Alex Mather’s open letter to NAR made the short list for this week’s Odysseus Medal People’s Choice award and immediately landed him in my feed reader.
I’m now up to a full dozen domain names that are in violation of the all-mighty REALTOR trademark. They’ve been extremely easy to find. From what I hear, the legal-type folks at AAR spend a considerable amount of time working on these issues so at least are dues are being well-spent.
As I was looking more closely at the web rules for the trademark, I discovered this little nugget and realized we’re fortunate NAR isn’t more strict in its enforcement:
The following salutations are acceptable:
“Dear REALTOR® Jim” (first name)
“Dear REALTOR® Smith” (last name)
“Dear REALTOR® Jones and Mr. Doe”
“Dear REALTOR-ASSOCIATE® Martin”
Spoken use or written use in the following way is permitted:
“I respect the views of REALTORS® Smith and Jones and of Mr. Doe who is a non-member broker.”
“According to REALTOR® Smith and REALTOR-ASSOCIATE® Martin, interest rates are a major factor.”
Spoken use? If I use it incorrectly in a sentence on the phone are members of the NAR trademark SWAT team going to crash through my window with a C&D letter in hand?
Speaking of spoken use …
Irrespective of local dialect and custom, the term REALTOR® has but one pronunciation:
Members are encouraged to carefully train new employees and salespeople, particularly receptionists, on the proper pronunciation of the term REALTOR®. Consistent aural use is just as important as consistent visual use to the preservation of the distinctive and recognizable character of the MARKS. Teach employees and salespeople to avoid uses such as:
“Good morning! John Doe, REAL-A-TORS.” or
“Good morning! John Doe, REAL-I-TORS.” or
“Good morning! John Doe, RE-LA-TERS.” or
“Good morning! John Doe, RE-AL-TORS.”
Again, I’ve never been more pleased with the use of my money.
Incidentally, if you’re wondering whether your domain name is in violation, here are the rules surrounding use of REALTOR in a domain. They’re amazingly simple:
1. The term REALTOR®, whether used as part of a domain name or in some other fashion must refer to a member or a member’s firm.
2. The term REALTOR® may not be used with descriptive words or phrases. For example, Number1realtor.com, numberone-realtor.com, chicagorealtors.org or realtorproperties.com are all incorrect.
Given the sheer volume of domains that violate that rule it still seems like enforcement is rather haphazard if not outright selective. Maybe they just don’t look too hard. It takes a lot of time to enter a search term in Yahoo! after all.
[tags]real estate marketing, NAR[/tags]