Connect with us

Business Marketing

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.

Continue Reading


  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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business Marketing

How one employer beat an age discrimination lawsuit

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Age discrimination is a rare occurrence but still something to be battled. It’s good practice to keep your house in order to be on the right side.



Jewel age discrimination

In January, the EEOC released its annual accounting for reports of discrimination in the previous year. Allegations of retaliation were the most frequently filed charge, which disability coming in second. Age discrimination cases accounted for 21.4% of filed charges. As we’ve reported before, not all age discrimination complaints rise to the level of illegal discrimination. In Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., the federal court dismissed the claims of age discrimination, even though seven (7) plaintiffs made similar claims against the grocery store.

What Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores was about

In Cesario, all but one of the seven plaintiffs had spent years with Jewel Food building their careers. When Jewel went through some financial troubles, the plaintiffs allege that they began to “experience significant pressure at work… (and) were eventually forced out or terminated because of their age or disability.” Jewel Food requested summary judgment to dismiss the claims.

The seven plaintiffs made the same type of complaints. Beginning in 2014, store directors were under pressure to improve metrics and customer satisfaction. Cesario alleges that the Jewel district manager asked about his age. Another director alleges that younger store directors were transferred to stores with less difficulties. One plaintiff alleged that Jewel Food managers asked him about his retirement. The EEOC complaints began in late 2015. The plaintiffs retired or were fired and subsequently filed a lawsuit against their company.

Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA). The ADEA prevents disparate treatment based on age for workers over 40 years old. However, plaintiffs who allege disparate treatment must establish that the adverse reactions wouldn’t have occurred but for age. Because none of the plaintiffs could specifically point to age as the only determination of their case, the court dismissed the case.

A word to wise businesses

Jewel Food was able to demonstrate their own actions in the case through careful documentation. Although there was no evidence that age played a factor in any discharge decision, Jewel Food could document their personnel decisions across the board. The plaintiffs also didn’t exhaust all administrative remedies. This led to the case being dropped.

Lesson learned – Make personnel decisions based on performance and evidence. Don’t use age as a factor. Keep documentation to support your decisions.

Continue Reading

Business Marketing

in 2021 the EU will enforce ‘right to repair’ for phones and tablets

(BUSINESS NEWS) The EU says NO to planned obsolescence by…letting you fix your own stuff? The right to repair has started to make headway again.



Right to repair

Not to be a loyalist turncoat about it, but sometimes the European Union comes out with stuff that makes me want Texas to go back to being Mexico, and then back to being Spain.

The latest in sustainability news from across the pond is that in 2021, the Old World is saying no to Euro-trash, and insisting on implementing:

Right to repair laws
Higher sustainable materials quotas
Ease of transfer for replaced items (ie: letting you sell your old phone without the need for jailbreaking anything)
and Universal adaptors for things like phone chargers, and connection cables


Consumers worldwide have been feeling the pinch of realizing their (cough cough, mostly Apple brand) technology not only breaks easily, but either can’t be fixed afterwards, or requires costly branded repairs.

The phenomenon has given rise to rogue mobile repair shops, Reddit threads, and renegade fix-it philanthropists like Louis Rossman. And while they certainly HELP, the best thing for a problem is to cut it off proactively. Since companies were making too much money not picking up the slack, the EU’s decided to take the steps to force their hands.

I’m always on my soapbox, but I’ll stack another one on top for this: Planned obsolescence and the assumption that a company has any right to tell you you can’t repair, restore, revamp, or re-home your own possessions are obscene. And to be fair to Apple fans, it’s not just in tech—it’s in damn near everything that’s not meant to be EATEN. Literally.

I bought a STAPLER for a volunteer gig I had. A good, sturdy Staedtler one that I figured would serve the project and continue to stand me in good stead for a while. After a few dozen price tags attached to baggies, the stapler jammed, as staplers do. No worries, you find a knife and wedge out the stuck staple…except I couldn’t. Because the normal slot for that was covered by a metal plate literally welded in place so that I couldn’t perform a grade-school level fix on something I paid for less than 24 hours prior.

Rather than stand behind a product that’s supposed to last, companies, even down to simple office ware, have opted to tinker away to force consumers to trash their current products to buy newer ones. Which I did in the stapler case. A rusty second hand one that didn’t HAVE that retroactive BS ‘Let’s create a problem’ plate on it, meaning no company but the resale non-profit I was helping out in the first place got any more money from me.

Consumers are wising up, and fewer lawmakers are still stuck in the fog of the 90s and 2000s surrounding our everyday machinery. The gray areas are settling into solid black and white, and SMART smart-businesses here stateside will change their colors accordingly.

Now while we’re all still quarantined and hoping for these laws to wash up onto American shores…who has craft ideas for the five-dozen different chargers we all have?

Continue Reading

Business Marketing

Uber Eats waives delivery fees during COVID-19 quarantine

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Uber eats has decided to take a friendly helpful step forward while everyone seems to be quarantined, they have started to waive delivery fees!



Uber eats

With everything canceled, including dining out for social distancing’s sake, food delivery service Uber Eats is waiving delivery fees in an effort to lessen the financial strain local restaurants are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the company, Uber Eats has more than 100,000 independent local restaurants on its app. In addition to Uber Eats, Grubhub said it will waive commission fees up to $100 million for independent restaurants across the country.

“As more people stay home, local restaurants need your business more than ever. That’s why we’re waiving the Delivery Fee for all orders from every independent restaurant on Uber Eats—more than 100,000 local restaurants on the app,” the company said in a news release earlier this week.

To find the local independent restaurants on Uber Eats, just look for the EAT LOCAL banner. Delivery fees will automatically be waived, according to this story on Tech Crunch.

Uber Eats is also making it easier for locally run restaurants to get paid faster, offering daily payments rather than the normal weekly payouts, according to Endgadget. Also, the company is giving back saying it will provide 300,000 free meals to health care workers and first responders in the US and Canada.

Not only will waiving fees help restaurants and customers, it’s sound business for food delivery companies. Local restaurants drive roughly 80 percent of business on Grubhub.

“Independent restaurants are the lifeblood of our cities and feed our communities,” Grubhub Founder and CEO Matt Maloney said in a statement published on Endgadget. “They have been amazing long-term partners for us, and we wanted to help them in their time of need. Our business is their business — so this was an easy decision for us to make.”

To limit human interaction Uber Eats and other food delivery services, including Grubhub, Postmates, and Instacart, are encouraging users to select the no-contact delivery method. According to Uber Eats, as is the norm, once packed at the restaurant food items are not touched or opened.

Continue Reading

Our Great Partners

American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories

Get The American Genius
neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to get business and tech updates, breaking stories, and more!