1. Can agents post MLS listing data on their web sites?

That depends. If the agent wishes to use any of the framing options, their Broker must simply sign the agent’s application. However, if the agent wants to incorporate the IDX list data of other Members, the agent’s Broker must not have ‘Opted-Out’ of the IDX program. Further, the Data Pipeline product is only available to Brokers for use on office web sites (although the agent could frame that office site with the permission of the Broker). Lastly, the agent’s web site must retain the brokerage’s branding at all times

2. What happens if someone abuses IDX?

State-Wide MLS will closely monitor brokers who develop web sites using the IDX data and those linking to RI Living’s search engines. It will also monitor other real estate web sites. If State-Wide MLS finds that a Participant is misusing the data, that broker will be notified of the wrongdoing and required to correct the problem. If the broker fails to comply, he/she will be fined and possibly even suspended from State-Wide MLS. As the MLS listing data compilation is copyrighted, legal action could result as well.

3. Why would a Broker want to allow other Brokers to display his/her listings on their web sites?

This is probably the most popular questions concerning IDX nation-wide. The answer lies in a desire to strengthen the brokerage industry. Long-term, if real estate brokerages want to compete with other industry segments for the business of Internet consumers, they will need to have web sites that are attractive to consumers – that means having the most information. If a broker doesn’t want his/her listings on the Internet at all, then that broker probably doesn’t want to participate in IDX. If a broker currently provides his/her listing data to one or more local and national web sites on the theory that more exposure is better, why wouldn’t he/she want their listings on other broker’s web sites?

4. Why would a Broker want to let other Brokers display his/her listings if that Broker doesn’t have his/her own web site?
(see the answer to Question #3)

The rationale is equally strong in this case. In addition to those arguments, sellers will want to know why the non-Participating broker’s listings do not show up on IDX web sites when the listings of other Brokers do.

5. Why would a Broker want to display other Broker’s listings on my site?

Because by displaying the complete MLS inventory of active listings, the broker is providing a service to consumers that can help keep them coming to his/her web site. If a broker wants to be able to sell services on-line, he/she needs a way to keep consumers at the site once they get there. (Internet professionals refer to this as having a ‘sticky’ site – the ‘stickier’, the better.)

6. How much will it cost?

Having your listings appear on other IDX Participant’s webs sites costs nothing. Having a web site and incorporating the IDX database into it is another matter.

7. Will this allow ‘Big Brokers’ to have more successful web sites? Will this make ‘Little Brokers’ look like ‘Big Brokers’?

Brokers will get out of IDX whatever they put into it. Very large firms may have more money to put into their web sites and may spend more marketing dollars to get consumers to visit their sites. However, smaller firms that focus on Internet strategies and marketing may be able to look as ‘Big’ on the Internet as their much larger competitors. IDX is designed to make all broker sites more attractive to consumers. State-Wide MLS can only give brokers the tools…what brokers do with them is up to the brokers.

8. Will consumers call the listings agent on listings belonging to other IDX Participants?

Maybe. The listing firm’s name has to appear on any detailed display of data for listings that don’t belong to the web site’s owner. An interested consumer could call the other brokerage and ask which agent has the property listed in order to reach him or her. However, this is a great deal more difficult than just e-mailing the Participant. This phenomenon is also just as likely to benefit the Participant, as the Participant’s name appears on the listings on other broker’s web pages.

9. What data will consumers see? What property types, statuses, data elements, etc.?

IDX Participants may only display active listings. Participants may display any or all of State-Wide MLS’s property types, excluding ‘Commercial Investment/Lease’ which is presently not included in the IDX export file data feed. IDX Participants may only display those fields contained in the export files and are prohibited from adding or ‘re-keying’ data from MLS or other sources into the listings of other IDX Participants (they can display any information they wish on their own listings however).

10. What prevents an agent from another office from advertising another firm’s hot new listing as his/her own?

It’s a violation of the Rules and Regulations. Such an act would violate the Code of Ethics and state real estate law as well.

11. Can the consumer link directly to the listing agent’s e-mail?

An IDX Participant can provide linking on his/her own listings to its agents, but it’s not required. This is a matter to be determined between the IDX Participant and his/her agents. An IDX Participant cannot display agent information on the listings of other Participants.

12. What kind of advertising for other services or companies can Brokers have on their web sites with IDX data?

Anything that will not violate State-Wide MLS’ Rules and Regulations and IDX Policies. If a firm launches a web site hosting the IDX data, that firm may sell advertising space to an automobile dealership on the site, for example, or every page of your web site could have an ad for a different advertiser. Keep in mind the following: (1) the site still has to be for the real estate firm; (2) the advertising must not jeopardize the goodwill of State-Wide MLS or the listing broker (for example, advertising an obscene web site above the listing data); (3) the ad must not mislead consumers. If an ad seems to contradict information about the listing form or information in the listing data itself, it should not be used.

13. Does a Participant need a web site?

That’s purely a business decision that the Participant will have to make. State-Wide MLS is providing the greatest flexibility so brokers can compete in an increasingly complex industry, but still sustain the integrity of its data. However, State-Wide MLS cannot compete for its brokers. Participants must determine their own business strategy whether IDX and a web site with IDX data would support that strategy.