Those open houses will be off the family schedule

In another corner of the blog world, the entertaining property blogs from upstart Redfin have been axed because the crucial Multiple Listing Service threatened the company with shutdown. Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman explains:

After almost a year of negotiations came to a head with the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS), Redfin announced yesterday morning that it would no longer publish in-person reviews on our blog. NWMLS rules forbid Redfin from advertising another broker’s listing, and the NWMLS deemed our reviews (particularly the harsh ones) as an advertisement. The NWMLS fined Redfin and has explained that our compliance with the rules is a prerequisite for continuing to access its database of listings. It is Redfin’s first major setback with an MLS, and everyone here is a little blue about it.

In my household, this is of more than passing interest. My wife, Tracey Taylor, is one of the Redfin bloggers – the best of the lot to my mind (I would say that, wouldn’t I, but judge for yourself). Blogging for Redfin enabled her to combine two things she enjoys – looking at houses and writing – and get paid a bit for the pleasure. To my mind, the MLS pressure on Redfin isn’t because of anything that has been written about houses. It’s the discount commission Redfin provides buyers. Realtors are one of the old-style cartels that desperately need to be broken up. It will happen eventually and everyone will wonder why it was tolerated for so long.

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