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More DUH Moments in Online Real Estate

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I don’t know about you, but we’ve been hearing about so many people getting scammed on-line with vacation and regular rentals and I hate to point a finger, but most of them are coming from Craigslist.

People finding agents and sending deposits to then find themselves with arms up in the air wondering what they were thinking.  DUH!!  In Miami we have another type of scam, this one not so serious, but very common nonetheless.  We have agents advertising our listings on Craigslist even if the MLS reads “do not advertise“.  We used to love for other agents to advertise for us until we found ourselves showing up to our listings and the clients would express feeling cheated thinking the listing belonged to the person advertising on Craigslist.

Today we hit a new high – an agent advertising one of our “do not advertise” rental listings, calling us to bug us about 15 times per day, doing everything wrong and after having an executed Lease loosing the client over amateur incompetency.  We found out because after the prospective tenant walked, they called us directly to help them out.  The prospect had been reading Miamism and didn’t know it was our listing, and after getting fed up with her agent, ended up finding out that the listing was ours to begin with.

I know the logistics can be complicated – but can’t we do something about these Internet scams?  Unqualified agents not only making our lives impossible, but making us and our clients loose time as well.  I’m so over it!  May listen to my friend now and open up Ineslist.com……NOT!

The worst part is that even though this is a rant about incompetency and wasting time, it ultimately is about misinterpretation of information which hurts the client directly.   I still try to understand the logic behind people who don’t want to work with agents, choose to be unrepresented and end up getting cheated.

Rant over

Disclosure:  my dis is not against Craigslist directly, but those that choose to misuse the medium

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors Miamism.com, PrimeMiamiBeach.com, and MiamismPix.com and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Joe Loomer

    October 13, 2009 at 7:16 am

    I guess the broker reciprocity rules must be different down there, Ines. Here listings have the option of “IDX share” yes or no. Not sure if that would prevent what’s happening there. Assume you’ve gone the regular route of complaining to the agents’ brokers, so I won’t bother suggesting that avenue.

    Is this something the Florida Real Estate Commission should be aware of?

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  2. Mack Perry

    October 13, 2009 at 8:14 am

    If memory serves me correctly, and at my age that is somewhat difficult, I believe it is an ethics violation to advertise another agent’s listing without written permission from the listing broker.

  3. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    October 13, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Joe, the rule here is to check the MLS and see if it reads “OK to advertise” or “NOT” and in this case it is a no and agent violated that. We have complained to the brokers in many instances but it is getting old, happens too often and don’t have time to police our listings on Craigslist. I do think it’s an issue the Florida Real Estate Commission should be aware of though.

    mack – you don’t need written permission, but need to check the MLS for what the agent allows.

  4. Keith Lutz

    October 13, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Just like there are all those social links and links for reporting spam, someone needs to come up with a link that reports back to the proper MLS board violatiors. Sounds do-able, but beyond any skill-set I have.

  5. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    October 13, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Keith, I think that’s exactly it – if they would make it easier to report, then more people would take the time.

  6. Paula Henry

    October 14, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Ines – I have had people call me devastated they were ripped off by someone advertising a rental and know Realtor’s whose listings are being used as bait. With all the advertising venues out there, it would be hard to track.

    In Indy, our board does have a report violation link on each MLS page, but outside the MLS, it’s almost impossible to catch everyone who might be advertising another agents listing. It really comes down to ethics. People are ethical or not, unfortunately.

  7. Matt Thomson

    October 14, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Seth Godin wrote a good blog about “What if Craigslist cost $1.” Would solve that type of problem, but I suppose they’d just find somewhere else to advertise. Here in the Seattle area, our MLS levies a pretty good fine if you advertise another agent’s listing without written permission.
    I’m all for advertising my listings in print or somewhere that I don’t advertise, but I want control over them online. I’ve been fortunate I guess in that I don’t know of any incompetent agents stealing mine.

  8. Louise Scoggins

    October 14, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Interesting read, Ines. I know here in Atlanta we have a “Broker Reciprocity Agreement” that allows other agents to advertise my listings via a MLS search on their website, but I haven’t heard of other agents advertising someone else’s listings on Craigslist. Sneaky. I personally advertise my resale and rental listings on Craigslist, so it’s something I will be on the lookout for from now on.

  9. Portland Real Estate

    October 15, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Its like having a site automatically try to guess and assign a value to a home that you are trying to sell. Thank you very much but no, I dont want you to advertise your estimated value of the home because the number is so far off of reality. It makes clients pretty irritated when other websites fill them with crap information and you get to be the one that tells them otherwise.

    -Tyler

  10. Marlow

    October 16, 2009 at 3:03 am

    Perhaps you need to urge your MLS to instigate stiff fines for those who break the rules.

    Here in the Pacific Northwest, advertising someone elses listing can result in a fine of $10,000.00 or more, and they are enforced. And then the MLS announces all of the rule breakers and fines on the front page of the website!

    Believe me, this tends to keep people in line.

  11. Terry@Charlotte Homes

    October 23, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Devils Advocate here – Isn’t not allowing other Brokers the right to advertise a listing one of the prime FTC complaints- ie if we are actually acting as an Agent acting in the Seller best interest, don’t we want all advertisement possible? Many home sellers think so.

    That said, I almost fell victim with my daughter to a CL scam… a rent too good to be true at college in Memphis. “Unfortunately just have to send you the keys because I didn’t leave them with anyone”… full of “God Bless you” and other colloquial English , it was quite believable,and my daughter exchanged 3- 4 emails before we discovered the fraud-andthey had “borrowed” a local new condo sellers identity.

    don’t know the answer on policing listings…

  12. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    October 23, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Terry, we actually allow for others to advertise our listings – when they are not rentals (somehow rentals are more open to scams) – and what’s the point to advertise the same rental in the same medium, like CL?

    CL has rules against double advertisement – so that’s a double whammy on those agents’ side. “buyer beware” could not apply more in these cases

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Business Marketing

Marketing amidst uncertainty: 3 considerations

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As the end of the COVID tunnel begins to brighten, marketing strategies may shift yet again – here are three thoughts to ponder going into the future.

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The past year has been challenging for businesses, as operations of all sizes and types and around the country have had to modify their marketing practices in order to address the sales barriers created by the pandemic. That being said, things are beginning to look up again and cities are reopening to business as usual.

As a result, companies are looking ahead to Q3 with the awareness they need to pivot their marketing practices yet again. The only question is, how?

Pandemic Pivot 1.0: Q3 2020

When the pandemic disrupted global markets a year ago, companies looked for new ways to reach their clients where they were: At home, even in the case of B2B sales. This was the first major pivot, back when store shelves were empty care of panic shopping, and everyone still thought they would only be home for a few weeks.

How did this transition work? By building out more extensive websites, taking phone orders, and crafting targeted advertising, most companies actually survived the crisis. Some even came out ahead. With this second pivot, however, these companies will have to use what they knew before the pandemic, while making savvy predictions about how a year-long crisis may have changed customer behavior.

Think Brick And Mortar

As much as online businesses played a key role in the pandemic sales landscape, as the months wore on, people became increasingly loyal to local, brick and mortar businesses. As people return to their neighborhood for longer in-person adventures, brands should work on marketing strategies to further increase foot traffic. That may mean continuing to promote in-store safety measures, building a welcoming online presence, and developing community partnerships to benefit from other stores’ customer engagement efforts.

Reach Customers With PPC

Obviously brick and mortar marketing campaigns won’t go far for all-online businesses, but with people staying at home less, online shops may have a harder time driving sales. Luckily, they have other tools at their disposal. That includes PPC marketing, one of the most effective, trackable advertising strategies.

While almost every business already uses some degree of PPC marketing because of its overall value, but one reason it’s such a valuable tool for businesses trying to navigate the changing marketplace is how easy it is to modify. In fact, best practice is to adjust your PPC campaign weekly based on various indicators, which is what made it a powerful tool during the pandemic as well. Now, instead of using a COVID dashboard to track the impact of regulations on ad-driven sales, however, companies can use PPC marketing to see how their advertising efforts are holding up to customers’ rapidly changing shopping habits.

It’s All About The Platforms

When planning an ad campaign, what you say is often not as important as where you say it – a modern twist on “the medium is the message.” Right now, that means paying attention to the many newer platforms carrying innovative ad content, so experiment with placing ads on platforms like TikTok, Reddit, and NextDoor and see what happens.

One advantage of marketing via smaller platforms is that they tend to be less expensive than hubs like Facebook. That being said, they are all seeing substantial traffic, and most saw significant growth during the pandemic. If they don’t yield much in the way of results, losses will be minimal, but given the topical and local targeting various platforms allow for, above and beyond standard PPC targeting, they could be just what your brand needs as it navigates the next set of marketplace transitions.

The last year has been unpredictable for businesses, but Q3 2021 may be the most uncertain yet as everyone attempts to make sense of what normal means now. The phrase “new normal,” overused and awkward as it is, gets to the heart of it: we can pretend we’re returning to our pre-pandemic lives, but very little about the world before us is familiar, so marketing needs a “new normal,” too.

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Business Marketing

Advertising overload: Let’s break it down

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new study finds that frequent ads are actually more detrimental to a brand’s image than that same brand advertising near offensive content.

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If you haven’t noticed, ads are becoming extremely common in places that are extremely hard to ignore—your Instagram feed, for example. Advertising has certainly undergone some scrutiny for things like inappropriate placement and messaging over the years, but it turns out that sheer ad exhaustion is actually more likely to turn people off of associated brands than the aforementioned offensive content.

Marketing Dive published a report on the phenomenon last Tuesday. The report claims that, of all people surveyed, 32% of consumers said that they viewed current social media advertising to be “excessive”; only 10% said that they found advertisements to be “memorable”.

In that same group, 52% of consumers said that excessive ads were likely to affect negatively their perception of a brand, while only 32% said the same of ads appearing next to offensive or inappropriate content.

“Brand safety has become a hot item for many companies as they look to avoid associations with harmful content, but that’s not as significant a concern for consumers, who show an aversion to ad overload in larger numbers,” writes Peter Adams, author of the Marketing Dive report.

This reaction speaks to the sheer pervasiveness of ads in the current market. Certainly, many people are spending more time on their phones—specifically on social media—as a result of the pandemic. However, with 31% and 27% of surveyed people saying they found website ads either “distracting” or “intrusive”, respectively, the “why” doesn’t matter as much as the reaction itself.

It’s worth pointing out that solid ad blockers do exist for desktop website traffic, and most major browsers offer a “reader mode” feature (or add-on) that allows users to read through things like articles and the like without having to worry about dynamic ads distracting them or slowing down their page. This becomes a much more significant issue on mobile devices, especially when ads are so persistent that they impact one’s ability to read content.

Like most industries, advertisers have faced unique challenges during the pandemic. If there’s one major takeaway from the report, it’s this: Ads have to change—largely in terms of their frequency—if brands want to maintain customer retention and loyalty.

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Business Marketing

7 simple tips to boost your customer loyalty online

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Without a brick-and-mortar store, building rapport and customer loyalty can be a challenge, but you can still build customer loyalty online.

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With many businesses – both big and small – operating online, there are less opportunities for building those face-to-face relationships that exist in brick and mortar stores. According to smallbizgenius, 65% of the company’s revenue comes from existing customers.

It’s important to keep in mind the different tactics at your disposal for increasing customer loyalty. Noupe recently released a list of actionable tips for increasing this loyalty. Let’s examine these ideas and expand on the best.

  1. Keep your promises – Stay true to what you’ve agreed to, obviously contractually, but stay true to your company values as well. Even if you feel you’ve built a good loyalty where there is room to take a step back, don’t rest on your laurels and be sure to remain consistent. If you’ve provided a good experience, keep that going. The only change that should happen is in it getting better.
  2. Stay in communication – In addition to the ever-so-vital social media platforms, consider creating an email newsletter to stay in touch with your customers. Finding ways to have them keep you in mind should be at the front of your mind. By reaching out and being friendly, this will help retain their business.
  3. Be flexible with payments – No, don’t sell yourself short, but consider installment plans for pricier items or services. This will help customers feel more at ease when their wallet’s health is at stake.
  4. Reward programs – Consider allowing customers to accrue loyalty points in exchange for a freebie. The old punch card method is still an incredibly popular concept, and is a great way to keep people coming back. The cost associated with giving something away for free will be minimal in comparison to loyalty you receive in order for the customer to get to that point. Make sure that what a customer is putting in is about equal to what they’re getting out of it (i.e. don’t have a customer spend $100 in order to get $1 off their next purchase). If all of this proves successful, this can eventually be expanded by creating VIP levels.
  5. Prioritize customer service – A first impression is everything. By prioritizing customer service, you can help shape the narrative of the customer and how they view your business. This splinters off into them giving good word of mouth recommendations to friends and family. Be sure to keep positive customer service as the forefront of your mind, as giving a bad review is just as easy – or even easier – as giving a good review.
  6. Value feedback – Allow customers a space to provide their feedback, either on your website or on social media. Find out what brought them to you and gage how their experience was. Be sure to thank them for their feedback and take it into consideration. Feedback – both good and bad – can be vital in helping shape a business.
  7. Avoid laziness – Stay sharp at all times. Don’t treat all customers as nothing but currency. Include personalized touches wherever you can. This will make all of the difference.

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