Almost daily I am again reminded at how ridiculous the business of selling crap (services and ideas) to Realtors has become. The real estate industry has enough problems right now- we don’t need people trying to screw us over and so many idiots preaching about stuff they don’t know anything about.
Here I name ten of the worst offenders. From people preaching to agents about the business to companies that are screwing you over, I’m going to spell it out.
10. Inman News and Rismedia charging hundreds of dollars/year to become a “member” so you can read their articles or watch videos or read the “breaking news”. It’s not enough to slap as many ads as possible in every possible place on their site, with some, like the first big-ass ad on Inman as you go to the site, are the most annoying ads EVER. No, they also need to charge just to read stuff. Reminds of me the old (failed) business model newspapers used when they first went on-line.
9. Bloggers that think if you whine and bitch about how bad things are than it proves you are trustworthy. Many bloggers, and “bubble” bloggers especially, think that because they constantly preach about how prices are crumbling and everyone will lose all their money that somehow that makes them trustworthy, like, “See I’m telling you bad news so you can trust me.”
8. Realtor.com– One of the biggest, lamest business models ever. To be a Realtor, one must subscribe (and pay $100’s/year) to their local, state and national Realtor Associations. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) collects millions every year from memberships from agents who go out and actually do the work of selling property. Realtor.com is the “official” website of NAR and, because it is the official website has access to all the listing data that its members provide. But instead of using that data for the benefit of it’s members, it sells listing placement, promotions and ads to its members, effectively selling leads back to it’s members by using the data that those members have provided it. And the members don’t have a choice- either pay your membership dues (and give your listing data to Realtor.com) or you cannot be a Realtor.
7. MLS’s– I could go on for hours about how much MLS’s screw over agents. Not only as a Realtor, broker and owner of real estate companies, but having websites and now owning a company that develops custom websites for agents and brokers, I have seen a lot of ugliness in the MLS systems. They regulate and fine and give out ridiculous fees to their members, then if you want to use that data for your own website you have to pay the MLS’s for that right. Some MLS’s are so pompous and self righteous (Denver’s Metrolist and Bostons MLS) it could make you sick. And some charge so much money (Utah’s Wasatch Front MLS and Phoenix’s charges $12,000/year!!) to use their data for your website that it should be criminal.
6. Template website providers– most of these templates are so ridiculous that I’m surprised anyone buys them. Many don’t include MLS searches, many have very little customization, and most are completely worthless as a source of getting new business (their primary objective) or in improving service for clients. Some of these, like Number #1 Expert charge thousands of dollars to sign up , plus hundreds of dollars/month and sell you on being part of their “network” of suckers agents.
5. Advanced Access– I think I’ve covered why they suck…
4. Point2 Agent– These guys give you a website for nothing. And that’s what it’s worth! They will give you a crappy template site and then charge you for any upgrade they can and refer you to their business partners “preferred partners” for anything else. Instead of an MLS search, they give you an “Agent Handshake” listing feed. So you can display listings from agents who are members of their service and who have agreed to allow you to display their listings. That’s right- why show web visitors all the homes for sale when you can show a very small percentage?
3. Diverse Solutions– Because they copied BlueRoof’s sliders (except made them much worse and slapped them on a bad map-search) a long time ago when I wouldn’t partner with them and now actually tell people they had something do with the design of BlueRoof . Yeah- right!
2. Craig Proctor– This is an agent who sells websites that are the most painful things to look at ever. Try reading one of these things, they are basically just thousands of keywords and hundreds of forms to fill out, which are ways to try and get people’s information so you can then spam email them until they die or just give up and throw their hands in the air with surrender and buy something just so you’ll leave them alone. Ironically, they will get even more emails because Proctor’s system now identifies them as a complete sucker. It’s not just the system I don’t like- it’s those painful, ridiculous websites!
1. SEO Companies that guarantee placement. If an SEO company tells you that they can guarantee your website will be on the first page in Google search results, you should invite that person to meet you in person, and then when you meet them, SLAP them! It is a hoax, a fraud, a sham! Nobody can guarantee placement on Google- not even Google.
There are a lot of good leaders, speakers, consultants, and people in the industry. People like Ed Kraftchow, Marc Davison, Dustin Luther, Dougan Jones, and Gretchen Pearson. There are good agents doing good work and there are many good products, brands, and services. I’ll write about them later- right now I’m heading off to the NAR convention to meet up with some of these good people. Hope to see you there…