Editor’s note: The following post appears on the Inman News Blog. The blog enables readers to comment on postings and respond to other readers leaving comments in real time. Click here to join the discussion stemming from this post.

To attach a lead form or not to attach a lead form — believe it or not that’s still a pretty hot-button issue in the real estate industry. Not long ago pretty much every Web site with real estate listings on it required consumers to fill out a form before they could get access to the goodies. The form enables brokers, agents and lead-generation companies to “get something” out of the exchange of information — you get information, I get to spam you for the rest of your life. Or at least, that’s how many have approached this.

But now the game has changed a little. Today’s Web surfers are tired of having to give up information all the time and will either 1) create fake accounts (there are even services that will automatically create fake accounts for Web surfers — see BugMeNot.com); or 2) Move on to the next real estate Web site. Also, there are a lot more sites now that do not force users to create accounts but will show listings or other real estate valuation info (Trulia, Google Base, Zillow, Broker IDX sites).

This “to lead form or not to lead form” debate heated up at a recent real estate conference where LeadQual co-founder Andrew Coleman’s take was that real estate pros should get something from the visitor or else they have nothing. But Point2’s COO Brendan King said it’s probably better not to do the lead form because even though you won’t have the visitor’s info right then and there the chances are pretty high you’ll lose them entirely. But even if you must go the lead form route, it doesn’t give you the right to spam this person, he said.

What’s your take? Join the discussion at the Inman News Blog.

–Jessica Swesey, Inman News

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