Indexing Real Estate Listings: NAR, Google and the agents caught in the middle

  • 13/05/2021

Right now, the Internet is being rocked by a heavily-criticized decision by the National Association of Realtors(R) to allow individual boards of Realtors to view Google as a "scraper" site and require that Realtors with a dynamic IDX feed block it from obtaining and publishing information from listings on and NAR affiliated sites. The criticism has caused the NAR to take another look at this decision, with the section 15.2.2 of the MIBOR (Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of REALTORS®) MLS Rules and Regulations revised to state the following: "Participants must protect IDX information from unauthorized uses. This requirement does not prohibit indexing of IDX sites by search engines."

To many of the people weighing in on this issue, it seems ridiculous that search engines, Google in particular, are being treated in the same manner as "real estate scraper" sites, sites that steal data, images, and layouts for nefarious purposes of their own. Search engines are there to provide people with relevant Internet results; their collecting of data is done to facilitate this. Since millions of people use Google, blocking real estate data from those interested in such is interpreted as basically shooting the Realtor in the foot. After all, when the average person goes to look at real estate scraper sites on the Internet, they go to Google or another search engine. Given Google's dominance in the search engine arena, one could argue that having Google index their site is a key part of doing business on the Internet.

Whether or not NAR has its members' best interests at heart with this issue, it is certain that Realtors and brokers and other real estate professionals are taking notice of who, exactly, are the haves and the have-nots in the online real estate world. Once the word gets out about this issue, NAR could be faced with some serious questions about its online conduct and its treatment of its members.

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