Tours forbidden on many real estate websites

By Fred Light
August 24, 2009

I've recently noticed that many IDX companies (who sell to agents and brokers)  and brokerages who design their own websites with custom IDX feeds do NOT offer tours of any kind on their websites!  Just because your tour is on your local MLS, it is NOT necessarily visible on other websites that participate in IDX.  Not good.

Any software developer who gets the raw data feed from the MLS has the option of which fields to include, and which NOT to include, and I'm finding a lot that (for whatever reason) do NOT include tours!

In our area, Coldwell Banker for example ONLY allows their videos (which are generally pretty bad).  They won't allow any OTHER videos or any other tours of any kind from any company.  (they claim it's for consistency purposes).  Anyone searching on their site will see no tours except the videos that CB produces.  Another New England realtor with a great website and top search rankings has chosen NOT to provide any tours as well.  It's hard nut to swallow when your client works for them, and the tour that they are PAYING for isn't even included on their own website!  Plus the company provides websites for each individual agent - with no tours are available.  And I've found numerous others, so it's not that uncommon.

Even a very large, local Better Homes and Gardens franchise here, with a very sophisticated website, does not automatically pull the tour link from the MLS.  So the agent has to enter the link in the MLS AND then go to their company website and enter the link there separately if they want it to appear.  I discovered this accidentally one day last year - I assume it populated automatically, but it does not!  And of course the agents are paying attention so they don't know what's going on!  So now I instruct them specifically on how to enter the tour into their company website!  I needed to investigate this company by company.

I'm not sure what can really be done about this, but acceptance of tours will definitely be hindered if large companies like this forbid any tours from appearing on their IDX sites or make agents go through extra steps to get it up there!

One would think that these companies would do everything they could to help their agents  (and their own bottom line) especially those who go the extra mile and spend the extra money to market their listings, but evidently they do not really care that much about selling the property or the productivity of their own agents.

I work with several Coldwell Banker agents, and they continue to do videos with me in spite of their company's lame policies - because they KNOW it works - in spite of their company's refusal to allow it on their company site.

As long as I live, I will NEVER understand the real estate industry as it exists today.  Never.  




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