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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

Instagram’s false information flagging may accidentally shut down artists

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Instagram is doing its hardest to insure no false information gets released wide, but the net they cast may catch a lot of artists who manipulate images.



technically a false image

Instagram’s new update is hiding faked images. The downside? Posts by digital artists are being swept up in this new flagging system. In December, Instagram announced the release of a false information warning in order to combat the spread of misinformation on the platform.

How does this work? Content that is rated as partly false or false by a third-party fact-checker is removed from Instagram’s Explore option and matching hashtag pages. Additionally, the image will receive a label to warn viewers about its credibility with a link back to the fact-checker and further sources that debunk the visual claims in the image. These labels can be seen on profiles, feeds, DMs, and stories. Identical content from Facebook will be automatically labelled if posted to Instagram.

Digital artists are feeling the effects of Instagram’s update as digitally-altered images for the sake of artistic expression are being slapped with the misinformation label. The good news, however, is that not all photoshopped images are in danger—only the pictures that have gone viral attached to false information and identified as such.

So if an artist manipulates an image, releases it, then someone else decides to use the altered image to spread misinformation, the artists image could be labeled as misinformation and will be hidden from the Explore and hashtag pages. The artist pays the price for someone else spreading false information.

While a label will save a viewer from questioning a post, digital artists, whose careers depend upon visibility and the spread of the work are likely to feel the effects—whether it be scroll-frenzied viewers passing their work by, deterred by the label barring the post from a quick look, or even worse, the artists having their own credibility called into question.

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(BUSINESS MARKETING) We have all be frustrated by someone who doesn’t listen to us; so why not make sure that you are taking the steps to not be them, and be better listeners.



good listeners breed good listeners

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1. Show you care by making eye contact and putting away your phone.
2. Patience. Everyone opens up on their time.
3. Ask open-ended questions. Yes/no responses inhibit the flow of conversation.
4. Repeat what you’ve heard. This clarifies any misunderstanding and validates the speaker.
5. Give space. Let the conversation breathe—silent pauses are healthy.

By becoming better listeners, we show care. We become curious about and empathetic towards others, leaving our bubbles—we become a little less lonely.

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How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Working more for that paycheck, more hours each week, on the weekends, on holidays can actually hurt productivity. So don’t do that, stay efficient.



work week rush

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