FMLS Image Theft Notice - ListingWare Scraping Images from REW Servers
We have had several calls today from FMLS (Atlanta) subscribers complaining that their IDX through a company called "listingware" is showing an "image theft alert" image instead of the FMLS pictures.
First off all let me say that Real Estate Webmasters has absolutely nothing to do with Listing Ware, they are for all intents and purposes a competitor.
Next let me say that Real Estate Webmasters did NOT put those images up on your IDX or your website. We do not have access to your website, nor do we have access to Listing Ware's servers.
Protecting FMLS Intellectual property (your property)
What needs to be understood is that as FMLS vendors, it is our contractual responsibility "to protect" FMLS data (both listing content and images) from misappropriation / scraping or unauthorized use. This measure is just one of many that stops your data from being stolen and used without your permission.
Our servers do not discriminate (nor could they) between malware / malicious bots attempting to steal content vs disreputable IDX vendors to lazy or not capable ofwriting their own scripts to access the information directly from the FMLS through the approved channels. Once again, no IDX vendor (not listing ware, not anyone else) has permission to scrape data from our servers and they are treated exactly like Malware by the servers - it is not selective.
One lady (Holly Berry I beleive) did not seem to understand why we would do such a thing. She seemed to insinuate that we were somehow attempting something malicious against Listing Ware. This is of course not the case. It is listing ware that stole that image, placed it on their servers and then fed it to your website - Real Estate Webmasters has absolutely nothing to do with how it got there.
So where does that theft image come from?
That image is a standard "theft alert" image that is hosted on "our" webservers. The only way for someone to get it, is if the company they use for IDX attempts to "scrape" our servers (stealing bandwidth and intellectual property).
When our system detects a non authorized script / bot / server - attempting to access images or other content on our server - it serves an appropriate intellectual property or theft notice instead of the actual content.
Listing Ware is one of these "unauthorized" companies. Instead of writing their own script and downloading the FMLS images as they are supposed to - they tried to go to our server and steal them. They were thus served the theft image instead.
Subsequently - the uploaded those images (without even checking them) to their IDX platform, and now they are displaying those notices on every page of the IDX on your website.
I want them gone - what can I do - can you remove them?
Unfortunately Real Estate Webmasters cannot help you remove those images because they now reside on Listings Ware's servers (which again remember, we do not have any access to and are not associated with) - so if you would like them removed, you need to "CONTACT LISTING WARE" and tell them to remove the images from their server.