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Virtual Office Website (VOW) Overview

  • Potential VOW operators must inform MLSListings whenever a VOW is to be established, so that the MLS can insure that proper guidelines are followed.
  • In order to operate a VOW website, a Participant Broker must have a bulk data license or use the services of an Authorized VOW Provider (AVP) to supply the VOW with MLS data. (A list of pre-approved AVPs will be available from MLSListings.)
  • Public access to a VOW can only come after a two-step authentication process. First the potential client must register their information with the VOW site (including a user name, password and a current email address). The VOW site then will send a confirmation email to the submitted email address which confirms that the client has agreed to the VOW “Terms of Service) such as located in Section 12.20.3.d of the MLS Rules and Regulations. Passwords must expire within 120 days, although they may be renewed by the VOW operator.
  • Sellers will be able to opt out their individual listings and keep them from appearing on VOW sites. However, the Seller will must realize that their listing will be excluded from any and all publically accessible Internet sites that the MLS provides listing data to (e.g.: REALTOR.com, etc.)

What are the key differences between VOW websites and IDX websites?

Internet Data Exchange (IDX) Virtual Office Website (VOW)
A broker who provides a consumer facing website to market their agents’ listings and attract consumers to use their services A broker who provides a client facing website to further enhance the broker-client relationship for their agents
Able to show on-market listings that are in Active or Pending statuses. Able to show on-market listings that are in Active or Pending statuses.
Able to show recently Sold listings, up to 36 months after close of escrow (COE) date. Able to show Sold listings, up to 36 months after close of escrow (COE) date. Off-market listings are also available (for one-on-one communications only).
Contains most property details. Contains all property details (including school info, list date, DOM, financials, etc.)
Contains all listings from brokers opted in to IDX Program. Contains all listings (no broker IDX opt out option). Allows for seller opt-out by listing (listings that opt-out from ALL Internet advertising).
Public access; No login required. Login required (with strict requirements demonstrating broker-client relationship).
Allows general statistics and AVMs on the available data. Allows general statistics and AVMs on the available data. Also allows “blogging” by third parties.
Meet Internet Display Guidelines and Logo and Usage Guidelines. Meet Internet Display Guidelines and Logo and Usage Guidelines with extra flexibility in webpage design.
Requires listing agent/office identification. Requires listing agent/office identification.

Please Note:
The definition of a broker participant has changed. Previously, the MLS Rules stated that a broker participant must be “capable of offering and accepting compensation in the capacity of a real estate broker.” This requirement has been changed to state that a real estate broker participant must act for an individual or corporation who “actively endeavors to make or accept offers of cooperation and compensation with respect to properties of the type that are listed on the MLS.”

For more information about VOWs:

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