Realtors should dictate terms to listing portals
Letter to the EditorBy Inman News, Tuesday, May 29, 2012.
Re: 'Edina Realty pulls the plug on Realtor.com' (May 22)
My opinion of this happening is: "great."
I have for a long time not believed that Realtor.com is giving listing agents what we should have as far as our listings go. I also believe they work together with the MLS boards to make money at our expense.
I am pretty sure our MLS boards can, if so desired, dictate to these third-party companies -- especially Realtor.com -- that we, the Realtors with the listings, receive a much better package. In fact, I think we should have all the listing benefits these companies offer at no cost.
Here is my problem. Years back, a seller I represented asked me why other listings on Realtor.com had multiple photos and other upgrades. I also wondered why I was not personally getting calls on my listing. When I called Realtor.com to ask why, I was told that in order to get the enhancements I would have to pay. To have my personal contact information in the listing, when I am the listing agent, I would have to join and yes, once again pay.
The supposed huge benefit to us is the exposure of our listing on their site. They give a free basic listing, but that's it. If the seller wants the similar benefits, we have to pay Realtor.com a hefty sum. I feel held over a barrel with this type of deal. We already pay enough to our memberships to NAR, CAR and the MLS boards.
Realtor.com gets money from us as well as our inventory. They use it to attract tons of advertising and God knows what else. Our listings are the raw data that enables these companies to make millions from advertisers. That is not enough, I guess. They throw us a carrot and charge through the nose for something we should already have.
Complaining to my MLS board, California Regional MLS, does no good. They defend this and get agitated when I push the issue. They say the free input of our listing is a great benefit and try to make me feel like I am being ungrateful. I am sure they profit by keeping this sweet deal alive with Realtor.com.
I think they suck as representatives of our industry. I would love to see all real estate third-party vendors work more on listing agent benefits. After all, without listing agents, there is no Realtor.com. I have colleagues who feel the same way. Some I know do not use Realtor.com for this reason.
I think we Realtors as a whole should let these companies know what our terms are and not have it the other way around. I think Realtors should learn from Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart dictates to vendors that everything is at their discretion including what they will price products at. If the vendor doesn't agree, they send them off on their way. The ones that agree greatly benefit from the relationship. Too bad it doesn't work for us.
First Team SnS Real Estate
Diamond Bar, Calif.
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