RINphoto“Text without context is pretext.” As the NAR Directors prepare for their special meeting and discussions about the future of Realtor.com, some context may be helpful.

The National Association of REALTORS recognized in the early 1990s the importance of technology and the role it would play in the future of real estate. Through NAR, and its wholly owned subsidiary, RIN, the real estate industry was among the first in the world to embrace the web as a new way to market. The real estate industry, lead by NAR (and all of the affiliated associations and MLSs), was a pioneer in exposing its “For Sale” inventory on the web for all consumers to see, through the ancestor of what today continues to be called Realtor.com.

For this to happen required a major shift in thinking. In many locations across the country, addresses of properties for sale were not included in the ad, for fear of providing “too much information,” and thus minimizing the role of the REALTOR.

NAR hired major consulting firms EDS, Arthur Young, and Gallup in the early 1990s. It created a Presidential Advisory Group (PAG) in 1993, followed by the incorporation of the REALTORS Information Network (RIN), a wholly owned subsidiary of NAR .

RIN was created by NAR to allow for a leadership and management structure separate from, and more nimble than, NAR — those being requirements for survival in a fast moving, Information Age. It was RIN’s Mission to “Keep the Realtor in the center of the transaction”  as technology changed the role of brokers and agents. RIN had a private side, the RIN Network…and a public side, for the marketing of listings, which was called Realtor.com.