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A REALTOR.com Bail Out Plan

“A car goes around a one mile oval track at an average speed of exactly 30 miles per hour.  How fast would it have to go around the same track a second time to get an average speed of exactly 60 miles per hour for both laps?”

I first heard that one when I was eighteen years old.  My answer at the time was 90 miles per hour, the 2nd time, the car would have to go around the track at an average speed of 90 miles per hour to “average” 60 MPH for both laps.  I was wrong.  The correct answer is IT CAN NOT BE DONE.  I was so impressed with this little exercise in logic I tried it on most of the people I ran into for the next several years (oh yes, I was totally overbearing).  Most of them also thought the correct answer should be 90 MPH.  I will never forget that one engineer I asked started immediately doing calculations with his slide rule and I told him it could not be done.  He said, “That does not surprise me, I knew it would be really really fast.”

Really really really really fast.  In fact the 2nd lap would have to occur in precisely zero seconds in order for the the average speed for both laps to be 60 MPH.  Why?  It would take two minutes to travel one mile at 30 MPH.  To go around twice at 60 MPH would take two minutes.  Therefore it can’t be done, as the time is already completely used up.  This could be considered a TIMES, RATE, DISTANCE problem or it could be considered a trick question.  But the answer is that IT CAN NOT BE DONE.

No matter how good something may sound or how wonderful something may seem some things just won’t work out.  This is one of those things.   Do all Realtors hate REALTOR.com?  No, not all.  There is actually a very very small minority that truly likes them.  Many are indifferent.  Most active working agents openly detest them.  If you are with NAR and don’t believe this or think it is an exaggeration – don’t take my word for it, ask around yourself.  They’ve had over a decade to win them over and the exact opposite has been the result.

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There is an inherent conflict of interest between the natural impulses and actions of MOVE and working Realtors.  This is also a conflict with the stated goals and purpose of the NAR: “to help its members become more profitable and successful.”  The new site looks fine.  The people working at REALTOR.com are technically talented and the sales and support staff are knowledgeable and helpful.  Still, it is just wrong.  And any thinking person can see that.  NAR needs to make REALTOR.com a member benefit included with the dues.

Written By

Russell has been an Associate Broker with John Hall & Associates since 1978 and ranks in the top 1% of all agents in the U.S. Most recently The Wall Street Journal recognized the Top 200 Agents in America, awarding Russell # 25 for number of units sold. Russell has been featured in many books such as, "The Billion Dollar Agent" by Steve Kantor and "The Millionaire Real Estate Agent" by Gary Keller and has often been a featured speaker for national conventions and routinely speaks at various state and local association conventions. Visit him also at nohasslelisting.com and number1homeagent.com.

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Jim Gatos

    November 20, 2008 at 6:23 am

    Hello and Good Morning, Russell…

    To me, anything that is labeled by Move.com is a real estate “narcotic”. You pay fee after fee after fee with questionable effects, if any..

    Examples would include … Top Producer 7i.

    Their awful and ridiculously expensive websites.. (Templates, anyone?)

    and of course, Realtor.com.

    Sorry, but if Realtor.com is going to act like “another 3rd party provider”, then I am going to treat them as “another 3rd party provider…

    They really should be included in our already ridiculously high fees. Tell them to cut costs; otherwise they will go the way of the auto industry…

    OUT THE DOOR!

  2. Jonathan Dalton

    November 20, 2008 at 9:59 am

    The only reason I still have enhanced listings on R.com is I pay for them per listing through my office and don’t have to pay the ridiculous annual fee. (There’s also a cap so I won’t be spending more than I would if I were solo.)

    Two-plus years, a couple of inquiries. Again, no ROI. Not even for homes with glass block.

  3. Bob Wilson

    November 20, 2008 at 10:32 am

    I want to comment on this, but the hate mail I’m getting now from NAR volunteers will surely double if I do.

  4. Jim Gatos

    November 20, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    Why don’t any of these “Volunteer” NAR folks every send ME any hate mail? I’m feeling “left out” here… LOL..

    Jim

  5. Michael Russell

    November 20, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Realtor.com is supposed to benefit all realtors, not just the ones who can afford or justify the subscription fee. I can live with paying for upgraded features if every agent had a profile. But I will not pay to have banner ads hanging above my paid listings. Realtor.com is supposed to be our flagship site, I don’t see the difference between them and Homes.com

  6. Missy Caulk

    November 20, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    There is no difference in Realtor.com and Move. The new site says it all, Owned by NAR.

    I’m not going to say much more, everyone knows how I feel, I’ve blabbed it all over the net this year.

  7. Torb

    November 21, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    Realtor.com is not owned by the NAR, they are the official site of because they manage the trademarked ‘commercial’ site. You should consider the millions that go into paying wages for technicians, engineers, developers and support for this single website. You may be surprised on the costs related to maintaining such staff for any web companies.

  8. Ozarksagent

    November 21, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Wow, you sure know how to get a response to your blogs.

  9. Jim Gatos

    November 21, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Well then… I wouldn’t mind closing down realtor.com. I won’t miss it..

  10. Bob Wilson

    November 23, 2008 at 10:13 am

    You should consider the millions that go into paying wages for technicians, engineers, developers and support for this single website. You may be surprised on the costs related to maintaining such staff for any web companies.

    Torb, do you work for Move or NAR?

    It can be done for substantially less. Start with eliminating the sales staff.

    The local MLS does what is needed solely on the basis of a member paid flat fee. Assuming a membership of 900k, a fee in the $5-$10 range would be $4.5 to $9 mil. It can be done for that.

  11. Jim Gatos

    November 23, 2008 at 11:47 am

    The folks who own Move.com are also responsible for Top Producer 7i and the Top Producer websites they peddle. I personally detest Top Producer 7i. It is a useless, overpriced online software gizmo with more unused features than needed. The software is sooo time consuming you need to hire an assistant to get it going, and if you need an assistant than why would YOU need access to the software itself? MS Outlook or even Thunderbird with the Lightning extension can do that. They’ll even sync to your smart phone.

    It’s that “Let’s get those agents all signed up” mentality that runs Realtor.com. I personally know an agent who has Top Producer 7i and is soooo intimidated by both TP7i AND the idea of switching to MS Outlook or TB that she is held ransom by a product I labeled a “Real Estate Agent’s “narcotic” years ago. I know; I had Top Producer for a couple of years. The only dues I pay now aside from my Realtor and MLS dues are my website and Typepad, two products I can easily say “buh bye” to with a week of planning. Realtor.com should kiss the sales staff “buh bye” and combine with the NAR. Let the President of the NAR have someone appointed to run realtor.com and knock down the fees like Bob Wilson says. Standardize everything, and stop siphoning agents for “enhanced listings”, and other crap… Make the general real estate populace respect you, not avoid you. With the feeds coming straight from your “organization” and a couple of templates, I’m sure the ridiculous costs of websites will come down.

    So, Torb, are you with realtor.com or Mock.com, er, Move.com?

  12. Eric Blackwell

    November 23, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    Russell;

    @”NAR needs to make REALTOR.com a member benefit included with the dues.”

    This is PRECISELY how it should happen IMO.

    While I have huge issues with NAR, I think now is the time for a buyout and making R.com a benefit of membership. I remain an inside out kinda guy…

    Then we can at least start to work to clean up our trademark where we have some semblance of control–little granted, but some. I do think that the REALTOR name has some value in it and would like to see that preserved if possible. For me the R.com thing always goes back to “taxation without representation”. It is offensive to me in that regard. 10 years or 100 does not dim that.

    Without a sales force being needed and shareholders to satiate…and executives flying in jets to convince us we NEED and must buy enhanced listings…this looks pretty attractive… Spin off TP and the other stuff…

    I wonder how much of the marketing budget for Move is detailed in their quarterlies?
    How much S,G&A expense?

    Off to check that out.

    Thoughts?

  13. Cheryl Johnson

    November 25, 2008 at 4:45 am

    Hi Russell,

    Over the last couple days, I have been receiving calls from R.com salespeople.

    My renewal is not due until March; and I doubt if they want my opinion on anything, so I am puzzled why they are calling. I suppose I should take the call and find out.

    You know what I’d like before I take that call?

    Some scripts and/or talking points for the conversation.

    Anyone want to suggest some questions I should address to an R.com salesperson?

    Or some suggested responses to the inevitable R.com sales pitch?

  14. Torb

    December 1, 2008 at 10:47 am

    15 mil would start to come close to the wages of realtor.com alone, not including move.com employees, topproducer and other extended sister companies. Wages do not pay for equipment, facilities, benefit plans or bonus structures. The point being made is Realtor.com is a commercial site used for advertising like most all other ‘resource’ sites. MLS fees go towards running MLS. NAR member fees towards the NAR. Move is not the NAR. Move was a business deal initiated many years ago and Realtor.com is only a branding.

  15. Fred Pickard

    December 1, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    NAR signed a deal with the devil about ten years ago. The devil was HomeStore, now Move.com

    Assuming Torb’s number are conservative, what would it cost NAR to operate r.com and give all members equal access.

    Even assuming membership dropped to one million and it cost 4 times Torb’s numbers above to operate r.com, that would be 60 million or about $60 per year ($5 per month) per member to give all parties full access.

    What’s that, a latte grande or two per month?

  16. Joe Schmo

    December 3, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    This goes to show that the generalization that realtors are not the brightest professionals is fairly dead on…

    Realtor.com is just an advertising medium for realtors…it is not run by NAR but NAR must approve everything that goes on the site. If you don’t like the basic structure of Realtor.com, complain to NAR.

    As for Realtors wanting it included in their dues, that idea is asinine…you wouldn’t have newspaper ads included in your dues…it just doesn’t make sense…the future of home searching is online…it’s already here in most major metros…yet Realtors still spend an inordinate amount of advertising money on newspapers when they should be going online…if you don’t like Realtor.com, then put your advertising money elsewhere…however Realtor.com currently corners the market on eyeballs…and eyeballs is what you’re looking for…

    The problem with Realtors is they don’t get it…younger, more technologically astute realtors understand how to use technology to their advantage…but the old school realtors that still complain about Realtor.com just don’t understand how to quantify their advertising and marketing budgets…they stick to “tried and true” techniques that older generations keep clinging to, but don’t realize they are no longer “true”…

    people looking for a home (like other major purchases in their life) go online to research…they want information…they want pictures, virtual tours, videos…yet Realtors don’t know how to best utilize any of this technology…they pay to advertise on Realtor.com, but then don’t post photos of their properties. Or they don’t post quality professional photos. They don’t make it easy for customers to contact them. They just don’t understand how to attract leads, and then don’t know what do do with them once they get them.

    I found my realtor on Realtor.com because she was technologically competent, responded within minutes to my questions. She has since been responsible for the purchase of one home, the sale of another, and gets referrals to all my family and friends.

    Don’t get me wrong, Realtor.com has alot of flaws in how its run, and its ability to supply consumers with the most innovative features to help the home buying process…but you people who just want to complain endlessly make me sick…I’m sure most of the top producing realtors in the country appreciate they don’t have to compete with a bunch of morons like you…makes their jobs easier as well as their profit margins much larger…

    as for the author of this article…the biggest argument is “It is just wrong”…what kind of logic is that?

  17. Benn Rosales

    December 3, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Hey Joe Schmo, thanks for commenting at Ag, can you do us a favor and stick with one name and one email address… it’s sincerely appreciated.

  18. Jim Gatos

    December 3, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    Joe Schmo says… “If you don’t like the basic structure of Realtor.com, complain to NAR.”

    Yup, that’s what we’re doing, man.. Thanks for your support…

    Joe Schmo says… if you don’t like Realtor.com, then put your advertising money elsewhere…however Realtor.com currently corners the market on eyeballs…and eyeballs is what you’re looking for…

    I agree wholeheartedly.. I support the MLS system I work with and THEY put my listings in Realtor.com, but other websites, (example; google, trulia, etc…)

    Joe Schmo says … “Don’t get me wrong, Realtor.com has alot of flaws in how its run, and its ability to supply consumers with the most innovative features to help the home buying process…”…

    Sounds to me like you possibly work there…

    I am asking every realtor who is reading this article to answer one simple question; for all the money it costs ONLY because NAR contracted out realtor.com, how many sales have YOU made from Realtor.com..

    Me? In all these years? ZERO.. and I have enhanced listings. Most of the time I always did… and I’ve been around over 20 years..

    Yeah, realtor.com may be the #1 place, but I think people and the general public are starting to really wise up and find alternatives. If real estate is local, they are beginning to look at “local” sites.. You know it and I know it…

    We can spar all day on this.. The issue isn’t whether or not realtor.com should exist; the issue is whether or not the sales staff and other RIDICULOUS and UTTERLY USELESS “extras should exist…. If you’re one of them, well, hey.. sorry!

  19. Torb

    December 4, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    It’s not only about costs to maintain, it’s the nature of supply and demand. Most all realtor.com products and services are inventoried. i.e. limited and specific to certain markets. No matter who pays for what, if you want additional marketing on realtor.com there’s only limited supply for many of the exclusive positions for Featured Homes, Banner Advertising, Comparative Market Analysis positioning, etc. To offer these services to many realtors at a lower rate would defeat their purpose and as well destroy their efficiency. Joe summarized in great detail and accuracy that is about utilizing. Spend less time crying and more time learning and you’ll find a whole world of top agents who embrace web 2.0.

  20. Jim Gatos

    December 4, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Torb, since when did “embracing” Web 2.0 technology mean getting robbed?

    C’mon, the internet is the internet. There is NO limited supply except what is artificially produced… How can offering all these services lower their “efficiency”?.. That’s ridiculous. It would bring down Realtor.com’s profit. That’s fine by me..

    I swear I think a couple of people think you and Joe Schmo are one and the same person…

    Are you, out of curiosity…?

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