By Sam DeBord
Realtor.com®’s president, Errol Samuelson, has been hired away by Zillow. I’ve met Errol and he’s a nice guy, very smart, and very successful. Business is business. But, naive as it might be, there’s plenty of disappointment from the REALTOR® community. It comes from a belief that we have a common cause greater than just our businesses. Whether we’re aligned with NAR or realtor.com®, we believe in unified goals that are good for the country as a whole, and create significant loyalty to our brand.
Like I said, it sounds silly to an outsider. Why wouldn’t a top executive, who clearly received a more lucrative employment offer for a position he saw as a step up, take that proposal? In the world of publicly-traded real estate ventures, you could be selling soda ads one day, and interviewing the president the next. The landscape changes drastically every year, and when your skills are in business management and strategy, you’re always looking for the next challenge.
And still, there’s a bit of an empty feeling from the REALTOR® masses when an exit like this happens. It’s just another day at the office when your insurance company’s CEO changes companies, or your old business partner switches brokerages. But when someone leaves the REALTOR® fold to work for a direct competitor, it ignites much stronger emotions from the membership. A quick scan of discussions online makes it clear that this isn’t just some job change. Reactions range from frustration to outright anger. This is someone who did a good job and likely had no direct contact with most of the commenters, but many take his departure so personally as to feel betrayed.
As simple-minded as it sounds, I can’t help but feel a bit of the same disappointment. Real estate agents hop between companies like mercenaries until we find the right fit. We don’t feel remorse for changing our workplaces, because it’s simply a business decision. At the same time, those of us who are advocates for the REALTOR® brand would be incredulous if our associates left the membership. Your career is your business, but your commitment to supporting REALTOR® causes is ours. Continue reading »
By Sam DeBord
The National Association of REALTORS® recently voted to approve updates to its operating agreement with realtor.com® and allow more flexibility for the Web site. There has been a wide range of reactions from REALTORS®. This blog is part one of my five-part series in which I will discuss the propriety of the agreement.
Let’s start with some background: NAR does not own the Web site. It merely owns the domain name, realtor.com®, which it has licensed to Move, Inc. to operate. Many discussions center on this issue still today. This agreement started in the mid-90s. Whether or not some members liked it, it is a 20-year old moot issue. NAR only owns about 2.5 percent of Move, Inc. They are merely a marketing partner with whom REALTORS® have regulatory clout because of our ownership of the domain name.
The new agreement between NAR and realtor.com® approves four major changes:
- Display unlisted new homes and new-home communities.
- Display unlisted rentals.
- Obtain listings from entities that are not REALTOR®-owned and controlled, as well as from brokers who are not REALTORS®.
- Identify properties where a notice of default has been recorded, auctions of distressed properties, short sales, foreclosures, and bank-owned properties. (Listing brokers will have the option to opt out by calling the realtor.com® customer care center.)
Individual consumer FSBOs remain precluded from the site, and the changes will be implemented in a way that preserves realtor.com®’s accuracy advantage, according to Move executives.
NAR directors are members—not some faraway body of executives. Continue reading »