There has been a lot of talk about the BC Supreme Court ruling in our lawsuit against the Rogers Communications subsidiary, Zoocasa Inc. Some are saying, “Big deal, its old news now that Zoocasa’s stopped scraping information off Century21.ca.” Others, like us, are seeing it as an important recognition that companies like us have a right to control the way our online information is used.
We have no problems with real estate agents using Zoocasa...as long as agents give their permission to participate in the service. It’s no different than an agent posting on Craigslist or Kjiji. The point is they have to opt in for the service. No one else should be able to take an agent’s listing information and use it somewhere without consent – for good or bad.
Our problem was with Zoocasa taking information from our website without asking our permission and continuing to do so after we expressed our desire for them to stop. A Rogers spokesperson did say that Zoocasa had changed their business model in March 2010 so that now they are no longer scraping information from sites and are in full compliance with the real estate boards. Would they have stopped scraping from our site if there wasn’t a lawsuit? Who knows. What we do know is that it took them 2 years to change the way they do business.
All that being said; I’m not against sharing our data...as long as we all agree to it. Some of you may know that CENTURY 21 Canada, along with Royal LePage and Re/Max have been working with Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) to create a national data exchange system. The idea was brought to a vote at CREA’s AGM in the spring and was approved to move forward.
Our vision is a permission-based model where our System members are asked, “Would you like to participate?” If they say yes, then their website would show all their listings and the listings of other brokerages that have agreed to participate (regardless of brand).
We’re still working with CREA on how this data sharing system will work. It could be us using the existing feeds that local boards sent to CREA or we may be working with boards across the country. It’s been a long process, but we want to do it right AND we want to make sure we get permission of the owner of the data.