The debate over the pros and cons of publishing agent performance data will continue at a special town hall gathering next month at Real Estate Connect New York City.

“Let it Rip: Open Forum on Publishing Agent Performance Data” will be an open-microphone session, with participation by industry leaders including ZipRealty CEO Lanny Baker and St. Paul, Minn.-based broker and Inman News columnist Teresa Boardman.

“Come with your opinions, questions and passion,” said Inman News Publisher Brad Inman. “The microphone is yours.”

Agent rankings, ratings and reviews are seen by some as a natural next step in the evolution of online real estate search.

Supporters say that while there’s a wealth of data available to consumers online about homes for sale, market trends, and neighborhoods and schools, the choice of an agent is also critical, and there’s less information about agents that consumers can rely on.

But some brokers and agents have protested that agent performance data — like the number of active listings they represent, homes they’ve recently sold, or the list-to-sales-price ratio in deals they’ve closed  — can be misinterpreted, and isn’t necessarily the best measure of agent performance. Arming consumers with such stats may also make it harder for new agents to break into the business, critics say.

An agent ranking system that is testing using MLS data in the Greater Las Vegas and Northern Colorado markets, AgentMatch, has recently reignited the debate.

The “Let it Rip” forum is scheduled for 12:30-1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 16, in the general session ballroom at Real Estate Connect New York City, which takes place Jan. 15-17 at the Grand Hyatt New York.

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