NAR and Blogging - we don't need more rules!

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cimpler Real Estate, Inc. CA BRE# 01330941

Enough is enough!


I promised to investigate the “NAR and Blogging” issue and give my perspective on this growing controversy.  As a lot has already being said, I will not repeat it.  You can find a lot of information in the following posts:

NAR Looking at Blogs and NAR looking at Blogs Part2  by Monika McGillicuddy~ N.H. Real Estate Broker & Trainer

Ride the Blogging Wave  by Bryant Tutas

Bloggers: Be Afraid of the Big, Bad Broker (or Bank)  by Brian Brady

A few websites picked up on the issue as well (NAR Wisdom – it is anonymous!) and you can read about the issue in the Inman Blog as well (NAR caught in blogger crosshairs), so it looks as NAR and Blogging became the topic of the day.

Here is my quick summary: it is all about possibility that NAR might issue guidelines on compliance that might limit agents’ freedom to blog. In my personal opinion there is a lot of confusion out there.

Why? Agents are independent consultants, but brokers are liable for their performance. Does it mean that brokers have to or should restrict agents’ ability to blog in name of the compliance?  Just the opposite!!! I believe that it is in brokers’ best interest to have best agents working for them, agents who can market themselves and be innovative. Brokers are responsible for everything agents do today, so that agents additionally blog does not change anything! I don’t think that brokers need to change any of the existing compliance rules at all.  They just need and should use existing compliance rules.

 

Does it mean that it is going to happen and NAR will issue new compliance rules? It might.  Is it necessary or needed?  ABSOLUTELY not! We have innovative brokers and conservative brokers, as we have conservative and innovative managers in the corporate world. Being innovative usually gives you an edge; however, every now and then “conservative forces” take an edge. Brokers need to be careful and make sure that they properly supervise agents, bu do we need new rules? I don’t think so.

To summarize: Can NAR limit agents’ ability to blog?  I don’t believe so as long as agents stay within existing compliance guidelines. Can franchises and big brokers limit this ability? This depends on the existing set of “rules and regulations” within a franchise.  Some might, some won’t, but I cannot see any major “crack down” coming from the top.  Can individual brokers limit blogging?  They certainly can, as it is their duty to set up policies within their organizations. Some will limit blogging as the will believe that this only way they can enforce compliance. Is it necessary or wise? Opinions are much divided as you can see in the posts I referred to above.  What should agents who blog should do if they are told by their brokers to stop?  First, they should try to educate their brokers.  And if this doesn’t work? It is a big world out there.

Personally I have recently become a big believer in blogging and am helping our agents to embrace it.  It is not easy as San Mateo County , CA is one of the most conservative real estate places in the US (and there are good reasons for this). Yes, in our brokerage we have policies and we are very particular about compliance issues. But I want our agents to be innovative and productive as well as follow the guidelines (agents have to agree to do follow the guidelines before they join us). Blogging is a great tool and I will continue encouraging it and promoting it. There is no need whatsoever to create new guidelines to deal with agents blogging activities. It is all in the existing compliance guidelines and broker - associate contracts.

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Rainer
79,829
Daniel Sundberg
Crystal Springs Real Estate - Kentwood, MI

My belief is that the "Big Boys" will want to see how Blogging has affected their image.  If they feel it tarnishes their image in any way, they will crack down; likewise, if they feel their image is promoted, they will promote blogging. 

In light of Move.com (NAR's business partner) and AR's latest meeting, I believe NAR will try to sway their members to use their blogging network so they can control what the members put forth.  How they will try this, I do not know.  But thats just my 2 cents.

Oct 18, 2007 12:59 PM #1
Rainmaker
196,578
Roberta Murphy
San Diego Previews Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
Carlsbad Real Estate and Homes
Artur: Try putting the genie back into the bottle....
Oct 18, 2007 01:00 PM #2
Rainer
78,210
Vicky Poe
Good Ole Rocky Top - Crossville, TN
Realtor/ Auctioneer
Daniel that is a very good post.  I couldn't have said it better myself.
Oct 18, 2007 01:14 PM #3
Rainer
42,460
Artur Urbanski
Cimpler Real Estate, Inc. - Burlingame, CA
Helping property owners to maximize property value

Daniel, Most probably your forecast is right on the dot. What I tried to show id that the "compliance issue is just an excuse to sway members back to Move.com.  Thank you for the comment.

Roberta - That's not me! I am just an observer. Thank you for the comment.

Thank you Vicky. 

Oct 18, 2007 01:41 PM #4
Rainmaker
152,344
Leslie Bloss, Bellevue Real Estate Professional
Bellevue, WA
Hi Artur,  Our broker encourages us to blog--her name is Ardell DellaLoggia--maybe you have heard of her.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out!
Oct 18, 2007 02:01 PM #5
Rainer
42,460
Artur Urbanski
Cimpler Real Estate, Inc. - Burlingame, CA
Helping property owners to maximize property value

Hi Leslie,

I read the interview and cannot agree more with Ardell. This is exactly our philosophy.  Thank you for your comment.  57000 points - this is quite impressive! Good luck!  By the way, do you keep statistics how blogging impacts your business?  Can you quantify if blogging helps you and lead generation and if yes, how much? Also you and Ardell might want to check our new service.  Pretty soon we will be looking for agents and brokers around the country to try it.

Oct 18, 2007 02:44 PM #6
Ambassador
1,518,466
William Johnson
RE/MAX Associates - La Jolla, CA
San Diego Real Estate Voice, GRI CRS e-Pro CDPE
Autur, This might well be one of the best articles on the subject to date. You did this superbly! Thank you for the great effort . We will have to see if now that DOJ is going after NAR where that will go. They  had put up their new website on the subject of NAR's rules and structure. I am doubting that  NAR really wants to take on more right now. You covered this well in that no guidelines even need to be established. The Brokers can and should make their own decisions on this and I am sure they will some day.
Oct 18, 2007 06:23 PM #7
Anonymous
San Diego California broker

Very good post!

I agree with you 100%. We are not clones to be forced to toe the industry line. Just as each property is unique, each Realtor is their own person and should be free to express their own opinions.

Bob Schwartz

San Diego California real estate blog 

Oct 18, 2007 06:43 PM #8
Rainer
42,460
Artur Urbanski
Cimpler Real Estate, Inc. - Burlingame, CA
Helping property owners to maximize property value
William, thank you very much. I owe you as you challenged my by asking to write about. I was planning to write something entirely different, but to do so I needed to understand what other people said or wrote.  Once, I finally did my analysis. I realized that I certainly don't see the reason for more rules. A usually, we need more education. Thanks again.
Oct 18, 2007 07:04 PM #9
Rainer
42,460
Artur Urbanski
Cimpler Real Estate, Inc. - Burlingame, CA
Helping property owners to maximize property value
Thank you Bob.  When I have heard it first time I had to think hard where I am at the moment.  I lived in a few countries and for a while I was not sure where I live now.  I had to pinch myself to realize that I am still in the country where "You Live Free or Die" (folks from New Hampshire - sorry for borrowing it from you, but I couldn't resist using it!). Anyway, as you said Bob - "each Realtor is their own person and should be free to express their own opinions".  Well said!!!
Oct 18, 2007 07:13 PM #10
Rainer
60,552
Dan Homan
Coldwell Banker Ellison Realty, Inc - Ocala, FL

Art-

Great post as usual.  The NAR is about the company line and censorship.  On one hand that is OK, but, when the company line is wrong it is a problem.  For months the NAR chief economist issued forecasts of a 2% increase in the housing market.  One month the forecast was a 0.8% decline.  The chief economist resigned two weeks later and went to work for Move.com.  The latest NAR chief economist just issued a forecast of 2% increase next year.  Back to business as usual.  Is this going to be the future of blogging?

I used to post on several news groups.  I raised a question about a MLS practice and sent an email to all our local elected MLS and board leaders asking for an explanation of the particular protectionist practice.  Two people out of over 30 responded, plus I received a nasty call back from the person who is the non elected executive officer of our local board.  She said in effect "aren't you the one who has issues with _________, __________, and __________ as well?"  She told me I had to make an appointment to ask the board my question at their next meeting.  I needed to give them 10 days prior notice so they could put me on the agenda, and since the next meeting was in 9 days, and the board was recessing for the summer after that It would take almost 3 months for me to get an answer to a simple question.

Coldwell banker is planning to open a national blog site for agents.  All posts and comments will have to be read, approved, and or edited by the broker.  Say what?  This seems to defeat the whole concept of blogging.  Perhaps our industry is getting what it deserves from the DOJ.  If we are going to be reduced to using cheesy self promotion and advertising disguised as an open and free public discourse of ideas and opinions the public is going to see through it quickly, and the reputation of Realtors will only suffer.

Oct 21, 2007 02:30 AM #11
Rainmaker
430,233
Frances C. Rokicki
Fran Rokicki Realty, LLC - Bolton, CT
Broker-Mentor,CRS
Freedom of speech?  You would think;) As long as, you follow the golden rule, why not?
Oct 21, 2007 05:12 AM #12
Rainer
42,460
Artur Urbanski
Cimpler Real Estate, Inc. - Burlingame, CA
Helping property owners to maximize property value

Dan, thank you. I guess NAR is on the "stay on" course. Brokers should enforce compliance on a number of issues.  If they do the right job on theses issues, it would be fairly trivial for them to issue internal policies for blogging. You cannot mislead public.  Internet itself is powerful enough to undermine heavy handed and thoughtless policies. 

Frances, thank you for your comment.  NAR cannot stop freedom of information or speech.  You can use analogy of the Berlin Wall.  Once it went down no one could stop the change.  The change in real estate is taking place now.  In a long run - no one can stop it. 

Oct 21, 2007 06:16 AM #13
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Artur Urbanski

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