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IDX Reboot – Contributed by WAV Group

A great source of industry info is WAV Group. Here is a relevant data piece on IDX.

>>This is a rather obscene notion, but sometimes the best way to innovate is to ask a bunch of questions about the status quo. For brokers and MLSs to innovate, they need to question the effectiveness of IDX. I would not question its value. Rather, I believe that it has uncompromising value to MLS participants and subscribers. I question how we can make it more valuable. Perhaps it is time for a reboot. A reboot is a process where you turn something off and turn it back on to stop routines from running that undermine the operation of the machine. Some Background Here is a little background on how the consumer’s online behavior is measured. This is important to understand because if you don’t, you will take some consumer statistics for facts when they really are not. For example, according to ComScore, 1 in 3 consumers visit the top 3 real estate websites: Zillow.comRealtor.com; and Trulia.com. The education about this stat is in the statement “according to ComScore.” You see, ComScore only counts using survey data. They put a tracking cookie in a bunch of consumer browsers and watch how they behave. Using a little bit of data, they estimate a lot trends. The second thing that you need to know about ComScore is that they only track the top 100,000 websites in America. That means that they only track a thin number of real estate websites. Only huge broker, franchise, and a couple of MLS consumer sites even get counted. Taken out of context, ComScore data would yield that IDX is useless to most agents and brokers because nobody goes to those websites. That is incorrect. ComScore is not counting IDX sites. In truth, nobody really is. Reboot Idea Number One – Start Counting What is really great about IDX is that permitted use is structured in a way that benefits all participants in the program. There is an agreement. What if that agreement required that you install a tracking code on every site that displays IDX data. You have seen reports from portals about the number of times that a listing appeared in search results and the number of times a listing detail page was viewed. If that data were counted for every IDX site in every MLS across America, I would expect that the total amount of traffic would be very different than what ComScore is […]<<

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Copyright Infringement – Getty Images

When it comes to displaying someone else’s photos and clip art on your website, what’s the first name that comes to mind for most people in the know? Try “Getty Images.”

Getty Images, Inc. is a stock photo company that very aggressively enforces its licensing rights to million of images that it has acquired. With Getty Images we are talking big business – the company sold for about $3.5 Billion last year. It was co-founded by Mark Getty and Jonathan Klein.

If you’ve ever received a threatening letter from Getty Images demanding payment for the unauthorized use of one of their images, you know how it can disrupt your entire day, especially when they let you know it doesn’t matter you were unaware the photo was copyrighted. This type of copyright infringement is a matter of strict liability.

In 2008, Getty Images caused controversy for its pursuit of copyright enforcement on behalf of its photographers. Rather than pursue a policy of sending out “cease and desist” notices, Getty typically mails out a demand letter claiming substantial sums of damages to owners of websites which it believes are using their images in infringement of their photographers’ copyright. Getty commonly tries to intimidate website owners by sending collection agents, even though a demand letter cannot create a debt.

Here’s a “couldn’t happen to a better guy” story: In a lawsuit filed against Getty Images by Car-Freshener Corp., the maker of those tree-shaped air fresheners that hang from rear-view mirrors, Getty ended up paying $100,000  to settle the case. Getty had sold images that displayed those green air fresheners.  In his Courtroom Strategy blog, trial lawyer Oscar Michelen stated that: “Considering Getty is one of the biggest copyright trollers out there, sending out hundreds and hundreds of extortionate demand letters on a weekly basis, this payment had to stick in their craw. Nothing tastes as bad as a taste of your own medicine.”

Michelen went on to say: “Since 2005, Getty Images has been operating a huge copyright infringement program, sending out thousands upon thousands of letters a month to website owners who have used Getty Image thumbnails to decorate their website without paying Getty a license fee. The letters demand huge sums for use of the images and have panicked countless small businesses.”

“The spread of digital images and digital content and the ease with which it can be copied and re-used or even re-titled as one’s own, exposes all kinds of people and companies to infringement claims. But as Getty receives a taste of its own medicine, we should all be reminded to be careful of the use we make of other’s intellectual property. These claims and the litigation that comes with them can bring a small company to its knees.”

According to Win Singleton of Summit Web Design in a posting on RealTalk: “Many a website owner has been threatened with legal action for using their photos without paying for them… even if the photos are only thumbnails. And some site owners have had to pay for these photos after the fact at considerable expense – for hundreds, if not thousands of dollars – in order to settle the legal claims by these huge companies. You have just been lucky. This is really no different than pirating music instead of buying it in iTunes or elsewhere. These photographers deserve to be paid for their work and creativity, just like you in real estate.”

Make sure you check out the source of the images you plan to use on your website or blog. Just do not copy and paste an image onto your site. Obtain written permission when in doubt. There are sources for royalty-free photos such as http://www.shutterstock.com/

Finally, in a move that drew applause from art lovers around the world, the Getty Museum recently announced that, for the first time, it is releasing images of works of art in the public domain. “Today the Getty becomes an even more engaged digital citizen, one that shares its collections, research, and knowledge more openly than ever before. We’ve launched the Open Content Program to share, freely and without restriction, as many of the Getty’s digital resources as possible. The initial focus of the Open Content Program is to make available all images of public domain artworks in the Getty’s collections. Today we’ve taken a first step toward this goal by making roughly 4,600 high-resolution images of the Museum’s collection free to use, modify, and publish for any purpose.”

Now, if only the Getty Museum can convince Getty Images, Inc to ease up a bit on its image trolling, we would all be happy campers.

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Welcome to The Data Advocate

Welcome to The Data Advocate. Our mission is to
inform, educate, and stimulate interest and conversation about data,
information, and the real estate industry. We bring content, ideas and background
resources that we believe are relevant to the controversial data
debates playing out in the real estate industry today…so bookmark us, leave replies, come back often, and tell your friends.

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Realtor Information Network (RIN) REALTOR.COM Uncategorized

Early Research and Studies Leading to the Creation of RIN, and ultimately REALTOR.com

Prior to the launch of RIN and REALTOR.com at the National Association of REALTORS® Annual Conference in Atlanta in November 1996, there were a number of important reports commissioned by NAR to assist in the creation and implementation of RIN. We’ve included these reports in the RESOURCES tab you will find on the top of this blog (along with the Technology Timeline to give you some perspective).

NAR President Bill Chee appointed a Presidential Advisory Group (PAG) on MLS Technology Applications in the spring of 1993 entitled The Future of MLS.

The PAG was charged “To assess the current trends in technology applications to real estate….especially as it extends to or includes MLS information delivery systems. To make recommendations concerning what actions the Realtor family should take to assure that it maintains control of MLS systems whether used only by the brokerage industry or as it may be provided directly to the public.” Its stated Vision: “That the Realtor is the primary provider of all information needed by a consumer in a real estate transaction.”

NAR contracted with EDS (Electronic Data Systems, Inc) to provide the business plan and contracted with Gallup for the market research. Also, the main MLS vendors offered their input to the NAR business plan regarding the future of MLS – “MLS Vendor White Paper”

I also remember something about Arthur Young and in fact, they may have done a study and report for NAR as well, but I have not been able to locate any documentation.

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