Once Again, Real Estate Professionals Go To War Against The Web

from the gotta-protect-those-margins dept

Last month, popular real estate site Zillow was enjoined from operating in Arizona because the site didn't have an appraiser's license. The action was a pretty bald-faced move by the state's real estate appraisers to keep a potentially disruptive service from messing with their business. It looks like another similarly disruptive real estate service, Redfin (which allows people to buy and sell houses at a fraction of a broker's typical fees), is under attack in Washington. Real estate brokers are upset about a Redfin-sponsored blog that allows non-brokers to post reviews of properties that appear in the area's Multiple Listing Service, a database that brokers use to get information on properties. Access to the database is limited to registered participants, which Redfin is. But one of the rules is that brokers are given the sole right to manage their marketing campaigns, and the brokers aren't happy that Redfin lets outsiders post housing reviews. The situation is a little different than the Zillow case in that it's the MLS that's threatening to revoke Redfin's access to the service rather than an official state agency. However, because the real estate industry operates as a state-blessed oligopoly, the MLS' threat basically carries the full force of the government. Because Redfin can't afford to lose its access to the database, the site has removed the offending blog. Chalk it up as another victory for professional organizations and their constant efforts to keep disruptive tech services at bay.

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  1. identicon
    ken, 1 Jun 2007 @ 6:58pm

    Re: They fear the truth.

    Why so suspicious? There is a very good reason to control the use of a person's property information. In a perfect world it would be nice to read the reviews of other people - the sad truth is, however, there is so much mischief on the web that you cannot trust an opinion to be based upon fact. If a neighbor had a grudge, if the in-laws were trying to prevent kids from moving...use your imagination.

    The problem isn't that too many people will view a home and find that the home was described to be nicer looking than it actually is -- the potential problem is that people would be discouraged by false negative remarks and not view the property at all.

    Why do so many people immediately suspect that Realtors are fighting against their client? It's just not true in 99% of the cases. There's no desire to "CONTROL" the information for the sake of control - it's just a simple protection of their client's interest.

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