Saul Klein Speaks Out on 'Opting Out and Mashups'
Mashup -- a web site or application that combines content from more than one source into an integrated web presentation.
Imagine that on my web site, through an IDX or VOW Feed, I display your listing and, on the same web site (and the same "page) I have a Zillow Zestimate with a value of your listing, substantially lower than the listed price. Got the picture?
Should you, as the listing broker, be allowed to "opt out" and not allow me to display your listing on my web site in this manner?
Should you, as the listing broker, be allowed to "opt out" and not allow me to display your listing on my web site in this manner, and continue to allow other brokers who are members of our MLS the right to display my listing on their web site (selective opt out)?
Could it be viewed as a disservice to the seller for you to allow their home to be displayed on the same web site that indicates a value of the listing less than the listing price?
There is a home listed for sale today that carries a listing price of $7,499,000 on a web site (shown below) and on the same web site (and the same web "page"), is a Zestimate of the home showing a value of about $4,597,332, almost $3 million less than the listed price. Screen shots of both are shown below. This demonstrates the potential of marketing mishaps that can be controlled at the broker level. Note: The brokerage that is running the ad is NOT the listing brokerage.
In this case, is it legitimate for the listing broker to ask that the listing be excluded from the feed to the broker displaying the listing with an indicator that the value is less than the listed price?
This is an actual situation and is an example of a mash-up, a website or application that combines content from more than one source into an integrated web presentation. As we move into the future, there will undoubtedly be other reasons that warrant the right of a broker to "opt out," and in some cases, selectively "opt out."
If a broker opt out can be shown to violate anti trust laws, the U.S. Dept. of Justice should of course pursue the offending broker ... but for the DOJ to attempt to prohibit the right of a broker to opt out is pure nonsense.
This example is not an indictment of Zillow as I believe Zillow's data will improve over time, but it illustrates how technology can present us with new challenges where hard and fast rules by the government do not serve the consumer or the practitioner. The government should be spending our tax dollars on more important issues, and not litigating with the National Assn. of REALTORS®.
(Saul Klein is CEO of Real Estate Electronic Publishing Company, home of RealTown.)
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