Just for fun, I googled "What is IDX" and I was quite shocked by the conflicting responses. No wonder so many people are confused with the term. These are real quotes I found searching online.
Behind Door Number 1 - It's some fancy web site: "State-of-the-art property location system that works with any website".
That was the first definition that popped up on my screen ...uhnnnnn...(buzzer sound) sorry, not the right answer. Surprisingly, that answer is actually from a provider of IDX solutions. They seem to be giving themselves kudos for building this state of the art location system. Hmmm, sounds like a glorified map.
Behind Door Number 2 - It's some new programming language: "IDX is the process that converts the MLS listing database to a database that can be integrated within any website."
burrrrzzzz...(buzzer sound) sorry, not the right answer. Many answers use the term IDX in a confusing way. The term is used by web site providers (of sites for real estate agents) to say something like an "IDX powered site". This is a little confusing. They are trying to say that your property search on the site will contain these shared listings (IDX, reciprocity listings) or that they have a system in place to get this listing data etc but they end up use the term IDX in such a way that you think that IDX is some programming language or something like that. This is a prime example of such a poor definition. IDX is not a programming language.
Behind Door Number 3 - A great sales pitch: "IDX is a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) agreement between different real estate agents to better advertise available homes for sale."
uhnnnnn...(buzzer sound) sorry, not the right answer. They are talking about benefits of advertising and an agreement between agents....sounds like a definition cooked up by someone selling something. Distinction - not every real estate agent makes this agreement - brokers (company level) agree to opt in or opt out.
Behind Door Number 4 - Too simplified and a little misleading: "IDX offers every visitor to your site access to all local listings."
euuuurrrrrrrrrr...(buzzer sound) sorry, not the right answer. Well IDX does have to do with searching property online, but visitors of your web site do not have access to ALL local listings. It only includes listings of other companies that also participate in IDX. There are some that choose not to participate and of course FSBO's are not included.
Behind Door Number 5 - Real Time Confusion: "IDX provides your clients with real-time MLS property data."
Real-time data searches hmmmm... interesting. Majority of boards implement IDX through a nightly data feed on an FTP site. Generally this means there is a day delay from when an update is made in the MLS to when it is available to update on web site using IDX. Some boards offer RETS servers which typically allow more frequent data updates and real time data access. But IDX is not synonymous with real-time MLS property data. (Most boards have a rule that say data must be updated at a minimum of at least once every 72 hours or once every 7 days etc. Yep, that's more recent than say the big old books printed and bound with MLS listings for the month.)
Maybe I'm too harsh with my buzzer sounds. I'm sure these people/companies all mean well. They honestly want to get your marketing dollar invested in their program. :) They are not real estate experts. They are technology provider experts. They are trying to explain a real estate standard along with a technology solution. They try to simplify it and instead it just gets confused. But I think everyone in real estate needs to take the time to understand what it is, what it means, how it works etc.
I actually started out writing a blog about "What is IDX?" and I started off on such a tangent with the above stuff, that I just had to make this a separate post - all on its own. So if you know what IDX is, hope you enjoyed the list above; if you don't know what IDX is, read about IDX here; and if you think you understood it and now may be confused about what IDX is go here to learn about IDX.
Has other information like this lead you into IDX confusion?