Two funny things about this move:
1) Sellers pay $2K to go into papers - "Hello, 98% of buyers shop online"
2) Marketing is NOT what agents are paid for.
Agents and brokers earn their commission for the following servics, (among other things):
1) Properly pricing the home
2) Pre-approving/Screening buyers
3) Scheduling showings, dealing with cancellations
4) getting broker co-operation via MLS, broker open houses, etc.
5) Negotiating price, terms, protecting the seller
6) ancillary services: home warrenties, etc.
7) Dealing with lawyers, inspectors
8) being a mediator when lawyers don't work well
9) Keeping the seller and buyer on schedule with paperwork/deliverables
10) getting the home CLOSED.
And typically doing all of this, with no upfront fee.
My hypothesis: this will be a bust, newspapers are scrambling for revenue, and this is not the answer. Brokers should take heed of this, as that industry is one of followers, it is likely that others will follow suit. their business models are broken, it really is no surprise that they are turning to this!
Agents and brokers, pay attention to this trend, this is not cool.