Opinion

The full catastrophe

Commentary: NAR and realtor.com, a troubled marriage

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"Zorba, have you ever been married?" "Am I not a man?" Zorba says. "Of course I've been married. Wife, house, kids, everything -- the full catastrophe!" Zorba wasn’t saying marriage or having children was a nightmare. He was reflecting on life, with its sadness, tragedies, trials and tribulations. When I read the news about NAR and realtor.com amending their marriage agreement, Zorba came to mind. From a business angle, the history of realtor.com fits the bill of the "full catastrophe." It's a narrative of fear, boldness, criminality, insider dealing, greed, success and secrets -- and in this case a troubled marriage. Lately, revisionist history abounds about this epic real estate insider story. Here is my take. In the mid-1990s, NAR formed the Realtor Information Network as a major technology initiative to win the minds of the Internet consumer. When all but RIN’s home listing piece fell into financial disarray, a brash, young and smart entrepreneur, Stuart Wolff...