From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Competition and Real Estate Workshop - Comment, Project No. V050015.
My name is Philippe Furlan, I am a REALTOR(R), member of the California Association of REALTORS(R) and National Association of REALTORS(R) since 2001. I am also a former software engineer and develop my own technologies to increase my productivity and enhance my relationship with buyers and sellers. I am currently in the process to share my technology know-how with other REALTORS(R). My objective as a technology vendor is to be consumer friendly and REALTOR(R) friendly.
On October 20, 2005, I was served with a "Cease and desist" letter regarding my SignFORMS.com project, which I can describe with the following motto: "Save a Tree. Go Paperless for Free". This "Cease and desist" letter was sent to me by an attorney counsel from the California Association of REALTORS(R) who serves as legal counsel to RE FormsNet, LLC and Real Estate Business Technologies, LLC which are two private "for profit" companies. RE FormsNet, LLC (http://www.reformsnet.com/) sell electronic forms software to REALTORS(R). Real Estate Business Technologies, LLC (http://www.rebt.com/) sell a transaction management system to REALTORS(R).
For the last 3 months, I tried to establish a business and technology relationship with these two companies with no success; their executives decided to not communicate with me and on October 20, 2005, the California Association of REALTORS(R) informed me that I should stop communicating with them and that I am not authorized to integrate my product "SignFORMS.com" with their products "WinFORMS(R)/ZipForm(R)" and "RELAY" and asked me to stop informing REALTORS(R) that I have a technology solution to help them being more productive. I confirmed to them that I do have a technology solution that is compatible with "WinFORMS(R)/ZipForm(R)", in fact I did a demonstration on September 22 during CAR Expo to Joshua Sharfman who is the CEO of Real Estate Business Technologies, LLC and also the CTO of the California Association of REALTORS(R). Joel Singer is CEO of RE FormsNet, LLC and also Executive Vice President of the California Association of REALTORS(R). It looks like that these 2 executives use their position of power within the California Association of REALTORS(R) to promote their own interest on their private enterprise and censor any technology vendors that try to innovate and integrate with their products.
I believe that competition should exist regarding the use of technology by REALTORS(R). Even if a technology vendor CEO is not an executive of an association of REALTORS(R), he should be authorized to integrate and sell their product to any REALTORS(R). Association of REALTORS(R) should advise and recommend the use of specific technology and software but they should not obligate their members to use and buy specific software from specific vendors. Competition should exist among technology providers in the real estate industry.
This was not the first time I receive legal threat from an association of REALTORS(R). On March 7, 2002, I was served with a "Cease and desist" letter from the San Francisco Association of REALTORS(R) asking me to stop selling my IDX web service to REALTORS(S) of San Francisco because I did not receive an authorization from their board to do so. This event happened after I did an official presentation of my technology to their executive committee.
Also Martin Scrocchi, President and CEO of instanetforms informed me that their company is unable to sell their form product in California because NAR and CAR jointly own a form company they will not let any form vendors sell products in California.
Competition among technology providers in the real estate industry will provide lower cost of technology to REALTORS(R), and in return provide lower cost of real estate services to the consumer.