Internet Data Exchange

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An Internet Data Exchange (IDX) is a real estate property search site which allows the public to conduct searches of approved Multiple Listing Service properties in a certain area.

Site users generally gain the benefit of anonymous property searching and review. IDX sites usually provide less detailed information than the full Realtor Multiple Listing Service, limiting the data to that which is deemed publicly accessible. This system benefits both parties. The benefit to realtors is that users of their IDX web site can search freely, establish some confidence, and qualify themselves before contacting the realtor. The benefits to clients is to save time and refine their targets.

Certain rules apply to the real estate companies' ability to display each detail about a property. These "display rules" are set by the Multiple Listing Service organization, which generally forms its policy around the recommendations of the National Association of Realtors.

IDX implementations and standards have changed drastically over recent years, as brokers and agents utilizing IDX services along with companies proving IDX services have focused on the inherent ability to optimize websites with IDX-driven listing content. A variety of options for displaying IDX content on individual websites exist, including the practice of "truly embedding" IDX content into pages to iframe-driven implementations, which some consider a hidden implementation, since the true site delivering the IDX service is only framed into another website. Policies around these implementations as well as IDX content on Social Media is a hot topic in many circles.

An alternative policy called the Internet Listing Display was considered in 2005, but later abandoned in the same year as a result of investigation from the U.S. Department of Justice into anti-competitive practices by traditional real estate brokers.

A common and standard data exchange protocol for IDX information is the Real Estate Transaction Specification (RETS).

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