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NAR Losing The PR Battle?

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Does This Yun Make You Look Fat?

NAR headquarters
NAR Headquarters
photo credit: dannyfowler


As a member of NAR, the bottom line is that it is a marriage. Some days we agree on everything and run along like a happy couple, other days, I look at the dress and think, yes, it does make you look fat- suddenly it blurts out of my brain through my mouth before I can take it back- today is one of those days…

I am reading a blog post in the Wall Street Journal and as I read down towards the comments I grow more and more alarmed at what the damage to the association may really be. As it goes, I try really hard to see the both sides of every coin but in this instance, it is getting harder and harder to believe NAR has a chance of regaining much credibility unless they make major change in the ranks at NAR, right now.

Sand is Slipping Through The Hourglass

It may be time for NAR to take a look at the source of the controversy in which it lost its position as “fact” in the real estate arena and once and for all acknowledge it and cut the losses.

As We All See It

Yes, NAR, Mr. Yun makes you look fat. Mr. Yun is fantastic at measuring statistics, but as a voice, he no longer has one. It may be time to move Mr. Yun to a new post within the same division and allow someone with a fresh voice to lead the conversation. It is now time to step up, clear the slate and regain control of the conversation before it’s too late.

Sigh…

I do not make these types of suggestions lightly. With all due respect to NAR, all you need to do is take a read of the comments in this Wall Street Journal post to realize that what consumers are reading is fast becoming “fact,” regardless of the truth.

My Suggestions:

  • Cut Yun from the public eye (Publicly remove him)
  • Replace Yun with a person of credibility with likable qualities
  • Regroup your public relations forces and enter into the media mainstream
  • Retool your online team to engage blogs, websites, and other forums where consumers congregate
  • Create and Social Media Marketing Team of outsiders to guide you

What is “Social Media” and why am I right?

(source wikipedia)

Social Media Expanded Definition: Social Media is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into content publishers. It is the shift from a broadcast mechanism to a many-to-many model, rooted in conversations between authors, people, and peers.

Social media uses the “wisdom of crowds” to connect information in a collaborative manner. Social media can take many different forms, including Internet forums, message boards, weblogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures and video. Technologies such as blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, group creation and voice over IP, to name a few…

I’m right because what is on television is no longer perceived as truth, what is found online is, and if you are not out in popular sources of media, only a fraction of consumers are hearing your message. If you need further proof, simply read the comments to this blog post and search around in other popular consumer media centers and you’ll quickly understand what we’re seeing.

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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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Chris Lengquist

    January 29, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    Benn, love ya’ bud. But don’t agree with ripping the NAR on this point. (Though I do love to rip the NAR) Reading the article and through the comments shows a complete lack of understanding as to how housing can and should be used as an investment.

    But first, your personal home is just that. It’s a home. Not an investment.

    Second, buying investment real estate on speculation and not sound fundamentals will only lead to trouble, if only eventually.

    And lastly, I loved the comment by the professor that said, and I quote, “That’s insane. If one of my students made that calculation, I would fail them.”

    Why? Because they also did not take into account depreciation? Or cash flow before taxes. Or was it because they forgot to calculate principal reduction? I’m confused.

    Yes, there are closing costs. Maintenance. Agent fees. Leasing expenses. So figure those in. I’ll bet you find it exceeds the stock market. In fact, I’m confident of it.

    Want to see my wife’s 401K?

    Now the fact that the NAR has completely glossed over the downturn in much of the country is part of the problem. Just like it was part of the problem when they wouldn’t recognize the fact that appreciation was happening at unsustainable rates for a few years.

  2. Benn Rosales

    January 29, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    Chris, and it wouldn’t be lovely if someone named Chris logged into that blog and millions of others and said “hi, this is Chris from N.A.R. and stated just exactly what you did and engaged the conversation. You’ve only made my point, Mr. Man!

  3. Chris Lengquist

    January 29, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    LOL.

  4. David

    March 7, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Great Post: check out: https://lawrenceyunwatch.blogspot.com

  5. Sunny Jim

    March 19, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    The NAR engages in the despicable practice of jiggering their sales numbers to deceive buyers. This is not true only of their overall phony forecasts, but in delisting/relisting actual homes for sale to rig the “original” price and days on market.

    Because this is an important and newsworthy practice, I will cite a single and newsworthy example: the home of the NAR president. In 2006, the WaPo ran a story how the home of the NAR president was not selling. The paper-money blog picked this up and did some online price investigation. From the WaPo story and a simple Google search, let’s look at the business practice of delisting/reslisting using the newsworthy example of the NAR president:

    Purchase price (2001): $1.3 million.
    Assessed value (2005): $2.6 million.
    Original asking price (2006): $1.95 million.
    Reduced asking price (2006): $1.45 million.
    Really reduced, current price (2008): $1.2 million.

    Yet Redfin says that the “original” price is $1,285,000 when the true original price is $1.95 million from two years ago, as stated in the 2006 WaPo article. And in spite of sitting unsold for over two years, Redfin lists this as active for only 159 days.

    So realtors can and do jigger the “original” price and the days on market precisely through this delisting/relisting mechanism.

    Buyer beware. And thank goodness for the web — let’s all look forward to the near future when Google and others make the MLSP obsolete and reduce transaction fees from 6 percent to less than 1 percent.

  6. Bob

    March 20, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Benn, I have been calling for Yun’s removal for sometime. Thanks for speaking up. It starts with credibility and as long as Yun has a voice, NAR has none.

    Sunny Jim, some MLS systems no longer allow for cancelling and then immediately relisting a property to manipulate market time.

  7. Hunter Jackson

    July 2, 2008 at 8:59 am

    I agree completely. Cut Yun from the public eye. He is the one everyone quotes and laughs. I am very interested to see how the Nar lawsuit judgment will start to affect everyone…

  8. John

    February 4, 2009 at 3:37 am

    The National Association of Realtors is a group of shameless liars. The cat is already out of the bag and isn’t going back in.

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Opinion Editorials

9 ways to be more LGBTQIA+ inclusive at work

(OPINION EDITORIALS) With more and more people joining the LGBTQIA+ community it’d do one well to think about ways to extend inclusiveness at work.

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LGBTQIA+ people may have won marriage equality in 2015, but this momentous victory didn’t mean that discrimination was over. Queer and LGBTQIA+ identified people still have to deal with discrimination and not being in a work environment that supports their identities.

Workplace inclusivity may sound like the hottest new business jargon term on the block, but it actually just a professional way of making sure that everyone feels like a valued team member at the office. Business psychologists have found when people are happy to go to work, they are 12 percent more productive.

Making your business environment a supportive one for the queer community means you’re respecting employees and improving their workplace experience.

Here’s nine ways you can make your workplace more inclusive for LGBTQIA+ people.

1) Learn the basics.
If you’re wanting to make your workplace more open to LGBTQIA+ people, it’s best to know what you’re talking about. Firstly, the acronym LGBTQIA+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual and the plus encompassing other identities not named; there are many variants on the acronym. Sexual orientations (like lesbian, gay, bisexual) are not the same as gender identities.

Transgender means that that person “seeks to align their gender expression with their gender identity, rather than the sex they were assigned at birth.” Cisgender means a person identifies with the sex they were assigned at birth. If you need a more comprehensive rundown about sexual orientation, gender identity, and the like, visit the GLAAD reference guide.

2) Stop using the word “gay” as an insult.
Or insinuating people you don’t like are “gay” together. This is the most basic thing that can be done for workplace inclusivity regarding the queer community. Anything that actively says that LGBTQIA+ people are “lesser” than their straight counterparts can hurt the queer people on your team and make them not feel welcome. It’s not cool.

3) Don’t make jokes that involve the LGBTQIA+ community as a punchline.
It’s not cute to make a “funny quip” about pronouns or to call someone a lesbian because of their outfit. This kind of language makes people feel unwanted in the workplace, but many won’t be able to speak up due to the lack of protections about LGBTQIA+ identities in anti-discrimination statutes. So stop it.

4) Support your colleagues.
If you’re in a situation and hear negative or inappropriate talk regarding the LGBTQIA+ community, stick up for your co-workers. Even if they’re not there, by simply expressing that what was said or done was inappropriate, you’re helping make your workplace more inclusive.

5) Avoid the super probing questions.
It’s okay to talk relationships and life with coworkers, but it can cross a line. If you have a transgender colleague, it’s never going to be appropriate to pry about their choices regarding their gender identity, especially since these questions revolve around their body.

If you have a colleague who has a differing sexual orientation than yours, questions about “how sex works” or any invasive relationship question (“are you the bride or the groom”) is going to hurt the welcomeness of your office space. Just don’t do it.

6) Written pronoun clarity is for everyone!
One thing that many LGBTQIA+ people may do is add their pronouns to their business card, email signature, or name badge for clarity. If you’re cisgender, adding your pronouns to these things can offer support and normalize this practice for the LGBTQIA+ community. Not only does it make sure that you are addressed correctly, you’re validating the fact that it’s an important business practice for everyone to follow.

7) Tokens are for board games, not for people.
LGBTQIA+ people are often proud of who they are and for overcoming adversity regarding their identity. However, it’s never ever going to be okay to just reduce them to the token “transgender colleague” or the “bisexual guy.”

Queer people do not exist to earn you a pat on the back for being inclusive, nor do they exist to give the final word on marketing campaigns for “their demographic.” They’re people just like you who have unique perspectives and feelings. Don’t reduce them just to a token.

8) Bathroom usage is about the person using the bathroom, not you.
An individual will make the choice of what bathroom to use, it does not need commentary. If you feel like they “don’t belong” in the bathroom you’re in due to their gender presentation, don’t worry about it and move on. They made the right choice for them.

An easy way to make restroom worries go away is creating gender neutral restrooms. Not only can they shorten lines, they can offer support for transgender, nonbinary, or other LGBTQIA+ people who just need to go as much as you do.

9) Learn from your mistakes.
Everyone will slip up during their journey to make their workplace more inclusive. If you didn’t use the correct pronouns for your non-binary colleague or misgender someone during a presentation, apologize to them, correct yourself, and do better next time. The worst thing to do is if someone corrects you is for you to shut down or get angry. An open ear and an open heart is the best way to make your work environment supportive for all.

The workplace can be a supportive environment for LGBTQIA+ people, or it could be a hurtful one, depending on the specific culture of the institution. But with some easy changes, it can be a space in which queer and LGBTQIA+ people can feel respected and appreciated.

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Opinion Editorials

“Starting a business is easy,” said only one guy ever

(OPNION EDITORIAL) Between following rules, finding funding, and gathering research, no business succeeds without lifting a finger.

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While browsing business articles this week, I came across this one, “Top 10 Business Ideas You Can Start for Free With Barely Lifting a Finger.” These types of articles make me mad. I can’t think of many successful freelancers or entrepreneurs who don’t put in hours of blood, sweat and tears to get a business going.

The author of the article is Murray Newlands, a “VIP Contributor.” Essentially, he’s a freelancer because he also contributes to Forbes, HuffPro and others. He’s the founder of ChattyPeople.com, which is important, because it’s the first business idea he promotes in the article.

But when I pull up his other articles on Entrepreneur.com, I see others like “How to Get Famous and Make Money on YouTube,” “Win Like A Targaryen: 10 Businesses You Can Start for Free,” and “10 Ventures Young Entrepreneurs Can Start for Cheap or Free.”

I seriously cannot believe that Entrepreneur.com keeps paying for the same ideas over and over.

The business ideas that are suggested are pretty varied. One suggestion is to offer online classes. I wonder if Newlands considered how long it takes to put together a worthy curriculum and how much effort goes into marketing said course.

Then, you have to work out the bugs, because users will have problems. How do you keep someone from stealing your work? What happens when you have a dispute?

Newlands suggests that you could start a blog. It’s pretty competitive these days. The most successful bloggers are ones that really work on their blog, every day. The bloggers have a brand, offer relevant content and are ethical in how they get traffic.

Think it’s easy? Better try again.

I could go on. Every idea he puts up there is a decent idea, but if he thinks it will increase your bottom line without a lot of hard work and effort, he’s delusional.

Today’s entrepreneurs need a plan. They need to work that plan, rethink it and keep working. They have to worry about liability, marketing and keeping up with technologies.

Being an entrepreneur is rewarding, but it’s hard work. It is incredibly inappropriate and grossly negligent to encourage someone to risk everything they have and are on the premise of not lifting a finger.

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Opinion Editorials

Why freelancers should know their worth

(OPINION EDITORIAL) Money is always an awkward talking point and can be difficult for freelancers to state their worth.

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Recently, I delved into what I’ve learned since becoming a freelancer. However, I neglected to mention one of the most difficult lessons to learn, which was something that presented itself to me rather quickly.

“What is your fee for services?” was not a question I had prepared myself for. When it came to hourly rates, I was accustomed to being told what I would make and accepting that as my worth.

This is a concept that needs multiple components to be taken into consideration. You need to evaluate the services you’re providing, the timeliness in which you can accomplish said services, and your level of expertise.

Dorie Clark of the Harvard Business Review believes that freelancers should be charging clients more than what they think they’re worth. The price you give to your clients is worth quite a bit, itself.

Underpricing can send a bad message to your potential clients. If they’re in the market for your services, odds are they are comparing prices from a few other places.

Having too low of a number can put up a red flag to clients that you may be under-experienced. What you’re pricing should correlate with quality and value; set a number that shows you do good work and value that work.

Clark suggests developing a network of trustworthy confidants that you can bounce ideas off of, including price points. Having an idea of what other people in your shoes are doing can help you feel more comfortable when it comes to increasing prices.

And, for increasing prices, it is not something that is going to just happen on its own. It’s highly unlikely for a client to say, “you know what, I think I’ll give you a raise!”

It’s important to never take advantage of any client, but it’s especially important to show loyalty to the ones that have always been loyal to you. Test the waters of price increasing by keeping your prices lower for clients that have always been there, but then try raising prices as you take on new clients.

At the end of the day, keep in mind that you are doing this work to support yourself and, theoretically, because you’re good at it. Make sure you’re putting an appropriate price tag on that value.

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