NAR counsel offers guidance on DOJ settlement agreement
Ralph Holmen, associate general counsel for the National Association of Realtors, provides some guidance to Realtors on issues in the proposed settlement agreement between the association and the U.S. Department of Justice, the Center for Realtor Technology Web Log reports.
The settlement agreement — to resolve an antitrust complaint over NAR policies relating to the online display and sharing of property listings information — notes that the settlement doesn’t affect Internet Data Exchange policies, as those were not the focus of the lawsuit. Holmen states that once the settlement becomes effective, any multiple listing service participant’s Web site that does not meet the new requirements for a Virtual Office Web site "is deemed to be an IDX site … that must comply with the IDX rules."
Holmen also states that there is confusion about when MLSs must adopt the new VOW rules. "The settlement is subject to a 90-day comment period" that is expected to begin soon. The court will likely make the settlement final in August, according to Holmen, and MLSs will have 90 days from the final judgment date to adopt the new VOW policy. MLS participants’ VOW sites must comply with the new VOW rules within 180 days of the date their MLSs adopt the new rules, according to the blog post.
—CRT Web Log
Zillow sets Sellsius straight on missing addresses
David Gibbons, community relations director for real estate valuation and marketing site Zillow.com, comments in a blog post at Sellsius about why some for-sale properties displayed at the site lack addresses.
"In some parts of the country it’s common to advertise listings without publishing their addresses. I’m yet to hear a really good reason for it and it is certainly suboptimal marketing, but it’s the way that some brokerages choose to syndicate listings (to all sites, not just Zillow) and so we came up with this solution to be able to display these listings to buyers on Zillow," he said.
Gibbons noted that those homes do have normal detail pages at the site that include automated values, dubbed "Zestimates."
"When we get a listing in a feed, for which it is specified that the address may not be displayed, we create a second detail page for the home with only the listing information. The home does still have its normal home detail page on Zillow, there’s just no listing details on it," he comments. The listing pages for no-address properties "are not found by many buyers relative to those that have addresses because most buyers use our mapped search results to browse for listings."
Commenting about blog comments
The Sellsius Real Estate blog posts about ownership of blog comments. Joseph Ferrara of Sellsius states, "I think the answer is clear — the commenter ‘owns’ the comment. The reason … copyright."
The author of a comment, he says in the blog post, "owns the copyright to work the moment it expresses itself in a fixed or tangible form — in this case, code that appears as words on a blog post." Ferrara’s take is that the blog owner may have the right to display the comment at the blog site, "but not anywhere else."
In a separate post, Ferrara discusses Disqus, a comment system he has deployed on Sellsius that places users’ replies to comments directly beneath the comments they are responding to. "Overall, I think the Disqus comment system is the best way to follow a conversation," he states, noting that Disqus allows users to post a reply to a comment via e-mail.
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