Last night I had this thought that I do not think has been addressed yet in the discussion about the Special Meeting of the NAR Directors in Chicago next week.
When the NAR Board of Directors met in Chicago on August 26, 1996, to decide the fate of Realtor.com, a decision that affects almost everyone in real estate to this day…Realtor.com, by any measure or standard, was the NUMBER ONE real estate website in the world.
Not only was Realtor.com NUMBER ONE, it had “First-mover Advantage,” which was significant during the heady days of the “Dot Com Bubble.”
It is not because Realtor.com was not a success that the NAR Directors signed away the future, because it was very successful and on its way to huge success, due to the early positioning achieved by RIN and NAR.
The problem was fear. Fear that NAR could not compete with the capital required to keep Realtor.com NUMBER ONE. RIN Had problems to be sure, but Realtor.com was an amazing initial success, especially in the period of time from concept to launch. Had we maintained not surrendered, the landscape would surely be much different today.
So, on August 26, 1996, NAR (RIN) had the NUMBER ONE real estate website in the world, and little competition, the decision was to take the chance and spin-off Realtor.com.
For emphasis…the NUMBER ONE real estate website in the world, and little competition, and the decision was to spin-off Realtor.com. Some people, myself included, seriously questioned that decision, but we were powerless to do anything about it because of the other problems at RIN. I openly advocated for Realtor.om listing exclusivity, using the “Super Bowl” analogy. “The NFL does not broadcast the Super Bowl on 50 different channels. It chooses one. The public learns the channel for the Super Bowl, and that is where they go to view. The audience is gigantic. Ads are sold for millions of dollars for 30 seconds of exposure.
Why did NAR get cold feet? Having spent 13-18 million dollars (depending upon who you talk to),and with separate political agendas and competing interests (Florida Living Network (FAR), California Living Network (CAR), there was a rush to dump RIN and Realtor.com.
Are there any political agendas waiting to ambush Directors this time?
In the next week, the Directors of NAR will once again be asked to make decisions about the fate of Realtor.com. This time, Realtor.com is number three, with plenty of threats and competition, and anchored with a “1000 page operating agreement.”
Are the provisions of the old operating agreement still relevant, or is it time to tear it up and allow Realtor.com to compete and see if it can regain that NUMBER ONE position?
Hopefully this time we will not make decisions that are “penny wise and pound foolish.”