On my way into work this morning I received a call from our broker regarding the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. I have to say the following came at a shock for a variety of reasons.
The Northwest Multiple Listing Service is a service in which real estate agents and others subscribe to post and search home listings. This is a paid, opt-service and by no means does a real estate agent have to subscribe too in order to conduct business. Barnett Associates Real Estate is a subscriber and our agents are as well. We also have a written and signed agreement to use there feed, IDX, through Advanced Access, our web hosting company, so our users can search available properties.
With that said, I found out that we cannot use the keywords “multiple listing service”, “MLS”, “Search MLS” or any other variation to describe our property search feature or in our meta keywords, description or website title. These terms can not be on any of our pages unless we were grand-fathered in under there Rule 196. I used these terms to establish validity and credibility with our website but now since they can no longer be used any new customer now does not know if what they are searching is any shape or form legitimate or up-to-date.
Is this a copyright violation or is it a rule that The Northwest Multiple Listing Service came up with after the fact? It looks as if it is the latter. There were no penalties or action that would be taken towards the website/agents for violating the rule. Well it is a rule, not law, so it what is their basis for pushing such a rule? A few things come to mind which have no beneficial outcome for the people who pay for their service.
Now since we are paid subscribers, I have written permission to use there IDX feed but I cannot advertise that on my website? This doesn’t make sense to me.
This has resulted in me loosing one of my best search phrases for our web marketing strategy. I hope this doesn’t hurt or reduce my monthly search results because business revenue will suffer the greatest hit and at this time I am doing everything I can to increase it.
In conclusion why statement is this: So who does the Northwest Multiple Listing Service serve? Is the agents who pay subscription fees? Is the companies who have written permission to use their service? Not as far as I can see. It makes me wonder whois bank rolling the NWMLS to put a stop to the little people from using such a term.