Peyman Aleagha, president of RealtySoft.com, posts on GeekEstate, asking “Is IDX Necessary for Your Website? – Do You Need Air to Breathe?” He answers both questions in the affirmative using a good hypothetical example. His post makes a couple assumptions, I think, that require some discussion.
That IDX in every market will give the displaying broker the ability to display “any home that’s listed on the MLS.” This is not quite true; in almost every MLS there is at least one broker who opts out of IDX, meaning that broker’s listings will not appear on other broker’s IDX sites. In some MLSs, a very meaningful percentage are opted out. This is part of the reason that I think that more IDX sites will include VOW capabilities in the coming years. And in some MLS markets, agents cannot have their own IDX sites. (This is also changed in the VOW context.)
- That having the IDX capability on your web site, by itself, will make a difference. Mr. Aleagha does not say, “Put up IDX and do nothing else,” but his focus on the availability of the IDX data and functions overlooks some other key strategic issues about broker sites. So many things go into the design of a successful web site, so many brokers/agents have spiffy web sites and then fail to respond promptly to inquiries, and so many IDX sites would be impossible for a relocating consumer to find because of poor site marketing activities. I guess what I’m saying is that having an IDX site is only one part—certainly a necessary one—of a meaningful broker web strategy.
As someone who’s occasionally referred to as the “father of IDX” (I deny paternity—that belongs to the folks at Northwest MLS in Seattle), I could not be more supportive of the notion that brokers’ sites should have the best real estate information on the web. But before you rush out to purchase an IDX solution for your business, be sure that you have a strategy to make that investment pay off.