MLS Screenshots Posted to Active Rain - Copywrite Problem?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Rankin Realty at Lake Powell, LLC


The last members only post I wrote was on Realtor.Com market share and it received some really great responses from members here, Zillow and

With that in mind, I would really like some feedback on the following:

I've not seen this too much but I've run across it again. What do you all think about blog posts which are MLS data copied and pasted (screeneshots) in to a blog? This is not one or two posts  for market analysis. but rather just post after post of copied MLS data with one or two sentences.

Is this gaming the system?

Is there any long term blog value to doing this?

Are there readers out there who would go through page after page of MLS data with no photos or additional info?

Any input would be most appreciated.




After reading some of the responses a couple of clarifications:

I think my post may have been too vague - but I did not want to link to the blog in question. The poster is not advertising his listings, or even any particular listing, but rather taking blurry screenshots of every listing on their MLS, in a one line format - and posting them.

I don't belong to the same MLS so I have no idea if the posts is question go against their rules. However, the bottom of every screenshot posted there is a big ole copywrite symbol by the name of the MLS company. So do I promote myself - heck yes. Do I promote my listings - also heck yes. But there is line of decorum that has been passed here me thinks. I appreciate the time and thought y'all have put in to answering. Cheers! Heather



Comments (12)

Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Personally I have never posted like that, and usually don't bother to read them.  It's nice to mix it up a little and do some real estate listings, some local information and photos, some member's only stuff, some humor.  Otherwise it's gets too tedious.

Jan 30, 2009 07:22 PM
Robert May
Robert W May - Lethbridge Real Estate - Lethbridge, AB
Real estate consulting

there are several members who apparantly have nothing else to contribute other then cut and pastes to get their 10 blogs a week done.  It is sad, and it is unfortunate that those who obviously don't care about being here continue to do so.

Jan 30, 2009 07:43 PM
Quakertown, PA
e-PRO, Realtor - Bucks County PA - 610-952-3578

Hey Heather:  Active Rain is such a great place.  There is room for all of us.  There is a growing number of comsumer interest here on Active Rain.  This is a great resource for a comsumer to come to find listings.  Localism is the best place for this, and the information migrates from the Active Rain Blogs.

I disagree with Robert's comments above.  It is not a shame.  This is what this place is about.  We are to be homest, and write from the heart.  We are to promote ourselves in shameless promotions.  We are to also make friends here on line, and learn from one another.

I for one do all of this.  When I am moved about a hero landing a plane in the Hudson River, I write about it here on Active Rain.  When I want to represent my seller through dozens of on line web sites, you can be sure I am blogging about their house for sale, here on Active Rain.

And when you promote your self, and also your listings, you know what?  Not only do you rise to the top in your community on line, but the google juice flows freely.  Then?  Your phone rings.  Then?  You are closing more homes than before.  I hope I answered your question.  This is a great network that is better than free.

Don Bradbury  

Jan 30, 2009 08:21 PM
Chip Jefferson
Gibbs Realty and Auction Company - Columbia, SC

You can check your own MLS rules but my MLS has a rule about sharing its data via screen shot. YOU CANT DO IT! They pitched a fit with some market stats I had posted here on AR.

Jan 30, 2009 08:39 PM
South Austin Real Estate Blog
Sky Realty South Austin - Austin, TX

Active Rain is an open forum.  Many here communicate thru statistics and many through personal stories.  I find it easy to skip those stats based blogs if thats all they offer.  Many do some stats, monthly or quarterly and in between write great blog posts.  Its like the folks that post jokes, I usually don't read them but they are entitled to get their 10 posts a week in however they see fit.  I do object if its adult nature.. this is a family rated forum. (or I think it is)

Jan 30, 2009 09:59 PM
Dean Moss
Dean's Team - Keller Williams Realty Partners Chicago IL - Chicago, IL
Dean's Team Chicago IL Real Estate Team

Heather -

This is a hot button for me!

Regular posters here in the Rain, a group in which I include myself, work feverishly to write creative, useful content to share.  Personally, I source local and national news, statistics, and information useful to those considering living to or moving within Chicago and the Suburbs.  It takes no small investment in time to do this.

The fellow above me in ranking in IL - if you look at his blog, every Friday, he copies and pastes MLS screen shots of market data in selected Chicago Suburbs in which he works.  Same clip-and-paste, same explanatory copy.  Pasted, pasted, pasted every week.

2,000 points!  Every Friday.  Like clockwork. For about 10 minutes of work total.  In fact, he might not even do any work - likely, his admin does!

This member's other posts are short, perhaps 75-100 words, usually fluff.  He comments little, and in "atta boy" fashion, and receives few comments himself.  His posts have never been featured.

I would think he is paying the price in terms of reduced SEO, and I would assume cut and paste MLS copy would not enhance his Google rankings.  Further, I would assume that what he is doing - just copying data verbatim out of the MLS, violates their rules, but the MLS probably has other things to do besides chasing down this fellow.

I used to get angry about this.  But, now, I'm just chillin'!

Thanks for the post, because this IS an issue!


Jan 30, 2009 10:04 PM
Dennis Swartz
Full Circle Property Management - Columbus, OH
MBA, GRI...experience counts!

Never actually thought of doing that before, but maybe some type of modified post along those lines might not be so bad if you have something new on the market. Guess I would have to see it to make a decision.

Jan 30, 2009 10:53 PM
Heather Rankin
Rankin Realty at Lake Powell, LLC - Page, AZ
Lake Powell Real Estate

Wow - Good morning Active Rain!

Georgina - Tedious is a great word. At some point page after page of screenshots is, indeed, tedious :-)

Robert - I do think he cares about being here - or he'd not be taking the time to do this. I'm all for the thought "Active Rain is a adult community and we should be expected to behave as such without a lot of restrictive rules" but I think this might be Playing The System, Much.

Donald - Great thoughts. If this were posting his own listings or even featuring any listing I would not have raised an eyebrow. This however, was screeneshots of the search results (of the first screen) in an MLS system, blurry by the way, for every community in the MLS. Either current active listings or CMA's for no specific property.


Jan 31, 2009 02:32 AM
Heather Rankin
Rankin Realty at Lake Powell, LLC - Page, AZ
Lake Powell Real Estate

Laura - I am not in the same MLS the poster is ~ but screenshots it is. I have no issue with sharing data, but think it must be somewhat meaningful to the customer or it's just about points.

Gail - agree. I've always skipped blogs that are shameless self promotion. It's like when someone follows you on twitter and first post out of the gate - they wanna sell you something or better yet, download their free e-book and you too can make millions!


Jan 31, 2009 02:38 AM
Heather Rankin
Rankin Realty at Lake Powell, LLC - Page, AZ
Lake Powell Real Estate

Dean ~ It appear you and I are in the same boat!

For me, Active Rain is not my primary blog and I don't think it is good SEO practice to post things exactly the same twice. I usually post one time here for every three times on my main blog and yes, this take time, thought and energy.

I can't imagine Screenshots carry much if any SEO power, but the titles to the posts do. We all know Google is smart and maybe the downside to the updraft in points is the lack of Google juice.

Dennis - I think a market analysis based on information in the MLS is something many folks looking to buy or sell would be interested in reading. But page after page of blurry screenshots is not only is difficult to read but also does not show one bit of expertise as a real estate professional.


Jan 31, 2009 02:50 AM
Jim Frimmer
HomeSmart Realty West - San Diego, CA
Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist

I pretty much don't worry about what other people do. I follow the rules of my MLS, which, if I understand correctly, would not allow what you're describing, but I'm not the ActiveRain police, or the MLS police, or even the police police, so I'm not to report them to anyone.

I understand posting listings and such, especially to Localism, I'm trying to use Localism more this year, which means that those posts don't get many comments because they're just information about condo complexes in my farming area.

The 80/20 comes into play for me here at ActiveRain: 80% of my posts are professional and 20% are personal. I think that people would rather interact with another person than an automaton. When I find blogs that are 100% listings, I'll at least go through the first page to see if there is anything personal that I can comment on. If not, I'll try the very last page. If there's nothing there, I'll move on. At least I tried to interact with them, though.

Feb 08, 2009 01:26 AM
Heather Rankin
Rankin Realty at Lake Powell, LLC - Page, AZ
Lake Powell Real Estate

Jim ~ I am sure with you on not being the AR police. AR is not my main blog but I do post a lot of listings here, while trying to keep it mixed up as well. AR members started me off on the blogging path and with help and support here, I've learned more than I thought possible. My goal is to stick to the 3:1 rule I've got going - for every three posts on  my main blog, one localism post here.

I guess when I posted this I was irritated, we are in the same county, and he just zoomed by a bunch of folks in 2 months by the mls posting idea. I could do that as well i guess and keep up, but in the end it's all about communication and then SEO.  Write for the people and I've found the SEO will follow.


Feb 08, 2009 04:32 AM