from the oh-really-now? dept
“Easy access to information online is a huge safety issue,” said Von Palmer, the real estate board’s chief privacy officer. “There is a real possibility of break-ins and assaults; you only have to read the headlines to imagine what might happen. You hear stories about realtors getting attacked and killed. Can you imagine if we put that information out there about consumers? You can only imagine the headlines.”Also, they could just look south of the border. The information that the Canadians are now discussing putting online is, for the most part, already available online here in the US. And while I'm sure if they tried hard enough, somewhere, somehow, someone might be able to connect a real estate listing to crime, it's certainly not a common occurrence.
A spokesman for the Toronto Police Service said he wasn’t aware violence against real estate agents was a problem in the city.
It's pretty clear that the real issue is just one of control. The real estate agents benefit from being the gatekeepers to that information, and they fear what happens when people can start to route around them. A few months back, I did a talk at a real estate conference, where I compared the music industry to the real estate industry, and it was amazing just how many similarities there were between the two. They were two big legacy industries trying to hold back the tide of what the internet allows, and they were able to come up with all sorts of ridiculous scenarios to explain how horrible the world would be if the information they used to control was allowed to go free online. But it's tough to stop the free flow of information, and real estate agents will learn soon enough that a strategy of spreading FUD isn't a way to future-proof your business. Learning to adapt, and to take advantage of the spread of information by becoming an enabler rather than a gatekeeper, really is the key.