Are (real estate) blogs commercial?


What is the definition of “commercial”?

What defines a real estate blog as being “commercial”? If you have a link to an MLS search, are you therefore offering the potential for you to make money, and thus commercializing your blog? Is it possible even to make a blanket statement about blogs?

Creative Commons offers several different licenses by which to license your work, many of which specify that use is authorized for noncommercial work, “Noncommercial. You may not use this work for commercial purposes.” This is the one I use.

This is a tangentially related debate to the “are real estate blogs advertising?” question that is periodically debated, but the audience for potential “regulation” is different.

The questions are multiple – are real estate blogs commercial? Who determines whether they are or not? Realtors? Associations? State legislatures? Attorney and the Courts?

If you have Google Adwords, as some blogs do, (get smart) that would seem to be a commercial offering, no?

This post has been sitting unattended for a couple of days. In the ensuing gestation period, a firestorm has erupted about an entirely different, yet intertwined subject.

The one definitive truth is this – the rules have changed. Where we go from here will be an interesting journey.

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1 Comment

  1. Frank Borges LL0SA= Broker December 21, 2007 at 01:26

    Timely question!

    I just asked VAR Legal Counsel to help me understand what is considered advertising, and what isn’t.

    Apparently a broker can have an IDX data feed website that showcases 60,000 homes from multiple agents, and that is ok.

    But that same agent can’t write a specific blog about a listing that is not their listing (without permission) because they call it advertising.

    If I say condo XYZ is overpriced and I warn my readers, how is that advertising that product?

    Wikipedia says advertising is “is a one-way communication whose purpose is to inform potential customers about products and services and how to obtain them.”

    What if you are telling somebody NOT to obtain something? Is it no longer an AD?

    Websters calls it “the action of calling something to the attention of the public especially by paid announcements.”

    Well blogs aren’t paid, so are they ads?

    And lastly, what if you combine your blog and an IDX MLS website?

    Can you not mention a specific property by name but you can say, “There is a great deal on a condo CLICK HERE” and that click goes to the IDX MLS feed, where advertising is allowed?

    Thanks for the ponder.

    If I end with my name… is that an advertisement?

    – Frank (see name for full disclosure of who I am, as required by DPOR for all advertisements)