Taking a stand on agent data

Inman News publisher says it’s inevitable, so let’s move forward

Recently, I sent an email to a colleague asking about the brouhaha over agent ratings and he said, “Why don’t you write an article for your own news service and take a stand.”

He was right.

Tech-enabled agent image via Shutterstock.
Tech-enabled agent image via Shutterstock.

Here is my stand: Agent data holed up in the multiple listing service should be displayed for consumers to review and analyze.

Earlier this week, Keller Williams Realty took a stand, discouraging realtor.com from moving forward with its program to display agent data.

I do not agree with the folks at KW, but I respect that the fast-moving company stood up and took a position.

Now it is time for others to do the same — big brokers, agents, vendors and franchises. Many individuals are expressing themselves on social media, which is fine, but we need to hear more from our industry leaders. Shame on me for not expressing myself earlier.

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At the end of the day, the surfacing of this data is inevitable. The power of technology — and particularly the Internet — to suck up and display every form of content that is out there is inescapable.

At the end of the day, the surfacing of this data is inevitable. The power of technology -- and particularly the Internet -- to suck up and display every form of content that is out there is inescapable."

This debate mirrors the controversy over the display of home listings data 17 years ago. What was the outcome of that battle? More transparency, the unveiling of a revolutionary real estate marketing opportunity and a more dynamic housing market.

The displaying of agent data will lead to similar market dynamics giving consumers better information about the choices they make in selecting an agent. As a result, it will upgrade the entire industry.

Of course, this will not be easy. There are many nuances, which should be thought through carefully. And mistakes will be made with fallout for those harmed.

Noted venture capitalist Fred Wilson said it well: “I think we will see all the systems we use in our lives become more transparent over time, and the data that becomes public as a result will provide countless opportunities to be analyzed, optimized and, yes, sensationalized. No good comes without some bad. That’s the way forward progress works.”

Real change is never perfect.

Brad Inman is the founder and publisher of Inman News.


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