Yesterday, I read a very good post by Dan Homan titled "Ethics in Advertising". If you haven't read his post please take a minute to do so. Dan brought up an excellent point about the way our listings are distributed around the Internet.
It seems like some of the "listing" sites are not displaying our Brokerage information. Dan's questions are: Is this Ethical? Is this legal? And if not, are we unwillingly putting our licenses in jeopardy by allowing these sites to display our listings, either by syndications or IDX links.
Standard of Practice 12-5
- REALTORS® shall not advertise nor permit any person employed by or affiliated with them to advertise listed property in any medium (e.g., electronically, print, radio, television, etc.) without disclosing the name of that REALTOR®'s firm in a reasonable and readily apparent manner. (Adopted 11/86, Amended 1/07)
This Standard of Practice is the only one in our CoE, that I could find, that MAY apply. The other Standards in Article 15 specifically apply to our Firm's Website. So based on SoP 12-5 my question is: Are the "listing" sites affiliated with my company? My opinion would be "no they are not".
A perfect example of this would be Point2Agent sites. When I enter a listing onto my Point2Agent site, just like the MLS, I CANNOT enter contact information in the public remarks or on the video/virtual tours because they are syndicated to numerous other sites and will be branded with that particular agency's info.
Therefore, my conclusion would be that other's displaying my listings without my brokerage information is NOT an Ethical violation.
Now Legally, I can only base my opinion on Florida law. Florida law states:
OK it was very hard to find anything related to this in Florida law. I did find this under Chapter 475.25:
- c) Has advertised property or services in a manner which is fraudulent, false, deceptive, or misleading in form or content. The commission may adopt rules defining methods of advertising that violate this paragraph.
Either I'm missing something or have to conclude that syndicating my listings, without my Brokerage information, is neither Unethical OR Illegal in the State of Florida.
So what am I missing? Or am I right? What say you?
By the way, if you disagree…..I need proof. I can't learn without it.