Wow, how is that for an extrapolation from what I said. To reiterate, my points were:
1) RE contracts in OR are fixed regardless of the property you buy
2) The information on comps, etc, is a few clicks away plus subsequent drive-by to verify
3) All of the heavy lifting around the sales contract is done by the appraiser and the title company for which they charge around $500 and $1000, respectively
4) A buyer's agent in OR adds value under limited circumstances: for out-of-towners who need advice on trends and neighborhoods, and for first-timers who need re-assurance in the process. Both of these are undeniably value-added services.
5) A seller's agent CAN add a lot of value if they are any good by properly indicating cosmetic improvements, packaging and promoting the property, and being honest with their customer on what the market will bear. This is a service that, when provided properly, is well worth 2-3% of the property value. Taking a few lousy images of the property, hosting an agent's tour and an open house or two does not rise to that level (BTW, a course on basic photography, proper use of a wide-angle lens and color balancing should be a mandatory :-)
6) A motivated DIY-er who knows the neighborhood(s) they want and is willing to drive themselves around has very little to gain from a buyer's agent, particularly in the presence of sites such as Trulia, Redfin, etc, that as best as I can tell include everything that I have seen on RE agent sites when I have been their customer and add a lot of value-added functionality such as links to street views, statistics for the neighborhood, etc.
For anyone willing to rebut any/all these points with specific facts and examples, I will gladly engage in a factual debate. And finally, I never said that RE agents do not deserve to be paid. My assertion is that the average payment on the buyer's side is grossly out of proportion to the services rendered. To prove otherwise would require that those in the business disclose how many hours they spend on a typical transaction by breaking it down in two categories --- driving the clients around and actually doing work related to the transaction (research, comp analysis, etc). Only then we can then make a conclusion on how the hourly rate relates to other professional services.