It’s true according to VarBuzz that the new wisdom coming from NAR Midyear are new amendments to beef up the existing code of thou shall not talk smack about your fellow agents in blog posts or comments that cannot be backed up by empirical evidence- that’s a good thing, right? Yes, but be careful.
First of all, you shouldn’t be writing things that aren’t true on your blog in the first place, stories should be attributed to fact, or you should have possession of absolute fact.
On the other hand, the idea that you should or could actually edit commentary (post comments) is the deal breaker- because the minute you edit the comment, you own it. In other words, with the proper disclaimers, commenters own their words, until you edit them to suit your point of view- this includes redaction.
The answer is simple, the second a name is mentioned or you believe a comment could be offensive or do harm to reputation or business, just delete it.
Things that are missing from the amendment from what’s been released are as follows:
- We’re a global read- how shall we deal with across state or board lines?
- What constitutes a clarification- a disclaimer should suffice, do boards agree?
- I noticed that the amendment did not include all social arenas (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
- Will the NAR back Realtors who wish to sue 3rd party sites for misleading or false allegations?
- Who will moderate he said/she saids between Realtors/Consumers in the social space?
Here’s a snippet provided by VarBuzz
Standard of Practice 15-2 was amended and a new Standard of Practice was approved to strengthen members’ obligations to refrain from making false or misleading statements about competitors, including in use of social media tools.
The new amendment includes the duty to publish a clarification about, or to remove statements made by, others on electronic media the REALTOR® controls once the REALTOR® knows the statement is false or misleading. For example, if you’re publishing a blog and someone posts a false or misleading comment about a fellow REALTOR® on it, it’s your duty to remove the post or publish a clarification when you become aware of it.
Separately, the board approved a change to the NAR Bylaws, imposing the same duties on associations and MLSs as on members to not make false or misleading statements against competitors, competitors’ business practices, or competitors’ companies.
For what it’s worth, I actually think this is a good thing- it’s just too easy for losers to attack you when they have nothing credible to add to the conversation.
What are your thoughts? Sick of public smears on fellow Realtors, bloggers? Do you think that in order to use MLS data that 3rd party sites like Trulia or Zillow have to agree to the same COE?