Submission Number: 00034
Received: 5/25/2012 2:52:35 PM
Commenter: Greg Coleman
Organization: Spectrum Commercial Real Estate Solutions
Agency: Federal Trade Commission
Initiative: Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of CoStar Group, Inc., Lonestar Acquisition Sub, Inc., and LoopNet, Inc.; FTC File No. 1110172
Attachments: No Attachments
It has been brought to my attention that an ambiguity in the Consent Order related to CoStar might allow them to modify existing contractual relationships between Costar and the commercial real estate industry that could result in punitive actions taken by CoStar should we in the industry continue to use several database providers in addition to CoStar. The specific language relates to internal database usage rights that may allow CoStar to modify existing contracts to force the industry to drop other service providers in order to continue using CoStar as permitted under an existing contract.
Our industry relies on the contractual ability to export information from CoStar into our personal databases which are essential to the day-to-day operation of our business.
My concern relates to the language in Paragraph III.H.2.c., which reads as follows:
“Provided, however, Respondents may decline to offer CoStar Database extracts to, or allow the creation of internal databases incorporating portions of the CoStar Database by, Customers who purchase, license, or subscribe to CRE Product Offerings from CoStar Competitors.”
It appears the language could result in a furtherance of the CoStar monopoly that CoStar has attempted to create in many markets. If the language is used as a lever to discourage other less expensive databases to be used in conjunction with existing CoStar customers, it will create undue burden on the smaller commercial real estate companies that have existing contracts.
I would appreciate the FTC modifying the above language to remove the ambiguity, thus protecting existing contracts with CoStar and protecting the opportunity for competition in the marketplace.
Spectrum Commercial Real Estate Solutions
Greg C. Coleman, CPM
President and CEO