Thursday, August 2, 2007

Realcomp update

Earlier this week Realcomp filed its post-trial brief in the FTC v. Realcomp matter.

You'll recall that this case relates to Realcomp's "Web Site Policy" and its "Search Function Policy". Perhaps sensing a weakness in its case, Realcomp confirmed in its brief that "[i]n April, 2007, Realcomp repealed the Search Function Policy. It also repealed the definitional requirement that ERTS listings be full-service brokerage agreements."

According to the brief, Realcomp's Web Site Policy "provides that Listing information downloaded and/or otherwise displayed pursuant to IDX (Internet Data Exchange) shall be limited to properties listed on an exclusive right to sell basis." In other words, "[t]he Web Site Policy limits the distribution of EA listings to certain Internet cites and the IDX." Realcomp can't just come out and say what this means - no EA listings on, among other popular sites. And how does Realcomp justify its policy? "Brokers Can Easily Obtain Exposure on by Dual-Listing" with another MLS. Furthermore, "Problems That EA Brokers Face in Southeast Michigan Are More Likely a Function of Their Business Model." Allow me to translate - #1, if some of you brokers want to innovate, it's going to cost you (and consumers), and, #2, you innovative brokers wouldn't have so much trouble (see #1) if you'd just knock off all the innovating. Pitiful.

In an Order entered yesterday by the ALJ, closing arguments are scheduled for September 6, 2007.

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