In regard to Ed Danger’s map and how it compares to MLXchange’s mapping function, dignanmaplethorpe asked if I could post my “username and password for MLXchange so we can see that too?”
I don’t know if the question is innocent, because there are a lot of reasons for asking it. I do think its sincere.
I can’t share my username and id because I’ve signed a contract with the Board agreeing not to share them.
Further, article 10.3 of the Board’s Rules of Cooperation states that “…no Member or employee of a corporate Member shall make avaliable to any other individual…access codes to the MLS computer system…”
So the answer is no, I can’t post my username and ID.
Some will think this rule exists because the Board wants to control access to MLS. There’s probably truth to that. The MLS database is extremely valuable to its owners, and it would be extremely valuable to many other people, and for many different reasons. Some of the goals of non-Realtors are fair, ethical, or even innocuous. Someone may want to know how many of the over-lists are condos in Kits, or how many of the price reductions are ranchers in Port Moody, or if the over-list sales were under-listed originally. However some may be interested to know which properties are vacant and susceptible to robbing or fraudulent renting. Some may want to know who to send moving company or re-financing bulk mail to.
More important, perhaps, is the source of the information that makes the MLS database valuable. It begins as personal information that belongs to individuals. With the signing of a Multiple Listing Agreement or a Contract of Purchase and Sale the Board acquires copyright to certain articles of the individual’s personal information. After that time we can do with it what we like, provided it corresponds with the reasons for collection set out in the contracts. We can’t re-sell it to mass marketers, for instance, but we can share it with BC Assessment. The bottom line is that even though the personal information is no longer strictly personal, we can’t afford to let it out on a wholesale basis if that kills the goose that lays the golden egg. Would you be happy signing a listing agreement and giving me your persoanl info if you knew it was being sent to a local moving company? A multi-national marketing company with boiler-room operations in India? Zillow? Zaio Corp.?
But wait! Both Zillow and Zaio are creating online databases of your information, and turning a buck by doing it. Zaio wants to take a picture of your house and sell it to an appraiser. Zillow wants to create an even larger database. If you remember the Web 2.0 – Web 3.0 link I posted yesterday you’ll probably remember that at the end Professor Wesch says we’ll need to re-think a bunch of concepts, from love and family to authorship and copyright…and privacy.
Zillow is barely out with Zillow 5.0, and already Greg Swann at Bloodhound have figured out how to populate its database through the use of bots. He can own a territory by “peeing on trees”, and do it with a bot. Oh yeah, and with your information.
Is that good or bad? Where does ownership of your information begin and end? I don;t know, and neither does the current MLS set-up. Greg recognizes that the Arizona Real Estate Association to which he belongs prevents him from posting a lot of the information he’s privy to on Zillow, just as the REBGV prevents me (with my consent) from doing the same, but Greg argues that if a non-Realtor can post a statement of fact (for example, a sale price), so can a Realtor. It hasn’t been tested, but the real point is, as Professer Wesch said, we’ll have to re-think privacy.
Straw poll: would you like the public information that is your name, address, municipal tax, assessed property value, what you paid for your house and when, readily accessible to everyone on the internet?