Street SignI have often been heard shouting about consumer privacy in real estate. Brokers and agents toss listing content onto the web with little care for their ability to take it down. If you ask a seller if they want their home advertised online with a dozen or a hundred photos of every quaint nook and cranny of their home – they shout a jubilant YES! If you ask a home buyer if they want the photos of their daughter’s new bedroom published on 200 real estate websites, they scream a resounding NO! Brokers have not faced any legal action regarding this buyer privacy injustice yet. But it is coming. I cannot be the only one to see it. Here is how it plays out.

Someone gets harmed and angry about it. The complaint gets routed to the listing broker who published the information that caused harm. The listing broker points their finger to the publisher, but the publisher says, “not so fast – read the fine print of our terms of our terms of use. The broker assumes all liability when publishing listings on our website. Deal with it.”

The European Union is dealing with it. They are providing consumers with the ability to get stuff off the web. Its called the “right to be forgotten.” Europeans can go to a website and paste in URLs of information that is irrelevant, outdated, or otherwise inappropriate.” Unfortunately, those links are only removed from search, not from the web.

It would be fantastic if real estate publishers took it upon themselves to cooperate on a website that would allow agents to remove content on behalf of their customers from all sites at one time. If they really care about the consumer, they will get on that. If you want to pledge your participation, we will be conducting a meeting at July’s Inman Real Estate Connect Conference to begin the initial discussions. Remember, it is better to get involved early and contribute to developing a workable solution than to complain about it later when the solution adopted becomes a business challenge.

Contact or 805-709-6696 for more information.