[7DS] Initial Questions and Thoughts: New NAR Franchise-IDX Rule

(Originally posted on the 7DS Blog)

As reported by Inman News, NAR’s Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee has approved a new addition to the Internet Data Exchange (“IDX”) policy as follows:

Display of IDX Information by Real Estate Franchise Organizations

Participants may provide IDX information to their real estate franchise organizations (“franchisors”) to be indexed for display on franchisors’ websites. For purposes of this policy, “real estate franchisor” is defined as a company granting real estate brokerage franchises under the franchisor’s trademarks pursuant to a franchise disclosure document meeting applicable Federal Trade Commission rules. Display of IDX information by franchisors is subject to the following requirements and limitations. Failure of a franchisor to comply with the following requirements and limitations can, at the discretion of the MLS, result in suspension or termination of the participant(s)’ authority to provide IDX information to the franchisor:

  • Initial search results that provide minimal information (e.g. “thumbnails”) are exempt from MLS-required disclosures (e.g. listing firm, listing agent, source of information, notice that information is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate) provided that a direct link to a detailed (“full view”) display that includes all required disclosures is provided.
  • Consumers can link directly to the detailed (“full view”) display that complies with MLS disclosure/display rules of the source MLS.
  • IDX information is not used for any unauthorized purpose.
  • Inaccurate or incomplete information related to any listing is promptly corrected by the franchisor at the request of the source MLS.
  • No advertising may appear on pages displaying IDX information.
  • IDX listing information will not be modified, manipulated or permanently retained.

Rationale: This proposed expansion of the IDX policy would authorize real estate franchise organizations, with their franchisees’ consent, to index those franchisees’ IDX displays, with the results being displayed on franchisors’ websites, subject to appropriate qualifications and limitations.

On the surface, this seems like a fairly minor change to the IDX policy.  But we’re not content to lick the surface of this watermelon.  Let’s dive in a bit with some questions that immediately arise.

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