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Open letter to brokers on ending listing syndication

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Brokers pulling listings

We reported last week that San Diego-based Abbot Realty Group (ARG) President and Managing Broker, Jim Abbott released a video on YouTube explaining why their brokerage will no longer permit third party syndication sites like Trulia, Realtor.com and Zillow to syndicate their listings, but will continue to syndicate company listings to their local MLS, Sandicor. ARG’s announcement is the latest in a string of similar developments.

Last fall, AGBeat broke the story that 75 big brokers were rumored to be considering refusal of syndication of their listings, suspecting that others would also follow. ARG’s plea for industry professionals to consider their own syndication and for buyers and sellers to do their homework is a more tangible, public-facing and viral proclamation than other brokers have delivered to date.

Additionally, Milwaukee brokerage Shorewest pulled their real estate listings from syndication last fall. WAV Group Partner, Victor Lund told AGBeat, “As you can see by the graph – Shorewest is the #1 website in their market, and they do not syndicate – proving that brokers and agents do not need to syndicate to drive traffic and leads on their listings. In fact, this may argue that the opposite is true – if you do not syndicate, you provide consumers with an incentive to visit your broker or agent website to find the cheeze. In this case, the cheeze is listing accuracy, comprehensive listing inventory, and most of all, the service of a real estate professional.”

Regarding brokers pulling listings from syndication, Trulia’s company spokesperson, Ken Shuman told AGBeat, “The accessibility of open and accurate listing information benefits everyone in the home buying and selling process–consumers, agents and brokers. We know that Trulia has a transaction-ready consumer audience and we are confident that brokers and agents who syndicate their listings to Trulia have a greater opportunity to meet new clients and close more transactions.”

Open letter:

In a video exclusive to AGBeat, Fred Glick, real estate broker/owner, mortgage broker and co-inventor of RentScoper.com offers his detailed analysis of ARG’s video announcement of their removing listings from third party syndication sites. Glick weighs in with exasperated counterpoints to ARG’s reasons for leaving, including his questioning of the exiting brokers’ motives.


Editorial (op/ed) commentary are the author’s personal opinions only, and not necessarily those of other AG columnists or this publication.

Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

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38 Comments

38 Comments

  1. Rob Beland

    January 31, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    I understand ARG's motivation for their decision to pull listings (regardless of whether or not I agree with their decision) but what is this guy's motivation to make this video? I dont like his tact or his condescending attitude. Is he a competitor of ARG?

  2. Rob Beland

    January 31, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    I also think the title incorrectly describes this as a letter (video) to brokers. This was directed towards consumers…

  3. Matt Walsh

    January 31, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Pretty fair analysis.

    There's a subplot going on here though it seems. It's not todays status quo that terrifies the brokers but what's going to be happening 3-5 years from now. If their existence is even viable.

    The Internet land grab has passed them by and they just have no clue how to halt it before it makes the irrelevant. This pulling out thing seems their only idea to halt it.

  4. Spencer Rascoff

    January 31, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    Fred,
    Fantastic video.

  5. Danny Dietl

    January 31, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    @Rob, I'm with you. He's a bit smug for my taste.

  6. Lame Video

    January 31, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    This video is towards consumers not towards people of my industry. Very condescending, lame and poorly scripted. "Okay real estate agent we are going to learn our A.B.C's and our One Two Three's".

  7. Brad Andersohn

    February 1, 2012 at 12:01 am

    I think sellers will always have a choice as to who will list and market their homes. As a seller myself, I most certainly want my agent/broker/company to place my home in the places/platforms where the greatest percentage of buyer traffic are surfing for property and real estate information.

    • Myleen

      February 1, 2012 at 12:41 am

      Brad I think you're an employee at zillow. I've been reading these threads from other publish articles and it's same style of writing of people that claim their "buyers" and "sellers". But you have to ask yourself do clients really care about this debate amongst RE agents? The answer is no! I spoke with some friends, past clients and family member who were like "huh IDX, Syn-what? Trulia yeah so, Willow cool Movie?"

      Tell the Truth Brad, did Spencer put you up to this?

      • Brad Andersohn

        February 1, 2012 at 9:15 am

        Hi Myleen – with all due respect, I think buyers and sellers DO care about this debate amongst agents because they are the ones that lose and will be affected the most. Have you really been following some of the comments by consumers?

        As a consumer myself, I have personally purchased, sold, and own multiple properties and I'm also a real estate investor. I am currently selling if you're interested and I'm also looking to make a purchase in or around the Napa or Green Valley areas. I'm actually using Zillow's mobile apps on iPad and iPhone to do much of my research.

        23 million unique users visited Zillow in December 2011 which tells me that while you may be correct about your friends not understanding syndication, visitors to Zillow do understand that listed or not, their home is most likely on our site offering data and information that they are finding useful and relevant.

        Yes, I am a full time employee of the Zillow-Yahoo! RE Network, I proudly serve as the outreach manager for the greater US. I'm also an instructor at Zillow Academy, a free virtual education, training, and support center for real estate industry professionals.

        Before that, I spent 23 years in the title industry as a director of executive services helping agents, brokers, lenders, and builders etc. with technology and services to help better serve their clients.

        Oh yeah, and to answer your last question, the only thing Spencer has ever put me up to once he hired me was to reach out and help as many willing and able industry professionals as I possibly can.

    • Rob Beland

      February 1, 2012 at 1:24 am

      The guy in this vid has no business even getting involved w ARG & the decisions they made…putting aside the opinions and which side is being chosen, this guy takes Smug to a new level…Who the hell is he???

  8. Linsey Planeta

    February 1, 2012 at 12:08 am

    I'm still watching this video, but I have to pause to write a comment. This issue about desire for dual agency is silly. To be clear, there is no question that a buyer call directed to me on my listing provides the buyer with the most information about that listing and the desire to showcase it….to SELL it. That is my job. I don't want dual agency and I have alternatives to that with my listings. Does it make sense that a random agent gets this inquiry on a listing? They are qualified to talk about this listing? We know that the agent's primary objective in these scenarios is a buyer lead, NOT to sell that listing. Really, does this serve the seller? C'mon guys. Let's be honest.

  9. Linsey Planeta

    February 1, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Thinking about it further, I get IDX. I'm not opposed to it. And God bless the agents that generate business from it. But really, let's not say that a buyer's agent that gets an inquiry is the same thing as the listing agent fielding these questions. It's not. The level of communication about that individual listing is different. They are not on par with one another. So to say that all of this syndication and IDX exposure serves the seller, is much more muddy that it appears on its surface. The motivation of the agent that gets that inquiry….are you my next buyer paycheck…or would does this home fit your needs, is an entirely different mindset.

  10. Linsey Planeta

    February 1, 2012 at 12:30 am

    Sorry to do it again, but LOL. "Let's give the consumer transparency." Okay, yeah. Let's do that. But on these syndication sites, there isn't transparency. The buyer often thinks they are reaching out to the listing agent. Hell, I'm happy to have transparency, but this ain't it guys.

    I'll give the thread a break. Have at it. 😉

  11. Jared T

    February 1, 2012 at 2:31 am

    As said before this is NOT a video created to reach out to brokers, but is directed towards consumers. unfortunately misdirection in my opinion.

    It was hard for me to watch this video, it might have been long list of titles and credentials that Fred started with (dude I don't care, I still don't know who you are), maybe his smug as$ attitude, or just his whole misinterpretation of Jim Abbots video. (answer all of the above) Maybe Fred is a good guy, but this video wasn't.

    Some of what I saw as misinterpreted, started off with the explanation of "Middle Men". We all know agents are the middle men and women, that wasn't his point. He clearly states that the Syndicators "ACT" as middle men, saying they are not. These sites have valuable information from agents and use this info to sell ad space to other agents to "capture leads". As Jim said in short and long term, they don't prove to be of benefit for the agents, buyers or sellers.

    These sites number one goal isn't to inform consumers of most accurate data, which Jim touches on in his video. I find funny that Fred totally skips certain parts, including that these syndicators are NOT held to strict rules and guidelines, and therefore do have misinformation on these sites. I know I have wasted time re-researching and explain to clients that were misinformed.

    Fred talks about Jim's intentions of Dual Agency, but I don't understand how he can assume that. ARG would have pulled out of the entirely MLS if that was the case. There are many smart and Ethical agents that know how to work dual agency. It always up to BOTH parties to agree to that. In most cases I see it as if the agents is acting as a Escrow between the two parties and not Attorney. I've even met consumers at open house that prefer working directly with the Listing Agent because they believe they could get more information and a better deal.

    When Fred tries to rebut about craigslist, I thought he missed the point totally. Information on these sites are free for anyone to take, scammers have taken this information and used it for False craigslist listings and other types of crimes. Jim never said that the syndicators post directly to craigslist.

    I could probably go on, but this video battle belongs to Jim. What Fred should have pointed out is it would be hard to stop sending listing info to these syndicators unless everyone stops together. Most consumers are not going to understand downfalls of the system, and will continue to visit these sites for the information they do have. These site do attract millions of buyers daily. To stop syndicating to them is like stopping Real Estate Print ads, there is still a consumer base that uses them. So how do you explain to your seller YOU are not doing EVERYTHING you can to be in front of the 1 buyer that wants to buy their house for top dollar. Unless everyone stops, and then consumer will be forced to look to more accurate sources.

  12. Steve Albin

    February 1, 2012 at 6:01 am

    In our area listing already show up on 6,000 web sites that belong to agents, why do you think we have the IDX? Only 2 of the sites are the listing agent sites. How many web site would a property need to be on. TRZ (Turila, Zillow, Realtor.com) are only out for the money and could care less about the agent. Point Zillow is now worth $900,000 Dollars because of you and the bad decisions made by the NAR and your local MLS. Realtor.com pays the NAR per click? Truila is filing there IPO all on your work. In addition Discrimination by the MLS against agents: Discrimination does still exist, The syndication of property listings or properties leaves a class of MLS member Buyers Agents out in the cold. there was no public out cry for TZR no agent out cry so why ….. Money and agent as a whole go along with most anything like cattle. We are the ones killing our own business. Put the Agent back into the center of the transaction the one who have and gives the real estate information, let agent compete with out micro management from the NAR and local Associations.

  13. Ken Brand

    February 1, 2012 at 6:52 am

    Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com are the most visited sites because brokers/agents send them their listings. If the majority of the listing brokers decided to stop sharing their listing data tomorrow, they wouldn't be the most visited sites anymore. The eye-popping traffic these 3rd Party sites are always bragging about (millions of visits) wouldn't decide to not buy or sell, or dream about real estate. Instead they'd simply visit broker/agent sites DIRECTLY. How can that be bad for consumers and broker and agents with listings or an IDX fueled web site.

    As for syndication and exposure, how many IDX broker/agent and public facing MLS sites are there? I imagine there might be hundreds of thousands. I'm pretty sure that today's mighty search engines can point any consumer to any and all the information they need. Sellers wouldn't miss out on any exposure, they'd appear on ever IDX in america.

    Additionally, the millions of dollars spent by brokers and agents enhancing their own listings and lead gen advertising on 3rd Party sites could be used to insure that their web and mobil strategies are modern, relevant and desirable.

    Yes, it's a leap of leadership, faith and belief to be the first pioneers to withdraw, and they might regret it. But if it began to happen in mass, and 3rd Parties only had 75% or 50% of the listings, their traffic relevance would would wain, along with their income and relevance. Instead of 3rd Parties dominating the center of the online-real-estate universe, the originators of the listing data content – brokers and agents, would be.

    My 2 cents.

  14. Rachel LaMar, J.D.

    February 1, 2012 at 9:10 am

    I agree with Ken – none of these 3rd party sites would prosper if we Realtors withdrew our listings from them. They need us to survive. I think it is safe to assume that if these sites went away there may be more cohesive relationships formed between buyers/sellers and agents – if people were directed to agent sites to get all the available information, they may end up trusting the agent whose site they actually use to gather the right information.

    It is frustrating to get calls from people using these 3rd party sites, who have obtained incorrect information (i.e. the property is no longer active, comps/estimates are incorrect, etc.) Many consumers think these sites are always correct with the information they provide – I think this is a disservice to the consumer and sadly, makes Realtors look bad, as the consumer will tend to blame us for the bad information.

    • Fred Romano

      February 1, 2012 at 9:36 am

      The reason so many listings are active that shouldn't be? The agents "on purpose" do not put them under "deposit" when they should so they keep getting leads! This is routine for them, so don't blame the aggregate sites.

      • Ruthmarie

        February 1, 2012 at 4:07 pm

        Why should I help Trulia and Zillow do THEIR JOB??? If they want to be an accurate venue for listings, then let them do so…ON THEIR OWN. I'm not their mother, I'm not their keeper. If they want to be of any value to the consumer they should have a mechanism in place to actually TRACK LISTINGS. Every IDX has to have that mechanism. Why should they be immune? They think its oK to count on over 1 million agents to do their work for them. That is truly hilarious.

        • Fred Romano

          February 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm

          I think you misunderstood me… Trulia and other sites GET their data FROM the MLS, so if the MLS is not correct then Trulia will not be correct. That was my point!

          • Ruthmarie

            February 2, 2012 at 1:40 am

            Ridiculous…Your answer implies that the MLS is as full of inaccuracies as Trulia and Zillow which is absolutely untrue. If they got a feed from the MLS the way IDX does, the issue would not exist. The power of the MLS is that it maintains an accurate database of listings. To that end, there are penalties for not properly updating your listing on the MLS . Agents have to keep it updated or face a ton of fines. Anything that has a direct feed to the MLS such as IDX is updated when the agent changes the data. But the aggregators don't have to play by those rules and do not face such consequences for inaccurate data. Updating appears to be sloppy and haphazard at best.

            Once I've made changes to the MLS I shouldn't have to chase my tail to make sure the lead aggregators have DONE THEIR JOB and changed the listing. Yet I have to do just that. Bottom line, if it can harm the listing or sale for the wrong information to be out there, I deal with it. A price reduction that wasn't recorded by an aggregator would be an example of something that I have to chase down and deal with. If it isn't something that can harm my client – guess what? I don't CARE if the aggregator hasn't changed it and have better things to do than to ensure the accuracy of a competitor's database.

          • Linsey Planeta

            February 2, 2012 at 1:47 am

            I don't see the Reply button under Ruthmarie's comment, but I just have to chime in here. The MLS is littered with inaccuracies! The most recent email from my board was to let me know of the biggest offense they are finding these days…the wrong Assessor's Parcel Number! Really, something as important as the APN?! This doesn't touch the myriad of other inaccuracies I run across daily. I know that we love to give the impression that the MLS data is holier than thou, but that is just simply not the case.

          • Brad Andersohn

            February 2, 2012 at 11:08 am

            In response to Ruthmarie: (there's no reply button)

            I can't speak or explain the process for the other companies but regarding listings on Zillow, Fred was making the point that incorrect information provided to us through a feed will be the same in both locations. We do not alter or edit the information that comes from your feed/MLS in any way.

            Let me explain.

            All of our listing information comes from partners who feed us their listings, such as MLS’s, brokerages and individual agents. Zillow obtains listings from multiple sources which could also include a direct agent feed, broker/franchise feed, a MLS feed, and third party syndicators etc. We are always working with all of our partners to improve listings accuracy.

            The other point I want to make is that if an agent updates their website or blog or even the MLS where the listing is originally hosted, but they don't update the source (feed) that comes to Zillow, then there is no way for us to update the status of that property.

            Example: Maybe the feed is coming from the broker/office? Every listing on Zillow shows the listing agent and the source of how it's coming to us. Every agent I've ever talked to and shown them this says "Oh, I didn't know that was there."

            As I stated earlier, we don't edit or alter agents/sellers listings but they certainly can, and they only need to do that ONCE at the source level.

            I also think it's important agents know that we update ALL feeds on our or site daily so any updates or edits you make to your listings (at the source) are updated on Zillow that same day.

            Feel free to contact me or call if you have any questions. I know you've reached out to me on AR in the past, the door here at Zillow is always open to you too if you need. Thanks 🙂

  15. Fred Romano

    February 1, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Great video response Fred! I completely agree — seems to be all about wanting to "double deal" the listing and make the whole commission… How does that benefit the buyer or the seller? It doesn't — It only benefits the listing broker, which is why they pulled out of syndicating. I really think this is going to backfire for them…

    but I also understand the the other side — not wanting to pay Realtor.com, Trulia, or Zillow for expensive "enhanced services" to get more of "my own" leads, and I think they are way too costly and something should be done to make them more reasonably priced.

    This scenario is not unlike the MLS… We pay money to them to get our listings exposed right? So how is paying Realtor.com any different? They are one of the top 3 right? And as is everything, pay to play.

    As for my company, we will continue to syndicate because that's what sellers expect from us — "give me the most exposure" they say. That's what we do.

  16. RealEstate_Mktg

    February 1, 2012 at 10:05 am

    A lot of good, well though out points have been made in this thread. Both videos by the execs of ARG and RentScoper.com also contain some valid points, and some stretches of the imagination.

    Just as it always does, this argument comes down to money. Of course the broker/owner of a real estate site would rather have buyers looking on his site than a national site. AND of course the owner and co-inventor of RentScoper.com (a site that scrapes RE sites for data) wants to be allowed to continue practicing his business. Money, money, money.

    Just so it's clear who I am, I work for a real estate company in Dallas/Fort Worth on the marketing and business development side. I am not a licensed agent.

    Whatever side of the fence you come down on in this debate is going to directly relate to your personal and business goals. Both of the videos talk about the consumer and what's best for them. That is great in theory. But in reality, whether we have huge syndication sites or not, consumers will always have a place to go and get very accurate information. The battle is not for them, it's for $$$$.

    I do believe that TODAY ARG's decision to remove it's listing from those huge sites could hurt his home sellers. However, If brokers and owners around the country could be convinced to follow suit, then the home sellers wouldn't be hurt at all. I admire what ARG has done; it's hard to be first.

  17. Ruthmarie

    February 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    I agree with Real_EstateMktg – Everything always comes down to money.

    Please note, that I am mostly a buyers agent – although about 25% of my work is on the listing side.
    So as a buyers agent – I tend to be on the losing side because I can't promote a lot of listings. However, I certainly am not willing to pay the extortionary rates that Zillow and Trulia want to charge to have my mug on other people's listings. Further, the bigger anyone lets them become – the more $$$ they can charge. So my vested interest is to keep their hands out of my pockets. Fred Glick also has a vested interest in his RentScooper site which Real_EstateMktg correctly asserts is a scraper site that would be impacted very negatively if agents pulled data from aggregators.

    These large aggregators are always calling trying to get me to buy this or that. I always say "NO!" I have a site with IDX and these people are simply in my way. They are my competition not my friend. The last time I responded in this way, the salesperson from Trulia DRIPPING with sarcasm responded…"So YOU think that you can possibly compete with the millions of people WE draw in EVERYDAY??" First of all, when I looked at my last few listings, my web pages got more click throughs than Zillow for the listing. So yes, on a long tail search – apparently I CAN compete. Second, this type of hubris is wearing thin with brokers particularly since the information is not accurate and aggregators are not held to the same standards of accuracy that the MLS and supported IDX searches are. It also indicates that they are going to squeeze agents and brokers for more and more $$$ – That extra overhead will eventually have to be passed along to the consumer.

    But in all things we have to ask the question….What exactly do these sites do for the consumer?

    The answer is that these sites do absolutely NOTHING for he consumer. And in the end they do NOTHING for the agent either. If they disappeared tomorrow, the consumer would rediscover IDX – and they might (GASP!!!) get ACCURATE information right off the bat. How terrible for them! Aggregators pull in consumers because they crowd out agent and broker sites that offer more real value.

    In the end, I have nothing against middle men – heck I am one. But the middle man has to serve a USEFUL function. Lead aggregators really don't do that.

  18. Chris Speicher

    February 1, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Bottom line (for me) is this… I have ONE GOAL for my (listing) clients: Sell their home for the most amount of money in the shortest period of time. Period. If websites like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, RE/MAX, Century 21, CB, ARG and every one else (we can argue the finer points of IDX vs. aggregator, but they're presenting the same information with different calls-to-action) helps me do that, I say to them: Thank you. Thank you for helping me provided superior service to my clients.

  19. Kevin Lisota

    February 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Thanks for the video Fred. Totally agree.

    I can't believe how many brokers in our industry are placing blame for inaccurate listing data on sites like Trulia and Zillow. That blame lies squarely with you, the agents and brokerages who have listings. There are plenty of tools to feed these sites with the correct/updated listing data, and the tools are free. If you believe the MLS is wonderfully accurate, spend an afternoon with it to see how many mistakes and omissions there are. The quality of real estate listing data is the fault of lazy or disorganized agents.

    To the agents who believe that removing your listings from these sites is going to send consumers to your own site, think again. Buyers and sellers enjoy using these sites because they contain information that is useful AND the sites are well-designed and easy to use on a PC and mobile devices. Unless you've got a very compelling website (99% of you do not) and have the technical resources to keep improving it, consumers will stick with what they like for home research.

    We are active advertisers on Zillow at the moment, and speaking from our own experience, it is clear that the site does help consumers find valuable information. Sometimes that is info about a property and other times it is a way to connect with an agent. Do inquiries about a particular property lead directly to a sale of that property? Maybe, maybe not, but that is true for all real estate advertising. A yard sign can lead to the sale of a house or just a lead for an agent if they choose a different property.

    Personally I think that our duty to sellers is to advertise their home to the widest audience possible. That has limits, as some sites are of marginal quality and don't provide tangible results. However, in our market, it is clear that Zillow/Trulia play a role in the home search, and we'd be doing our sellers a disservice by not placing their listings there.

    • Ruthmarie

      February 2, 2012 at 1:55 am

      Once again it should be the AGGREGATORS job to ensure that the listings are updated. Agents should not have to lift a finger in that regard once the MLS is updated. Most MLS data is accurate. Sure, there are mistakes, but the holes in the data are generally minor because of the penalties involved if the data isn't up-to-date. Now – I have all sorts of issues with the way agents present listings on the MLS such as sloppy photography and a cliches galore in the description. But that's another issue altogether. Nevertheless, by and large when something goes into contract or there is a price change or other status change, the information is accurately updated in a timely manner.

      When I research what buyers pull from third party sites and compare it to the MLS – I find that the data is a long, long, long way from accurate reflection of the data on the MLS. Whose to blame for that?? The aggregators!!! Job one should be finding ways to ensure the data is accurate and up-to-date. But that's not it at all. They are all about eyeballs – accuracy and "substantive value are secondary.

      • Linsey Planeta

        February 2, 2012 at 2:01 am

        I won't disagree with you. But the reason for my comment is really about making sure that we don't create the impression that the MLS is some paragon of data accuracy. There's just a long way to go there, too.

  20. Curtis Lee

    February 1, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    I don't know if Mr. Glick is a REALTOR or not but has he considered the Code of Ethics
    Article 15
    REALTORS® shall not knowingly or recklessly make false or misleading statements about competitors, their businesses, or their business practices.
    By blatantly implying Mr. Abbott's motive is to double deal via dual agency and not what Mr. Abbott clearly states it is, he's making misleading statements with NO basis.
    Where I'm not sure I totally agree with Mr. Abbott, I can understand him point of view and have no doubt he means what he says.

  21. Fred Glick

    February 2, 2012 at 8:24 am

    Yes,

    I am here and I will be happy to chime in.

    1. I am happy to comment on anything specific within Abbott's video. It seems that some people don't have the patience to watch a video of more than 2 minute. 11 killed me, but I did it because this was important. Please leave your specific questions and I will answer them.

    2. Thanks to those that agreed with me, of course and thanks to those that disagreed. But, for those that disagreed, please not, that I am available in this post, by email fred at fredglick dot come or even by phone 215 852 4469 to talk about it. I like a full and complete discussion and even a debate.

    3. About a debate, I would love to have a live video webinar debate with Mr. Abbott over syndication and dual agency. He has said NOTHING since my video came out about dual agency. What a surprise!

    Let's keep it going!

    • Fred Romano

      February 2, 2012 at 11:26 am

      Wish there was a "like" button for comments!

    • BS@Con

      February 2, 2012 at 11:51 pm

      Fred,

      it looks to me your great video was not popular but someone else did a "Rock" solid rebuttal to it. Just click on my name above since linking is not allowed. Please go to min 4:49 for the real point to the message if you don't want to see the whole video.

      Sincerely,

      BS@Con

  22. Julie Tuggle

    February 4, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Fred's article is spot-on. I don't know of any agents who promote the advantages of dual or designated buyer agency representation to consumers. If they did, I think agents would find out very quickly that who their agent represents matters to consumers very much. But because almost all agents start out exclusively representing either the buyer or the seller, the discussion about dual agency doesn't come up until later, if at all. The 2011 LegalScan report, based on responses from real estate commissioners and brokers, identified concerns about agency disclosure as one of the top three legal issues for the industry.

    Not surprisingly, with the increasing inventory of foreclosure and short sale properties, legal disputes over property disclosure is number one. And the following article makes a good argument for why it's not just buyers who may suffer the consequences when agents and sellers haven't properly disclosed property defects or dual agency to buyers – the legal liability for these risky disclosure oversights lies with the broker: https://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/feature/article/2011/10/riskiest-business .

  23. Richard Iarossi

    March 11, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    If Realtor.com, Zillow.com and Trulia.com all disappeared tomorrow, does anybody think that their traffic will disappear too? If it does than people visiting their sites aren’t real buyers and sellers.

  24. ntonline

    August 26, 2012 at 12:48 am

    I believe Fred Glick is entitled to his opinion.  However, he should look into the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association Of Realtors ® before stating his opinion at the expense of another Realtor.  More specifically, he should review Standard of Practice 15-2, which can be viewed at https://goo.gl/iKizb.  In my opinion, Fred Glick is just one of the reason Realtors earn bad reputations.

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Business News

Big retailers are opting for refunds instead of returns

(BUSINESS NEWS) Due to increased shipping costs, big companies like Amazon and Walmart are opting to give out a refund rather than accepting small items returned.

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Package delivery people holding deliveries. Refund instead of returns are common now.

The holidays are over, and now some people are ready to return an item that didn’t quite work out or wasn’t on their Christmas list. Whatever the reason, some retailers are giving customers a refund and letting them keep the product, too.

When Vancouver, Washington resident, Lorie Anderson, tried returning makeup from Target and batteries from Walmart she had purchased online, the retailers told her she could keep or donate the products. “They were inexpensive, and it wouldn’t make much financial sense to return them by mail,” said Ms. Anderson, 38. “It’s a hassle to pack up the box and drop it at the post office or UPS. This was one less thing I had to worry about.”

Amazon.com Inc., Walmart Inc., and other companies are changing the way they handle returns this year, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The companies are using artificial intelligence (AI) to weigh the costs of processing physical returns versus just issuing a refund and having customers keep the item.

For instance, if it costs more to ship an inexpensive or larger item than it is to refund the purchase price, companies are giving customers a refund and telling them to keep the products also. Due to an increase in online shopping, it makes sense for companies to change how they manage returns.

Locus Robotics chief executive Rick Faulk told the Journal that the biggest expense when it comes to processing returns is shipping costs. “Returning to a store is significantly cheaper because the retailer can save the freight, which can run 15% to 20% of the cost,” Faulk said.

But, returning products to physical stores isn’t something a lot of people are wanting to do. According to the return processing firm Narvar, online returns increased by 70% in 2020. With people still hunkered down because of the pandemic, changing how to handle returns is a good thing for companies to consider to reduce shipping expenses.

While it might be nice to keep the makeup or batteries for free, don’t expect to return that new PS5 and get to keep it for free, too. According to WSJ, a Walmart spokesperson said the company lets someone keep a refunded item only if the company doesn’t plan on reselling it. And, besides taking the economic costs into consideration, the companies look at the customer’s purchase history as well.

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Google workers have formed company’s first labor union

(BUSINESS NEWS) A number of Google employees have agreed to commit 1% of their salary to labor union dues to support employee activism and fight workplace discrimination.

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Google complex with human sized chessboard, where a labor union has been formed.

On Monday morning, Google workers announced that they have formed a union with the support of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the largest communications and media labor union in the U.S.

The new union, Alphabet Workers Union (AWU) was organized in secret for about a year and formed to support employee activism, and fight discrimination and unfairness in the workplace.

“From fighting the ‘real names’ policy, to opposing Project Maven, to protesting the egregious, multi-million dollar payouts that have been given to executives who’ve committed sexual harassment, we’ve seen first-hand that Alphabet responds when we act collectively. Our new union provides a sustainable structure to ensure that our shared values as Alphabet employees are respected even after the headlines fade,” stated Program Manager Nicki Anselmo in a press release.

AWU is the first union in the company’s history, and it is open to all employees and contractors at any Alphabet company in the United States and Canada. The cost of membership is 1% of an employee’s total compensation, and the money collected will be used to fund the union organization.

In a response to the announcement, Google’s Director of People Operations, Kara Silverstein, said, “We’ve always worked hard to create a supportive and rewarding workplace for our workforce. Of course, our employees have protected labor rights that we support. But as we’ve always done, we’ll continue engaging directly with all our employees.”

Unlike other labor unions, the AWU is considered a “Minority Union”. This means it doesn’t need formal recognition from the National Labor Relations Board. However, it also means Alphabet can’t be forced to meet the union’s demands until a majority of employees support it.

So far, the number of members in the union represents a very small portion of Google’s workforce, but it’s growing every day. When the news of the union was first announced on Monday, roughly 230 employees made up the union. Less than 24 hours later, there were 400 employees in the union, and now that number jumped to over 500 employees.

Unions among Silicon Valley’s tech giants are rare, but labor activism is slowly picking up speed, especially with more workers speaking out and organizing.

“The Alphabet Workers Union will be the structure that ensures Google workers can actively push for real changes at the company, from the kinds of contracts Google accepts to employee classification to wage and compensation issues. All issues relevant to Google as a workplace will be the purview of the union and its members,” stated the AWU in a press release.

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Ticketmaster caught red-handed hacking, hit with major fines

(BUSINESS NEWS) Ticketmaster has agreed to pay $10 million to resolve criminal charges after hacking into a competitor’s network specifically to sabotage.

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Person open on hacking computer screen, typing on keyboard.

Live Nation’s Ticketmaster agreed to pay $10 million to resolve criminal charges after admitting to hacking into a competitor’s network and scheming to “choke off” the ticket seller company and “cut [victim company] off at the knees”.

Ticketmaster admitted hiring former employee, Stephen Mead, from startup rival CrowdSurge (which merged with Songkick) in 2013. In 2012, Mead signed a separation agreement to keep his previous company’s information confidential. When he joined Live Nation, Mead provided that confidential information to the former head of the Artist Services division, Zeeshan Zaidi, and other Ticketmaster employees. The hacking information shared with the company included usernames, passwords, data analytics, and other insider secrets.

“When employees walk out of one company and into another, it’s illegal for them to take proprietary information with them. Ticketmaster used stolen information to gain an advantage over its competition, and then promoted the employees who broke the law. This investigation is a perfect example of why these laws exist – to protect consumers from being cheated in what should be a fair market place,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.

In January 2014, Mead gave a Ticketmaster executive multiple sets of login information to Toolboxes, the competitor’s password-protected app that provides real-time data about tickets sold through the company. Later, at an Artists Services Summit, Mead logged into a Toolbox and demonstrated the product to Live Nation and Ticketmaster employees. Information collected from the Toolboxes were used to “benchmark” Ticketmaster’s offerings against the competitor.

“Ticketmaster employees repeatedly – and illegally – accessed a competitor’s computers without authorization using stolen passwords to unlawfully collect business intelligence,” said Acting U.S. Attorney DuCharme in a statement. “Further, Ticketmaster’s employees brazenly held a division-wide ‘summit’ at which the stolen passwords were used to access the victim company’s computers, as if that were an appropriate business tactic.”

The hacking violations were first reported in 2017 when CrowdSurge sued Live Nation for antitrust violations. A spokesperson told The Verge, “Ticketmaster terminated both Zaidi and Mead in 2017, after their conduct came to light. Their actions violated our corporate policies and were inconsistent with our values. We are pleased that this matter is now resolved.”

To resolve the case, Ticketmaster will pay a $10 million criminal penalty, create a compliance and ethics program, and report to the United States Attorney’s Office annually during a three-year term. If the agreement is breached, Ticketmaster will be charged with: “One count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, one count of computer intrusion for commercial advantage, one count of computer intrusion in furtherance of fraud, one count of wire fraud conspiracy and one count of wire fraud.”

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