Last week, The Realty Alliance (TRA) adopted a new set of Fair Display Guidelines for MLS public-facing web sites.
TRA is a network of North America’s largest residential real estate firms that has recently campaigned against MLS organizations operating sites for consumers. TRA guidelines are partially based on Clareity’s Syndication Bill of Rights (April 2011) and contain eight items; many of which are not, nor have ever been, an issue for MLS-operated sites. MLS public sites that contain advertising, lead generation, or other means of revenue generation will be affected by the guidelines, but not incapacitated. All revenue-generating activities are to be discussed and agreed upon on a local basis.
After reading the guidelines, my first response was, “I wish we had had these 10 years ago and could have avoided the angst and debate, so we could have focused instead on producing high-quality regional sites for consumers!” Perhaps this is a start to regain that focus for the betterment of the industry and provide consumers what they want: fresh and accurate real estate information.
Some people might ask, “Aren’t MLS portals the least of the brokers’ concerns? What about the national publishers like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com (ZTR)?” Unfortunately, the fact is that MLS portals have been a friction point between brokers and MLSs in many markets for more than a decade. These guidelines seem fair and reasonable, so if the MLS community embraces them, the internal friction disappears and there becomes a basis to establish and extend similar guidelines to other publishers.
Clareity Consulting strongly supports TRA Guidelines and this constructive effort to establish détente between large brokers and MLS public portals.
Please read the guidelines: Fair Display Guidelines for MLS Public-Facing Web Sites (PDF / Acrobat format) and let us know your thoughts by reply email or here on our blog.
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