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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Internet

Web site backfires for realty group

A Web site created to provide Net-based real estate information has run out of funding and is on the brink of failure.

A Web site created two years ago by the National Association of Realtors to provide Net-based real estate information has run out of funding and is on the brink of failure.

The site, The Realtor Information Network, has so far consumed $12.9 million in funding from association members, doesn't work as advertised, uses outdated and proprietary technology, and has failed to attract desperately needed advertising to keep itself afloat, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The association's 700 members will vote on Aug. 26 on whether to keep financing the network, scale it back, or to scrap the site entirely and push it into bankruptcy proceedings.

Originally envisioned as a nationwide system for providing real estate listings, information, and electronic mail to subscribers, the system has turned into a flop with its intended audience of realtors. Many are turning to local Web sites that offer similar services, such as online listings of homes for sale.

Association members blame the site's failure, at least in part, on overly ambitious technological goals and the development of proprietary software. For example, site designers developed custom-built electronic mail software, instead of using ready-made off-the-shelf packages.

The newly elected CEO of the network is investigating the organization's finances to see whether any fraud has occurred that may have contributed to the site's downfall.