How Do VOWs Affect You Now?

Published: March 12, 2009

How Do VOWs Affect You Now?
vow-laptopMuch has been written about Virtual Office Websites (VOWs) over the past few years.  These discussions have affected organized real estate and MLSs alike.  And now they might affect you.  Today we will answer:

  • What is a VOW?
  • How have VOW regulations changed?
  • What fields in Matrix involve VOWs?

A VOW is a public website operated by a Broker / Agent that allows consumers to search the MLS with more visible fields than are traditionally available (i.e. property status, property features, etc).  These expanded search capabilities are a departure from traditional real estate web site that provides this information.

Prior to the National Association of REALTORS® & Department of Justice (DOJ) agreement, brokers and agents had the option to send listing information to the internet, and its respective listing address.  Brokers and agents are now required to get a seller’s authorization to opt out of sending listing information to the internet.

MRMLS has simplified the process by including these four fields in the listing input form (below).


Since a broker / agent must have a seller’s opt-out, these four fields are set to “Yes” by default.

  • Send Listing to Internet
    • This allows your listing to be displayed on VOW and public internet displays.  If the seller opts-out internet display, the listing can only be displayed on the listing broker / agent own VOW.
  • Send Address to Internet
    • The address of your listing can be included on VOWs and public internet displays.
  • VOW Allow Blog
    • This allows a VOW that uses “blogging” to post public comments on your listing.
  • VOW Allow AVM
    • This includes your listing in an automated valuation model (AVM) on any VOW.

For more information, please visit and click on rules and policies for the Seller’s Opt Out form created by the DOJ, MRMLS’ sample language for an Opt-Out Clause, and VOW related policies and agreements.

Last modified: March 12, 2009 at 1:03 pm | Originally published: March 12, 2009 at 1:03 pm
Printed: September 21, 2020