Using "REALTOR®" Online -- Know The Rules!

By
Real Estate Services with Real Estate Pipeline, Inc.

Many of you know that I'm online a lot. A lot...

Now, I don't mean I turn on my computer and occasionally check my email or post on Facebook once a week. No...I am online ALL DAY. From the time I arrive at work until I decide it is time to leave, I am online. And, then I go home...and spend the evening online once my kids go to bed. I'm pretty much an addict.

And, one thing I continually see online is real estate agents using the power of the internet to help them promote their business.

All well and good, really. And, I'm happy to see it. I just wish more of them knew that using the word "REALTOR®" has rules attached to it...rules that, if you are found out by NAR, could cost you everything you have been trying to build online.

See, NAR is really strict about how and where you can use the word REALTOR®. Actually, very strict...(Catholic nun schoolmarm with yardstick strict.) And, a violation of the use of the word could mean that the website or social networking account in question could be shut down. (It has happened before...saw a Facebook page that had close to 50,000 fans associated with it get shut down for this very thing.)

Officially, here is what NAR says can and can not happen with the word REALTOR® online.

To summarize:

1. Anytime you use the word REALTOR®, it must refer to a member's name or firm. It can not reference an area, neighborhood, city, or any other noun you can think of...

2. You can not use it with descriptive phrases or adjectives. "YourFavoriteRealtor@gmail.com" is a violation of the rules...

3. You can not use it to denote an occupation or in any combination with location or adjectives describing such. MissoulasBestRealtor@gmail.com ... again, a violation.

4. You can use it in email as long as the term refers to your name and/or your firm name only. JoeSmithRealtor@gmail.com <-- That one is ok.

In other words, it must refer to a proper name of a member or a firm. Nothing else!

Seems pretty simple to me. Yet, every day I come across another www.BestReatlorInLalaland.com or any number of "LalalandRealtor"s online on one social media network or another. There is a myriad of "TomTheRealtor"s and "RealtorBoy(or Girl)"s, "ShangraLaRealtor"s and "Your(insert adjective here)Realtor"s. All of which are not approved uses of the word.

I am not going to call anyone out on these misuses. Nor am I an agent or a member of NAR. Quite frankly, it doesn't matter to me in the least that this is happening.

But, if you are one of the people that are doing it, it should matter to you. You could lose everything you have built merely because you ignored (whether knowingly or not) the rule.

Ignorance of the law is not justification for not following it.

 

Feel free to contact Clint at any time on Twitter or connect on Facebook.

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Re-Bloggged 2 times:

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  2. Yvette Chisholm 08/23/2011 05:27 PM
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Topic:
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
Groups:
Club Chaos
Dedicated Bloggers
Out Of The Box!
Realtors®
"Whacked"!!!
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using the word realtor online
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Rainer
18,003
Dana McGary
Realtor - White County, Arkansas
Crye-Leike Champion Real Estate Group, Searcy, Arkansas

Great post!  I have had a problem on this for awhile:   I do not know how to get the trademark symbol on my laptop.  I thought I had the trick with an earlier comment:  ALT 0174, but it didn't work on my computer.   I have an HP laptop with VISTA.  Help! Anyone?  Thanks!

August 29, 2011 01:57 PM
Rainmaker
502,535
Pat & Wayne Harriman
Broker/Owners, Wallingford CT Real Estate
Harriman Real Estate, LLC (203) 672-4499

Dana, see my comment here about creating the (R) symbol on a laptop. If you have any problems, let me know.

August 29, 2011 02:37 PM
Anonymous
Conor MacEvilly

Great post Clint. Even better that the post is based on numbers from real studies. Good to know that internet leads are better prospects than previously thought.

August 30, 2011 11:46 AM
Anonymous
Give me a break!

This is the sort of useless travail often observed in those communities comprised of citizens of deminished significance. They find issues of little merit or value and make issue because they can. I find these meddlers as the cause of great strife on nearly every HOA.

The mere observation of the rah-rah makes me truly want to express realtora have the shorts on too tight! Get off your rEALTOR high horse and do something that makes a difference in peoples lives....positively!  Does this addictive pattern the writer describes also identify the enablers of such behavior? Be you a realtor, ChicagoReAlTor, Realtor, REALTOR, or Realtor(r), or REALTOR(R) or real estate professional, the pettiness of this topic leads me to believe such professionals are recieving the abuse they deserve, at the hands of your peers and the 800 Lb gorilla.

You would be better served finding alternative to Realtor and it ugly sister realtor.com

August 31, 2011 11:36 AM
Rainmaker
188,973
Clint Miller
Real Estate Pipeline, Inc.

I find that last comment above completely ridiculous. Not only do you ignore the fact that this term is COPYRIGHTED and, as such, protected by whatever rules are set forth by NAR...but, you do not even lay claim to your statements by adding your name. If you have such an opinion about this subject, Own it. Don't hide behind anonymity...it destroys whatever credibility you were trying to establish by making the statements you made... I'm not sorry for saying the truth. I'm not sorry it touched a nerve. That was it's intent.

August 31, 2011 12:11 PM
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Rainmaker
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Clint Miller

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