ERealty serves up 'anti-competitive' plea

October 14, 2002

Online brokerage takes Internet listings debate to the FTC

Inman News Features

Online real estate broker eRealty testified before the Federal Trade Commission Office of Policy Planning Public Workshop on e-commerce yesterday on the subject of what eRealty calls "anti-competitive" practices within the real estate industry.

The testimony was in reference to the industry debate over who controls listing data.

While the National Association of Realtors is considering whether to adopt policies that would place further restrictions on online display of listings, eRealty is battling to defend positions it said protect e-commerce and promote display of MLS listings on the Web.

NAR's policy would allow brokers to withdraw sellers' homes from the Internet, making the data unavailable for prospective home buyers using virtual brokerages such as eRealty.

ERealty told the FTC such policies would promote an anti-competitive practice and leave consumers out in the cold.

Others are likely to disagree with that argument as the debate continues.

According to a study conducted by NetChoice, a coalition of e-commerce companies including eBay, Orbitz and eRealty, the so-called "anti-competitive" MLS regulations and the state laws prohibiting rebates on real estate commissions will cost consumers more than $45 billion in the next five years.

Copyright: Inman News Service

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