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My toughest competitor is the local Board of Realtors

First they told everyone to remove all branding from photos, which I agree with, but then they said they will put their branding on every photo. So now every new property photo on my website and thousands of other websites promotes their website. This is a fantastic way to drive a ton of traffic from their member’s websites to their website.

The reason they gave was they are trying to track scammers on Craigslist from using the photos, but that is silly because any scammer can take any photo and within a few seconds crop out their logo, which is always at the bottom right.

Then I noticed part of my dues are paying for a huge Facebook ad campaign to drive traffic away from my website and other member’s websites to their website. It seems odd to me I have to help finance my biggest competitor’s ads.

Then when you go to their site they prominently feature the listing agent for each property, which encourages buyers to buy either without using a buyer’s agent, or through a dual agency. Neither scenario is one our board should be encouraging, in my opinion.

Finally, they are exempt from our Realtor Code of Ethics. My other competitors are held to the Realtor Code of Ethics, and if they break them you can file an ethics complaint. However, the local Board of Realtors is exempt from this. They can break the Realtor Code of Ethics at will, and have done so, and there is nothing anyone can do.

They are one tough competitor.

About Bryn Kaufman

Principal Broker and creator of, one of the most popular websites on Oahu. I enjoy working with PHP, MySQL, jQuery, JavaScript, HTML5, Ajax and more. I am always looking to improve my Website and business. When not working, I enjoy spending time with my family and doing anything on or in the Ocean.

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  • graymoment

    So what are the answers? I agree that a local board and/or MLS can be a competitor, and it seems they are often focused on expanding their own influence and control rather than on that of their members. That said, members still have the voting power, so it would seem that members want this (or at least let it happen).

    • The reality is most agents/brokers are not web marketing experts who are constantly tweaking their websites and investing in seo. So, as a whole within a given association, I would guess way more agents view this as a good thing than a bad thing.

      • Excellent point, for those that have no website they would love the idea of getting direct calls on their listings to do a dual agency vs. it going to other buyer’s agents.

      • graymoment

        How is that, exactly? Why would an association competing with its members benefit an agent who is not an online marketing expert vs an agent who is or that has a strong online marketing presence? I do not say this rhetorically, I’m actually not sure what the implied answer is. If true, it would support the idea, as an association of any kind should exist to serve the benefit of its members.

        • The association is using their resources to drive traffic, branding and seo power to their own domain. Then direct that traffic to agents in their association.

          If an agent is doing zero content, website, seo, etc — the possibility of getting traffic from their association website certainly outweighs people like Bryn losing traffic (from their perspective, since they don’t care about Bryn’s business.. only their own).

    • I think the members need to come together and tell the board how they feel. It is not easy as everyone is so busy selling Real Estate. We do have permission to email all members, so I will probably send out a survey on the first issue and then submit the response to the board.

      I am not sure what the response will be, as Drew suggested below, for people with no website, they might like the idea of the board taking business from those that have a website.

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