Many of you know that I'm online a lot. A lot...
Now, I don't mean I turn on my computer and occasionally check my email or post on Facebook once a week. No...I am online ALL DAY. From the time I arrive at work until I decide it is time to leave, I am online. And, then I go home...and spend the evening online once my kids go to bed. I'm pretty much an addict.
And, one thing I continually see online is real estate agents using the power of the internet to help them promote their business.
All well and good, really. And, I'm happy to see it. I just wish more of them knew that using the word "REALTOR®" has rules attached to it...rules that, if you are found out by NAR, could cost you everything you have been trying to build online.
See, NAR is really strict about how and where you can use the word REALTOR®. Actually, very strict...(Catholic nun schoolmarm with yardstick strict.) And, a violation of the use of the word could mean that the website or social networking account in question could be shut down. (It has happened before...saw a Facebook page that had close to 50,000 fans associated with it get shut down for this very thing.)
1. Anytime you use the word REALTOR®, it must refer to a member's name or firm. It can not reference an area, neighborhood, city, or any other noun you can think of...
2. You can not use it with descriptive phrases or adjectives. "YourFavoriteRealtor@gmail.com" is a violation of the rules...
3. You can not use it to denote an occupation or in any combination with location or adjectives describing such. MissoulasBestRealtor@gmail.com ... again, a violation.
4. You can use it in email as long as the term refers to your name and/or your firm name only. JoeSmithRealtor@gmail.com <-- That one is ok.
In other words, it must refer to a proper name of a member or a firm. Nothing else!
Seems pretty simple to me. Yet, every day I come across another www.BestReatlorInLalaland.com or any number of "LalalandRealtor"s online on one social media network or another. There is a myriad of "TomTheRealtor"s and "RealtorBoy(or Girl)"s, "ShangraLaRealtor"s and "Your(insert adjective here)Realtor"s. All of which are not approved uses of the word.
I am not going to call anyone out on these misuses. Nor am I an agent or a member of NAR. Quite frankly, it doesn't matter to me in the least that this is happening.
But, if you are one of the people that are doing it, it should matter to you. You could lose everything you have built merely because you ignored (whether knowingly or not) the rule.
Ignorance of the law is not justification for not following it.