This by way of Joel Burslem from the Future of Real Estate Marketing…
Redfin is on the prowl for a cadre of real-estate-obsessed bloggers to tour neighborhood open houses, take pictures, and write up brief reports. The objective – “to create an insanely addictive blog about everything that moves in Seattle real estate.”
In the comments on Joel’s post, Greg Swann wonders if this is a conspiracy to avoid procuring cause dilemmas. Personally? I think it’s an excellent marketing idea, with no ulterior motive, and I certainly wish them the best…but, befitting Redfin, they may not have thought through this all the way.
First, many Realtor associations have bans on advertising other people’s listings without permission. It’s a sensible rule, designed to prevent Agent A from taking out full page ads advertising Agent B’s listings. Redfin already regularly talks about non-Redfin listings on its blog, and seems to have gotten away with it so far, possibly because the compliance folks at the realtor associations haven’t stumbled across them yet. Is “talking about” somebody else’s listing the same as “advertising it without permission?” Hard to say, but I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody tries to make a case out of it.
Secondly, if some random person comes in off the street on a weekend afternoon into an open house and starts taking pictures, most agents would put a stop to it pretty quickly on grounds of security and privacy. Again, that’s probably quite reasonable — the pictures in the MLS are meant to give a good feel for the home, and some random person taking pictures of it simply can’t make the listing agent or owner comfortable.
Finally, if any of the blog reviews are even remotely critical of a home, and the listing agent (or home owner) comes upon it…things could get dicey. There’s First Amendment free speech and all that, but there’s gotta be MLS laws in most areas preventing Redfin from publicly panning somebody else’s listing.
That’s the thing about Redfin — they have some fantastic consumer-friendly ideas, but they don’t always seem to understand what the opinion of the industry will be. Hats off, though, since pushing the envelope is the only way this business will make any changes.
Click on the image below for a copy of the Craigslist ad:
Tags: Real estate, Real estate blogging, Redfin
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