Today most MLS leadership is aware of the challenges associated with, and consequences resulting from, an MLS compliance department that doesn’t provide uniform rule enforcement: the longer rule violations go unaddressed, the harder it is to get them fixed, allowing the chance of hearing the “You’re picking on me.” complaint to rise exponentially. When it comes to listing maintenance within the MLS system, many agents view listings and have the opportunity to see and report rule violations on a daily basis. Regardless, MLS’ have implemented resources such as MLS Data Checker, iCheck, and other compliance tools to ensure uniform enforcement. When it comes to IDX and VOWs, uniform enforcement is more problematic. Agents don’t spend a lot of time on competitors’ websites, and when they do, they aren’t looking for compliance with all rules in the way an MLS should. The burden falls more than ever on the MLS Compliance Department and SAFE Syndication™ is the only tool to help MLS compliance staff manage the enormity of this task.
SAFE Syndication™ places all of the IDX and VOW license information in an easy to use application. It is no longer a challenge to hunt down the latest version of an Excel spreadsheet or chase down paper in a filing cabinet which is sometimes lost or destroyed. The MLS can easily assign various duties to individuals as the information flows through the system. One employee can enter all of the site information into the system and, because the MLS can set a site to require an audit on load, the Compliance Department can audit the site based on a list of upcoming audits in the dashboard. In an environment where one user is responsible for all of the processes, there is no longer the need to keep track of licenses in one system, sites in another, and audits in yet another. All sites are audited based on the same set of rules so the process creates objectivity and neutrality while eliminating prior subjective decisions with undefined or undocumented sets of rules. Additionally, because SAFE Syndication™ becomes the system of record, it provides an up-to-date representation of all MLS’ IDX and VOW vendor and publisher licenses. With the ListHub integration, the initial import of the original data and the ability to define an audit schedule, SAFE Syndication customers are up and running very quickly.
Cathy Libby, Operations Manager for MREIS, an early adopter of SAFE Syndication™, had this to say: “MREIS decided to become an early user of SAFE Syndication based on the fact that Clareity Security’s program provided a solution to many of the steps MREIS was already doing in-house by cobbling together various tasks. Rather than recreate the wheel, we felt it would be in our best interest to switch to this program, despite it being in its infancy. We were able to work collaboratively with Clareity Security, provide our input and help develop SAFE Syndication into a first class product.
MREIS uses SAFE Syndication to track all of the vendors providing IDX and VOW services to our Participants. We also use it to conduct mandatory compliance reviews and routine audits of IDX and VOW web sites. SAFE Syndication provides one central location for all of our information and having the dashboard really helps when more than one person is involved in the compliance process.”
As MREIS has experienced, SAFE Syndication™ offers many benefits. The first and foremost benefit is ensuring that the rules are applied to all participants equally. When an MLS sets up their service the initial task is to set the audit schedule for IDX websites and VOWs, for both customizable and non-customizable sites. The MLS determines whether new and/or existing sites will require an initial audit and the percent of sites audited in a given timeframe. This feature, accessible from the SAFE Syndication™ dashboard, drives the list of sites needing to be audited. Using a consistent rules-based method for determining which sites to audit is a major step in addressing complaints about inconsistent rule enforcement.
SAFE Syndication™ also ensures compliance with all of the rules and consistently validates when a site is due to be audited. This presents a consistent message to the industry that the cursory method in which sites were being audited in the past was insufficient. A glance is not good enough to meet the comprehensive audit requirements facing MLS’ today. If a compliance staff says IDX sites take only minutes to audit and VOWs just take an hour or two, a warning flag should be raised – the MLS needs to take steps to improve the comprehensiveness of its audits.
SAFE Syndication™ manages the entire audit process. It can be dizzying to stay on top of those sites due for audit, those in progress, in remediation, and those requiring a re-audit, not to mention sites going back and forth through these steps on their way to “completion and compliance”. The program dashboard makes it easy to keep track of audits in progress and to ensure the audits are being completed in a timely manner.
SAFE Syndication™ also saves staff time in a variety of other ways and makes it significantly easier to multi-task audits with other workflow. MLS’ have a clear “to do list”, can easily find and manage audits in progress and can swiftly find older audits by searching only the website address in question. SAFE Syndication™ also makes it easy to see the audit history of a website and manage multiple audit report versions over time. SAFE Syndication™ provides a scalable solution which is far superior to the current processes that are dependent on the mindfulness of a single compliance person and are managed with over-stuffed filing cabinets, unwieldy spreadsheets and complaint filled emails and sticky-notes.
Once you get started with SAFE Syndication™ you’ll finally feel like your IDX and VOW compliance is being done right and is totally under control.
For additional information on SAFE Syndication™ please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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