NAR policy allows MLSs to write their own social media listing display rules

By Inman News, Monday, November 12, 2012.

ORLANDO, Fla. — The National Association of Realtors has approved a policy that allows individual multiple listing services to choose whether to allow member brokers and agents to display for-sale listings represented by other, consenting members  on social media sites.

NAR’s Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee approved and recommended the policy on Saturday; NAR’s board of directors approved the policy without discussion via a voice vote on Monday at NAR’s annual Conference and Expo.

For the most part, the policy lets MLSs that choose to allow the display of shared listings on social media sites write their own rules, but the policy also forbids MLSs from requiring that their member brokers and agents allow their listings to be distributed through social media, or other nontraditional channels such as text messaging.

NAR had considered adopting a blanket policy for the display of shared Internet data exchange (IDX) listings on social media sites that would have applied to all MLSs affiliated with the trade association, but NAR leaders backed down after some MLSs objected to the difficulty of policing social media sites for compliance with rules that govern the display of IDX listings.

Consequently, instead of amending its policies governing the display of IDX listings so that those rules also governed the display of IDX listings on social media sites, NAR is creating another avenue for the display of a different set of shared listings, outside the context of IDX policy.

Brokers who want to participate in IDX are either “all in” or “all out.” They can’t choose whether or not to display listings represented by other participating brokers on their own websites, or prevent listings that they contribute to the IDX pool from being displayed on the websites of other participating MLS members.

Therefore, had the policy kept display of shared listings on social media within IDX rules, those brokers who strongly objected to seeing their listings on social media sites would only have the option to withdraw from IDX altogether, causing potentially serious gaps in listings coverage for industry websites in their market.

At NAR’s midyear meeting in May, NAR approved several rules governing the display of IDX listings on mobile devices. These included a rule preventing MLSs from restricting their members from distributing IDX listing data using mobile applications; a new definition of websites and mobile apps where IDX listings are displayed; how “control” is determined for these IDX listings; and an option for IDX listing information of 200 characters or less to appear without full IDX policy-related disclosures if a link is provided that connects directly to a full, policy-abiding listing. The latter is particularly relevant to listing information appearing on Twitter, in text messages, and in other abbreviated listings platforms.

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About reinhartsouth

2008 wasn’t the best time to open a new office, but the Charles Reinhart Company looked to expansion as the way to ensure the future. Reinhart South, now located on the corner of State Street and Eisenhower Boulevard in Ann Arbor, opened January 7, 2008 in a small office on Washtenaw Avenue. Facing the bleakest economic situation since the great depression, Manager Dawn Foerg began the process of recruiting top real estate talent to the company. One agent at a time, South grew. By early 2009, 15 agents called the South office home. Still fighting the economic crises, the office grew to more than 40 licensed Realtors by the end of 2010. Today, South is among the five top producing offices in Ann Arbor.
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