Dolgetta Law

Our Government At Work: Justice Department Sues NAR

The National Association of Realtors (“NAR”) has been in negotiation with the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ” or “Justice Department”) regarding its IDX and VOW policies for some time. IDX, also known as the Internet Data Exchange policy, refers to the Internet data display of listings, in advertising format, of all of the Brokers affiliated with the Multiple Listing Service (“MLS”). VOWs refer to the business model referred to as “Virtual Office Websites” which have been the subject of several articles written in this column.

NAR Creates New VOW Policy

In response to extensive negotiations between NAR and the Justice Department regarding concerns of the Justice Department that NAR’s proposed VOW Rules and Regulations and IDX Rules and Regulations were anti-competitive, NAR developed a revised policy known as the Internet Listing Display (“ILD”) policy. The new ILD policy would provide for a blanket opt-in or opt-out by a Broker, i.e., the Broker could choose to put all of his or her listings in or none of the listings into the IDX or VOW formats while preserving for homeowners the right to advise the Broker that they wish
to have their particular property publicly displayed on the websites of any affiliate of the MLS. In response, the DOJ has commenced an action against NAR indicating that NAR’s previous IDX and VOW policies and the newly adopted ILD policy, which was to have gone into effect as of July 1, 2006, are anti-competitive.

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