Whatever happened to CalgaryRealtor.com? You would think this would be a highly desirable web address for a realtor in Calgary, and you would be right. So, why is it that if you go to CalgaryRealtor.com, there’s nothing there – not even a placeholder?
The fact is that CalgaryRealtor.com is owned by a realtor in Calgary – but he’s not allowed to use it. Way back, many years ago, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) trademarked the word ‘Realtor’, as well as the acronym ‘MLS’. Today, under the bylaws set out by CREA for its members (that would be every realtor in Canada as membership is mandatory) no realtor may use the word ‘Realtor’ or the acronym ‘MLS’ in conjunction with a place name in a web address. Why? Well, that’s a good question. CREA would claim it’s to protect the integrity of the trademark. But, according to the law, trademark copyrights do not extend to domain names except where that trademark is being used in a defamatory manner. One is hard pressed to understand how a realtor could be using the word ‘Realtor’ in a defamatory manner.
It’s also interesting to note that when CalgaryRealtor.com was shut down by CREA (through the use of ominous letters from CREA’s legal department) not only were a number of other CalgaryRealtor domains still in operation but the realtor who owned CalgaryRealtor.com was strongly urged to simply hand this address over to the Calgary Real Estate Board.
How do I know all this? As you may have guessed I am that realtor. And by the way, I most certainly did not ‘hand over’ the address to CREB. I still own it and will until the day CREA or the Calgary Real Estate Board offer to pay me what it’s worth.