Recently, the National Association of Realtors policy on IDX was changed and now provides that “MLS participants may not use IDX-provided listings for any purpose other than display on their Web sites. This does not require participants to prevent indexing of IDX listings by recognized search engines.”
So, what are the criteria for being a “recognized search engine”? Can I start one? What about an established property portal claims to be one? How about a franchise starts one? How about if a broker wants to ignore all other IDX rules and starts their own real estate search engine site, scrape the data from other MLSs (goodbye data access fees!), and set up a cool web site with listings from surrounding geographies?
When I asked these types of questions on Twitter, one MLS executive joked, “I hereby recognize your newly started search engine as a search engine, in fact, and recognition.” Thanks … I guess I’ve now met the criteria!
So, now we can have any number of entities scraping IDX sites and doing whatever they want with the IDX data? I’m not against search engine indexing – I recognize that there was good intent in the policy change – but as drafted, I’m not so sure I like this new policy. Put me in a room with MLSs, vendors and attorneys for a day or two and I’m sure we could get it right…
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