photo courtesy of PhoenixREGuy
I hate writing this post.
I feel angry, frustrated, and annoyed that I am doing this post. I shouldn't have to. For those of you that have been following along with the recent decision by MIBOR (Metropolitan Indianapolis Board Of Realtors®) to send everything back to committee (again). If you haven't been following, these articles will help bring you up to speed:
AgentGenius - Did Google Scrape My Website? You Be The Judge. Rules Threaten Realtors & IDX Providers. - Paula Henry
ActiveRain - Is Google A Scraper Site? - Missy Caulk
AgentGenius - NAR Responds in DC - The MLS Committee to recommend Google policy change - Paula Henry
AgentGenius - MIBOR Blocks Change, NAR Committee Agrees- Politics Beats Agents In DC - Benn Rosales
Does MIBOR's decision affect me?
There are several issues at play here and I think most of them affect each on of us directly. First, is the issue of scraping vs. indexing. It's a no brainer in my book. My sellers want their house sold. I want it sold. I don't care about dual-agency. Getting their listing in every corner of the internet is my goal. My goal is not to advertise myself. That comes naturally. When I sell houses, my reputation increases. I do not need to control my data so that no one else can do my advertising for me. I know some people disagree with this rationale, but I do not. I am all for the idea that my listings can be brought to your site via IDX. And if your IDX solution is indexable, more power to you. You've just added all your visitors eyeballs to my listing. They might not have found it through my efforts, but now they have. I sell the house and me and my sellers win. The idea of Google being a "scraper" is just flat out absurd. Google is a search engine (if you don't know the history of search engines, read this) and although on the web sever level its functionality may look just like scraping, it is clear that it's not scraping our sites for nefarious purposes.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith Go To Washington.
At the request of NAR, Paula Henry (the agent directly affected by the MIBOR decision) and Jay Thompson were sent to Washington to represent their opinions to the MLS Committee at NAR's Midyear Meetings. They did and from all accounts, they did it well. I applaud the efforts of Todd Carpenter, Hilary Marsh, and Cliff Niersbach to make this reality. By seeing the need for a dialog and allowing it to happen, they certainly helped boost my opinion of NAR. Even if they were just paying lip service to the outrage that was being bantered about on the various blogs and Twitter (which I don't think they were doing) at least there were some gains. Of course, the announcement came that Jay and Paula had been successful in convincing the committee and the agents that had followed along couldn't have been more thrilled.
MIBOR puts its foot down.
After the gains were celebrated (and believe me, everyone knew there was still more road to travel to full success), MIBOR turned the agent world on its head by deferring the decision back to committee. NAR agreed and now there won't be any word on this until November. I am of the opinion that MIBOR got its feelings hurt by an agent standing up to them and knew what they were doing when they deferred to the committee (after the committee had just recommended changes to the Board Of Directors). In effect, they have moved the issue off the table (for now) and allowed themselves to save face. They weren't defeated by an agent (Paula) with the backing of her peers. Now while I'm sure MIBOR would not frame this as I have, I really believe this is nothing more than a case of a child having a temper tantrum for not getting their way.
Where do we go from here?
I know agents like Paula and Jay have seen a new light in their lives. They both dropped everything to wage a battle in our names and fly to D.C. to help make change come to NAR. I'm proud of both of them for their actions and words. I admit, I have been rather inspired by this and my own personal involvement in it and I have decided to become more involved in the politics of NAR, TAR (Texas Association Of Realtors®), and SABOR (San Antonio Board Of Realtors®). For the record, I hate politics. But, if it means the difference between having the ability to run my business my way and having to deal with the decisions of others, I would rather jump into the fray and take a few bruises for myself and my fellow agents. As it states in my profile here on ActiveRain:
I not only hope to help my clients, but other agents as well*, because I believe that the better we are as a whole in San Antonio, the better we can all serve our clients. I continue to further my education, not just for my mandatory licensing requirements, but because I want to know more. The more we know, the better we can serve our clients and help each other out.
The question is, what are you going to do to help make the associations work how we want them to work? We all disagree on many things, but from my reading over the past few weeks, I know one thing - we all seem to think there's room for improvement and change. I have already reached out to several Realtors® at the local and state level requesting information on joining committees and volunteering my time to make San Antonio a better place to participate in a real estate transaction. If I can help locally, I can move to make change nationally.
Please comment on the issue on Realtor.org (thanks to Missy Caulk for the tip to the post). Comments are moderated and will take awhile to appear, but it's a great place to make sure your voice is heard (although I know NAR has been monitoring the posts associated with issue quite a lot over the past week or so). I'd rather see comments over there than here, so if you don't have time to comment on both, please go to Realtor.org first.