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AgentRank and May Days Past


Ah, yes … May Day. Once upon a time, news organizations were guaranteed at least a few minutes of coverage and a few seconds of film of Soviet troops grimly marching through Red Square as Brezhnev or whomever the premier du jour looked on, appearing equally as grim as the sight of military might.

But then Berlin Wall fell and so did the Soviet Union and twenty years later I find myself driving down the road explaining to my 9-year-old daughter the incredible significance of Nena’s 99 Luftbalons … and singing in both English and German, incidentally.

Of course it wasn’t until years later than we learned that the Soviet Union had been rotting internally for years; what we thought was relevant never really was. Well, outside the big nuclear warheads pointed in our direction.

Introducing AgentRank

Yesterday came news that RealtyBaron has launched (beta – never forget the beta) – “The Definitive Authority on Agent Performance and Reputation.” Much like the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics the full description for AgentRank is imposing, especially in this day of transparency. (Even though it’s easier than ever to obfuscate the truth via the Internet while appearing to make everything more transparent.) But like the U.S.S.R. of old, AgentRank appears to have the potential to rot from within.

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First off, agents enter their own sales information into the system. There’s a stern warning that agents may be asked to provide MLS documentation but such documentation isn’t always available (new builds, for example) and isn’t always correct (I closed a sale in July 2006 that still has the listing agent as the selling agent as well. Somehow, I managed to get paid so I’m pretty sure I was the selling agent.)

Second, the data’s not particularly clear. While the site purports to show only “recent” sales, on the agents I checked “recent” included sales that took place more than two years ago.

Third, some of the other data provided – particularly the Technorati rank for blogs – may look really cool but it has next to no value for a real estate consumer. A higher Technorati ranking isn’t going to cause a house to sell any faster than a lower one.

The bottom line

So the big question is … will I fill out a full agent profile complete with closings over the past however long?

Maybe. If I have time. And only in the interest of throwing Tobey’s face out there one more time in the off chance someone pays attention.

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But if I do so, it will be with the knowledge that the rolling tanks and marching troops and seemingly authoritative statistics all are part of the show and aren’t nearly as menacing or important as they first seem.

Written By

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.



  1. marc

    May 1, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Hi, Jonathan. First, thanks for reviewing the new AgentRank site. Here are a few notes in response to your points:

    Re: “recent sales”: Some agents have not been diligent in reporting sales. Therefore, their “recent” sales may become stale. But notice their ranking may begin to stink as a result because older sales don’t carry as much weight. I’m confident this will improve with time if AgentRank can prove its value to agents.

    Re: “sale documentation”: Granted, documentation isn’t *always* available but it is very likely to be documented in some form. The website copy does say MLS, but other forms of documentation are acceptable.

    Re: “Technorati rank for blogs”: AgentRank includes weblogs as a component because weblogs are clearly a powerful medium where agents demonstrate their expertise. And presumably, performance goes hand-in-hand with expertise.

  2. Jonathan Dalton

    May 1, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    > AgentRank includes weblogs as a component because weblogs are clearly a powerful medium where agents demonstrate their expertise. And presumably, performance goes hand-in-hand with expertise.

    I don’t question the value of blogs, Marc. But I don’t believe Technorati rank is the end-all be-all statistic for blogs.

  3. Faina Sechzer

    May 2, 2008 at 4:32 am

    Jonathan, I am not sure if sales is the most important way to measure agents’ success. More important to me is their clients’ success, which includes a lot of intangibles. Having come from Soviet Russia, I know all to well about their way of measuring success. Their elections always resulted in 100% and only one candidate running:)

  4. ines

    May 2, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Wow – I’ve never liked “ranking sites” for the mere reason that those rankings can be manipulated. I recently joined one of the social networks and deleted my profile as soon as I saw the ranking. I don’t take away the fact that some, maybe even AgentRank may be trying to be more thorough, but the reality is that I’m way too busy selling real estate and keeping up my own blog to now have to worry about keeping some ranking site current and providing documentation.

  5. Jonathan Dalton

    May 2, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    I think the one way AgentRank can prove its value to agents is by agents getting business from the site. But the flip side is whether it’s worth the time investment to keep everything updated when there is no certain ROI.

    Older sales don’t appear to be damaging agent scores … top agent that shows up for Phoenix has a 2005 sale among the “recent” sales.

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