or entity not expressly authorized such access under the MLS rules. (Amended 11/09)
Participants’ Internet websites and other authorized display mechanisms may also provide other features, information, or services in addition to IDX information (including Virtual Office Website [“VOW”] functions) which are not subject to this policy. (Amended 05/12)
Policies Applicable to Participants’ IDX Websites and Displays
1. Participants must notify the MLS of their intention to display IDX information and give the MLS direct access for purposes of monitoring/ensuring compliance with applicable rules and policies. (Amended 05/12)
2. MLS participants may not use IDX-provided listings for any purpose other than IDX display. This does not require participants to prevent indexing of IDX listings by recognized search engines. (Amended 05/12)
3. Listings or property addresses of sellers who have directed their listing brokers to withhold their listing or property address from display on the Internet (including, but not limited to, publicly accessible websites or VOWs) shall not be accessible via IDX display. (Amended 05/12)
4. Participants may select the IDX listings they choose to display based only on objective criteria including, but not limited to, factors such as geography or location (“uptown”, “downtown”, etc.), list price, type of property (e.g., condominiums, cooperatives, single family detached, multi-family), cooperative compensation offered by listing brokers, type of listing (e.g., exclusive right-to-sell or exclusive agency), or the level of service provided by the listing firm. Selection of IDX listings to be displayed must be independently made by each participant. (Amended 05/12)
5. Participants must refresh all MLS downloads and displays automatically fed by those downloads not less frequently than every twelve (12) hours. (Amended 11/14)
6. Except as provided elsewhere in this policy or elsewhere in an MLS’s rules and regulations, an IDX display or participant engaging in IDX display may not distribute, provide, or make any portion of the MLS database available to any person or entity. (Amended 05/12)
7. When displaying listing content, a participant’s or user’s IDX display must clearly identify the name of the brokerage firm under which they operate in a readily visible color and typeface. This policy acknowledges that certain required disclosures may not be possible in displays of minimal information (e.g., “thumbnails”, text messages, “tweets”, etc., of 200 characters or less) or for audio delivery of listing content.
Such Minimal displays are exempt from the disclosure requirements established in this policy but only when linked directly to a display that includes all required disclosures. Audio delivery of listing content is exempt from the disclosure requirements only when all required disclosures are subsequently delivered electronically via email to the registered consumer performing the property search or linked to through the device's application. (Amended 05/12) (Shaded area above amended by the NAR Executive Committee)
8. With respect to any participant’s IDX display that
a. allows third-parties to write comments or reviews about particular listings or displays a hyperlink to such comments or reviews in immediate conjunction with particular listings, or
b. displays an automated estimate of the market value of the listing (or hyperlink to such estimate) in immediate conjunction with the listing,
either or both of those features shall be disabled or discontinued with respect to the seller’s listing at the request of the seller. The listing broker or agent shall communicate to the MLS that the seller has elected to have one or both of these features disabled or discontinued by all participants. Except for the foregoing and subject to paragraph 9, a participant’s IDX display may communicate the participant’s professional judgment concerning any listing. Nothing shall prevent an IDX display from notifying customers that a particular feature has been disabled at the request of the seller. (Amended 05/12)
9. Participants shall maintain a means (e.g., e-mail address, telephone number) to receive comments about the accuracy of any data or information that is added by or on behalf of the participant beyond that supplied by the MLS and that relates to a specific property. The participant shall correct or remove any false data or information relating to a specific property upon receipt of a communication from the listing broker or listing agent for that property explaining why the data or information is false. However, the participant shall not be obligated to remove or correct any data or information that simply reflects good faith opinion, advice, or professional judgment. (Amended 05/12)
10. An MLS participant (or where permitted locally, an MLS subscriber) may co-mingle the listings of other brokers received in an IDX feed with listings available from other MLS IDX feeds, provided all such displays are consistent with the IDX rules, and the MLS participant (or MLS subscriber) holds participatory rights in those MLSs. As used in this policy, “co-mingling” means that consumers are able to execute a single property search of multiple IDX data feeds resulting in the display of IDX information from each of the MLSs on a single search results page; and that participants may display listings from each IDX feed on a single webpage or display. (Adopted 11/14)
11. Participants shall not modify or manipulate information relating to other participants’ listings. MLS participants may augment their IDX displays of MLS data with applicable property information from other sources to appear on the same webpage or display, clearly separated from the data supplied by the MLS. The source(s) of the information must be clearly identified in the immediate proximity to such data. This requirement does not restrict the format of MLS data display or display of fewer than all of the available listings or fewer authorized fields. (Adopted 05/15) M
Policies Applicable to Multiple Listing Services
The following guidelines are recommended but not required to conform to National Association policy. MLSs may:
1. prohibit display of expired, withdrawn, or sold listings* (Amended 11/15)
*Note: If “sold” information is publicly accessible, display of “sold” listings may not be prohibited. (Adopted 11/14)
2. prohibit display of confidential information fields intended for cooperating brokers rather than consumers including compensation offered to other MLS participants, showing instructions, property security information, etc.
3. prohibit display of the type of listing agreement, e.g., exclusive right to sell, exclusive agency, etc.
4. prohibit display of seller’s(s’) and occupant’s(s’) name(s), phone number(s), and e-mail address(es)
5. require that any listing displayed identify the listing firm in a reasonably prominent location and in a readily visible color and typeface not smaller than the median used in the display of listing data (Amended 11/09)
6. require that the identity of listing agents be displayed
7. require that any display of other participants’ listings indicate the source of the information being displayed
8. require that other brokers’ listings obtained from other sources, e.g., from other MLSs, from non-participating brokers, etc., display the source from which each such listing was obtained
9. require participants to indicate on their websites and in any other IDX display that the information being provided is for consumers’ personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. (Amended 05/12)
10. establish reasonable limits on the amount of data/number of listings that consumers may retrieve or download in response to an inquiry. Such number shall be determined by the MLS, but in no instance may the limit be fewer than one hundred (100) listings or five percent (5%) of the listings available for IDX display, whichever is less. (Amended 11/09)
11. limit the right to display other participants’ listings to a participant’s office(s) holding participatory rights in the same MLS.
12. require a notice on all MLS data displayed indicating that the data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the MLS. Participants’ IDX sites and displays may also include other disclaimers necessary to protect the participant and/or the MLS from liability. (Amended 05/12)
This policy acknowledges that the disclosures required under Subsections 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 12 (above) may not be possible in displays of minimal information (e.g., “thumbnails”, text messages, “tweets”, etc., of 200 characters or less) or for audio delivery of listing content.
Such Minimal displays are exempt from the disclosure requirements established in this policy but only when linked directly to a display that includes all required disclosures. Audio delivery of listing content is exempt from the disclosure requirements only when all required disclosures are subsequently delivered electronically via email to the registered consumer performing the property search or linked to through the devices application . (Adopted 05/12) (Shaded area above amended by the NAR Executive Committee)
Additional Local Issues/Options
1. Where MLS participatory rights are available to non-member brokers or firms as a matter of law or local determination, the right to IDX display of listing information may be limited, as a matter of local option, to participants who are Realtors®. (Amended 05/12)
2. MLSs may, but are not required to, limit the right to display listing information available pursuant to IDX to MLS participants licensed as real estate brokers.
3. MLSs may, but are not required to, limit the right to display listing information pursuant to IDX to MLS participants engaged in real estate brokerage. (Amended 11/09)
4. MLSs may, but are not required to, allow non-principal brokers and sales licensees affiliated with MLS participants to use information available through IDX to populate their own websites or to use in other IDX displays.
Even if use of information through IDX is provided to non-principal brokers and sales licensees affiliated with MLS participants, such use is subject to the affiliated participants’ consent and control and the requirements of state law and/or regulation, and MLS rules. (Amended 05/12)
5. MLSs cannot prohibit participants from downloading and displaying or framing other brokers’ listings obtained from other sources, e.g., other MLSs, non-participating brokers, etc., but can, as a matter of local option, require that listings obtained through IDX feeds from Realtor® Association MLSs be searched separately from listings obtained from other sources. (Amended 11/14)
Note: An MLS participant (or where permitted locally, an MLS subscriber) may co-mingle the listings of other brokers received in an IDX feed with listings available from other MLS IDX feeds, provided all such displays are consistent with the IDX rules, and the MLS participant (or MLS subscriber) holds participatory rights in those MLSs. As used in this policy, “co-mingling” means that consumers are able to execute a single property search of multiple IDX data feeds resulting in the display of IDX information from each of the MLSs on a single search results page; and that participants may display listings from each IDX feed on a single webpage or display. (Adopted 11/14)
6. MLSs may, as a matter of local option, charge the costs of adding or enhancing their downloading capacity to participants who will download listing information. Assessment of such costs should reasonably relate to the actual costs incurred by the MLS. (Amended 11/06)
7. MLSs may prohibit advertising controlled by participants (including co-branding) on any pages displaying IDX-provided listings. (Amended 05/12)
MLSs permitting advertising (including co-branding) on pages displaying IDX-provided listings may prohibit deceptive or misleading advertising (including co-branding). For purposes of this provision, co-branding will be presumed not to be deceptive or misleading if the participant’s logo and contact information is larger than that of any third party. (Amended 11/09) M
(Corresponding revisions will be made to the Model IDX Rules and Regulations.)
Listing Broker Attribution in IDX
It was moved, seconded and carried:
That Section 18.3.3 of the model IDX rules be revised from “optional” to “mandatory” and moved to Section 18.2.12 to ensure listing broker attribution in all IDX displays. (Underscoring identifies additions;
strikethroughs identifies deletions)
All listings displayed pursuant to IDX shall identify the listing firm in a reasonably prominent location and in a readily visible color and typeface not smaller than the median used in the display of listing data. Displays of minimal information (e.g., “thumbnails”, text messages, “tweets”, etc., of two hundred  characters or less) are exempt from this requirement but only when linked directly to a display that includes all required disclosures. (Amended 05/12) M
Section 18.3.3 All listings displayed pursuant to IDX shall identify the listing firm in a reasonably prominent location and in a readily visible color and typeface not smaller than the median used in the display of listing data. Displays of minimal information (e.g., “thumbnails”, text messages, “tweets”, etc., of two hundred  characters or less) are exempt from this requirement but only when linked directly to a display that includes all required disclosures. (Amended 05/12) O