A call to lift ad restrictions around IDX real estate listings

Perspective: Level the playing field for industry sites, national portals

With the publication of the National Association of Realtors Handbook on Multiple Listing Policy in January, the NAR policy has changed to now allow national franchisors to index IDX (Internet Data Exchange) listings on their websites.

While this is a positive development — and one that should be applauded — there are also some problematic elements to this new policy. Primarily, the issue lies with the prohibition by NAR for these franchisors to advertise around these listings.

The logic behind this restriction seems to be that advertising would somehow compromise the integrity of the listings and/or the MLSs themselves.

While on the surface this may seem a valid concern, studies have shown the exact opposite to be true. Consumers actually invest sites with advertising with a greater perceived authority than those without.

It seems that limiting the ability of franchisors to leverage their traffic and data to sell advertising — when the national portals are already doing just this — is anti-competitive. Times are tough all over. Franchisors — and indeed everyone, on down to the individual agent — need to take advantage of every opportunity possible.