Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

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Friday, May 13, 2005

National Association of Realtors Reconsiders

According to todays Wall Street Journal, in light of scrutiny from the Department of Justice, the NAR met to reconsider a rule restricting Internet advertising:

"Yesterday morning, a Realtors committee agreed to recommend to the organization's board an effort to revise the rule to allay the antitrust concerns. The board is to vote on that recommendation tomorrow. The rule, adopted two years ago, hasn't taken effect because of the department's inquiry into the effects on competition.

"The rule involves the Internet display of information from multiple-listing services, or MLS, which are local databases of homes available for sale. Under the rule, a brokerage firm that belongs to an MLS would have the right to bar other members of the service from putting on their Web sites listing information about the homes of that firm's clients. Under a particularly controversial provision, the listing firm could exclude some rivals from displaying the information while allowing others to do so.

"Ms. Janik said it is likely that the Realtors will offer to remove the provision for selective exclusion. In that case, an MLS member would have the choice of allowing all other members to display the information or blocking all of them from doing so. That would reduce firms' ability to retaliate against certain rivals while working with others."

(from "Realtors May Revise Web Policy to Head Off Antitrust Law Suit," by James R. Hagerty and John R. Wilke, Wall Street Journal, 5/13/05)

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