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Web2.0 Real Estate Reality Check



onlineshopper_500.jpgI’m simply going to break down the anatomy of a real life transaction, my summary may surprise you:

Who shops online?

  • Apparently 88% of consumers shop online for just about everything, including real estate.

When do they shop online?

  • Generally at work. By my own appraisal of my family’s Internet use, we’re using the Internet to Google anything from coffee, restaurants, homes and more. Are we buying? Generally, no. Last year, shopping for my television was a seven month process. My car shopping experience has lasted well over 10 months. Why am I taking so long? I’m a typical procrastinator.

How many folks actually purchase online after shopping there?

  • Great question. Based on my own evaluation of myself, not often.


  • For my television, I actually had to leave the house- I wanted to see the picture, press the buttons, and decide how it would look on my wall or on my media cabinet.

Did I buy on my first trip?

  • No, I actually bought the very day the sales guy at Fry’s Electronics told me everything I needed to hear- price, quality, and that I was buying a television well under the value I found it for online. He sold me- he closed me, and I let him. Because like most of you, when I’m willing, ready, and able, it simply takes a great closer to box the deal into a pretty package.

What does this have to do with a home sale?

  • Buyers by their very nature are lookie lous. Everyone wants to look at the pretty pictures. Everyone wants to kill that lunch hour; hell, some of them want to kill the whole day, and in between a round of yahoo literati, they take a swing around craigslist, up the road to google, maybe even peruse the all common search phrase ‘search name of city homes‘, they may even pick up the phone and talk to an agent for a minute or less, all while balancing the boss’ needs or answering the other line. The fact is that 88% is just that- a nameless time killer that may or may not be buying sooner than later and at the same time are day dreaming of the new car they’ll search for next.

What’s the point of all of this, and what does it have to do with you?

  • Think back to the last first home buyer you had- remember how afraid they were? How long had they been looking before they hooked up with you? An even better question is- how long had they been thinking about buying? In my experience, the answer more times than not is, “a couple of years.” Other times, the answer has always been, “for a while.” When I would inquire further, I’d ask why they hadn’t purchased sooner (I’m always looking for the answers procrastinating buyers have) and the answer is almost every time an astounding “we didn’t know we could buy.” Credit, leases, income, and more are always in the top three reasons for procrastinating. I’ve met second and third home buyers that fit this same profile, and they’re all simply looking for someone who will relate to them and answer the questions they need answered.

I’m (not) a Realtor by profession, I’m (not even) a real estate agent. Further, I’m (not even) a guy who sells homes- I’m a closer. By knowing my buyers and sellers, I’m the reason they move from Internet entertainment and real estate porn to the closing table. I make their dreams a reality and their fears a thing of the past. I educate, I elevate, I build them into property owners- they are achieving a goal, and even more, they’re living the dream.

I can do what no real estate website in the world can do, I can do more than any a.v.m., I can survive what technology companies cannot. How? By leaving my office and engaging. I will survive down markets, 2.0 or not. Focusing more energy on the state of the real estate union will leave you current on feuds and statistics, but behind on the business of closing.

Web2.0 is only a tool, it is not the answer. 88% of consumers may shop online, but 98% of consumers I meet buy and or sell through me.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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  1. Mariana

    October 25, 2007 at 4:40 am

    I am going to memorize this, ok? That was just unbelievably awesome. Thank you.

  2. Chris Lengquist

    October 25, 2007 at 4:42 am

    You know, I didn’t even scroll down to see who wrote this post. I could tell by the read it was you. Great job. And true to life.

  3. J. Ferris

    October 25, 2007 at 5:22 am

    I just sent this to my broker. VERY, VERY good post!

  4. Jim Duncan

    October 25, 2007 at 10:59 am

    Excellent post, and one that all those suffering from the effects of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt should learn from. Technology is a tool, but not (yet) a means to replace the experience of touching, feeling and smelling.

  5. Benn Rosales

    October 25, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    Jim, this is as yet as it will ever be. Touching & feeling? There are 5 of those senses that must be pleased to give you comfort.

    An even bigger point is this I don’t think it’s just about the senses as much as it is about ‘affirmation.’ Wrap your mind around that one…

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Business Marketing

5 ways voice is changing the SEO game

(TECH NEWS) As voice assistants take over our lives, you may worry how your SEO fares in this new, uncharted territory. Let’s discuss.



voice and SEO

SEO is a moving target. The standards change constantly so, despite years of experience, many web designers struggle to meet all the optimization guidelines. How, then, can any business confidently approach the web design process? It starts with recognizing those evolving norms, the newest of which is voice search.

Why Voice Search Matters

For years, the dominant SEO rule has been mobile first. The introduction of voice recognition systems, like Siri and Alexa, to smartphones has dramatically changed how we interact with devices. In fact, 20% of Google searches are voice searches with that number expected to grow rapidly over the next few months. Businesses and web designers, then, need to make sure their sites are voice ready if they want to stay relevant. Though the sites may stay the same visually, they need to gain a new edge functionally.

From The Ground Up

Modifying your website to support voice search isn’t as simple as many other SEO transitions, but if you take a ground up approach to the process, you’ll be able to reshape your website around those changes. Still, you’ll need help to do this correctly. When adapting your website for voice, SEO consultant Aaron Rains recommends hiring an expert for a full site audit and analysis to maintain your page ranking. You don’t want your page to take a rankings hit because you’re trying to keep up with the trends.

Expanding Your Device Options

In addition to its advantages from a mobile perspective, making the move to voice search also means expanding your site’s horizons by making it more accessible to new devices, particularly the smart home speakers that are gaining in popularity. Users are particularly comfortable with these devices because they rely on natural speech patterns rather than half-formed search terms. Children growing up with these smart speakers in their homes seem to view them as part of the family and will be native voice search users as they grow.

Snippets For Search

Part of updating your website for speech is optimizing the content to match changing search patterns. One of the key ways to do this is through the use of featured snippets.

Featured snippets are designed to help put your website in the #0 spot – the top ranking. To do that, you’ll want to put the answers to your most popular queries in the first few sentences on your page. This is especially for purchasing and local search since people frequently use voice search to find local businesses. If you can optimize for the most important snippets early on, you’ll be way ahead on the competition and have a greater ROI.

Rebuild and Reassess

After modifying your website for voice, you may find your rankings initially drop. That’s because you need to request your site be re-indexed. Otherwise, search engines won’t be able to match queries with your new site content. Re-indexing will put all of your new information into effect and make it possible for users to search using the featured snippets. Re-indexing your site will also help you ensure that you haven’t interfered with the crawl-ability of your site.

Experts expect half of all searches to be voice-driven by 2020, but since 50% of users with voice search access already use it at least occasionally, now is the time to act. Even if many users are still wary of voice search, you can’t afford to fall behind. Those users will still be able to rely on traditional text search mechanisms, but that won’t help voice enthusiasts. If you lose those early adopters now, they might not come back when you’ve caught up with the voice search revolution.

This editorial was first published here in March of 2018.

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Business Marketing

10 podcasts that every business owner should hear

(MARKETING) If you’re a business and want to learn something, give one of (or all of) these ten podcasts a listen.



headphones listen podcasts

So many choices, so little time

As podcasts grow more and more popular, it has become increasingly difficult to sort through the sea of excellent options out there.

From interviews with business leaders to industry specific advice from experts, podcasts are an incredible free and convenient way to get a small dose of inspiration and knowledge.

Business podcasts for your listening enojoyment

This short list offers just a taste of the myriad of business podcasts available. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking for some tips on breaking into a new industry or a seasoned vet hoping to get some new inspiration, we hope you’ll find something here worth listening to.

How I Built This, hosted by Guy Raz.

Podcast fans will recognize Guy Raz’s name (and voice) from TED Radio Hour. While that show can be a great source of inspiration for businesses, one of the most consistently inspiring shows is his new project that shares stories and insight from some of the biggest business leaders in the world. In just four months, Guy has talked to everyone from Richard Branson and Mark Cuban to L.A. Reid and Suroosh Alvi. While there are plenty of excellent interview-driven shows with entrepreneurs, if you want to hear about the world’s best known companies, this is your best bet.

The Art of Charm, hosted by Jordan and AJ Harbinger.

The Art of Charm is a business podcast by definition, but the advice it provides will definitely help you in other parts of your day-to-day life as well. With over three million listens a month, the incredibly populat show provides advice, strategies and insight into how to network effectively and advance your career and personal life.

StartUp, hosted by Alex Blumberg and Lisa Chow.

If you’re an entrepreneur, there is no excuse not to be listening to StartUp, the award-winning business podcast from Gimlet Media. The show’s talented hosts come from incredible radio shows like Planet Money and This American Life and bring a top-notch level of storytelling to the show, which provides behind the scenes looks at what it is actually like to start a company. Now on the fourth season, StartUp is one of those business podcasts that even people not interested in business will get a kick out of.

The Whole Whale Podcast, hosted by George Weiner.

One of the best things about podcasts is the wide variety of niche shows available that go in-depth into fascinating topics. One of those shows is the Whole Whale Podcast, which shares stories about data and technology in the non-profit sector. You’ll get detailed analysis, expert knowledge and can hear from a long list of social impact leaders from Greenpeace,, Kiva, Teach For America and more.

Social Pros Podcast, hosted by Jay Baer and Adam Brown.

Navigating the surplus of social media guides online can be a nightmare, so look no further thna Social Pros. Recent episodes talk about reaching college students on social media, the rise of messaging apps, and making better video content for Facebook. Plus, there are great case-studies with companies doing social right, like Kellogg’s, Coca Cola and Lenscrafters.

Entrepreneur on Fire, hosted by John Lee Dumas.

One of the original entrepreneurship shows, Entrepreneur on Fire has logged over 1,500 episodes with successful business leaders sharing tips, lessons and advice learned from their worst entrepreneurial moments. Sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, always inspiring, this show is sure to have at least one interview with someone you can learn from.

The $100 MBA, hosted by Omar Zenhom.

Think of The $100 MBA as a full-fledged business program in snack-sized portions. The daily ten minute business lessons are based on real world applications and cover everything from marketing to techology and more. Cue this show up on your commute to or from work and watch your knowledge grow.

This Week in Startups, hosted by Jason Calacanis.

This is your audio version of TechCrunch, Gizmodo or dare we say The American Genius. Each week, a guest entrepreneur joins the show to talk about what is happening in tech right now. You’ll get news about companies with buzz, updates on big tech news and even some insider gossip.

The Side Hustle Show, hosted by Nick Loper.

This is the show if you want answers for the big question so many entrepreneurs face. How do I turn my part-time hustle into a real job? Featuring topics such as passive income ideas, niche sites, and self-publishing, host Nick Loper is upfront and honest about the tough world of side hustles. The show features actionable tips and an engaging energy, and may just be that final push you need to grow your gig.

Back To Work, hosted by Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin.
Focused on the basics that you don’t think about, Back To Work looks deep into our working lives by analyzing things like workflow, email habits and personal motivation. Somewhere between self-help and business advice, Back To Work takes on a new topic relating to productivity each week.


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Business Marketing

A personalized daily digital marketing checklist

(MARKETING NEWS) For all businesses, it is not only essential to develop an digital marketing strategy, but also necessary to utilize it in order to gain customers, and ultimately make a larger profit. This app can help.



clearpath digital marketing

There is no doubt that starting your own business can be overwhelming. Along with promoting your business at events, meetings and in person, digital marketing strategies play a key role in the success of a company. For all businesses, it is not only essential to develop an online presence, but also necessary to utilize it in order to gain customers, and ultimately make a larger profit.

Simply creating a website and Facebook page for your business is not enough. However, software tools can help simplify digital marketing. ClearPath is a tool that organizes and creates tasks to optimize your online marketing. By creating to-do lists for you based on your online marketing strategy, you can focus on the areas of marketing that improve your business, all the while receiving useful tips and advice.

Using ClearPath is pretty straightforward and only requires one prerequisite. Before beginning, you must have a website.

If you are already lost, don’t panic. ClearPath can help you develop an online presence. Once your website is linked up, you get to choose the marketing channels that you would like to focus on. These include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), email, social, content, analytics, local, pay-per-click (PPC) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Again, if you are lost, ClearPath is there to help you strategize.

After ClearPath analyzes your site, they start sending you customized tasks based they believe can improve your online marketing.

As you finish each task, you can simply check it off and it will disappear. New tasks will appear each day, and some may even repeat as they need to be updated.

Whether you are well-versed in digital marketing or not, staying updated with the newest ways to optimize your business online is a constant struggle. Tools like ClearPath give people a place to start. Although I don’t think it can supplement an active and experienced digital marketer, it is a tool that can help small businesses that cannot afford to add to their team yet. At the end of the day, it aims to save you time. And since time is money, your business will hopefully be more profitable.

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