Tag Archives: End of IDX

The Realcomp Anti-Trust Ruling Will Affect MLS Syndication


Inman News reports that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against Realcomp II in a years-long case:

Michigan’s largest multiple listing service “unreasonably restrained competition” among real estate brokers by refusing to transmit exclusive agency property listings favored by discount brokers to Realtor.com and other public-facing Web sites, a federal appeals court has ruled.

At issue was whether Realcomp’s refusal to transmit Exclusive Agency listings to places like Realtor.com was anti-competitive. Since Realcomp’s policy only applies to a tiny fraction of listings in the market, Laurie Janik, the outgoing General Counsel of NAR, suggested this wasn’t that big a deal:

NAR General Counsel Laurie Janik said that because other MLSs don’t have similar rules in place, the appeals court ruling is unlikely to have a wider impact. “I’m sure it’s extremely disappointing news to the folks at Realcomp, but it’s not the kind of case that’s going to send ripples across the rest of the industry,”

That’s especially true since the NAR’s MLS Policy prohibits the MLS from excluding Exclusive Agency listings from feeds, as Realcomp had done.

Nonetheless, I respectfully disagree with Ms. Janik. I think this ruling will send ripples across the rest of the industry. At the very least, it should since the next case that comes down the pike will surely look at Realcomp II, Ltd. v. FTC as precedent.

(By the way, for the non-lawyer folks, this case is especially significant because it came from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The only higher court is the Supreme Court. At least within the Sixth Circuit, which covers Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, this ruling is binding. And throughout the country, the ruling will be extremely persuasive.)

Before we dive into why I think this ruling is significant, since I am doing law-blogging here, I have to say that this is in no way a legal opinion (I mean, c’mon, it’s a blog post) and that you should consult your own qualified legal counsel.

Continue reading

“You’ve Got Ten Days”: CMLS 2013, Realty Alliance, and the Most Interesting 30 Minutes in Real Estate Conference History

This post, like every post in the month of October, is brought to you by our sponsor, Teardowns.com (and its subsidiary 2Elm), the winner of the Ebay Auction for sponsorship of this blog for October.

The floor of CMLS general session as Craig Cheatham was speaking

The floor of CMLS general session as Craig Cheatham was speaking

On the last day of CMLS 2013, the most interesting 30 minutes in the history of real estate conferences happened. Seriously, I’ve been going to these industry confabs for years now, and have seen some really interesting panels, have heard great speakers, have been part of great debates. I was there at Midyear 2011 when Franchise IDX was going down. I was present when RPR was brought forth in 2009. I’ve been privileged to be at important meetings where important people made important decisions.

And I have never ever seen a room filled with a few hundred seasoned industry veterans — CEO’s, Association Executives, senior executives of major tech companies, — get like that.

Like what? Well, like the inside of a mausoleum on a moonless night. If a flea had farted, we all would have heard it. The tension in the room was second only to the quiet dread permeating the audience.

The immediate cause of this sepulchral atmosphere was the panel discussion entitled, “Eliminating MLS & Broker Conflict” featuring Gregg Larson of Clareity, Brian Donnellan of MRIS, and the star of the show, Craig Cheatham, CEO of The Realty Alliance.

Bottom line, Craig Cheatham made it clear that The Realty Alliance intends to Do Something about the MLS, which he said was the biggest pain, the primary focus of concern and the biggest source of frustration for his members. Those members, in case you aren’t aware, are some of the largest brokerages in the United States, including such names as HomeServices of America, Long & Foster, Howard Hanna, Crye-Leike, Ebby Halliday, Prudential Fox & Roach, Baird & Warner, Coldwell Banker United, etc. etc., and the list goes on.

This is one session I wish I had videotaped, since Cheatham’s comments were jaw-dropping, even though he delivered them with consummate grace and diplomacy. Words and phrases like “nuclear option”, “push the red button”, “don’t plan too many more of these CMLS events into the future”, and of course, “You have ten days” are… shall we say… attention-grabbing? Perhaps the CMLS website will have the video available soon. But you can check out the companion post to this one from Notorious B.O.B. (Bemis) for what went down, as well as some fantastic historical perspective. I’m sure we’ll have other reports of what went down from various sources soon as well.

What I’d like to do with this post — which is going to be lengthy — is to speculate as to what might come next. After the ten days are up (and by the time you’re reading this, it’s closer to seven days left), what is the Realty Alliance likely to do? So two warnings.

First, this is rank speculation on my part. I have no inside knowledge, I haven’t officially spoken to anyone from the Realty Alliance, nor do I have any proprietary information. Second, this is going to be long.

Predictions sure to be wrong, or your money back! Let’s get into it.

Continue reading

The Next Lion . . . the Next Hill: Thoughts from CMLS 2013


The Council of Multiple Listing Services held its annual conference in Boise, ID this past week. In keeping with the high standards of excellence (which may be redundant, but I liked the phrase) of past conferences, our host, Greg Manship from Intermountain MLS, the local host, and his staff put on a top notch program. Many of the panels actually discussed real industry issues which in the past has not always been the case. That’s not a ding on CMLS. It happens at every industry conference. The panelists talk but ignore the multiple elephants that roam around the room.

Not this time.

One discussion on Friday led to much “chatter” in the halls, an unhealthy level of speculation on what was really being said, and a healthy level of panic and paranoia as MLS CEOs tried to figure out what to do next.

Let me explain.

Continue reading

Fun with Abbott Realty Group Listings

If you haven’t heard the name of Jim Abbott and of his company, ARG Abbott Realty Group, located in San Diego… well, I’d like to welcome you to the real estate industry. Because you have to be brand spankin’ new not to have heard of him and seen the famous video in which he announced that ARG would no longer syndicate listings. Here it is below:

I wrote about the announcement a while back, but in the course of research into some topics (soon upcoming), I ran across some fun facts. So I figured I’d write about them, because they’re not only fun, but thought-provoking.

Continue reading

Estately Quietly Proves a Business Model


The Pacific Northwest, where denizens created a religion out of worshipping coffee to overcome the gloom of the rainy months, has somehow become the mecca for technology-based innovation in the real estate industry. Everyone knows about Zillow, of course. Most folks know about Redfin. MarketLeader, and its portal, RealEstate.com are also in the Seattle area and made noise recently within the industry.

Far fewer people know about or think about Estately. But it’s time to give them some thought, because they’re quietly proving out a business model in the ongoing portalization of real estate that’s worth considering.

Continue reading