Tag Archives: Syndication

Will CLAW Be the Waterloo for Anti-Syndication Forces?

La Battaile de Waterloo

La Battaile de Waterloo

[This post was written to be posted almost a month ago, when the Errol Samuelson news broke, wiping the media calendar clean. And then I went on the road. Nonetheless, the issues raised here and the access to Zillow and to Annie Ives are important enough and I think still relevant, so I figured I'd post it. Even if a bit later than I had hoped.] 

The CLAW/TheMLS 48-hour delay saga enters a new chapter, as I have some new data and some new information in my possession. For those not familiar with what’s going on, this Inman story by Andrea Brambila is an excellent place to start. And of course, I’ve already written about the tension between CLAW and CRMLS.

I have been working on trying to get a bit more information on some facts surrounding the brouhaha, and I managed to get a senior Zillow executive on the phone to get their side of the story. What I’ve learned makes me re-evaluate l’affaire de CLAW in a new light. This might be a seminal event in the evolution of real estate, a Waterloo for the anti-syndication forces within the MLS industry.

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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.

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In Which I Have Fun With Sam DeBord’s Inman Article on Pocket Listing Liability


It’s a busy day here, but I couldn’t resist this. :)

Sam DeBord, a really intelligent and perceptive guy, who is also a working broker for Coldwell Banker Danforth in Seattle, wrote a long column on Inman about the possibility of huge liabilities for brokerages because of pocket listings. Read the whole thing.

There are important issues Sam raises, but I couldn’t help but um… rewrite huge sections of it, especially when it came to attorneys speculating about legal liability and the like. Think of the following as friendly repurposing. :)

There are serious issues to be discussed here, I guess, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun while trying to do it. Here we go then.

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Why You Should Know About Aereo

I’m reasonably certain that 90%+ of my audience — that would be you — have no idea what Aereo is. And until recently, there was no real reason to know, unless you lived in the NYC area and just looooved over-the-air TV.

But last Friday, the US Supreme Court chose to hear a case involving this odd little startup, ABC, Inc. vs. Aereo, Inc., and that could have immense implications for intellectual property law. I think there could be direct relevance to real estate given the industry’s recent and ongoing fights over who owns what and how. Nothing may come of it, but Supreme Court cases rarely result in nothing, so those of you in this arena might want to check out Aereo, what’s going on, and get your lawyers involved.

FYI, I haven’t followed the case that carefully, so I’d love to hear from the legal eagles in our business (Brian? Mitch?)

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Notorious POD, Episode 7: Breaking Bad With Bob Bemis



I think every single podcast episode I do these days is my newest favorite. This one is really special, really amazing. I’m only sorry that due to travel, work, and life in general, I couldn’t post this sooner. We recorded this a couple of weeks ago, right after Bob’s first post on Notorious but these topics are evergreen.

Bob Bemis, formerly of Zillow, formerly of Arizona Regional MLS, is the special guest on this episode of Notorious P.O.D. With his decades of experience in the real estate industry, especially in the MLS side which is oft-shrouded in mystery, as well as his time at Zillow, there isn’t anyone in the real estate industry who knows more, has worked more on, and has thought more about some of the hottest issues in the real estate industry than almost everyone alive today.

We begin talking about his post, about buyer agency, about the trends and warning signs confronting the industry, but the topics range all over from MLS, syndication, MLS consolidation, Associations, brokerages, agents, the big portals, data accuracy, etc. etc. If you don’t learn something from this podcast, then you’re the smartest person in the real estate industry, because I took away so much personally.

Your comments/thoughts are always welcome, but particularly on this one, I’d love to hear from you all. There will be a second podcast as soon as we can arrange it.

Once again, thanks to Bob, and if you’re interested in his posts, you can check out his author page.