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Inman News Investigated by The DOJ?

Brad in Jail

Is Inman being investigated by the Department of Justice?

We have heard of a report from a reliable source that a large lobby of struggling real estate brokers has petitioned the DOJ and the FTC to look into allegations of price fixing on the part of Inman News. Further, as we have been unable to reach Bradley Inman (so we can not say for sure at this time that he is physically hiding from or “dodging” The Committee To Reduce Inman Profits Because We Just Know They Are Too High) we are very concerned about unsuspecting Realtors who, in the meantime, might inadvertently subscribe to his newsletter and pay too much.

Attorney General Eric Holder’s spokesman’s only response was that the department does not confirm, deny or comment on ongoing investigations.

The Committee to Reduce Inman Profits Because We Just Know They Are Too High (TCTRIPBWJKTATH) works very closely with CRAP, Citizens Raging Against Paying. “We don’t like paying for Brad’s “premium service” and in fact, don’t like having to pay for any kind of news. Further, if we were going to pay for it, we don’t want to pay as much as he is charging.”

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CRAP investigators have uncovered damming evidence that Brad Inman is a wealthy man and does not seem to (based on reports) “work that hard”. It does not seem right that he would have lots of money and yet not spend “that much time” to earn it. CRAP has called for a full investigation and ongoing and endless comments from the entire real estate community.

Written By

Russell has been an Associate Broker with John Hall & Associates since 1978 and ranks in the top 1% of all agents in the U.S. Most recently The Wall Street Journal recognized the Top 200 Agents in America, awarding Russell # 25 for number of units sold. Russell has been featured in many books such as, "The Billion Dollar Agent" by Steve Kantor and "The Millionaire Real Estate Agent" by Gary Keller and has often been a featured speaker for national conventions and routinely speaks at various state and local association conventions. Visit him also at nohasslelisting.com and number1homeagent.com.

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Lori Bee

    February 21, 2009 at 1:29 am

    I always suspected as much. Now we know the truth. Good investigative reporting.

  2. Susie Blackmon

    February 21, 2009 at 3:36 am

    I do like the Inman news but am not crazy about their website, and find it interesting that trying to share information from Inman is very difficult, impossible, or a big PITA.

  3. Jim Gatos

    February 21, 2009 at 4:57 am

    The joke with Inman is they charge; today Russell, no one “pays for it”.. LOL…

    Just kidding, but I never was really crazy about Inman, and therefore, I stay away.

  4. Dru Bloomfield

    February 21, 2009 at 7:43 am

    I’ve been an Inman subscriber for several years, but find myself questioning the value as time rolls on and free information becomes more available. Topics of late really seem to be targeting the value of their subscriber base, or so it seems. My subscription is up for renewal in a few weeks. Interesting timing.

  5. Tony Sena

    February 21, 2009 at 11:44 am

    I read this and thought it was a joke? Inman being investigated for price fixing? You are telling me the DOJ and FTC doesn’t have better things to look into?

    Information is free and it is so easy to find. If real estate agents/broker want to pay for it, what’s the problem? They are adults and they can make a decision if they need this service or not. It’s not like this service is vital to them staying in business.

    Not quite sure how you inadvertently sign up for something especially when you have to give a credit card?

    Just my 2 cents.

  6. Tony Sena

    February 21, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Okay, I fell hook, line and sinker!

    Thanks Russell for pointing that out, lol

  7. Derec Shuler

    February 21, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    It took me a couple lines to put that one together. I like the use of phony acronyms to make it looks more authentic.

  8. Jonathan Dalton

    February 21, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    And you call yourself an enlightened consumer, Russell …

    As I pointed out before, you need only know that subscription rates are negotiable based on your perceived value … no, wait, those are the real estate commissions that Brad and the gang feel are too high.

    Never quite understood why those of us in the business subscribe and pay for the semi-annual conferences when it’s clear we are viewed as the enemy …

  9. Ken Brand

    February 22, 2009 at 8:04 am

    If CRAP can’t get anywhere as outsiders, Cherries, chopped nuts and whipped cream can be added if Inman could ask all their employees to submit articles on how the Inman model is broken and why their news, advice, consulting, subscriptions and conferences are worth less and cost to much.

    Seriously, I’m baffled and bumfuzzled.

    Why people, willingly contribute to a conversation that centers around the topic of “I make too much money, I’m not worth what I charge, let me tell you why I deserve less, let me tell you why people I don’t know, doing things I don’t know, with people I don’t know, in a market I don’t know, make too much.” Seriously, “huh”!

    Then to add injury to insult, 100’s pay American dollars to attend an annual Inman palooza to hear about why they are worth less and will make less?

    Having said all that, I must confess, I enjoy the Inman Connects because of the networking, interesting perspectives and the cool agents who write for them. I always struggle with exchanging my hard earned money with someone who apparently disdains the very people who enriches him. It makes me feel dirty, but I go anyway. I do draw the line at paying for any of their subscription stuff.

    Nicely done. As usual.

  10. Jonathan Dalton

    February 23, 2009 at 8:43 am

    My solution, Ken …

    I’m crashing the lobby and the parties. All of the networking and none of the expense to attend panel sessions explaining why the world is ending and why we, the folks who paid, aren’t worth what we earn.

  11. Jeff Bernheisel

    February 23, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Hey Jonathan,

    I’ve got a proposition for you…

    Judging by the comments you frequently post about the content of our conferences, it seems it may have been a while since you’ve actually attended one.

    So, I’m willing to give you a free pass to the Connect SF event in August.

    My only condition is that you have to try to find ANY of our speakers or panelists that say ANYTHING even remotely close to the things you say they do. For example in your last comment “…explaining why the world is ending and why we, the folks who paid, aren’t worth what we earn.”

    Find something along those lines, remember who said it, and what session it was (We’re recording the sessions now, so I will be able to verify it) and you’ll have your proof to continue saying whatever you want.

    But, if you can’t find something along those lines, you’ll do a blog post with a full public apology to Inman News retracting your comments about how we’re so “anti Realtor”.

    Sound fair?

  12. Daniel Rothamel, Inman Community Manager

    February 23, 2009 at 11:26 am

    I’m a bit confused by the impetus for the post. Inman has been featuring articles and guest perspectives all about compensation models in the real estate industry all month, and I never remember any of them ever arguing that real estate professionals make too much money.

    I can’t ever think of a time that Brad, personally, or the Inman organization, have ever taken the position that real estate professionals are overcompensated.

    One of the purposes of the “revamping real estate commissions” series is to have an open discussion about the compensation model in the profession. Articles have featured professionals and compensation models of all different stripes. If the outcome of the discussion is that the prevailing compensation model is the best possible solution, that’s great.

    That does not mean, however, that we should avoid having the conversation just because there are those who would take it as a personal affront to their income earning ability.

    I’m a real estate professional, too. A debate about the commission compensation model is an opportunity for me to defend my value and the way in which I do business. If I can’t defend it to the point that it is a viable business strategy, then it is obviously time for me to find a better way forward.

    As we all know, there are times when our industry needs some prodding towards innovation and discovery of new models/strategies/tactics that are beneficial not only to the professionals, but to the consumers as well. I see no reason why compensation should be looked at any differently than subjects such as agency or technology.

  13. Daniel Rothamel, Inman Community Manager

    February 23, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Sorry, published my comment, but then had a bit more to say . . .

    Inman isn’t trying to advocate for one compensation model or another. Inman is merely trying to provide a forum in which the profession can have an open, honest discussion about different compensation models with the idea that we all have something we can learn from the each other.

    We all know that the real estate industry isn’t exactly in the best shape. While everyone else is talking about reducing costs, now is the perfect time to talk about adding value. The “revamping real estate commissions” series is a way for real estate professionals to come together and discuss different compensation models and how they can best showcase the value of real estate professionals to the consumer.

    Sure, everyone isn’t going to agree on what works and what doesn’t; but the hope is that by coming together as an industry and discussing differing viewpoints, techniques, and strategies, everyone will walk away with increased knowledge and greater value. I think that the value of open discussion and crowdsourcing of difficult subjects is something that we can all benefit from, a benefit that the crew here at AG knows firsthand.

  14. Ken Brand

    February 23, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Daniel and Jeff,

    I’ve attended Connect and I’ve followed the blog for years. I’m looking forward to attending this year as well. True, the networking, bright ideas and varied perspectives all add to the value proposition. I’m a buyer.

    The Truth About Real Estate Compensation rings hollow and I’m not a buyer – here’s why.

    Everyone has right to start and join a conversation about compensation. I believe the tone of the conversation is set by the angle of the questions asked. Inman focus is not on why agents/brokers should make more, it’s on why consumers should pay less. It’s a hot topic, controversial and creates buzz and hopefully sell subscriptions. Clearly the implication isn’t that the industry is underpaid. I’m half joking, but how about an expose, Letters To The Editor on the death of subscription news models?

    I can defend what our brokerage charges and the value we deliver….we do it every day in the field, with the people who employ and pay us. If we couldn’t, we’d be out of business. We’re not.

    Additionally, if the information/contributions/letters to the editor was set free for all to see and comment on it would appear more sincere. As far as I can see, to read the material requires a subscription.

    How can an industry participate in an open dialogue when it’s happening behind closed doors. It’s not open, collaborative or transparent. It’s something else.

    I’m not hating, I simply disagree with the approach and the proposition.

  15. Ken Brand

    February 23, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    PS – Afterthought – I’m not suggesting in my post that Daniel or Jeff are insincere, I’m referring to the grand question idea in general. I don’t know Jeff, hope to meet him SF. Daniel’s a cool guy, I’ve met him, respect him and appreciate all he shares with us.

    Amen, back to earning my dough-ray-me-and-you-and-us.

  16. Daniel Rothamel, Inman Community Manager

    February 23, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Ken,

    Ditto for you, my friend. I wish we could have spent more time together in SF last year. That is a problem will must rectify in August.

    Perhaps we can share a drink, and we can have a talk about the death of the subscription news model, a demise I feel has been greatly exaggerated. And who knows, we might even talk about real estate. . . 🙂

  17. Lisa Sanderson

    February 23, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    I
    <3
    RS

  18. Jonathan Dalton

    February 23, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Jeff — Before I forget, I appreciate the offer. The last Inman conference I attended was July 2008 in San Francisco. (You’ll even find I was a speaker on one of the panels. Does nine months constitute a while?

    To both Jeff and Daniel — I’m sorry, but to say the series wasn’t built around the premise that agents are making more money than deserved on a commission model is a bit disingenuous. (Please don’t try and tell a 20-year journalist that stories and series don’t begin with a hook. I know better.)

    Are you trying to co-opt the commission discussion because you think agents make too little? Hardly.

    What you did was give voice to those folks trying to push their alternative model as the necessary evolution when it’s anything but. Which is cool. Let them have their day if you so choose. Doesn’t impact me or my business.

    There’s no more need to “discuss different compensation models” than there is to discuss the salaries of Inman employees.

    > How can an industry participate in an open dialogue when it’s happening behind closed doors. It’s not open, collaborative or transparent. It’s something else.

    What I earn is NOT a public debate. No open dialogue is needed because there is no set commission rate. The public has a voice in that they either can hire me or they won’t. It’s their call.

    What I earn on any given transaction is between my clients and I. I need to be transparent to them. I don’t need to be transparent to you any more than you’re required to disclosure what Inman pays you.

    If you can’t see that, if you can’t see the double standard in play in attempting to make others’ earnings a public issue when it shouldn’t be, there’s not much more to discuss.

  19. Jonathan Dalton

    February 23, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Accidentally pulled Ken’s comment in above. Missed the context. Eyes were crossed and mouth was frothing. My bad.

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