Does the existing IDX policy allow mobile sites? How about mobile applications?

May 6, 2011  |  Michael Wurzer

I’ve written a couple of posts recently about the kerfuffle over the recommendation of a NAR work group to clarify that IDX data can be used on mobile, social, and RSS sites.  The specific recommendation is to change the IDX policy as follows:

I read this recommendation as trying to conform the language of the IDX policy to the current reality today that agents and brokers are sharing IDX listings via social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), RSS and mobile devices.  Following publication of the recommendation, however, many letters and blog posts were written objecting primarily to sharing IDX data on social networks and via RSS.

Of note, however, none of the groups objecting appear to have the same problems with the idea of sharing IDX listings via mobile devices.  In fact, just as IDX already is being used on social networks and RSS, there also already are several mobile products that make use of IDX data, such as Goomzee, Kurio, myAgent by IDX Inc., Pocket Listings, and others.

But here’s the fascinating question/dilemma I see coming if (or, more practically, when) the recommended change is rejected and the current language of “participant’s public web site” remains:

  • Will mobile sites still be allowed under the definition of “participant’s public web site”?  How about mobile applications, which aren’t even web sites at all?

This question is more than just mental gymnastics.  The work group clearly thought the current language of “participant’s public web site” needed clarification, and listed mobile, social and RSS specifically.  At the same time, those objecting must believe that the current language excludes social and RSS or objecting to the recommendation wouldn’t do any good.

But what about mobile, which also is part of the recommendation?  If the recommendation is rejected, will mobile use now be prohibited as well as social and RSS?  If not, then that must mean a mobile web  site and mobile applications (which aren’t even web sites at all) fall within the definition of “participant’s public web site.”  If that’s true, how is anyone to know what “participant’s web site” includes and doesn’t?  After all, a mobile web site is no more the “participant’s web site” than is their profile page in Facebook or Twitter.  Moreover, as mentioned above, mobile applications are not even web sites at all.

So, the question looms: What does “participant’s public web site” mean in the current policy and does it already include mobile sites and applications?

2 Responses to “Does the existing IDX policy allow mobile sites? How about mobile applications?”

  1. Dan says:

    What I don’t understand is why any Internet Display Policy would try and include provisions to protect data that is intended for distribution within the public domain. Talk about pounding sand…. The reason you want your data on the internet is so people can find it, yes? Once it’s out on one web site shouldn’t you assume it basically out on all? And isn’t that the best way to serve a client that is trying to sell their property?

    What I think the listing owners/stewards should be thinking about is how to beat the dis-intermediaries at their own game by leveraging the same technology that has put them at odds in the first plan. Why would someone care if another web site (illegal or otherwise) displayed data that was unlikely to ever be discovered by internet search or clicking a link?

    Finally, the only benefit I see for debating the semantics of what is a web site vs. a mobile app is for the lawyers. Sorry Mike 😉

  2. Michael Wurzer says:

    Hey, Dan, good to hear from you! You know, sometimes I have to feed the lawyer within so he doesn’t get loose and raise all kinds of hell. 😉