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The Great Debate

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photo source: Mike Hippie


No, not those debates between donkeys and elephants in red and blue states. The great debate in the Phoenix real estate market, and likely in others, is whether our MLS – the Arizona Regional MLS – should have a public home search available.

The Houston association has become the standard for such things and in time has become the category killer for Houston Real Estate. Other cities’ MLS systems also offer a site where the general public can search for homes.Not so in Phoenix. And according to Bob Bemis, the CEO of ARMLS who on Friday spoke at the monthly luncheon for the Arizona Real Estate Educators Association, there’s an even split on the subject within the MLS.

Those in favor of a public search site see the opportunity for ARMLS to become the category killer for Phoenix real estate, supplanting some of the third-party sites that take brokers’ listings, generate leads and then sell the leads back to the brokers. If successful, ARMLS can generate the leads and send them back to the brokers without the charges from the middle man.

Those against a public search site see ARMLS as attempting to compete against agent sites that already carry an IDX feed, as well as those individual agent sites that already are at the top of the search engines for Phoenix real estate.

Personally, I’d prefer to see the public site if only because ARMLS theoretically has the resources to push the Zillows, Trulias and Roosts to the sidelines. Could it impact my own site’s search? Possibly. But I’m realistic enough to know where my site ranks and what the actual impact might be. I can’t compete with the third-party vendors; if ARMLS wants to step in on my (and everyone else’s) behalf, go for it.

Besides, as we move forward the idea of protecting listing data is becoming increasingly obsolete. Every week brings another real estate search sits relying on data with varying degrees of completeness. The trend is for an increase propagation of the data, not a decline. If ARMLS doesn’t enter the fray, 37 other third-party firms will.

Since “none of the above” (or even Bill the Cat) isn’t an option on this ballot, I’d have to vote with ARMLS.

Jonathan Dalton is a Realtor with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona and is the author of the All Phoenix Real Estate blog as well as a half-dozen neighborhood sites. His partner, Tobey, is a somewhat rotund beagle who sleeps 21 hours a day.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Larry Yatkowsky

    February 2, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    This is all good but wouldn’t it be great if the worker bees got a little honey on a click per view basis? After all, everybody else is filling their pot from the hive.

  2. Kelley Koehler

    February 2, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    ARMLS is just weird (like the rest of Phoenix). It’s silly that they don’t provide data feeds to agents, and more silly that there’s no public interface. It all seems very backwards to me. I figure if I’m a member of the MLS, I should get that data in whatever form I want it. It’s mine, and I pay for it. Gimme. Or is my borderline Y-ness showing? The TARMLS public interface is all rather basic. I wouldn’t call it a category-killer in any sense of the word, but I don’t think they’re really trying at that. In my market, the public MLS face exists, but no big whoop. But then, we can all have our own data and make whatever we want of it, we don’t have to deal with “approved providers” of an IDX framed search.

  3. Benn Rosales

    February 2, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    I think I’m with you on this one, not because it sidelines anyone, but we have the public search here in Austin and I’ve found clients can confirm information they get from other sites on it. Just last week a client sent me a list of 12 homes she found online at various search sites- 11 were either sold or pending and one withdrawn, that left the one she actually said in the same email that she hated but fit the criteria- go figure. I pointed her to r.com and austin home search, but I ended up sending her a list that fit and wrote a contract the next day.

  4. Jonathan Dalton

    February 3, 2008 at 11:46 am

    We do get data feeds, Kelley … the IDX feed is part of our membership. But I prefer the packaged version better.

  5. Kelley Koehler

    February 3, 2008 at 11:53 am

    not IDX, raw unpackaged data with ftp access. You get raw data? I’m told only brokers do, and that they can’t let their agents use the raw feeds.

  6. Jay Thompson

    February 4, 2008 at 12:26 am

    No raw data feed from ARMLS, unless you are a broker.

  7. Sue

    June 3, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    What do you mean by raw data feeds? In NJ the public has access to all the listings via the public gsmls…no addresses, but the agency phone number.

  8. Kelley Koehler

    June 4, 2008 at 9:20 am

    Sue – the raw data feeds are usually something like an XML file of all the listings, made available only to agents, so that they can create their own framework of the data. It would be entirely separate from the public interface of an MLS.

  9. Susan

    June 4, 2008 at 9:34 am

    Thanks for the clarification Kelley. I’ve never seen that type of info.

  10. James Boyer

    June 18, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    Hmmm, our MLS system has had a public website where people could go and look at what is in the MLS all they wanted. The site does not rank well for much of anything though. In order for it to rank for much they would have to work at it a bit and i don’t think most MLS’s will be willing to do that.

  11. Eugene Oregon Real Estate

    August 30, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    In Oregon, RMLS has a public site that I don’t worry about because I’m confident I offer a more personal experience to consumers. In Oregon every agent is a broker and to obtain the raw data feed you need your principal broker to agree to allow you access to it. Of course you wouldn’t affiliate yourself with a principal broker that wouldn’t allow it would you? 😉

    I don’t know that the public site affects the 3rd party sites what so ever. There are plenty of people searching online that as long as you rank well you will get leads whether there is a public site and 3rd party sites, you just have to set yourself apart.

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Business Marketing

Ghost Reply has us asking: Should you shame a recruiter who ghosted you?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Ghost Reply will send an anonymous “kind reminder” to recruiters who ghost job candidates, but is the sweet taste of temporary catharsis worth it?

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Stressed woman at a laptop with hands on head, considering if she should send a Ghost Reply.

People hate to get “ghosted” in any situation, personal or professional. But for job seekers who may already be struggling with self-esteem, it can be particularly devastating. Ghost Reply is a new online service that will help you compose and send an email nudge to the ghoster, sending a “kind reminder” telling them how unprofessional it is to leave someone hanging like that.

Ghost Reply wants to help you reach catharsis in all of this stressful mess of finding a job. Almost all of the problems and feelings are compounded by this confounded pandemic that has decimated areas of the workforce and taken jobs and threatened people’s financial security. It is understandable to want to lash out at those in power, and sending a Ghost Reply email to the recruiter or HR person may make you feel better in the short term.

In the long run, though, will it solve anything? Ghost Reply suggests it may make the HR person or recruiter reevaluate their hiring processes, indicating this type of email may help them see the error of their ways and start replying to all potential candidates. If it helps them reassess and be more considerate in the future and helps you find closure in the application/interview process, that would be the ideal outcome on all fronts. It is not likely this will happen, though.

The Ghost Reply sample email has the subject line “You have a message from a candidate!” Then it begins, “Hi, (name), You’re receiving this email because a past candidate feels like you ghosted them unfairly.” It then has a space for said candidate to add on any personal notes regarding the recruiter or process while remaining anonymous.

I get it. It’s upsetting to have someone disappear after you’ve spent time and energy applying, possibly even interviewing, only to hear nothing but crickets back from the recruiter or HR person you interacted with. It’s happened to me more than once, and it’s no bueno. We all want to be seen. We all want to be valued. Ghosting is hurtful. The frustration and disappointment, even anger, that you feel is certainly relatable. According to several sources, being ghosted after applying for a job is one of the top complaints from job seekers on the market today.

Will an anonymous, passive-aggressive email achieve your end? Will the chastened company representative suddenly have a lightbulb go off over their heads, creating a wave of change in company policy? I don’t see it. The first sentence of the sample email, in fact, is not going to be well received by HR.

When you start talking about what’s “unfair,” most HR people will tune out immediately. That kind of language in itself is unprofessional and is a red flag to many people. Once you work at a company and know its culture and have built relationships, then, maybe, just maybe, can you start talking about your work-related feelings. I believe in talking about our feelings, but rarely is a work scenario the best place to do so (I speak from experience). Calling it unprofessional is better, less about you and more about the other person’s behavior.

However, it’s unclear how productive Ghost Reply actually is. Or how anonymous, frankly. By process of deduction, the recipient of the email may be able to figure out who sent it, if it even makes it through the company’s spam filters. Even if they cannot pinpoint the exact person, it may cast doubts on several applicants or leave a bad taste in the recruiter’s mouth. It sounds like sour grapes, which is never a good thing.

There may be any number of reasons you didn’t get the job offer or interview, and they may or may not have something to do with you. Recruiters answer your burning questions, including why you may have been ghosted in this recent article in The American Genius.

Ultimately, you will never know why they ghosted you. If it makes you feel better or at least see the issue from both sides, the amount of job candidates ghosting recruiters after applying and even interviewing is equally high. Some people simply either have awful time management skills or awful manners, and at the end of the day, there’s not much you can do about that.

Focus on your own survival while job hunting, instead of these disappointing moments or the person who ghosts you. It will serve you better in the long run than some anonymous revenge email. There are other ways to deal with your frustration and anger when you do get ghosted, though. Try the classic punching your pillow. Try taking a walk around the block. If it helps to put your frustration into words, and it very well may, then do so. Write it on a piece of paper, then burn it. Or type it all in an email and delete it. For your own sake, do NOT put their email address in the “To” line, lest you accidentally hit “Send.”

The sooner you can let it go, the sooner you can move on to finding a better job fit for you.

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Business Marketing

Free shipping is everywhere… how can small businesses keep up?

[BUSINESS MARKETING] Would you rather pay less but still pay for shipping, or pay more with free shipping? They may cost the same, but one appeals more than the other.

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Person standing over pacakge, sealing with masking tape.

When it comes to competing with huge corporations like Amazon, there are plenty of hurdles that smaller businesses have to cross. Corporations can (and do) undercut the competition, not to mention garner a much larger marketing reach than most small businesses could ever dream of achieving. But this time, we want to focus on something that most people have probably chosen recently: Free shipping.

How important is free shipping to consumers? Well, in a 2018 survey, Internet Retailer discovered that over 50% of respondents said that free shipping was the most important part of online shopping. In fact, when given a choice between fast or costless shipping, a whopping 88% of those surveyed chose the latter option.

Part of this has to do with the fact that shipping costs are often perceived as additional fees, not unlike taxes or a processing fee. In fact, according to Ravi Dhar, director of Yale’s Center for Customer Insights, if it’s between a discounted item with a shipping fee or a marked up item with free shipping, individuals are more likely to choose the latter – even if both options cost exactly the same amount.

If you’re interested in learning more, Dhar refers to the economic principle of “pain of paying,” but the short answer is simply that humans are weird.

So, how do you recapture the business of an audience that’s obsessed with free shipping?

The knee jerk reaction is to simply provide better products that the competition. And sure, that works… to some extent. Unfortunately, in a world where algorithms can have a large effect on business, making quality products might not always cut it. For instance, Etsy recently implemented a change in algorithm to prioritize sellers that offer free shipping.

Another solution is to eat the costs and offer free shipping, but unless that creates a massive increase in products sold, you’re going to end up with lower profits. This might work if it’s between lower profits and none, but it’s certainly not ideal. That’s why many sellers have started to include shipping prices in the product’s overall price – instead of a $20 necklace with $5 shipping, a seller would offer a $25 necklace with free shipping.

This is a tactic that the big businesses use and it works. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right?

That said, not everyone can join in. Maybe, for instance, a product is too big to reasonably merge shipping and product prices. If, for whatever reason, you can’t join in, it’s also worth finding a niche audience and pushing a marketing campaign. What do you offer that might be more attractive than the alluring free shipping? Are you eco-friendly? Do you provide handmade goods? Whatever it is that makes your business special, capitalize on it.

Finally, if you’re feeling down about the free shipping predicament, remember that corporations have access to other tricks. Amazon’s “free” prime shipping comes at an annual cost. Wal-Mart can take a hit when item pricing doesn’t work out. Even if your business isn’t doing as well as you hoped, take heart: You’re facing giants.

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Business Marketing

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.

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Clock pointed to 5:50 on a plain white wall, well tracked during the week.

Social media is always flooded with promises to get in shape, eat healthier and… hustle?

In hustle culture, it seems as though there’s no such thing as too much work. Nights, weekends and holidays are really just more time to be pushing towards your dreams and hobbies are just side hustles waiting to be monetized. Plus, with freelancing on the rise, there really is nothing stopping someone from making the most out of their 24 hours.

Hustle culture will have you believe that a full-time job isn’t enough. Is that true?

Although it’s a bit outdated, Gallup’s 2014 report on full-time US workers gives us an alarming glimpse into the effects of the hustle. For starters, 50% of full-time workers reported working over 40 hours a week – in fact, the average weekly hours for salaried employees was up to 49 hours.

So, what’s the deal with 40 hours anyway? The 40 hour work-week actually started with labor rights activists in the 1800s pushing for an 8 hour workday. In 1817, Robert Owen, a Welsh activist, reasoned this workday provided: “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

If you do the math, that’s a whopping 66% of the day devoted to personal needs, rather than labor!

Of course, it’s only natural to be skeptical of logic from two centuries ago coloring the way we do business in the 21st century. For starters, there’s plenty of labor to be done outside of the labor you’re paid to do. Meal prep, house cleaning, child care… that’s all work that needs to be done. It’s also all work that some of your favorite influencers are paying to get done while they pursue the “hustle.” For the average human, that would all be additional work to fall in the ‘recreation’ category.

But I digress. Is 40 hours a week really enough in the modern age? After all, average hours in the United States have increased.

Well… probably not. In fact, when hours are reduced (France, for instance, limited maximum hours to 35 hours a week, instead of 40), workers are not only more likely to be healthier and happier, but more efficient and less likely to miss work!

So, instead of following through with the goal to work more this year, maybe consider slowing the hustle. It might actually be more effective in the long run!

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