The National Association of Realtors is considering whether to allow Homestore to add a referral-fee-based business model, according to a number of real estate brokers, including Steve Baird of Chicago-based Baird and Warner, who said as much at a real estate conference in Denver last week. The idea is indeed a good one. NAR should lighten up about Realtor.com. The Realtor franchise wouldn't be threatened if the association let the unprofitable online service out of the tiny little business-model box into which the powerful trade group has squeezed it. NAR should ease off the onerous restrictions it has placed on Realtor.com because Homestore, the company that operates the service for Realtors, is unlikely to turn a profit with the existing rules in place. Homestore is the Westlake Village, Calif.-based online real estate company that operates the Realtor.com Web site for the Realtors group. Homestore is a publicly owned corporation that licenses the Realtor.com domain from NAR and a...
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