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Controversy over the Black & White Video



CAUTION: LAMERS OPININGAre you freakin’ kidding me? 

Look- most of you know that Greg Swann and I are actual friends (AND that he is friends with Daniel Rothamel) offline.  That doesn’t stop any of us from calling each other out. 

Therefore, in the spirit of “transparency” (since that is still the hot word of the minute), I’ll invite you to do the following:

(1) Check out the video in question.

(2) Read all comments in the link above, then read all comments on the Bloodhound Blog.  What a mixed bag- this is crazy.  THIS is controversial?  Wow.

(3) Comment below as to what your thoughts are.  Here are mine: (a) Greg, you are wrong and (b) Greg you are wrong.

With that in mind, I will posit four things in response to Greg’s commentary:

(1) Perhaps this approach of being direct while being silly won’t work with some demographics (people appearing on Fox News, those who speak Latin fluently, and others who host national blogs).  Greg says that if Jeff Brown (who is older than my parents… sorry Jeff) and I like it, it’s a failure.  Guess what?  People like Jeff and I (who are extremely different people- age, sex, heritage, location, tech savvy, intelligence, experience, professional background, etc) both liked the video and given our different backgrounds, I’d say that our enjoyment nails a minimum of 2 majorly different demographic sets. 

(2) My promotion of Daniel’s original video had nothing to do with ME courting Daniel as Greg has implied.  I could care less.  Ask Jeff– I really only care about the bottom line of MY WALLET and Daniel doesn’t add to that so I have nothing to gain.   I like Daniel, I like Greg and hell, I even like my husband who may disagree with my position on this silly debate, although from a PR standpoint, he says it absolutely doesn’t hurt Daniel at all.

(3) Let me be very clear- we at Agent Genius do not court contributors.  We do not court non-contributors.  Agent Genius has also been consistently clear that this site is for agents; it has never posed as a blog for consumers.  Agent Genius is about what agents are doing in the industry- marketing strategies, etc… the video was posted not for promoting Daniel but for promoting an ideal marketing campaign that I stand by.  

(4) I know it’s standard to say something “nice” (which is part of what Greg says is the problem in the blogiverse (and I agree)), and I respect Greg for opining contrary to what seems to be popular opinion, but the harsh tone was completely uncalled for and is nothing more than someone stirring the pot. 

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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  1. Jeff Brown

    December 21, 2007 at 12:20 am

    I happen to know your parents were in junior high when you were born. Just because I remember when the MLS was in a book and not on computer doesn’t make me old.

    It makes me experienced. 🙂

  2. Todd Carpenter

    December 21, 2007 at 1:24 am

    I won’t speak for Greg, but the way I took the “courting each other” comment was that the whole is a bit to nurturing to each other with the at-a-boys. If I came up with a truly stupid idea, I would want people to tell me straight up (I’m not saying Daniel’s video is truly stupid). On the other hand, it’s difficult to tell someone they have a truly stupid idea and not come across as a jerk.

  3. Jeff Brown

    December 21, 2007 at 1:31 am

    It’s one thing to say an idea is stupid. It’s quite another to explain in detail, exactly why it may have missed the mark. People know when they’re being fed stuttering in text form.

    A feeling or an opinion is fine — but back it up with intelligent, thoughtful answers which demonstrate obvious expertise, knowledge, and experience.

    Making statements as if they came from the burning burning bush itself doesn’t cut it.

  4. Matthew Rathbun

    December 21, 2007 at 6:26 am

    (my comment from bloodhound):

    OMG! Did someone wake up on the cranky side of the blog? Was there just not enough diatribe elsewhere? Looking at my market in Northern / Central Virginia, Daniel’s videos are right on the money. I have had these frank conversations with clients, even on the first visit. I am not taking a listing any longer where the sellers will not listen to frank comments from me. I think the video casts are great and appeal to Daniel’s niche marketing plan. Not all of us are thrilled with the Pollyanna way in which NAR has promoted agent interaction. C21 has a commercial series (I am a C21 agent) in which the buyer is thanking their agent for showing a bazillion houses. Why is the AGENT doing that? Why are we promoting this type of abuse to us? Take a stand, tell ‘em how it is, I say! I think Zebra did a great job on this, and I wish I had thought of it first!

    Further: I am so sick and tired of people catagorizing technology users by age and telling me what consumers do and don’t like. If they are on-line looking at video blogs about pricing their home, who freaking cares about what age they are!?!?!

    I don’t care who’s MLS book was actually a book. IT ISN’T ANYMORE! The industry has changed!

    …sorry too much Red Bull at 7:00 am…

  5. Charleston real estate blog

    December 21, 2007 at 6:30 am

    I posted this comment on Bloodhound and I think it fits here as well.

    “Greg, I’m sorry but I can’t agree with you on this one since I usually do agree with you when I understand what you are saying.

    First of all, this isn’t listing presentation material. But if it was, maybe sellers do need a sledgehammer to wake them up and get real with pricing their homes to sell when competing with thousands of other available homes. I think Daniel was cleverly ‘tongue in cheek’ in the message.”

  6. Norm Fisher

    December 21, 2007 at 7:29 am

    While I’m certain that Daniel has the best of intentions, I have to go with Greg on this one. Pricing is an important topic which needs to be addressed but I think this video may be interpreted as saying, “Hey stupid, let me make this as simple as I can for you.” Agents, and even buyers may find it cute, but sellers are less likely to be impressed.

  7. Jonathan Dalton

    December 21, 2007 at 8:53 am

    Maybe, Norm, but I think those least likely to be impressed are those most likely to overprice their home. The medium’s different but the message isn’t. Don’t overprice your home. Don’t overprice your home. Don’t overprice your home.

    For all that, for the mountain of statistics brought to a listing presentation, for all the data of time on market, homes that sell, homes that don’t … you still run across situations like the one I had two months back where I didn’t get the listing because “the other agent seemed more open to our list price” than I was.

    Gee, guess why? Because he was trying to buy the listing and I was trying to get the seller’s home sold.

    I didn’t post the video because I’m trying to kiss Daniel’s tuchas. I did it because I didn’t have time to write anything yesterday. 🙂 Oh, and because the message is dead on.

  8. Daniel Rothamel

    December 21, 2007 at 9:00 am

    I find this conversation fascinating. When all is said and done, that is the point– the conversation, and the end result of that conversation.

    @Charleston– Is this listing presentation material? I don’t know, but I am going to find out.

    For everyone else, I’m posting my rebuttal later today.

  9. Creechman

    December 21, 2007 at 9:02 am

    This is a perfect example of why I can’t get a loan with a dog collar as collateral.

  10. Norm Fisher

    December 21, 2007 at 9:05 am

    Jonathon said, “but I think those least likely to be impressed are those most likely to overprice their home.”

    This is precisely my point. My comment comes from the assumption that the video is intended to make an impression on those most likely to overprice.

  11. Mariana

    December 21, 2007 at 9:47 am

    I am pretty sure than anything can be misinterpreted. Ah. The beauty of the web …

  12. Mariana

    December 21, 2007 at 9:48 am

    … or the beauty of life, for that matter.

  13. Jay Thompson

    December 21, 2007 at 10:39 am

    Well isn’t this whole thing quite interesting?

    My wife and I (both agents) both viewed Daniel’s video. Our initial reaction was, “Eh”. We found it neither good nor bad. I certainly don’t find it insulting, though I could see how some “consumers” might — and I can also see how some consumers would love it for its brutal honesty. I thought from a production perspective is was very well done. The overall message was spot on. The delivery of that message will appeal to some, and not others. But isn’t that the case with anything?

    I think it’s impossible to write (or videoize) something that will appeal to anyone and everyone. Even if you have a “micro-focused” target audience, you’ll never please everyone every time.

  14. Benn Rosales

    December 21, 2007 at 10:57 am

    Jay, spot on, but I think the irritation level is that we’re expected to get Greg’s opinion first. He is not the decider on anything especially when he is dead wrong.

    If anything at we know exactly who our audience is, and for him to open his mouth and say otherwise is offensive and proof of his ego gone to far. I also believe the shit he is smelling is on his own shoe and it may be time for him to take his own advice and admitt he is wrong.

    For all the reasons you mention are spot on, from a marketing level and reasons Daniel has even yet thought of, this video will prove that Greg may not know nearly as much as he thinks he knows about marketing and public appeal.

  15. Robert D. Ashby

    December 21, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    I commented on Greg’s post and I will add my comment. I did not read all comments on either blog, so what is said may be repeated, maybe not.

    Greg, I believe has some valid points, namely write to your “targeted” audience and know who that is. Greg can be very blunt with his presentation and may have gone overboard with this, but just as the video is driving the points home of “back to basics” and “simplicity”, Greg is driving home his points as well.

    As I have said before, blogging should be an extension of yourself. I find neither side right, nor wrong, in this controversy as they are writing (or presenting) from their perspectives.

    As I have found out in my own blogging, it is sometimes good to be offensive. It weeds out those who you don’t want to be your clients in the first place.

  16. Joseph Ferrara.sellsius

    December 24, 2007 at 12:52 am

    If you respect a blogger (as Greg says he does Daniel) would it not be kinder to send them an email saying “Why are you insulting consumers? You should not post such a condescending video. Your consumer readers won’t like being called retards. Stop pandering to people you don’t even know” That’s what any good friend would do.

    With friends like Greg, who needs enemas?

  17. Benn Rosales

    December 24, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    I’ve yet to read a blog from Swann that isn’t condesending to consumers or agents- I mean this with as much respect and sincerity as I can muster, but Greg is the king of piss you off. So, from my perspective, he has no room to judge what is or isn’t offensive. I don’t feel badly saying this because he freely admits it under the disclaimer of honesty. I still don’t feel he really bashed the video as much as he came down as the end all be all of what is good and what is bad with very little constructive input.

  18. Downtown Vancouver Realtor

    December 5, 2008 at 10:27 am

    I loved this video so much I put it up on my blog (with credit and a link back to the authour!) Its not condescending at all. Its just very simple and clear and a bit cute.

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Business Marketing

Bite-sized retail: Macy’s plans to move out of malls

(BUSINESS MARKETING) While Macy’s shares have recently climbed, the department store chain is making a change in regards to big retail shopping malls.



Macy's retail storefront, which may look different as they scale to smaller stores.

I was recently listening to a podcast on Barstool Sports, and was surprised to hear that their presenting sponsor was Macy’s. This struck me as odd considering the demographic for the show is women in their twenties to thirties, and Macy’s typically doesn’t cater to that crowd. Furthermore, department retail stores are becoming a bit antiquated as is.

The sponsorship made more sense once I learned that Macy’s is restructuring their operation, and now allowing their brand to go the way of the ghost. They feel that while malls will remain in operation, only the best (AKA the malls with the most foot traffic) will stand the test of changes in the shopping experience.

As we’ve seen a gigantic rise this year in online shopping, stores like Macy’s and JC Penney are working hard to keep themselves afloat. There is so much changing in brick and mortar retail that major shifts need to be made.

So, what is Macy’s proposing to do?

The upscale department store chain is going to be testing smaller stores in locations outside of major shopping malls. Bloomingdale’s stores will be doing the same. “We continue to believe that the best malls in the country will thrive,” CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC analysts. “However, we also know that Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have high potential [off]-mall and in smaller formats.”

While the pandemic assuredly plays a role in this, the need for change came even before the hit in March. Macy’s had announced in February their plans to close 125 stores in the next three years. This is in conjunction with Macy’s expansion of Macy’s Backstage, which offers more affordable options.

Gennette also stated that while those original plans are still in place, Macy’s has been closely monitoring the competition in the event that they need to adjust the store closure timeline. At the end of the second quarter, Macy’s had 771 stores, including Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury.

Last week, Macy’s shares climbed 3 percent, after the retailer reported a more narrow loss than originally expected, along with stronger sales due to an uptick in their online business. So they’re already doing well in that regard. But will smaller stores be the change they need to survive?

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Business Marketing

Why you must nix MLM experience from your resume

(BUSINESS MARKETING) MLMs prey on people without much choice, but once you try to switch to something more stable, don’t use the MLM as experience.



Discussing including MLM experience on a resume.

MLM experience… Is it worth keeping on your resume?

Are you or someone you know looking for a job after a stint in an MLM? Well, first off, congratulations for pursuing a real job that will provide a steady salary! But I also know that transition can be hard. The job market is already tight and if you don’t have much other work experience on your resume, is it worth trying to leverage your MLM experience?

The short answer? Heck no.

As Ask the Manager puts it, there’s a “strong stigma against [MLMs],” meaning your work experience might very well put a bad taste in the mouth of anyone looking through resumes. And looking past the sketchy products many offer, when nearly half of people in MLMs lose money and another quarter barely break even, it sure doesn’t paint you in a good light to be involved.

(Not to mention, many who do turn a profit only do so by recruiting more people, not actually by selling many products.)

“But I wouldn’t say I worked for an MLM,” you or your friend might say, “I was a small business owner!”

It’s a common selling point for MLMs, that often throw around pseudo-feminist feel good slang like “Boss Babe” or a “Momtrepreneur,” to tell women joining that they’re now business women! Except, as you might have guessed, that’s not actually the case, unless by “Boss Babe” you mean “Babe Who Goes Bankrupt or Tries to Bankrupt Her Friends.”

A more accurate title for the job you did at an MLM would be Sales Rep, because you have no stake in the creation of the product, or setting the prices, or any of the myriad of tasks that a real entrepreneur has to face.

Okay, that doesn’t sound nearly as impressive as “small business owner.” And I know it’s tempting to talk up your experience on a resume, but that can fall apart pretty quickly if you can’t actually speak to actual entrepreneur experience. It makes you look like you don’t know what you’re talking about…which is also not a good look for the job hunt.

That said… Depending on your situation, it might be difficult to leave any potential work experience off your resume. I get it. MLMs often target people who don’t have options for other work opportunities – and it’s possible you’re one of the unlucky ones who doesn’t have much else to put on paper.

In this case, you’ll want to do it carefully. Use the sales representative title (or something similar) and, if you’re like the roughly 50% of people who lose money from MLMs, highlight your soft skills. Did you do cold calls? Tailor events to the people who would be attending? Get creative, just make sure to do it within reason.

It’s not ideal to use your MLM experience on a resume, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. Still, congratulations to you, or anyone you know, who has decided to pursue something that will actually help pay the bills.

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Business Marketing

This smart card manages employee spending with ease

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Clever credit cards make it easier for companies to set spending policies and help alleviate expense problems for both them and their employees.



Spendesk showing off its company credit cards.

Company credit cards are a wonderful solution to managing business expenses. They work almost exactly like debit cards, which we all know how to use, am I right? It is the twenty-first century after all. Simply swipe, dip, or tap, and a transaction is complete.

However, keeping up with invoices and receipts is a nightmare. I know I’ve had my fair share of hunting down wrinkled pieces of paper after organizing work events. Filling out endless expense reports is tedious. Plus, the back and forth communication with the finance team to justify purchases can cause a headache on both ends.

Company credit cards make it easier for companies to keep track of who’s spending money and how much. However, they aren’t able to see final numbers until expense reports are submitted. This makes monitoring spending a challenge. Also, reviewing all the paperwork to reimburse employees is time-consuming.

But Spendesk is here to combat those downsides! This all-in-one corporate expense and spend management service provides a promising alternative to internal management. The French startup “combines spend approvals, company cards, and automated accounting into one refreshingly easy spend management solution.”

Their clever company cards are what companies and employees have all been waiting for! With increasing remote workforces, this new form of payment comes at just the right moment to help companies simplify their expenditures.

These smart cards remove limitations regular company cards have today. Spendesk’s employee debit cards offer companies options to monitor budgets, customize settings, and set specific authorizations. For instance, companies can set predefined budgets and spending category limitations on flights, hotels, restaurants, etc. Then they don’t have to worry about an employee taking advantage of their card by booking a first-class flight or eating at a high-end steakhouse.

All transactions are tracked in real time so finance and accounting can see purchases right as they happen. Increasing visibility is important, especially when your employee is working remotely.

And for employees, this new form of payment is more convenient and easier on the pocket. “These are smart employee company cards with built-in spending policies. Employees can pay for business expenses when they need to without ever having to spend their own money,” the company demonstrated in a company video.

Not having to dip into your checking account is a plus in my book! And for remote employees who just need to make a single purchase, Spendesk has single-use virtual debit cards, too.

Now, that’s a smart card!

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