If you look very closely at the photo above, you may notice that it has been slightly altered. This subtle change to a classic movie still shot, and the clever play on words of this post’s title, both provide clues as to where I’ll be this week.
That’s right kids, I’m headed off to Washington, D.C. to attend the National Association of Realtor’s (NAR) Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo.
Why in the world would I do that?
Well, I’m not real sure what happened here. A post last week on Agent Genius set off quite the
shitstorm brouhaha controversy when it reported that the Indianapolis Metropolitan Board of Realtors (MIBOR), with input from the NAR, ruled that Google was a “scraper” site and so sent a Realtor a Cease & Desist notice to change her web sites home search.
Now this is so utterly ridiculous that yours truly had to chime in on the discussion (which currently stands at 349 comments on the Agent Genius post and more on the dozen or so other posts that have sprung up across the real estate blogiverse).
Apparently my “passion” on the subject (some would say my big mouth) got the attention of some in the NAR and they were gracious enough (and I say that without sarcasm) to invite me to come give my concerns directly to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) Committee at their meeting in Washington.
So off I go. I’ll be back on Friday. It should be interesting.
Anyone remotely interested in why it’s not good when local and national trade organizations stomp all over a dues paying member should go read the AG post. And if you are a Realtor and are concerned about this (and you should be) then please take action as noted in the post and comments.
Below is the update from what occurred in the MLS meeting:
The meeting went very well. 75 or so MLS committee members were there and I don’t know how many in the audience — three hundred? It was crowded. Paula Henry, who’s original post on Agent Genius brought this to a LOT of people’s attention spoke first and did great, I followed with my thoughts. We spoke in the open forum portion of the meeting.
During the forum, Cliff Niersbach, NAR’s Vice President of Board Policy & Programs, put up some proposed changes to the language of the IDX policy that addressed the search engine indexing issue. A couple more people spoke, and the open forum portion of the meeting ended shortly after that.
At that point, the Committee entered into the portion of the meeting where they discuss and vote on motions.
The proposed changes to the search indexing language were formally proposed and voted on.
And the changes passed!
So the policy that said this:
2. Participants must protect IDX information from misappropriation by employing reasonable efforts to monitor and prevent “scraping” or other unauthorized accessing, reproduction or use of the MLS database. (with clarification from NAR that read: “Consequently, NAR staff responded to questioners that the requirement to prevent scraping includes indexing.)
Was changed to this:
Participants must protect IDX information from unauthorized uses. This requirement does not prohibit indexing of IDX sites by search engines.
This change still has to be voted on by the NAR Board of Directors on Saturday, but people I talked to expect it will pass.
Personally, I’d like to thank Todd Carpenter, and everyone at NAR that made it possible for Paula and I to fly to Washington and address the Committee, and a very special thanks to Cliff Niersbach. Trust me, without his support in the forum and MLS Committee meeting, this change would not have happened.
I’ll have more later. My head hurts, my feet hurt, and I need an adult beverage or three.
Update #2 – Well, the proposed change was NOT passed by the NAR Board of Directors. Apparently the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of REALTORS® (MIBOR), the archaic board in Indianapolis that started this whole mess, proposed an amendment to refer the changes back to the MLS Committee for further discussion, and that’s what the NAR BOD voted to do. My understanding (and I could be wrong on this) is that it won’t be discussed until the NAR convention in November. Very disappointing that a 100+ member committee can pass something and one disgruntled and clueless local board can shove it back down again. I won’t stop fighting!