The GMAR has seen a marked increase in the number of complaints about agent non-compliance with the “One Click Away Rule” when it comes to social media advertising of real estate listings. Many agents are using their personal social media accounts and/or local buy/trade/sell pages to push listings out via these platforms with the goal of gaining additional marketing exposure, but what information is required in those posts to satisfy the One Click Away Rule?
In a policy, adopted by the GMAR this year, it states that our organization will review advertising posts side by side with the Code of Ethics, specifically Standard of Practice 12-5 which allows agents to include the required disclosures within one click of the original post to determine if a citation is warranted. To comply with this section of the Code of Ethics, advertisements must include the following:
· Your firm's name, in a reasonable and readily apparent manner. (SOP 12-5).
· Your status as a real estate professional.
· On websites, the state where you hold a real estate license in a reasonable and readily apparent manner. (SOP 12-9).
· On websites, these disclosures may be made available via a link to a website that displays the required information. (SOP 12-5).
Please keep in mind, however, that the One Click Away Rule that ensures compliance with the Code of Ethics, will not always satisfy the requirements of state law for licensed agents in the State of Wisconsin (examined further down in this article).
Article 12 of the Code of Ethics Code of Ethics
REALTORS® shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations. REALTORS® shall ensure that their status as real estate professionals are readily apparent in their advertising, marketing, and other representations, and that the recipients of all real estate communications are, or have been, notified that those communications are from a real estate professional.
Standard of Practice 12-5 (One Click Rule requirements – see underlined information below)
Realtors® shall not advertise nor permit any person employed by or affiliated with them to advertise real estate services or listed property in any medium (e.g., electronically, print, radio, television, etc.) without disclosing the name of that Realtor’s firm in a reasonable and readily apparent manner either in the advertisement or in electronic advertising via a link to a display with all required disclosures. (Adopted 11/86, Amended 1/16)
Standard of Practice 12-9
REALTOR® firm websites shall disclose the firm’s name and state(s) of licensure in a reasonable and readily apparent manner.
Websites of REALTORS® and non-member licensees affiliated with a REALTOR® firm shall disclose the firm’s name and that REALTOR®’s or non-member licensee’s state(s) of licensure in a reasonable and readily apparent manner. (Adopted 1/07)
When advertising real estate listings and services on social media, in addition to the Code of Ethics, licensed agents must also consider Wisconsin State Law for which compliance governance would fall to the state vs. the local board.
License Law Disclosure Requirements (Including Social Media)
Wis. Stat. § 452.136 Advertising by licensees.
(1) False advertising. A licensee may not advertise in a manner that is false, deceptive, or misleading.
(2) Disclosure of name.
(a) Except for advertisements for the rental of real estate owned by the licensee, a licensee shall in all advertising disclose the firm's name exactly as printed on the license of the licensed individual broker or licensed broker business entity or disclose a trade name previously filed by the firm with the department and shall in either case clearly indicate that the firm is a business enterprise and not a private party.
(b) Except for advertisements for the rental of real estate owned by the licensee, a licensee associated with a firm shall advertise under the supervision of and in the name of the firm. The firm's name as used in advertising shall be clear and conspicuous. This paragraph does not apply to a licensee engaged in independent practice as provided in s. 452.30 (6).
(c) Notwithstanding pars. (a) and (b), a licensee may advertise the occasional sale of real estate owned by the licensee or may engage in the occasional solicitation of real estate for purchase by the licensee without complying with pars. (a) and (b), provided that the licensee clearly identifies himself, herself, or itself as a real estate licensee in the advertisement.
Under Wisconsin real estate license law, all advertising of real property for sale, rent, or exchange in Wisconsin must contain the name of the real estate brokerage.
This includes all social media posts, or any other posts or ads on social media. While the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics Standard of Practice 12-5 provides that brokerage disclosure has a “one click away” safe harbor provision for digital advertising, that “one click away” may not satisfy Wisconsin law.
If you have questions or would like clarification on this article or the differences between requirements of the local board vs. the state, please contact Scott or Amanda at the GMAR, (414) 778-4929.