NAR: It's time to make a move on Move

By
Real Estate Agent

History of REALTOR.com (Excerpted from Realtor.org website)
"In November 1996, the Board of Directors of the National Association of REALTORS® approved an agreement between the REALTORS® Information Network (RIN)—NAR’s wholly-owned subsidiary--and RealSelect, Inc. to take over the operations of NAR’s official Internet site, REALTOR.com. At the time, many business models were considered to finance the development of REALTOR.com. NAR’s Leadership Team decided against using dues dollars or asking for a special assessment of the membership to fund REALTOR.com. While Homestore and its investors have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to build and operate REALTOR.com, no NAR funds or NAR member dues dollars have ever been used for the creation or operation of the site."

It is now time for the NAR Leadership Team to issue a special assessment and buy the publicly traded Move corporation. Here is why:

1. Realtor.com is not supporting the National Association of Realtors stated mission "to help its members become more profitable and successful." Most Realtors I talk with hate Realtor.com. Or perhaps more accurately they hate the way Move monetizes the Realtor.com asset by selling extremely high priced marketing packages to Realtors.  Prominent placement on Realtor.com should be a Realtor's right.

2. Move and it's leadership have failed to leverage the Realtor.com asset to reach consumers. Realtor.com has less than a 5% market share among real estate category websites, with most of it's top competitors boasting a marketing budget of less than 10% of that of Realtor.com's.  Realtor.com had a huge first mover advantage, perhaps the most valuable domain name possible, hundreds of millions of dollars in marketing support, and the, at least initial, grassroots support of 1,000,000+ Realtors.

3. NAR cannot easily get out of its Operating Agreement with Move:

"Key Provisions in the Operating Agreement
The operating agreement negotiated more than eight years ago contained a number of important provisions ensuring NAR’s control over the content and operations of the site. Those provisions remain in full force today and continue to guide the relationship between NAR and Homestore (NASDAQ: HOMS), which owns RealSelect.

1. The National Association of REALTORS® owns and controls REALTOR.com. NAR's subsidiary, RIN, also owns approximately 4% of Homestore's stock, and maintains two seats on the Real Select board, and one seat on the Homestore board. In addition to their fiduciary responsibilities to those entities, the NAR appointees also:

    * Represent NAR and RIN’s interests in all matters pertaining to the agreement;
    * Assure compliance with all agreements with RIN and NAR, and report any non-compliance or other concerns to the RIN board and through them, to the NAR Board of Directors; and
    * Provide quarterly reports to the Leadership Team on all significant Homestore activities.


2. Basic real property ads on REALTOR.com, including the primary photo, are free to REALTORS®.

3. No “For Sale by Owner” properties may ever appear on REALTOR.com.

4. NAR remains the sole owner of the REALTOR.com site and trademark.

5. The use and presentation of property listings remain under the control of NAR. Homestore cannot market any property data or information derived from the data without NAR approval.

6. Advertising on REALTOR.com is strictly controlled. For example, no REALTOR® detailed listing will ever contain a banner from a competitor. Advertisers are limited on the amount of space they can occupy on the site at any given time.

7. NAR must approve changes to the design or text of the REALTOR.com home page.

8. Homestore must conduct all of its real estate related business in Real Select, where NAR has substantial control. Should Homestore ever be acquired by a real estate related entity, RIN has the ability to terminate its agreement for the operation of REALTOR.com.

Homestore operates REALTOR.com as a business. Its separation from NAR allows the company to make decisions that could potentially pose difficult problems for a trade association on business terms. These include the pricing of REALTOR.com products and services to REALTORS® and the development and marketing of new products and services."

4. Relatively speaking, it's cheap.  Move's stock price is in the dumps along with the rest of the real estate sector; it's always best to buy in a down market.

Move's stock is trading at just about a three year low. It's market cap is roughly $350 million with Current Assets over $200 million, and a Total Equity position of over $100. This means it's Enterprise Value is under $250 million, or in otherwords under 1x of Move's last years revenue!

5. Move has lots of other assets that NAR could spin off to lessen the out of pocket acquisition price.

  • TopProducer: This is one of Move's biggest money makers, bringing in over 10% of 2007 revenues with over 65,000 subscribers.
  • Move.com: A top 10 most trafficked real estate site.
  • Rent.com: 5th most trafficked real estate website.
  • WelcomeWagon
  • Moving.com

Realtor.com should be controlled and operated by the National Association of Realtors.  It is our namesake, and the internet is too important to Realtors to just outsource.

close

This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Tags:
realtor
nar

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Rainmaker
214,040
The Brewer Team - Benchmark Realty
Benchmark Realty - Franklin, TN

Jon  - This post is very thoughtful, and is really something that has been in the back of most technical realtors for a long time. If move was doing what it should for realtors, I wouldn't have a Point2agent site. I have never spend one penny on Realtor.com, and I don't expect to start any time soon. I didn't know that Top Producer was owned and operated by the same company, but it makes sense now. User friendly is not something that has ever been used to describe it. I have am much happier without it.

Aug 02, 2008 01:55 AM #82
Rainmaker
68,865
Freddy Delgadillo
Judah Realty Group - Bellevue, WA
Real Estate Broker specializing Greater Eastside

Hey JW, why don't you run for office? You are so passionate at what you do that it shows in your personality, if you were to bring these issues into the political arena you would make an impact / change.

I vote for JW for our next NAR president. Why not, if real estate is moving forward in online media, why not have you run since you're one of a few that has changed the way realtors do business online.

Trust me, I will be blogging about this very soon.

In a nutshell, JW for NAR president!

 

Aug 02, 2008 05:50 AM #83
Rainmaker
1,139,152
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Well let's see......I've been a REALTOR(R) for about 12 years and have probably been to realtor.com less than 5 times. It has zero impact on my business. It is amazing how a site that's supposedly so large doesn't even show up on a Googe search!!

Should NAR make a move on MOVE? I just don; know. It would be a good thing to take control of realtor.com but only if they hire the right guys to make it what it can be. 

Aug 02, 2008 08:02 AM #84
Ambassador
556,218
"The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW.
President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc. - Kissimmee, FL

RainMaker...

This comment is a park, read and learn zone.

As far as I know parking is still free in the rain :)

TLW...ROAR!

Aug 03, 2008 08:54 AM #85
Rainmaker
550,676
Associate Broker Falmouth MA Cape Cod Heath Coker
http://www.CapeGroup.com & http://www.REindex.com - Falmouth, MA
Heath Coker Robert Paul Properties Falmouth MA

NAR does not need to buy the R . com.  Instead, IF MLSs stop allowing their listing to be placed there, and/or if agents stopped allowing their listing to be placed there, it would be less than useful to consumers.  With no use, value decreases, and the $100 milion + investors have spent on it would not have to be "paid" by NAR to recover it.

Less than 1/2 of all licensees in the US are a member of ANY MLS.  Our approach shouldn't be "realtor dot com doesn't help my business", and should be "why do consumers want to use an incomplete site?"  My company page has more complete, better, local information (capegroup.com) than the big R does and with many fewer clicks to get it.

If we stop feeding them content, our sites wil be found more easily by the search engines.

In the meantime, use REindex.com - it is free for any listing agent that display their own listings on their own site.

Aug 04, 2008 03:06 AM #86
Rainer
725
Brenda Wade
Signature Realty Associates - Brandon, FL

I had a customer call my office today and question why her 700k home was no longer on Realtor.com.  A friend had contacted her to see if she had sold or if she had taken it off the market.  After a little investigation we discovered 26 listings had left the site.  After contacting Realtor.com we discovered they are having problems with a MLS merge and were aware of the problem and working on a resolution.  They of course didn't think this was information I might like to know before my customers started calling.    

I wish I could say it was the first time I have had a problem.  I have spent a large amount of money with them for years as I have found it to be a good source of business in my market.  I just wish they treated me like they cared about my business.  Unfortunately, it has been my worst experience with any supplier I have.

the really sad part is, they don't care what we think....

Aug 05, 2008 01:15 PM #87
Rainer
14,806
Joseph Bridges
Global Trust Team of Keller Williams - Long Beach, CA

NAR's job should be to serve its membership and I agree that currently realtor.com does not serve realtors as well as it can. My experience as a realtor and as trainer and coach is one that finds that money spent on realtor.com produces far fewer results then money spent indepently. This should not be the case. Realtor.com should be a place where members can advertise with results not have their hard earned money added to corporate profits.

Aug 12, 2008 08:23 AM #88
Rainmaker
204,147
Everard Korthals
---Preferred Lifestyle Advisors--- - Lancaster, PA
Mountain Realty

I'ts no surprise to see so many dissatisfied customers of REALTOR.com. Compared to other markets, they are overcharging realtors for services that should be free seing that realtors already pay dues, but moreover, these services should be free simply due to the fact that competitors offer it for free. It should be noted however, that most people who have no clue where to go for listings do end up going to realtor.com before others due to keywords such as: 

  • buy homes
  • homes for sale
  • real estate listings
  • real estate

These are just a few examples where they show up first on google. Overall as mentioned, realtors should be getting more for their money from NAR.

Aug 29, 2008 08:41 PM #89
Anonymous
Fred

Wow...you guys are right...realtor.com should be free...the NAR should take it back...uh huh, that would work.  You people obviously have no idea what it costs to run a site like Move, or Realtor.com do you? Do you have any idea how much storage it takes to hold all your blurry, pointless pictures of half a bathroom?  And Brenda...you yourself said it's a good source of business for your market, and a CLIENT called you asking where her house was.  Imagine that, Jane Q. Public using realtor.com!  That's what you guys are really afraid of, isn't it...technology and progress putting you out of business.  They don't need you guys to drive them around in your cadillac and gold jackets anymore, that's scary...while you make thousands of dollars for slapping a sign on their front yard, kicking your feet up, complaining about how expensive move is, while you wait for your commission check...

As to why they didn't call you because of an MLS feed problem?  Do you really think they have the time or resources to contact every realtor, to tell them that there may have been a problem with a process, and they're working on it, and it will be resolved shortly?  You talk about adding costs....

There's a reason why realtor.com is the #1 website, and it's not because of you agents buying featured listings...it's because the public wants to search on their own, they don't need you to handhold them anymore, and they have the most comprehensive listing database out there now.

Why do realtors use realtor.com to enhance their listings?  it's not to make them sell quicker...it's to give the sellers the impression that you're actually doing something to market their homes...so they can see the pretty yellow banner, at the top of the search page, and say...wow, my realtor really does care...that's the real reason, isn't it?  to keep the sellers happy?  so they don't go to fsbo.com and realize they can cut you our of the deal and save thousands?

c'mon people...can you really tell me that on a million dollar house, you do SOOOO much more work than on a 100,000 house?  that your efforts are THAT much more, to warrant a 10X jump in commission?  uh huh, you want to talk about over priced...let's look at the entire realtor scam in general...buyers and sellers do most of your work these days anyway, you know it, we all know it.  So for you to sit there in your plush office, and complain about 'oooohhh, they're so expensive....I don't use them anymore'...who really gives a rats behind?  just go back to your hum-drum lives, and quit wasting time and energy complaining about somthing you really know very little about!!

thanks, all y'll have a great day now, y'hear?

:)

 

 

 

Oct 29, 2008 12:52 AM #90
Anonymous
Mike Parker

Don't you just love gutless blind postings that exorciate everyone but the writer?

Realtor.com hs to "pay for lots of storage for your half a bathroom photo?" Just how much does space on a hard drive cost these days? Let's see, one can buy 160GB back up hard drives for $100, so I guess that half a bathroom photo might take up .00001 of that capacity, so that would be a fair charge of 1/10th of a cent monthly. The rest must be profit?

The anonymous castigtor misses the point: Move.com does not deliver fair value to agents. Move.com is NOT the most popular place to look for homes; that belongs to Google. The vast majority of visitors to Realtor.com are other realtors.

92% of Internet buyers (who comprise 84% of all buyers) choose their agent with a search engine. Not a portal, like realtor.com, but a search engine. Until everyone wakes up and smells that rose, the waste of resources on realtor.com will likely continue unabated, even though NAR admits that 93% of all agents aren't happy with their website's production. NAR does not own Realtor.com. Move does. NAR gets a kickback on every subscriber, that's all.

Insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different result. DO you want to sell houses online? Get a good template site, hire good SEO to get it found, use soft lead capture and incentives to get people to register so you can farm them, call them instantly whenever they sign in. That's it, folks, with a few minor additions, like a welcoming homepage and full access to listings, good virtual tours, and IDX. There is no magic formula, it is just paying attention to those things that propel one to the front of online marketing.

Oct 29, 2008 04:30 AM #91
Anonymous
Anonymous

Hi Mike,

I agree with you, however being in the real estate business you know about fair value.  Seller's don't set prices, the buyers do...as long as people will pay 4 bucks for a gallon of gas, that's what they'll sell it for.  When demand goes down, so does the price.  Same with houses, with services, with good SEO's...with realtor.com.  If people stop buying, they'll have to do something. if people feel they don't get a good value for their investment, then by all means, they should go  somewhere else, but they shouldn't complain about your own choices, nobody is forcing them to use any particular website, real estate agent, or website designer.As far as the price of storage goes, I agree, the price of a hard drive is cheap. The kind that you might back up your personal PC with.  but to deliver search results and images to 20,000 customers hitting a website at the same time with a hard drive your mom bought for you at best buy, it's just not going to happen.  at the risk of sounding like another geek, there's a reason companies like IBM, EMC, NetApp, and HP have enterprise-class storage arrays, with thousands of disks, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Do some research, let's see how many 160GB usb drives google uses to run its website.  :)  I agree with you on the no magic formula, just get back to basics, as it were, and you'll go far.   As far as gutless blind postings go, I guess I'll post another one, but hopefully mine doesn't sound as confrontational.

Mr. Anonymous

 

Oct 29, 2008 10:28 AM #92
Anonymous
Mike Parker

Dear Mr. Anonymous;

Thanks for your well thought response. I know you know that I was being tongue-in-cheek with my allegory; Google has over 500,000 dedicated servers to handle the 85 Billion inquires they receive monthly. Realtor.com has 7 million page view monthly--page views, not visitors--and that does require real hardware, no doubt, but we have three million with just a few dedicated servers and no major issues.

As to your comments on pricing, I think they are right on: the current nosedive in pricing, however, I view as a long term good thing. When we are repeatedly bombed by data telling us that 85% of the residents of a typical town could not afford to buy their home there today, that says to me that prices were too high. We all know some of the reasons why, but my view is that--once we get through this unbelievable REO/foreclosure backlog, we'll have a more stable and lucrative market with realistic prices that will gradually rise again. I see that as a good thing.

The bad thing is the pain that everyone is going through right now. About the only good thing that can be said about that is that perhaps the glut of real estate agents will disappear and it can become a real career, again, for the dedicated and professional agent.

But, back to realtor.com. An institution that can only cite 7% of its clients as satsified with the production of the product would not succeed or live if not propped up by the exclusive agreement with NAR. Unless agents wake up, the disparity between those succeeding online and those failing will remain ridiculously large: 93% failing vs 7% succeeding (NAR's own stats). Even a monopoly should be able to deliver at lest 50% success, and Move isn't doing that for NAR members, in my opinion. Nothing will change until people start voting with their ad dollars and begin leaving realtor.com out of their marketing strategy. They'll come around fast were that to occur.

Oct 29, 2008 11:00 AM #93
Anonymous
Anonymous

Ah yes, but I believe your numbers may be somewhat misleading? ...you say the NAR says only 7% of it's members are satisfied with their website.  But how many of those members actually have websites on realtor.com.  I'm a NAR member, and I have my own site, as do most of the people I know...Do you have numbers on how many NAR members there are and how many of those have websites through REALTOR.com?  Just curious.

Perhaps a better statistic to find out, to better illustrate your point, would be how many REALTORS with websites on REALTOR.com are satisfied?

 thanks,

Mr. Anonymous

 

Oct 29, 2008 11:11 AM #94
Anonymous
Mike Parker

Well, you seem quite well versed about realtor.com, so you should know that there are no hard numbers on what you ask, only NAR's numbers about websites and realtor disatisfation. But I can tell you this: one of the most important things to suceed online is being able to be found when people search online for homes, as they do over 870 million times monthly JUST ON GOOGLE! Pages on realtor.com are all subdomains--as are most realtor.com and topproducer sites--and they are not even indexed by Google. Draw your own conclusions, but let's agree to disagree and remember that if NAR could cancel their deal with Move, they probably would! Who wouldn't pay a lot more than 25% of revenues to have the exclusive for America's realtors? Who doesn't think Google, Yahoo, MSN and AOL wouldn't out do each other to land that franchise?

Oct 29, 2008 11:23 AM #95
Ambassador
294,875
David M. Childress
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Akron, OH
I would love to be your Realtor® in Akron Ohio!

Even though I cannot tell who is saying what, (when did we go anonymous on AR?) I really appreciate the exchange. I dropped Realtor.com long ago, no return on my investment period!!!

Oct 29, 2008 11:51 AM #96
Anonymous
where is our money going??
A Form ARS regarding Move, Inc. has been filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. To view this filing, please click here
Jun 01, 2009 02:47 PM #98
Rainmaker
1,470,172
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

Is the time still right?  More right?  I posted a poll on my blog... Missy reminded us of this on EmMee Hill's post...

Oct 05, 2009 12:57 PM #99
Ambassador
1,686,643
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Wow, what a discussion. As many others, i spent money on them before, and I so not do it anymore.

But taking it from whoever runs it and giving back to NAR does make me very optimistic. I have very little trust in NAR, and somehow I think this will be the same or worse crap just under a different roof. Both business models look the thing of the past.

NAR is still alive because for the majority of the country you have to be their member to have access to MLS. Unbundle,a nd NAR will lose a lot of  membership. They are a dinosaur, so operating Realtor.com would not change much.

Oct 05, 2009 03:33 PM #100
Anonymous
celinda

Realtor.com is about to get report to BBB.  They have done nothing but take money from me without giving any results.  I signed for one promotion and cancelled it in Januarywithin my recision time.  Finally they stopped it in April.  Now, my next challenge is-I paid for a year then joined a company that has a group contract.  Realtor.com will not let me keep my forner template nor will they let me have the rest of my money back.  So I am paying for a service they refuse to give me.

 

Jun 21, 2010 04:37 PM #101
Anonymous
Thomas Blair

To all you real estate agents out there upset about Realtor.com.....You are right to be angry, the problem is I do not think you know why you are angry; and holding nothing back, you will not have much longer to be angry about Reator.com unless you continue to pay the inordinant amout of money that it costs.  Why?  Because it is nopt about quantity, it's about quality.  Yes Realtor.com ranks #1 as the most trafficked real estate website but over the last few years it's market share has gone from a +8% to a little more than plus 2%.  And don't shoot the messenger but it is exactly for the same reason you are all calling for NAR to take over.  The name Realtor.com.  What many of you fail to realize is that your prospects are going on line because they are not looking for a Realtor.  They are looking for properties.  That is why Trulia, Zillow and Yahoo real estate have closed the gap and why Realtor.com as of late has made a push for advertising listings. Here is what you all fail to realize....what makes an agent successful is not how many places their listings are or how many times their listings are viewed, but how many of those buyers are driven to an agents personal website as a result of the buyer viewing their listing.  when i click on a listing on Realtor.com I STAY at Realtor.com.  Now if you have the right website provider, when someone clicks on the other BIG THREE, the prospect leaves that website and lands on your personal website.  If you hadn't already guessed it, I am a Internet Marketing Consultant for one of the largest providers of marketing for real estate agents.  So next time you do any internet advertising or website marketing, make sure that you are generating traffic to "your" site, not their's!  Good luck all, if you can do it right, you can make a ton!

1. Realtor.com 5.91%

2. Zillow 3.87%

3. Yahoo Real Estate 3.30%

4. Trulia 3.0%

 

Jul 14, 2010 12:35 PM #102
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?

Ambassador
173,727

Jon Washburn

Ask me a question
*
*
*
*
Spam prevention