There's a great article at Inman News today about Virtual Office Websites (VOW). Many real estate agents and offices are against VOWs. Personally, I am not, because I am all for giving as much information as possible to the consumer.
A quote from the article:
The National Association of Realtors has fought tooth and nail to protect entrenched old-school brokerage companies from the perceived evils of unfettered virtual office Web sites (VOWs), which display information about for-sale homes listings on the Internet. It's been a good fight, and NAR has made the best effort that Realtors who supported restrictions on VOWs could have hoped for, given the difficult and sensitive circumstances of this complex and controversial issue. But now, under threat of a U.S. Department of Justice antitrust lawsuit, it's time for NAR to call it quits and get out of the VOW regulatory business.
NAR's detailed VOW policy, which was first adopted by the association's board of directors two years ago, was misguided from the outset. It was too complicated; it attempted to reconcile too many conflicting interests; some of the rules were so protectionist that they seemed to invite an antitrust investigation; and worst of all, it was too late to the market even at that time. VOWs already existed in May 2003 and, as some Realtors themselves have observed, NAR's policy was a futile attempt to shut the proverbial barn door after the horses had fled or put the proverbial genie back in the bottle after the three ill-conceived wishes had been granted.
I think what a lot of real estate agents don't like about Virtual Office Websites is that another REALTOR in town would have their listings on their website. For example:
Mike Davis has a listing at 123 Any Street in Des Moines. Mike Davis, of course, is with Coldwell Banker. John Smith at XYZ Realty puts information about my listing on his website; in fact, John Smith puts the entire MLS on his website.
That's a very unofficial example of what a Virtual Office Website (VOW) is.