Update 11/18: There’s been a lot of news about this on Inman and elsewhere. Looks like ForSaleByOwner’s press release may have been misleading on a couple of grounds (wheher they intended it or not-I can’t say.)

According to a US News and World Report online story, ForSalebyOwner.com put out a press release saying that it now has a distribution deal with Realtor.com, allowing consumers to get their listings on Realtor.com without first putting them in an MLS. According to the ForSalebyOwner.com press release, this is the result of the DOJ/NAR settlement over VOWs. The ForSaleByOwner.com press release even links to the Department of Justice press release relating to the DOJ/NAR settlement.

I don’t know whether ForSaleByOwner.com’s claims about its relationship with Realtor.com are true or not, but I do know one thing: The settlement between DOJ and NAR makes no reference whatsoever to Realtor.com, either in the settlement agreement, in the attached VOW policy, or in the attached policy regarding the definition of “participant” in MLS. (In fact, the DOJ press release makes no mention of Realtor.com, either.) The DOJ lawsuit, and its settlement, deal almost exclusively with “virtual office web sites” which are by definition web sites of brokers participating in MLS offering brokerage services to their customers/clients. Realtor.com is not a VOW.

This type of malarkey is not uncommon: we have had several MLS clients call us and say “so-and-so claims we have to give them data now because of the DOJ/NAR settlement.” Much of that is BS, but some folks have put together some pretty convincing BS.

Of course, the interesting questions are: What relationship does exist between ForSaleByOwner.com and Realtor.com? Did ForSaleByOwner.com claim the relationship is mandated by the DOJ/NAR settlement in order to head off criticism of the relationship? I’m curious. Anyone have further answers?

-Brian

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