If you are interested in the true story from someone who was there and part of the conversation and the execution…
The REAL Realtor Dot Com and Rin Story…
From the beginning…before listing appeared on the Internet in any quantity.
It was June of 1995 and there was no REALTOR Dot com and REALTORS were the first industry to place their inventory online for public display. It didn’t happen all by itself…there was an “Advance Team.”
There is a long story behind the makings of REALTOR DOt Com and all of the money, politics, and even some wrong doing. I had a front row seat to the entire affair as the only REALTOR Consultant on the RIN Team.
This is a “Marketing Thoughts” piece I wrote to the RIN Team for placing Listings on The Internet in June of 1995. I called it National Advertising and this was the first document created for NAR on this subject.
I don’t think that Bob Goldberg had yet joined the RIN Team. When he arrived, he was my responsibility to train.
San Francisco, CA – July 17, 2018 – Glide, a provider of real estate software solutions that empowers agents with easy-to-use, secure, and convenient new ways to complete real estate transactions online, today announced a partnership with the Oakland Berkeley Association of REALTORS® that immediately enables Association members to use the company’s popular Glide Forms application. Glide Forms is distributed through a partnership with zipLogix™ and is embedded within the zipForm® Plus transaction management system. Beginning today, agents who are Oakland Berkeley Association of REALTORS® members can access Glide Forms free of charge via zipForm Plus.
When a real estate agent’s client sells their home, the owner is required to accurately complete and submit a number of deal-critical disclosure forms. As agents know, this means that sellers are presented with forms containing complex legal language that often proves confusing and challenging to complete. As a result, these documents are commonly submitted with incomplete or inaccurate information, causing frustration and needless delays in the transaction process.
Glide Forms addresses these legacy issues through its TurboTax-style wizard that home sellers can use to accurately, quickly, and painlessly complete required paperwork – such as the
Transfer Disclosure Statement and other California disclosure forms – through an intuitive all-digital interface. The wizard asks home sellers questions about their properties in plain language, making it clear how to disclose important details through user-friendly, conversational interactions. In addition to eliminating the frustration of often-confusing forms and delays due to missed questions, unreadable handwriting, and other common issues, Glide Forms allows agents to track their clients’ progress and digitally receive the finished forms as soon as they are completed. The purpose-built solution is also optimized for mobile use.
“Our members lives are in constant motion from the moment their feet hit the ground and as their Association it’s important that we continually strive to bring them tools that will help them be more efficient. Glide is a tool that will do just that for our members and with no additional cost. Our members will be able to save time which in turn will benefit their business.” said DaVina Lara, CEO, Oakland Berkeley Association of REALTORS®.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with OBAR to offer Glide Forms free of charge to its more than 2,200 members.” said Sebastian Tonkin, CEO, Glide. “The East Bay is already a complex market for residential transactions, and so we’re excited to simplify this critical step of disclosure preparation for OBAR members.”
Glide provides software solutions that helps real estate agents simplify their transaction process, reduce risk, and close more deals with less effort. The company’s first release, Glide Forms, is integrated into zipForm® Plus and allows California home sellers to complete required disclosure forms electronically for the first time ever.
Is Data Scraping Legal?
The question of Data Scraping has been a controversial issue for a long time. The year 2017 witnessed several important developments focused on interpretations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) in separate cases involving Craigslist and Linkedin.
What is Data Scraping? Also known as Web Scraping, it is the automated method for extracting large amounts of data from a website, often through the use of Bots.
One of the weapons used against Data Scraping is the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), a federal cybersecurity law enacted in 1986 as an amendment to existing computer fraud law (18 U.S.C. Sec. 1030) which had been included in the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984. The CFAA prohibits accessing a computer without authorization, or in excess of authorization if any. It is designed to protect private password mainframe computers.
In Craigslist, Inc v. Instamotor, Inc, Craigslist claimed that Instamotor scraped Craigslist content to create listings on its own service and sent unsolicited emails to Craigslist users for promotional purposes to sell used cars. Craigslist has become very aggressive in pursuing claims against hackers based on breach of contract (terms of service TOS), violation of the CFAA, and the CAN-SPAM Act (disguised emails).
The case settled in favor of Craigslist for $31 million in a Stipulated Judgment and Permanent Injunction Aug. 3, 2017.
The next case involved a start up company named hiQ, a member of Linkedin (and subject to Linkedin’s TOS). What hiQ did was to scrape information from Linkedin user profiles and use the scraped data to create workforce data products that it sells to employers. Actually, hiQ tracks user generated changes to profiles in areas like work history and skills, and then uses the data to offer two products, one that helps companies identify employees who are at risk of being recruited away, and another product that helps companies map the skillsets of their employees.
The California U.S. District Court held that hiQ can use web scapers to collect information from PUBLIC Linkedin data. The Key factor in the Linkedin case was that hiQ could access and scrape only public data that was not protected by any authorization technique (such as password protected). Interestingly, the Court granted a preliminary injunction to prohibit Linkedin from employing electronic blocking techniques designed to prevent hiQ from scraping information from public linkedin profiles.
Linkedin has appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. So we need to wait and see whether data scraping of public data is legal. Still, there is a change in the legal landscape with respect to Data Scraping. Website owners will need to examine how they control or limit access to content they collect from users.
Source: Webinar from https://www.ftcguardian.com/ – I am a charter member
In 2018 the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) organized a panel discussion about the challenges and opportunities to increase competition in the real estate industry through technological innovation.
Participating in the panel were lawyers from NAR, the FTC, and the DOJ, as well as Brian Larson counsel for CMLS. The only non-lawyer in the group was Ben Clark, former broker for eRealty and noted data expert in the real estate industry. It is interesting to hear the broker’s perspective, so we will highlight some of those discussions.
Video of the 90 minute session is available here.
One of the key points from Ben Clark was the need for MLSs to remove any barriers to MLS participants and subscribers receiving access to relevant MLS listing data. This is based on the fact that real estate professionals have the following fiduciary duty under the NAR Code of Ethics Standard of Practice 11-1, “When REALTORS® prepare opinions of real property value or price they must
- be knowledgeable about the type of property being valued;
- have access to the information and resources necessary to formulate an accurate opinion, and
- be familiar with the area where the subject property is located UNLESS lack of any of these is disclosed to the party requesting the opinion in advance.”
You can find some of Ben Clark’s remarks at the following times of the video:
- 5:55 to 8:08;
- 35:40 to 39:50;
- 46:30 to 49:42;
- 1:03:40 to 1:06:50.
There is also a discussion on MLS Copyright at 1:11:25 to 1:14:05, with a supplemental blog post by Mitch Skinner Click Here
Finally, for an excellent summary of the history of MLS from Brian Larson, go to the video at 27:00 to 32:30
This November marks the expiry date of the Consent Decree in the NAR/DOJ lawsuit 10 years ago. Mark your calendar for June 5, 2018 when the FTC and DOJ will hold a relevant joint Workshop to discuss “What’s New in Residential Real Estate Brokerage Competition” – Click Here
Here is the entire panel discussion from the June 5, 2018 Workshop:
To support Participants and Subscribers in utilizing social media as part of their internet presence.
Rule Revision: 12.16 Use of Active and Sold Listing Information on Internet
Also know n as Internet Data Exchange “IDX”). (d) Listing Attribution. All listings on a Broker Participant or R.E. Subscriber’s site displayed by framing or other electronic means shall identify the name of the listing firm in a manner designed to easily identify such listing firm. Such identification shall be in a reasonably prominent location and in a readily visible color and typeface not smaller than the median used in the display of the listing data. No listing broker names will be required for a one-line or thumbnail search result display format on Participant, Subscriber or Brokerage site as long as there is one or more additional display formats available for the listing and each subsequent display format identifies the listing broker. Information displayed in a one-line or thumbnail search result, text message, and/or on sites where consumers view, “follow” and/or subscribe to the Participant or Subscriber’s feed, (e.g. Social Media) are exempt from this requirement only when linked directly to an approved IDX site that includes all required disclosures. Social Media posts shall not be misleading to the public and must represent a true picture as defined in MLS Rule 12.10. IDX display does not extend to internet advertising sites and/or third party sites that do not belong to the Brokerage, Participant and/or Subscriber.
Rules Revision: Mandatory Arbitration.
CAR added language to the existing arbitration rule to incorporate NAR’s mandated enhanced arbitration enforcement requirements. This revision expressly provides that failure to submit to arbitration and abide by the arbitration award can lead to penalties, including suspension from the MLS. Staff is looking for a recommendation to the Board of Directors to adopt the language added to 16.1.
16.1 Mandatory Arbitration. By becoming and remaining a Participant or Subscriber in the MLS, each Participant and Subscriber agrees to submit disputes arising out of the real estate business which also arises out of, or is in conjunction with, any listing filed with the MLS or any appraisal, to binding arbitration with any other Participant or Subscriber of this MLS, or Participants or Subscribers of any other MLS who are authorized to have access to this MLS under Section 6 of these rules. Such arbitrations shall be governed by the California Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual as from time to time amended which is hereby incorporated by reference. This shall be deemed an arbitration agreement within the meaning of Part 3, Title 9 of the California Code of Civil Procedure. Failure to submit to arbitration and abide by the arbitration award, including but not limited to timely payment of the arbitration award as provided herein shall be a violation of these MLS rules and subjects Participants and Subscribers to possible suspension from the MLS and/or other penalties.
Forget about baseball being the national pastime. I think today’s pastime is surfing the web and checking the wonderful photos of real estate properties, whether they be exterior or interior shots, luxury homes, aerial views, video tours, 3D Imaging, you name it.
But who owns the photograph and what rights do they have to stop a third party from infringing on those rights? Those and related issues are the focus of several Risk Management articles prepared by the legal staff at the National Association of REALTORS®.
In a September 2015 article “Who Owns Your Property Photos?” the author points out that: “Improper use of listing photographs, however, can create legal problems for agents, brokerages and MLSs. Authorship and ownership of photographs within the real estate industry is “fractured”. Who authored the photograph and who can use what photograph and in what way varies across the industry. Listing photographs may be taken by homeowners, real estate agents, MLS or brokerage employees, or professional photographers. Photographs may be owned or licensed to different parties in a variety of ways. A misunderstanding of how you may use the photographs for property listings could make you vulnerable to a copyright lawsuit.” http://www.realtor.org/law-and-ethics/who-owns-your-property-photos
The article cites an ongoing case alleging that Zillow continued to use the listing photos in connection with “sold” properties and that this use exceeded the scope of the photographer’s limited license to use the photographs only in connection with active property listings. VHT, Inc. v. Zillow Group, Inc., No. 2:15-cv-1096 (W.D. Wash. 2015). http://www.realtor.org/sites/default/files/court-records/2015/vht-complaint-2015-09-23.pdf
As part of a Risk Management Strategy, the article recommends that you:
- Review photography agreements to assess how you can use the photographs
- Audit photographs to ensure compliance with the relevant agreements
- Determine how you want to use listing photographs and ensure that future agreements permit those uses
- Maintain a record of all photography agreements
To that end, NAR provides some Sample Photography Agreements for you to review with your attorney:
- Work Made For Hire Agreement
- Assignment Agreement
- Exclusive License Agreement
So, what happens when you display on your website listing photos provided by other brokers under IDX rules and it turns out that one of those photos is now the subject of a copyright infringement claim by the photographer? There was no way for you to know about the infringement claim. How can you protect yourself?
As suggested by NAR’s Associate Counsel Chloe Hecht in a five minute video clip “Window to the Law: Listing Photo Copyright Issues,” you can limit your liability for copyright infringement by complying with the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which provides a “safe harbor” if a third party uploads infringing content on your website. You’ll need to designate a copyright agent on your website and with the Copyright Office; implement a DMCA-compliant website policy; comply with the DMCA takedown procedure; and have no knowledge of the complained-of infringing activity.
In short, be respectful of the photography rights of others and be clear about what rights you grant others to use your listing photographs. And, as recommended in these articles, carefully review the relevant photography agreements.
AUSTIN, Texas – Aug. 3, 2015 – Today, the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) announced the appointment of Tim Dain as Multiple Listing Service Director.
A seasoned MLS executive, Dain brings a unique combination of experience to ABoR, including leading a regional MLS, where he oversaw significant growth for the MLS; working as a REALTOR®, both as an agent and a broker; working in information technology outside the REALTOR® organization; and serving four years in the U.S. military.
ABoR CEO Paul Hilgers commented on the announcement, “Tim’s extensive experience in evolving MLS organizations and his industry acumen will be central to helping ABoR deliver even more value to its MLS members. We’re preparing for future growth and I’m fully confident Tim will help take our MLS to the next level.”
ABoR retained executive search firm WAV Group, Inc., to assist in finding a new MLS Director. Dain will assume that role on Sept. 8, reporting to CEO Paul Hilgers and working with ABoR’s Board of Directors and committees dedicated to MLS services.
Barb Cooper, 2015 ABoR President, said, “We recognize that being aggressive in technology innovation is the best way to serve our members and homeowners in the Austin area. With Tim’s well-rounded experience and track record for successful innovation, we believe he will help us continue to be a leader in MLS services.”
Prior to accepting this role, Dain was Executive Director of the Southern Illinois Regional MLS. He began work there as Technology Director and was promoted to CEO in less than two years. During his five-year tenure with the organization, Dain was responsible for creating a virtual MLS and helped achieve cost reduction of more than 30 percent while streamlining processes to enhance daily operations and strengthen relationships with participants. He also partnered with the Illinois Association of REALTORS® local government affairs director in utilizing MLS data to enhance political advocacy efforts.
Dain is also active in the MLS industry generally, currently serving a member of the executive advisory team for Move, Inc., Dotloop and the interim executive committee for the Broker Public Portal. He has also served on the board of directors for the Council of MLS and as the chairperson for Corelogic Advisory Group. As part of that involvement, Dain was instrumental in Move Inc.’s decision to build FIND™ Mobile, a national mobile MLS application provided for free to any MLS.
Prior to his career in the MLS industry, Dain was a REALTOR®, working first for a large franchise organization in his region as an agent and then opening his own brokerage. He also worked in information technology for several organizations including the Harrah’s Casino and Aristocrat Technologies, where he served the technology needs for over 20,000 employees.
The Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) builds connections through the use of technology, education and advocacy to strengthen the careers of its 11,000 members and improve the lives of Central Texas families. We empower Austin REALTORS® to connect their clients to the region’s most complete, accurate and up-to-date listings data. For more, contact the ABoR Department of Public Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-454-7636. For the latest local housing market listings, visit AustinHomeSearch.com.
At the May NAR Legislative Meetings in Washington D.C., a partnership was announced between NAR and UpstreamRE, LLC to leverage the RPR technology platform to develop a new data management service for Brokers known as Project Upstream. The announcement culminated several months of discussions between the leaders of many of the nation’s largest brokerages and franchise networks and NAR, and represents a significant opportunity to leverage RPR’s five-year investment in data and technology on behalf of the industry.
Project Upstream will be built on RPR’s Advanced Multi-list Platform™ (AMP™). AMP provides a new technology foundation for MLSs to serve brokers and agents. This unified platform will have two distinct servicing components:
Upstream is a single point of listing entry, management, and distribution for brokerages.
AMP is parcel-centric database to power MLS services.
While a great deal has already been reported about the NAR/UpstreamRE partnership, I’d like to outline how the projects came together over the previous months, beginning in 2013.
• June 2013-RPR was approached by Rob Hahn of 7DS Consulting to assess the current and future technology options being considered by MLSs.
• October 2013-Craig Cheatham, CEO of The Realty Alliance addressed a CMLS Conference in Boise ID, with a list of Realty Alliance concerns related to MLS technology. This begins the discussion of a potential broker-centric technology project.
• November 2013-Clareity Consulting publishes a list of broker concerns. RPR is approached at the NAR Annual Convention in San Francisco about its interest in submitting a response to the coming Project Upstream Request For Proposals (RFP).
• December 2013-RPR receives the first formal request to discuss an MLS technology project from Tim Dain CEO of Southern Illinois Regional MLS (SIRMLS). 7DS Consulting delivers a report outlining the opportunity for a front-end/back-end MLS concept.
• February/March 2014-The Upstream RFP is issued and the Upstream Technology Task Force is formed to assess RFP responses from multiple vendors.
• April-September 2014-RFP responses are assessed by Upstream. RPR engages Bob Bemis of Procuring Cause Consultants to begin to assess inquiries from multiple MLSs regarding an extension of the RPR Platform into an MLS “back-end” solution.
• October 2014-Upstream’s governance model is established, creating the UpstreamRE Board of Managers. UpstreamRE, LLC is incorporated. RPR receives additional formal letters of requests from MLSs interested in a front-end/back-end split and creates a project initiative named Advanced Multi-list Platform™ (AMP™).
• November 2014-RPR meets with several large brokerage and franchise CEOs to discuss AMP™, seeking to inform the Upstream participants of the parallel development and gain their input on RPR’s AMP™ project.
• January 2015-RPR reports to the NAR Leadership Team in Chicago, IL on the progress of AMP™. RPR’s Senior Management Team also participates in additional meetings with the leadership of Large Franchise companies, creating the first combined assessment of the Upstream/AMP™ unified development concept.
• February-April 2015-Numerous meetings occur between NAR Leadership and UpstreamRE, LLC, focused on leveraging the RPR asset to fulfill Project Upstream’s stated goals. As a result, RPR was requested to submit a revised technology proposal.
• May 2015-NAR Leadership, RPR and the UpstreamRE, LLC Board of Managers meet in Washington D.C. and execute a Letter of Intent, subject to the NAR Board of Directors approval. The NAR Board of Directors approves funding for the Upstream/AMP initiative.
While the concept moved very quickly during the NAR Legislative Conference, the discussion, deliberation and input received occurred over some 18 months prior to the formation of the NAR/UpstreamRE, LLC partnership. During the next few months UpstreamRE/NAR/RPR will be focusing on the completion of the final agreement and the beginning of the development process.