Ride the blogging wave. Be compliant and don’t get wiped out!

 Hi folks, this is a follow up to my last post, Posh'd Oh my gosh! Does that make me an "Expert"? In that post I wrote this:

  • "What if NAR or your State's Real Estate Board, decided tomorrow, to clamp down on all the ethical and legal violations that abound in blogdom? And believe me they do abound. I have visited many blog sites and for the life of me I can't even tell who they belong to. No company name, no licensee name, no contact numbers, nothing that even gives a hint that the owner of the site is a licensed REALTOR®. Those sites could be shut down overnight. Licenses could be revoked. All the hard work and SEO "thingies" would be worthless in a matter of minutes."

Brian Brady wrote in his recent post, Blogger: Be afraid of the big, bad Broker(or Bank), the following statement:

  • "Large real estate brokers and banks will severely curb the weblogging efforts of the individual sales agents in the name of "compliance". In short, the behemoths will say that they can not adequately protect the consumer from the unsupervised local messages being offered by its sales agents. That, will be bunk."

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from a REALTOR® who had left a comment on one of my posts. She was asking me to go in and delete it. According to her, her Broker had told her to go back and delete every comment she had made on any one's blog and also prohibited her from blogging. As Brian mentioned in his above statement this REALTOR® works for one of the large National brokerages.

My first reaction was "I think you need to find another Broker." This has been on my mind ever since. As a Broker myself, I am responsible for my agent's actions. It is my legal obligation to make sure all of their advertising is compliant. If I had dozens or even hundreds of agents working under my license would I want them blogging? If I'm honest with myself my answer would be a strong NO! Unless, everything they wrote and posted was approved by me.

Now reread the excerpt from my post up top. How many of you have visited blog sites where there was NO indication that the writer was a REALTOR®? Well I have seen many. In fact if I didn't know better I would think the authors of some of these sites were puppets, dogs, cats, fruits, vegetables and an assortment of other non-human "thingies".

If I had agents' licenses under me, with sites like these, I would be placing my license and my business in jeopardy.

If you are a REALTOR® you have a Code of Ethics that you must abide by. Here are a few applicable codes for you:

Article 12

  • REALTORS® shall be careful at all times to present a true picture in their advertising and representations to the public. REALTORS® shall also ensure that their professional status (e.g., broker, appraiser, property manager, etc.) or status as REALTORS® is clearly identifiable in any such advertising. (Amended 1/93)

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)

Standard of Practice 12-9

  • REALTOR® firm websites shall disclose the firm's name and state(s) of licensure in a reasonable and readily apparent manner.

    Websites of REALTORS® and non-member licensees affiliated with a REALTOR® firm shall disclose the firm's name and that REALTOR®'s or non-member licensee's state(s) of licensure in a reasonable and readily apparent manner. (Adopted 1/07)

So my question is, if you were a Broker would you let your agents blog and if you did, how would you monitor their activity? Is it be bunk? Or is it prudent?

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