A Local Board of Realtors® Just Gave More Power To Zillow, Trulia, etc., Over It's Own Members?

Real Estate Sales Representative with Kennewick Richland (and West) Pasco WA Homes For Sale

Have you heard about the Indianapolis board of Realtors® decision to require their members to not allow Google to index their IDX listings (with the exception of the agent's personal listings of course)?

I wonder if this policy were to spread nation wide, how this would affect Zillow, Trulia, etc. Just today we received a listing for a property in Country Ridge. I did a search for 'country ridge richland wa' and noticed Zillow, realestate.com, etc., ranking for their property listings.

My guess is, if real estate agents were not able to index their website's IDX feeds then these national power houses would get even more powerful. As they (Zillow, etc.) would be the only websites indexing agent's listings. :(

Related Reading @ RealEstateWebmasters

•:*¨¨*:• Colleen Lane •:*¨¨*:•
My ActiveRain Blog / My Localism Blog | ColleenLane.com

The Lane Real Estate Team
I am the Realtor® that makes things move in The Lane Real Estate Team, while my husband Joe is the dude that provides the marketing that gives me the great clients I have. My sole purpose in life is to serve God, family, and clients. Joe's sole purpose in life is to serve God, me, and family (and ski). We have five children, all at home, all ours. We've been happily married for 23 years, and Joe has forgotten the anniversary almost all of those years! We service the Tri Cities Washington real estate market to include Kennewick, Richland, and Pasco, Washington. Visit our latest listing at West Richland Homes For Sale.


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Bettina Settles
Greenwood, IN
Your Indiana Connection

I must had missed that email from the board, I was looking for this announcement.....thanks for the reminder.....



May 07, 2009 05:22 AM #37
Bettina Settles
Greenwood, IN
Your Indiana Connection

can I add something to this...I just found out that NAR told MIBOR, that there are correct and for them to order then new ruling.

Here is another posting and I called Paula and her broker and asked her about that.




May 07, 2009 05:44 AM #38
Morgan Evans
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

As a real estate in Manhattan we are not members of NAR so its interesting to see what goes on.  We don't have a MLS here either.  Its quite interesting to hear how regulations are taking place with the internet and local MLS areas.

May 07, 2009 07:48 AM #39
Jason Daley
Bremerton, WA
Kitsap County Real Estate, Bremerton, WA Real Estate

Joe - Nice Post, it never ceases to amaze me how the ridiculous few screw so many things up for the majority. It seems to me that most People/Boards/Committees will agree with a persistent whiner just to shut them up, since they know they will make a BIG LOUD STINK, and rarely give up, until they have satisfied their ego's.

Totally unrelated topic, but shows the "Whining Few" point very well: We used to go to a drive in Theater in Everett WA all the time, and for MANY MANY years Trucks and SUV's were allowed in the front row, and several back rows. Then all of the sudden NO MORE Trucks and SUV's in the front row, WHY??? because some belligerent whiner complained over and over again... 1 person!!! yet over 50% of the vehicles at the theater were Trucks and SUV's??? And they did not block the view of any rows behind them, because the screen is so far above the rows that it is impossible to block the next rows view with anything short of Bigfoot on those 10ft tall tires. Of course then, all the truck and SUV owners complained, but it didn't matter, because the theater had already changed it's policy for this Whiner, so now it felt that it had to defend it's decision no matter what. That really pisses me off, if you couldn't tell... and I know of a lot of situations where the Loud few wreck it for the Silent majority.

What ever happened to VOTING on an idea before it is changed, it can save a lot of headaches... as long as you are not using Florida's voting machines, that is :)

Wow, I haven't gotten that far up on my soapbox for a while :)

May 07, 2009 08:37 AM #40
Pat & Wayne Harriman
Harriman Real Estate, LLC (203) 672-4499 - Wallingford, CT
Broker/Owners, Wallingford CT Real Estate

NAR has agreed to consider this issue and has offered to transport Jay Thompson and Paula Henry to DC to act as spokespeople for us in this matter. According to Todd Carpenter, Social Media Manager for NAR, this issue will not be the primary focus of the committee meeting they will be attending; an issue regarding short sales has that distinction. However, we think Jay and paula will represent us ably in the time they're allotted. Good luck, Jay & Paula!

May 07, 2009 09:08 AM #41
Renée Donohue
Savvy Home Strategies Realty, LLC-REALTOR®-Estate-Probate - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Real Estate Broker - www.urLVhome.com

We have an opt out or opt in policy.  They have to sign a form giving full permission for their listing to be indexed plus priveliges (allow the address to be seen.)  It's an interesting concept.  I could understand REO companies NOT want a vacant foreclosed property to have the address spewn about the web.  Owner occupied seller - different story!

May 07, 2009 09:23 AM #42
Lee Ali
Las Americas Real Estate - Fairfield, CT

Seconding Jay, Francy, Mark and others, we should be having all kinds of discussions here. I am sure that some of our clients are monitoring us here, and this is NOT one of the "Members Only" posts. :)

May 07, 2009 09:46 AM #43
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

I am so glad I don't hang my license in Indiana!  I am proud of our Assn. and our MLS service.

May 07, 2009 09:48 AM #44
Marchell Mascheck

Collen & Joe,

In my haste to comment, I failed to recognize in writing your take on this.  I apologize for leaving that out and not completing my thoughts to be more understandable.  I should never shorten a rant at the end of a busy day.  Again, I am sorry for that!

So many agents out there are only in this for themselves and don't realize what we, as REATLORS, can do as a group.  We succeed together!  (Aren't you glad we're not in a dog-eat-dog market?)  One point that many of those same agents miss is that if their MLS is a REALTOR MLS, then they have adopted the NAR rules.  When you read through the comments here and the ones on AgentGenius, you realize how many REALTORS are detached from their Association and their MLS.  Very sad.  These agents usually want to succeed in real estate and want everyone else to fail.  I still don't get how agents can think that everyone is their competition when transactions are referred to as 'cooperating'!  Does Zillow do that?  They are in it only for themselves.

Anyway, I still don't think this discussion should be here.  It's the wrong venue and I don't mean to offend you or anyone else on this thread.  A lot of REALTORS and agents should be more educated and much more open minded when they are talking about an issue that they believe hurts their business while they have no consideration of the 1.2 million REALTORS whom the issue helps.  There is not an easy nor unconfrontational way of saying any of this.  Which is why I prefer this to be a proviate REALTOR discussion.  Personal opinion.

I'm glad to see that my comments and yours have invoked much discussion, I just wish it were elsewhere.

May 07, 2009 04:58 PM #45
Gary Ashton
RE/MAX Elite - Nashville, TN


The decision to not allow realtors to have their IDX listings indexed by Google by the Indianapolis board of Realtors®  seems to be another one of those examples that the real estate industry kicks up every now and then just to see how much it can have the general public scratching their heads.

The general public have come to recognize Google as one of the most efficient ways of researching just about any topic you can think of. As our society has grown and developed we are constantly demanding that we get results quicker and quicker.

Pre internet, buyers would read through numerous magazines and classified ads trying to find a home that would match their basic requirements. If they were local, they could drive the neighborhoods, and narrow down their choices just be a cursory glance or a gut feeling about a property. The down side of using all this printed material was that a lot of the information was, by the very nature of the medium, out of date as soon as it was printed so a buyer could spends hours just driving around trying to narrow their choices down and find that the homes had already been sold.

With the advent of the Multiple Listing Service Realtors now could offer a valuable service of being able to show their buyers what was currently available through the listing books. Although not updated in real time, the MLS data allowed the buyers the opportunity to sit down with their Realtor, and review the information that had gleaned from the local magazines and classifieds.

With the advent of the internet, certain products and services were just made for online searching, and real estate was one of them. The ability to be able to look at homes with pictures and detailed information about the homes enabled the buyers to literally sit back and search from the comfort of their own home. As technology has developed buyers now have the ability to, in effect, tap into the MLS data, create their own searches, and do a lot of the leg work for themselves. Now they can actually present their realtor with a list of MLS #'s that they have found online and would like to see and the Realtor can then do the additional research and provide the useful professional knowledge the buyers have come to expect from using a Realtor.

This systems seems to have been working very well for the actuial people selling their homes through realtors, who at the end of the day use a realtor for their knowledge of the real-estate market, their ability to negotiate a good deal and perhaps most importantly, to the sellers, their ability market their home to the maximum effect possible!

Having the option to have your home marketed on high profile websites through organic rankings or traffic generated through the more traditional print ads can do nothing but please the seller. I'm sure if you were selling your home you want to see it being "advertised" in as many places as possible to attract as many potential buyers as possible.

As I understand it, the new requirement by the Indianapolis board of Realtors® would severely impact the listing agents ability to market their homes on "3rd party" realtor sites and give the lead generating sites the virtual monopoly on "advertising" all the listings in the local MLS.

It seems that the power that the realtor has left of providing detailed information from the database of their own organization is slowly being taken away and is in effect diluting the added value a realtor brings to the whole business of selling homes. Once that information is seen by the public to be only available from other 3rd party sources then another facet of the realtors ability to serve the public will have been removed from the Realtor.

In terms of the technical side of gathering data, scraping, and presenting the data on an independent realtors website I don't profess to fully understand the process but I do know limiting the ability of Realtors to allow their listings to appear on IDX sites will ultimately harm the real estate profession by stifling the ability of the individual agents to best serve the public in marketing their homes.

I think we should all remember that the general public is our customer and removing the ability to market their homes to best possible effect is doing a dis-service to everyone.


Gary Ashton,

Nashville, TN

May 07, 2009 07:45 PM #46
Rebecca Levinson, Real Estate Marketing and Online Advertising Consultant
Real Skillz-Clear Marketing for Your Real Estate Vision - Lake Geneva, WI

Vendors and MLS Boards?  Hmmm....say it ain't so.

May 08, 2009 06:16 AM #47
Cal Carter
Keller Williams Realty Alabama Gulf Coast - Gulf Shores, AL

Nice bunch of comments here Joe!

@Marchell - Just to clarify - this policy being implemented will reduce the number of co-ops and increase the number of dual agency or non-represented buyer situations.  Some how that doesn't sound so great for the consumer public at large nor for the tech savvy agents that have taken great strides in representing the buyers in real estate transactions.

Listing agents that don't want their listings showing up on other sites (and perhaps getting indexed via search engines) should opt out of sharing the listings via IDX (it is on the listing agreement - be sure to disclose to your sellers that you don't want their property showing up in lots of places) - and then enter the property on your own site.  Voila - problem solved - the listing agents that want to be greedy at the expense of their clients and their fellow co-op agents will have effectively stopped the other sites from getting indexed for their listings.  The only purpose for IDX is for other agents to bring you buyers - if you don't want buyers for your clients, be sure to disclose that at your listing presentation.

As far as being the only site in town with the listing:  I know many agents that have websites that know absolutely nothing about them and the sites can not be found in Google at all! They will never rank for searches for they are either too lazy or too uneducated on the subject to rank.  It is to their benefit (and their sellers) for the properties to show up on ttech savvy agents websites and for those agents to bring them buyers! It is a win - win!

As for the technical side of this matter, I have shown that the Frameable IDX' can and do get crawled as well - http://www.mygulfcoastbeachteam.com/mibor-nar-grasp-internet-technology-works/



May 10, 2009 02:59 AM #48
Confused Consumer

How would consumers be harmed because IDX listings wouldn't be indexed in Google? The IDX listings are still available on the agent's websites.

May 10, 2009 04:42 PM #49
Judy Orr
HomeSmart Realty Group - Orland Park, IL
SW & Near West Chicago suburbs

Confused Consumer, one of the answers was given above - if you go to only the listing agent's websites and want to view their listing, you will be in a Dual Agency realtionship.  Most buyers prefer to have full Buyer Representation.  Unless you are already working with another agent, you would probably call the listing agent to show you the property.  Some believe in it and it is legal in some states.  Many buyers don't understand this at all.

If you find the listing on Google through a huge portal such as Trulia or some other sites, there isn't always a guarantee that the listing is still active or updated.  Why would you want to be searching outdated information when you can search an updated, local IDX?

Some of the sites you might land on are lead generating sites and could be providing you with a very new, inexperienced agent who needs to pay for their leads.  That also might not be in your best interest.

Why waste your time searching any kind of national real estate portal for only part of the active MLS inventory in your area?  Using a local real estate IDX search should provide you with the largest amount of accurate, up-to-date active listings only next to an automated search direct from the MLS set up by your local real estate agent.

The problem will be that many local sites will never have the chance of appearing in top spots on the search engines for you to even find.  You'll only have the big portals and lead generating sites to choose from, at least on the first page.  You should want local but few local sites will be able to compete if this new rule, or interpretation of an old, outdated rule, is adopted nationwide.

May 11, 2009 04:58 AM #50
Confused Consumer

@ Judy Orr - My question didn't and doesn't pertain to any national real estate portals or lead generation sites. My question was, "How would consumers be harmed because IDX listings wouldn't be indexed in Google?". Preventing IDX listings from being indexed in Google will not harm consumers. An agent's personal listings can still be indexed in Google for consumers to find. IDX listings can still be displayed on cooperating broker's websites for consumers to find.

May 11, 2009 07:56 AM #51
Judy Orr
HomeSmart Realty Group - Orland Park, IL
SW & Near West Chicago suburbs

CC - I still feel it can harm consumers because once again, if only an agent's/brokerage's own listings will be indexed, then there is good reason to believe the consumer will start going to the listing agents.  I am not alone in my feelings that a buyer should have their own representation and that dual agency is not the best thing.  That is one way consumers can be harmed by only indexing a broker's listings instead of allowing indexing of all IDX listings on a site.

Keep in mind, with a large MLS not every IDX listing will be crawled and indexed on a small, non-authority local website.  Depending on the power of each individual site, only some or even none of the IDX listings will be indexed. 

As I mentioned above, consumers can also be harmed by the portals getting better search engine positions because a small, local website will find it even harder to compete.  I do not believe it is in a consumer's best interest to use these kinds of portals for the reasons I already stated.

You're stating that you're not talking about portals, but this is definitely an issue of this.  Local real estate websites have a difficult enough time competing with these behemoths.  Yet in my opinion they do not provide all available listings and are not updated, confusing consumers. 

I don't know how else to explain it.  I can only service a certain number of listings at a time.  I currently get called on many other listings on my IDX.  I wouldn't get these calls, they would probably go to the listing agents.  That would result in more dual agency transactions which I don't think is the best situation for either buyers or sellers.

When buyers call me on another agent's listings that appear on my IDX then I can give them full buyer representation.

May 11, 2009 10:50 AM #52
Judy Orr
HomeSmart Realty Group - Orland Park, IL
SW & Near West Chicago suburbs

I'm back from an appointment and had to finish my above comment quickly.  This can also hurt the sellers that want their listings advertised wherever it is possible.  I just showed a condo to a buyer that found it on my website, but it is listed by another brokerage.  She is getting full representation and the seller is getting their condo shown.  Good for both parties.

Many agents purchase a website, put their listings on it and do nothing else.  Those sites are lost in cyberspace - probably never seen by anyone who doesn't have the exact url. 

That means their listings are only getting syndicated via the IDX's of the other agents that spend the time and money to get their websites to the top of the search engines, thereby exposing those other broikerage's listings to the public.  This is reciprocity at its best. 

For those brokerages that just don't get it, they have the option to opt-out of IDX, at least with our MLS.  Why they would want to is beyond me.  My sellers want all the exposure possible.  I want their listings to sell, and I prefer not to be a dual agent.

May 11, 2009 12:09 PM #53
Mike Russo

The issues that NAR creates for the members is going to force issues like what happened in Chicago years ago.  I lived in Chicago in 2005 when Coldwell Banker, Koenig and Baird & Warner pulled their north shore offices out of MLSNI.

Five years ago we were discussing at industry conferences like RealTrends that because of technology today it was completely possible for companies to create aggregation sites for our own uses as real estate companies outside of the MLS.

It seemed this issue was headed in the right direction until now.

The absurdity is that NAR and the MLS' want to do anything but listen to their members.

May 13, 2009 04:34 PM #54
Katie Arnholt Kim
The Kim Group ~ Commercial Real Estate Team for Peoria, IL - Peoria, IL

I wonder how long local boards are going to be able to stay in business.  Our brokerage has an intranet system where you enter the listing and it automatically goes out to about 10+ websites and posts it there.  So what is the benefit from the local boards?  Training?  Support?


Jun 02, 2009 03:16 PM #55
Chuck Mixon
The Keyes Company - Cutler Bay, FL
Cutler Bay Specialist, GRI, CDPE, BPOR

This is a sign of the time where the ones in charge of the program don't understand the program!  As such they can do greater harm then good for the group they serve. This is why it is so important to make sure the right person, who is most qualified is elected for a position. Sadly our choices are limited sometimes and we have to do the best with what we have. Colleen it sound like you understand the system and need to get involved in the local board to improve issues.

It is my opionion the we have this same problem nation wide and even at the Federal level. An example it the current market condition have gotten worst not better after all that was done. We have wasted money with no results, now we are going to regulate our way out. When will we open our eyes ans see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Jun 12, 2009 03:02 AM #56
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Colleen Lane

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