How An Industry Gives Away Its Power
When Microsoft defended themselves from the Feds for acting as a monopoly, most could have predicted the outcome. The prosecutors simply did not understand the case. Why?
".. Blinded Me With Science!"
Thomas Dolby - She Blinded Me With Science
Selling technology is easy. Just layer perceived value on top of perceived value until you make your case. Never mind that the cool bells and whistle are worthless. The consumer, in this case the Government was swimming in a world they just don't get.
And I don't care if you have Johnny Cochran to prosecute that case. It wasn't going to fly. Of course the OJ Simpson case really turned Simpson's way when the DNA expert got up there and talked for a week about DNA and chemicals. I mean science is science right? And the Jury bought in.
So where is this all going?
Most Realtors are too busy to pay witness as cheap services undermine their own advantage. The "Open MLS" jockeys have been at NAR's throat for a long time. The argument being that the listing is owned by the property owner, not the agent or the MLS.
Whether this is true or not is not the reason for my post. What I see is that the alternative is a disruptive system. I think this end is inevitable, which might bring huge change to the industry. However, the poison has been self induced and has nothing to do with Big Case Chasing Laywers.
NAR started the whole thing by launching Realtor.com out of self preservation. MSN and others were looking to do what online directories are doing today. That is to create their own vertical. (Thats geek speak for their own MLS.)
Realtor.com was funded by agents with big promises, then big bills if you wished to be in the directory. The site offers open listings without forced op-in. Other upstarts tried and mostly failed.
So the crack dealer called marketing took this thing to the next level.
You the Realtor bought.
You wanted to be cool, hip, and smart.
The marketers obliged. Along came Trulia, Ooodle, Propsmart, Craigs List, and Backpages. You were only happy to fill them with your listings. You told yourself," my property owner will love it that I give them so much exposure online." The implied value was too much too pass.
Then companies like Postlets.com comes along and makes that job super easy for you. Then your own website IDX vendor starts submitting the listings for you. Such nice guys.
You get cute and start mashing your listings up. Offer them as RSS.
How to By Pass The Board of Realtors Without Them Knowing
Ooops. Do you see control of these listings have left the Nazi grip of your Listings Compliance at your Board of Realtors? Like the Government when trying to legislate anti spam laws, or when they tried to prove Microsoft a monoploy. You cannot legislate that which you don't understand.
And the industry was buzzing good. Feeling that internet buzz like an addiction. The net was giving everyone sales. It was order taking. The deal has been done. A habit is hard to break.
Honestly I trust Trulia and Oodle to do a much better job than a local Board. But this means that you just lost your control of your own listings.So what happens when the FSBO gets into of this deal? Where is your value proposition? Technology eventually gets cheaper until it is free and then eventually without value.