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How buyers’ agents have learned to live off of listing agents’ hard work

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A changing industry

Back in the days when brokers were in charge, agents knew their place, and NASA’s scientists were the only folks we knew for sure using that thing called a computer, life was simpler. Today? A few generations of weak broker/owners have pretty much capsized the ship, having first capitulated to their so-called top producers eons ago. Having the crazies runnin’ the asylum isn’t a business model. Think I’m being harsh? Ask anyone who’s been a real estate brokerage owner the last 35 years what they think of agent splits — then sit back, be quiet, and wait for the rant to commence. And it surely will.

But let’s narrow things down a bit. Since I’ve been able to see the evolution of the American real estate brokerage up close, personal, and from both sides of the table, my perspective might be of some useable value. Let’s start out with some naked truth. Most in the business hate it when anyone says this out loud. Why? Cuz most know the speaker has found them out, and they can no longer pretend, at least to themselves, that they’re all that valuable to their brokerage.

First, let’s review what our industry looked like as we finished the 1960s.

History lesson: there were once two classes

Those whose desks had a sign saying ‘The buck stops here” — and everyone else. There were two ways to make more money, at least potentially. You could become a more productive agent. Or, you could take the risk and open your own shop, becoming a broker — the ‘go to’ guy. 99% of folks opt to let somebody else be the boss and run things. Nothin’ wrong with that whatsoever.

Within the agent class, there were, again, two basic species. Those who represented buyers only, unless a buyer forced them into listing their home. The other were the listers. Listers tended to hang out together, as did buyer agents.

There were then two things separating those two classes. First, listing agents as a group tended to make far more money than their counterparts. Second, listers entered the arena as gladiators regularly, facing the chance of failure daily.  Buyer agents? They pretty much made their living off of the listers. Listers have always known this. Buyer agents have always denied this, but also always knew deep down it was accurate — and resented it deeply. Not all of ’em mind you, but most. They loved the idea they were perceived to be of equal value to the brokerage.

Buyers’ agents are not of equal value to a brokerage

Yet, how could they be? Any lister, in fact most listers, did both, and still do. See, their listings produced buyers. I know, cuz back in the day, during the nearly seven years I toiled on the house side of the biz, that’s how I worked. When I turned 16 I was told I could be a producer (gladiator/lister), or I could be a pilot fish.

That one empirically inarguable truth — that listings, and therefore listers, attract buyers — is why buyer agents by definition, feed off of listing agents. Listers don’t need buyers’ agents, but buyers’ agents perish without listing agents.

Why do you think it’s so easy for a dynamically productive listing agent to hire buyers’ agents for 30-50% commission splits? Don’t say this too loudly, cuz it’s politically incorrect, but it’s cuz that’s what they’re worth. Remember, our worth in the free market is pretty much dictated by the ease or difficulty in replacing us.

There is no arena for the buyer agent. The listing agent enters the arena every time they ask for a listing appointment and/or make a listing presentation. The competition is fierce. Why?

They’re facing other fearless gladiators in front of God and everybody — risking total failure every time out. That’s why.

How the process works now

If they’re on a team, they show up for work, are given the day’s leads — by the lister in charge — then begin making contact. They show property to those with whom they connected ’til the buyer basically says, “I’ll take that one!” 

That’s not how it works for you? Yeah, I know, you work by yourself or on a team made up of buyers’ agents exclusively, making excellent use of technology, specifically an IDX set up. Good for you. The only thing of value on that IDX are the listings the gladiators won from the arena. You’ve merely figured a way to live off their production without them in the room.

Back to the basics

There’s only one causative reason that matters as far as the negative trend real estate brokerages have been experiencing since the early 70s. Those who’ve not taken the capital risk the owner has taken have successfully taken over.

The only fly in that ointment is that those who took over are not those who take risks. They prefer to blackmail those who do. Oh, does that offend thee? My mentors told me back in 1971 when most of ’em retired, many of them WAY too early, including Dad, that the agents were gonna take over. They shouldn’t, I was told, but they accurately predicted they’d succeed. It would be due to the majority of company owners who were both shortsighted and who’d become fat and lazy.

Before we saw the first one, they told me of the franchise concept. It would further destroy what had succeeded for decades. The commission splits for woefully mediocre agents would skyrocket. It would be the end of brokerages as they knew it, and would take less than 20 years. They were off on that last one. It’s been 40 years since that day over fries and a Coke, when they told me my future.

Turns out they were seers. To all those agents, who’re shortly about to learn about new market trends on the brokerage front, how’s it been workin’ out for ya lately? Yeah, thought so. The model calling for the gladiators to do most of the fighting while the onlookers take home over half the bounty was doomed to failure from Day 1. Duh. Just as buyer agents live off of listers, the majority of agents who’re mediocre or worse, have killed off one of the best workin’ models in our lifetime. And the worm is about to turn — and sooner rather than later. We’re reapin’ what we’ve sown.

Jeff Brown specializes in real estate investment for retirement, has practiced real estate for over 40 years and is a veteran of over 200 tax deferred exchanges, many multi-state. Brown is a second generation broker and works daily with the third generation. With CCIM training and decades of hands on experience, Brown's expertise is highly sought after, some of which he shares on his real estate investing blog.

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50 Comments

50 Comments

  1. jay Great Falls VA

    October 31, 2011 at 6:49 am

    The arrogance and delusion of "listing agents"–aka glorified data entry specialists–never ceases to amaze me.

    1. Sellers no longer need the "gladiators" anymore. They can list for $500 and get all the attention the home merits. They can even have the home staged on their own by googling staging city state. And of course they get a good list price by interviewing agents.

    2. The "harsh reality" is the following:

    a. Listing agents almost never bring the buyer to the table, but rather buyer agents do. So why are they being paid commissions?

    b. Commissions have on average dropped far more on the listing side than the buyer side. WHY? ****Because when a seller lists his intention is to pay somebody for bringing a buyer to the table. Thus listing commissions have come down with more options for sellers to sidestep the gladiator listing agent who does not usually bring a buyer to the table.**** The commission on the buyer side is holding up very well.

    3. Most "listing agents" including powerhouse gladiators have lost much credibility doing their own pathetic photography with dark and small pictures, having listing signs that are all about the brokerage rather than custom signs for the house, promoting falsehoods that open houses sell houses as do pictures in the newspaper to justify 6% commissions.

    a. for the select few percent of listing agents that do not settle for such mediocrity they are of great value to the seller–the great majority of listing agents are not however.

    4. Both listing agents and buyer agents and their brokers really screwed up by giving up their data to 3rd party sites. Zillow and homes.com and realtor.com and trulia SHOULD NOT EXIST with our data. Unbelievable. A buyer should have to go to an agent or its franchise website for information on homes– not the above mentioned sites.

    5. Most listing agents are oblivious to 1-3 above and in denial that they are quite unnecessary. However thanks to #4 above, buyers are now able to do MUCH of the process on their own—albeit not as effectively/efficiently. Now the main goal of buyer agents is negotiating 1-3% below market value in a way that floaters usually cannot.

    So, Jeff, the awesome blogger I love to read who motivates me regularly, you Greg and others need to take the realities above and shove them you know where 🙂

    • David Pylyp

      October 31, 2011 at 9:56 am

      OJ Simpson could have had any lawyer… But Cockrane charged millions and succeeded.

      Millionaires and Business people… Commercial Real Estate… They can all work a computer and Sell themselves as mere listings … Right?

      Seems that I have a few skills that I bring to the table beside Google Map Views Or Google Homes west Toronto.

      There is so much data online and so much garbage, so much out of date, so many half truths. The more clutter, the more gifted the guide.

      Thank you to the internet

      David Pylyp
      Living in Toronto and Loving it!

    • Jeff Brown

      October 31, 2011 at 12:46 pm

      Readers: I consider Jay and I to be buds. We've already spoken at length on the phone about this, and frankly, he's mostly in agreement with me on this. He's free to reply here, but we've already spoken. Jay's one of those who really understands what works.

  2. Michael McClure

    October 31, 2011 at 8:36 am

    Jeff,

    The worm is certainly turning, my friend.

    Brilliant post.

    Best,
    Michael McClure

  3. Atlanta GA Homes / Chris K.

    October 31, 2011 at 9:02 am

    IMHO it is much easier to take a listing and service a seller than it is to represent a buyer. With the internet being such a major force in advertising listings (enter a listing and in most cases the listing gets syndicated to 1000's of websites)the listing agent need not spend as much time or resources on marketing the home. I have been in the business for over 12 years and would venture to say I spend about 5-10 times more time with a single buyer than I do with taking a single listing.

    • Jeff Brown

      October 31, 2011 at 1:14 pm

      Hey Chris — We're in complete agreement. Thanks for makin' my point. Have you ever considered taking a lot of listings, making more money, and working the same or less?

  4. CJ Johnson

    October 31, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Jeff:

    I "list" my buyers just like I "list" my sellers ergo I am still a "lisitng agent" at my firm. I have done this since 1992. You are 100% correct about all the changes over the past few years but you never mentioned placing buyers under contract which levels the playing field. A Buyers Agent can prospect just like a seller agent for clients. As a matter of fact it is easier and much less expensive to do so at social functions, economic conferences, business to business events, etc. A good qualified trained Buyers Agent is now worth just as much as the old fashioned Sellers Agent when they learn the importance of any client that is under contract. If the brokerage spent as much time, money, and attention to training their buyers agents as they do their listing agents perhaps they would increase their contribution to the firm. Listing Agent vs the Buyers may be a more level playing field than you think. My favorite read this month…Change Is Good You Go First.

    • Jeff Brown

      October 31, 2011 at 1:17 pm

      Hey CJ — That's the only way to fly, isn't it? Been doin' the same since the mid 80s. By the way, love the 'chang is good' quote at the end. It's perfect.

  5. John Rickmon

    October 31, 2011 at 9:56 am

    With no mention of all things REO, Mr. Brown truly shows that he is a child of the sixties Real Estate market. In our association (Pensacola, FL), roughly 30% or more of all listings are categorized as "distressed." These REO listings are generally the most accurately-priced listings. The actual percentage of distressed listings is much higher if one factors short-sales.

    Sorry, but the good old days of sinking your sign in anyone's yard that you can, in deference to value, is the major reason the models for listing agents have changed, and made 40 year-old marketing plans as relevant as a T-Rex.

    With REO brokers currently managing (poorly) roughly a third of our local listings, the burden of work most definitely lies with the buyer's agent. This blog would have been fantastic if we had a time machine and could return to 2005.

    Big-box Realty firms have an inherent aversion to REO dealings (See Keller Williams), and Mr. Brown is clearly no exception. This editorial is angry and out-of-touch with the Real Estate market of late 2011.

    • Jeff Brown

      October 31, 2011 at 2:01 pm

      Hey John — More accurately put, I'm really a child of the 50s. 🙂 But I get your point.

      The percentage of REOs is beyond irrelevant. Somebody listed 'em, right? Right.

      The old canard about puttin' a sign in the yard is also mostly sour grapes, usually mentioned by buyer agents who don't make money equal to their listing colleagues. Truly professional expert listers don't merely ''sink a sign' and collect a check, but you already know that, don't ya?

      I'm not in the least bit angry, John. If you can tell me where I'm wrong, I'm all ears.

      Fact: Prolific listers make far and away more than prolific buyer agents, when comparing apples to apples — i.e., agent to agent or team to team.

      Fact: Listers can operate in a literal vacuum if they so choose, using only the buyers their listings and online efforts produce. Buyer agents are 90% reliant on listing agents producing product.

      Fact: I have nothin' against buyer agents whatsoever. Some of 'em are my best friends. 🙂 But let's stop playin' pretend here, and admit that listing agents make things happen, while buyer agents take what comes their way.

  6. Leo Linn

    October 31, 2011 at 11:02 am

    As a former listing agent, buyers agent,and office owner I have to say that there is very little that Mr. Brown says that I agree with. If you take a listing, put it on the MLS, and wait for someone to burn up their gas and their time working with buyers, how exactly is that being taken advantage of? The reason listing agents make more is that you can work with 50 listings. Anyone out there try to work with 50 buyers at the same time? Not possible. Working with buyers who would run you around for months and then buy a FSBO or an open house is not my idea of a good time. It is very, very hard work. Buyers are not generated by listings. They are buyers because they are buyers. The trick is to FIND them and get them what they want, and listings do help to do that, but there are certainly other ways. What do many top agents do? Farm their buyers out to buyer's agents for profit. It is too time consuming for them to be bothered. Being a listing agent is nice work if you can get it, but begrudging buyer's agents as a group is a little like killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

    • Jeff Brown

      October 31, 2011 at 2:07 pm

      Hey Leo — Please show me where I said that as a lister I felt 'taken advantage of' by buyers' agents? The exact opposite has been true since I was 18. I listed properties so the pilot fish WOULD feed of what I provided, which was something for them to sell.

      As far as being able to find buyers from sources other than listings, you're correct. That approach used exclusively will, of course, limit potential income, but again, you're right about that.

      Begrudge buyer agents? Are you kiddin' me?! I love 'em. I list a ton of property, work 40 hours a week, hardly ever on weekends, have my buyer agents (if I did have 'em) work seven days weekly while payin' them half or less of the commission? Why on earth would I ever begrudge them. They're doin' work I avoid like the plague.

      I love buyer agents to death.

  7. Karen Brewer

    October 31, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Real Estate is sooo local. Here in CT buyers agents and listing agents split the commission 50/50.Furthermore, we dont differentiate between the two.Why be one or the other after all? If we get a listing we take it….a buyer…the same.Takes care of that problem.
    Furthermore,someone mentioned that OUR info shouldnt be on the Web? Really? Do you live in a cave?

  8. Jeff Brown

    October 31, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Yeah, Karen, I didn't understand that one either.

  9. Suzette West

    November 1, 2011 at 2:25 am

    Perhaps this article holds merit for buyer agents in the traditional sense (working for companies that take listings). However, there is an entirely different culture where it concerns companies that exclusively represent buyers. It's not just about the money. It is also about protecting consumers and offering them fair and equal representation in a transaction–the same as sellers would receive from their listing agents.

    An exclusive buyer agents' source of business absolutely does not depend on the production of listing agents. Especially, when many of the homes purchased by clients are unlisted.

    When it comes down to exclusive buyer agents, this article is WAY off mark. Sorry, but we bring much more value to the table for buyers than you realize. "Seek first to understand, and then to be understood,"

    https://www.stephencovey.com/7habits/7habits-habit5.php

  10. Russell Shaw

    November 1, 2011 at 2:34 am

    Jeff,

    I will tell you the main thing I don't like about your posts is that I didn't write them myself!

    You take ideas that are perfectly obvious (even if inflammatory) and then have the gall to actually write them in a post.

    Damn you, Jeff Brown! Damn you!

  11. paulhoward

    November 1, 2011 at 8:04 am

    I won't bother to address the points Mr. Brown made in his rant. That this is the post of an old timer looking back is obvious. That he seems to think back is better is shameful.

    He is right about one thing though. Many companies (especially larger companies and franchise companies) value 'listers' more than buyer agents – though buyer agents are the ones that have value to consumers. At least they would if they didn't spend so much time in deceptively advertising their services. Most, advertising buyer agent services fail to disclose that they might end up as a dual agent. That is bait and switch. Agents don't represent consumers – their companies do – and if they represent both buyers and sellers much of the time their value to both cancels out to zero.

    Consumers don't need 'listers'. They do need buyer agents. That is the 'truth' that Mr. Brown has ignored.

    When he talks of productivity it is with reference to real estate companies as though consumer representation does not matter. It does.

    Paul Howard, Broker/Owner
    NJHomeBuyer.com Realty – Cherry Hill NJ

  12. Michael Byrd

    November 1, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Among the many things you overlook in your nostalgic look backwards is the difference between a so-called "buyers agent" and an Exclusive Buyers Agent. Agents in a firm that represents both sides may be worth only what they produce in the way of income. That could be why they love dual agency – double the money with little regard for clients' best interest. With an EBA, the client comes first and the quality of representation is superior because of the fiduciary relationship.

    And suggesting that the listers are greater in the hierarchal pecking order is akin to saying the fellow who owns the lumber mill is somehow more important than the carpenter who nails the lumber together.

  13. Chris

    November 1, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    so what do you picture the future of the brokerage business being? I have been saying for some time I can see the future being mega teams. Lately I can see that evolving into buyers agents being salaried or hourly employees.

    • Michael Byrd

      November 2, 2011 at 5:54 pm

      Why would buyers agents be salaried or hourly employees, but not sellers agents? We contract with buyers to perform certain services just as listing agents contract with sellers to perform certain services. The only difference is our contracts always provide for exclusive representation and a fiduciary relationship. I know of only a few traditional brokers who include that in their listing agreements. Most are happy to abandon fiduciary to represent both sides for one obvious reason.

  14. Suzette West

    November 2, 2011 at 2:13 am

    Chris,

    Most, if not all, exclusive buyer agents I know (including myself) are entrepreneurial by nature. I believe it is this nature that has led us to break away from the pack in the first place. I don't see the field evolving into a "salaried or hourly" business model; not unless it is a consulting assignment.

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Opinion Editorials

There is honor in your job, be proud of that

(EDITORIAL) Regardless of what you are doing to make ends meet, whether you have a degree or not, the work you do matters, has honor, and you should be damn proud.

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honor at work

I was walking my dog the other day and as we were passing a construction site I saw a man in the process of cleaning a Port-A-Potty. My first thought was: “I could never do that.”

As quickly as my gag reflex kicked in, I replaced it with a feeling of respect for the man doing the work. I saw him doing his job and I gave him props because there is honor in work. And, just because I don’t think I could do his job doesn’t mean he shouldn’t feel good about his job.

Just like any employee, he was doing a job he may or may not like or enjoy. And, like any worker his job is providing him with funds to build a life. I don’t know his circumstances, but there is no reason to see him with anything but admiration – if only because so many people may think they are better than, smarter than and more deserving than someone taking on a “dirty job”.

When I was growing up in the Chicago area the steel mills were still open and employed thousands of people – mostly men. Then, the jobs moved overseas, the industry tanked and the mills were left vacant, like ghost towns.

So many workers were let go, including my uncle. He had to start over, but he didn’t let it get him down. He used his knowledge of management, recovered and found another position. Yet, many workers were destroyed when they lost their jobs because they felt unskilled And, at the time, the country was in crisis and there weren’t a lot of other jobs available.

Us kids, we saw the mills and thought, “Why would you want to do that?” It was hot, dirty and dangerous. But, for years those jobs provided steady income and benefits, allowing couples to have homes, build families and live decent lives. Those workers may have had many turn their noses up, but they were proud of what they did, because there was honor in it.

As time moved on, the next generation (X that would be) shied away from manufacturing and the trades. More of us bought into the idea of getting a college degree with the expectation we’d find security and high paying jobs.

ROFL!!!

I’d suggest our view of honor in work has been twisted over time. The idea that doing some types of work elevates a person and makes them superior. Or, as my mom would say, they think “their shit doesn’t stink” but it does.

As much as I believed everyone wanted to be rich and drive a Lambo, it wasn’t and isn’t true. Some folks are happy with the status quo. And, that is Okay. While it is quite a letdown to pursue a degree and then potentially end up in a market where your skills are undervalued, it doesn’t mean the work a person does is any less honorable. The experience of being between a rock and a hard place and surviving is much more honorable, in my mind. It requires a belief in oneself and tenacity. It also provides a great learning experience.

True, once upon a time you could get hired at a company, work there for 40 years and retire. But, no longer. Sometimes folks are required to work two part-time gigs and drive for Lyft or Uber, do Instacart to get by. Some folks love driving for ride services, others do it because there is no other option.

And, that is AOK.

Images perpetuated through movies, ads, social media, etc. have been pretty destructive because IMHO we as a society have this distorted view of what a good life is and what appears to be an honorable way to earn a living.

For young folks today, playing video games or starting a YouTube page with make-up tutorials seems like the way to fame and fortune. For others the stock market and clocking 80-hour weeks still seems rational. While others say, forget that, I’m starting my own business because there is no security.

Let me say: There never was security because things change. Appearances just made it appear as if security actually existed.

All of that aside, whatever you do to make ends meet, whatever work you are doing today and hope to do tomorrow, whether your future holds a Porsche or a Civic – or even a bicycle, whether you want to live in a penthouse or are just happy to have a roof over your head, whatever it is you are doing today to get you where you want to be, there is honor in it. Believe it. And, don’t let anyone else’s IG feed make you feel anything other than proud of who you are.

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Opinion Editorials

Could Facebook’s newest censorship tactic decimate an entire industry?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Facebook’s last line of defense seems to be platform censoring and they’re using it to demolish businesses and advocacy groups.

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censoring mark

In 2018, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, proclaimed that Facebook was meant to be a platform for all ideas. This was in response to the public’s theory that Zuckerberg was censoring political posts on Facebook. Even then, it was pretty clear that Facebook was, in fact, censoring by removing pages, profiles, and content related to political posts they saw as misleading or inaccurate.

But recently, Facebook seems to be playing both sides of the fence when it comes to censoring, favoring policies supported by well-known organizations like PETA (People of the Ethical Treatment of Animals), self-proclaimed “animal activists” who claim to focus on 4 main areas related to animals and mistreatment in labs, the food industry, the clothing trade, and the entertainment industry.

Of course, it’s also pretty commonly known that they expand beyond their definition pretty often, frequently attacking the beliefs and practices of some of the best pet owners and wildlife activists out there, like Steve Irwin. In February of 2019, PETA even went so far as to tweet a post on Twitter about how much they think Irwin did both before and during his untimely death.

In more recent news, PETA actually purchased Facebook shares. They did this because they were showing videos on Facebook that were gory, disheartening, and downright sad, which Facebook also censored by requiring a warning before their videos played. PETA obviously didn’t like this, so in a strategic retaliation to end the censoring of them, they bought shares in Facebook. This allowed them to attend shareholder meetings and to ask questions of executives.

This was actually a very clever idea on their part, but it is in no way a new idea. Indeed, they’ve purchased shares from companies like Levi, BooHoo, and Louis Vuitton in the past for similar reasons.

But now, with PETA’s involvement with Facebook, policies that previously went un-policed are quickly becoming top-of-mind for the tech giant. Facebook’s official policies have been notoriously obscure and are only really explained in-depth to Facebook employees or legal entities.

Plus, Facebook doesn’t really have a dedicated customer service team, so even if you found and vaguely understood their policies (again, mostly written in a way only a legal team or Facebook employee would understand) there’s no real avenue to get clarification. More recently though, Facebook posted their policies for all of its users to review.

One big policy that PETA’s involvement looks to be affecting is in relation to animal sales and rehoming. Facebook has had a rule against animal sales and rehoming for many years, but until now, many of its users (breeders, rescuers, and animal advocates included) weren’t aware or fearful of it.

That’s quickly changed over the last few months as Facebook’s vendetta against anyone selling, rehoming, or even reposting content with certain key words that remotely resemble animal sales or rehoming, has continued. Not only is Facebook now taking down pages, groups, profiles, Marketplace listings, and even comments. They’re also rejecting fundraisers, which we’ll talk about more in a few minutes.

Another scary thing they’re doing is putting some power in the hands of the typical Facebook user, in the form of a new content-reporting button, like the one below.

facebok report button

With that, it’s no surprise that legitimate and well-known animal breeders, rescues, and even long-time pages/groups are being affected negatively.

Facebook has historically been an outlet for pet owners, breeders, and rescuers alike, and it makes sense why. Facebook is supposed to be a platform where your friends, peers, enemies, and even “frenemies” come together to create an online community. It’s meant to support both the social and business aspects of a user’s life, but in recent months, it’s certainly not living up those standards. The result: Facebook is quickly being abandoned by users – especially animal lovers and those within the pet space.

Let’s take breeders as an example. Breeders often post animals on Facebook. In the past, they’ve posted photos and pricing. This is something they can no longer do.

Legitimate breeders are usually not too pushy, nor do they typically spam. They don’t usually sell on Facebook directly ether, which is what Facebook strictly prohibits. Instead, they opt for a 3rd party service like Paypal or Square, but that makes no difference to Facebook. Although the animals aren’t being sold on the website, just including a picture and a price are enough for them to take content down. In truth, they’re taking pages down left and right as a direct result of the metaphorical pitchfork they’ve handed users (the “report” button).

Now, not all breeders are good, just like not all taco stands are good, but does that really give Facebook the right to censor you or ultimately close your Facebook account down? I don’t think so, and neither do breeders.

I spoke with Scott Poe of Poe’s Pogonas in Corona, California this week, too. He’s a reputable breeder of high-quality Bearded Dragons (a very popular pet). When asked how Facebook’s policies have affected him, he said “It certainly has made it a little challenging to list Dragons as available for sale…”. He goes on to offer Facebook advice, suggesting that they certify vendors on their site to proactively vet through quality breeders who are looking to improve their niche’s gene pool, and not those who are simply looking to make a quick buck.

We agree that, of course, there are bad breeders out there, but putting a blanket policy over an entire niche of business owners is like prohibiting alcohol – it doesn’t work!

If we were to go a little further into this topic, we’d see that Facebook’s stance on policies is actually likely to deter many other business types that don’t sell exactly what Facebook deems to be “appropriate”. Obviously, this type of practice can have a major impact on those types of businesses.

To drive this point home further, ask yourself this: what if Facebook disagreed with the produce or service you provided. Would you be okay with them taking your page down, one you’ve worked hard at and one with a lot of followers? How would you feel if 3rd party users, who are not even Facebook employees, started reporting you based on their own beliefs?

It’s important to note that Facebook does seem to allow you to post if you are a brick and mortar, so pet stores, you may be safe… for now.

The same logic applies to animal rescuers, except that rescues are most often not for profit. Facebook doesn’t discriminate though, so if you do rescue (even as a person and not a group), they’ll treat you exactly the same way as they do for animal sales-related posts. What we know is that this will absolutely crush any attempts to re-home or adopt out animals in need.

There are a growing number of animals in need of homes, many of which will actually be put down at kill shelters if not adopted within a 3-5 day period, and with Facebook’s policies in place, it has essentially banned helping animals and their advocates through their platform.

To understand more clearly, I reached out to Jeff Stewart, one of the founders of Sunshine’s Shoulders Rescue in Tenaha, Texas, about their experience. He and his wife run a rescue out of their home. Stewart, like most other rescues, rely on donations from a few people to help feed and give care to their rescues, and while they have a vet that works with them on their bills, sometimes it’s not enough.

Stewart goes on to say that he used to do Facebook fundraisers, but there were two issues that forced him to stop. First, Facebook takes a cut of any fundraiser on Facebook, so if you’re donating to a charity, just know that all of those funds are not going to the charity of your choice and are, in reality, lining Facebook’s pockets. The second reason they stopped was due to Facebook’s declining of their fundraisers. Stewart said, “The past 3 times we have tried to have a fundraiser I have gotten a message telling me that it goes against community standards.”

He goes on to say that “the new [Facebook] policy also prevents us from finding adoptive homes for any of our animals through the FB platform.”

Due to the issues they’ve encountered with the platform, Stewart can no longer take in rescues. They’re costs for dog food alone are upwards of $500/month and their vet bills can get pretty extreme, too, reaching more than $2000 a times (even with the negotiated pricing from the vet). And it’s no wonder why they have to stop. Without the support from Facebook patrons, they’re paying for all rescue products and services 100% out of their own pocket.

To clarify though, Facebook’s policies surrounding rehoming are pretty vague. They strictly say no to “live animals”, but they don’t draw any conclusive lines as to what that could mean for a legitimate rescue who has paid their dues (literally) to become an official nonprofit organization. However, because the power now lies in the hands of the Facebook user, discretion seems to be up to them as to what they deem inappropriate.

Playing devil’s advocate here, there are many animals in need of homes as a direct result of a lack of regulation when it comes to pet ownership and breeding. I definitely agree that these things need to be monitored and regulated, but by censoring content for both entities, Facebook appears to be taking a very strong stance that they don’t want to be involved at all with animal-related content unless it’s funny, cute, or meme-worthy.

Finally, it’s important to know that although Facebook seems to want you to learn what you’re doing wrong, they definitely don’t act like they do. When a user is reported, Facebook will let you know. If you disagree with their assessment, you can appeal it. However, again, there’s no way (no easy way, at least) to talk to a real person. Often times the reported post will come back to the poster with some kind of vague warning that doesn’t go into details on what they did wrong. That means that even when your posts are taken down, you may have no idea as to why.

At the end of the day, Facebook does have the right to choose which policies to include and which to enforce, but it’s pretty clear that they don’t really have an understanding of how any of this is impacting their users.

I have one tip for Facebook: I invite you to take another look at your policies (as well as who’s supporting them and what their agenda is), reporting capabilities, and education on restrictions when reported and to consider lifting some of the bans on animal-related posts, groups, pages, and ads. It’s affecting the livelihoods of thousands of breeders and rescuers worldwide, as well as in-need animals that desperately need a home.

Note: The author has years of experience with breeding bearded dragons as well as marketing, and has unique insight into the aforementioned online niche.

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Opinion Editorials

Relax and refresh with our office life movie list

(EDITORIAL) Whether you are considering a new career path or not we have a movie list to pique your interest, and just maybe motivate as much as they entertain.

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It’s a new year! Woot! Maybe you’re feeling in a work funk and are rethinking your goals and future trajectory. Whether you need something to push you in a new direction, motivate you, make you think about where your career is going, or just to entertain, here are 10 movies about work, work ethic and how we can change our career path by just changing our mind.

Top 10 Movies About Work

1. Glengarry Glen Ross: This take on David Mamet’s play is at the top of the list. If you haven’t seen it, where have you been? If you have, it’s a good one to revisit. This ones got it all raw reality, ego, desperation and some surprising plot twists all with an outstanding cast. If you are in sales, don’t miss this. And, Millennials, take note. You will one day be in the same place as those old fogies – aka Boomers. Oh, and, remember, “Coffee is for closers.”

2. His Gal Friday: An oldie and a goodie with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell as an editor and reporter who worked together, married and then divorced. This slapstick movie is great for a peek inside media, especially journalism, because it shows the lengths that reporters and editors will go to in order to get the scoop. The movie has great dialog and is timeless. It also shows how fast things can move, which is still relevant today especially with social media and the life of a news story moves even faster.

3. Up In The Air: A hatchet man learns his job is being tweaked. He will no longer need to fly, and now the tables are turned and he is unhappy with his fate. This movie can be a challenge to watch if you recently lost a job. But, one lesson learned is that work isn’t everything, so live your life.

4. Office Space: A funny take on work and life and the balance between the two. Regardless of where you are employed, there are rules, regulations and office BS that can be on the one hand completely pathetic and on the other so laughable. It’s always better to laugh, rather than cry. Oh, and do not touch the red stapler.

5. Working Girl: Maybe you missed this one because it dates back to the days when shoulder pads ruled the workplace and women still wore nylons. Melanie Griffith portrays a secretary (remember this is before that changed to assistant) who is great at what she does. She’s got goals and dreams to take her career to the next level. But, she’s not taken seriously at the investment firm where she works. Sigourney Weaver is the boss and she will do whatever she needs to stay on top. Griffith has a twist-of-fate meeting with Harrison Ford, another executive and she takes a chance on herself and her future. This movie has big hair, humor and a love story to boot.

6. Good Will Hunting: Ok. This one isn’t necessarily about work. But, I picked it because it’s an example of what can happen when you let your past hold you back and you don’t pursue your dreams. We have Matt Damon (Will) a janitor at a prestigious university and his friend Ben Affleck, a brick layer. Damon portrays a guy with a rough past who is going through the motions until he has to work with a psychologist played by Robin Williams. He’s forced to consider his past and his future. He has a gift but what will he do? His friend, Affleck, wants him to pursue bigger things, but can Damon let go of his past and embrace his gift?

7. The Devil Wears Prada: Ah, the evil queen and the naïve princess. That may seem like a different story, but it is a similar plot line with a triumphant finish. Anne Hathaway portrays Andrea who is fresh out of school and lands a job at a prestigious fashion magazine. The fact that she had never read the magazine and got the job is beyond surprising, but regardless she lands the job and works for Miranda, played by Meryl Streep. Streep’s character is a Diva and a demanding and horrible boss. She challenges Andrea on multiple levels. Will Andrea become a workaholic like her boss? As they say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

8. 9-to-5: Way before the Me Too movement there was Fonda, Parton and Tomlin as three office employees who are sick and tired of their chauvinistic boss, played by Dabney Coleman. The women begin to plot for revenge and take their boss hostage in his home. In the meantime, they begin making changes at the office.

9. The Pursuit of Happyness: If you think your life is rough, maybe reconsider for a moment. This is a story about a man who was determined. He was pushing forward and as much as he was pushing, it seemed that he couldn’t get ahead. But he was resolved in the belief that he could and would make his life better for himself and his son. There is a great quote that says: “The harder I work, the luckier I am.” This movie shows that out.

10. Rocky: This movie made Sylvester Stallone. He wrote it and that my friends is a great story of tenacity too, because before Rocky Stallone was basically a nobody. Rocky is a nobody boxer who gets the chance to take on the reigning champion, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). He busts his ass and does whatever it takes to get the job done. This is a story of endurance, dedication and taking a chance on yourself.

This list is not comprehensive, but we hope you find inspiration, motivation and some laughs too. And, remember, work is not who you are, it’s what you do. Now, go get some popcorn and candy and take a break.

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