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Hate REALTOR.com for Only the Right Reasons

Realtor Mousetrap

“I hate REALTOR.com.” That was pretty much the response in the comments from FSBOs on Realtor.com.   I’m so glad Jay found that and wrote about it.  Eric Blackwell over at  Bloodhoundblog wrote about it too.  I think Michael Wurzer’s response is spot on but that Michael was way too polite.

Let me go on record publicly as directly calling out ForSaleByOwner.com owners and executives as liars.  Blatant and knowing liars.  I understand that as a Realtor I am not supposed to utter an unkind word about a fellow Realtor (which they are).  So I encourage anyone who owns or works at FailuresByOwnerSales.com to file whatever complaint they can against me.  Just so there is no misunderstanding:  You are lying in your press release.  You know that and therefore you are a liar.  You do not have FSBO listings on Realtor.com.  All listings on Realtor.com come directly and only from MLS feeds.  Listings can not be “added” to Realtor.com any other way.  Again, they only get there from an MLS feed.

Please hate Realtor.com for the right reasons.  The stupid and misleading press release from Eric Mangan, of ForSaleByOwner.com isn’t one of them.  Realtor.com did nothing wrong here.  They aren’t “guilty” of anything in this instance.

It is not unusual to see venom spewed regarding Realtor.com.  Realtor.com in its present incarnation is a massive betrayal of all working Realtors.  What is ours has been given to an outside company so they can charge us as much as the traffic will bear.  They get to use our name (Realtor.com) to drive traffic to the site so we get to pay MOVE.com huge amounts to “enhance our own listings”. 

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Almost every agent who pays the outrageous prices does so for just one reason and one reason only: to be able to tell sellers their listings are “enhanced” on Realtor.com.  There is no other reason.  NAR has wound up setting up a situation where we are being taken advantage of when their original goal was to help us.  I just renewed for next year.  I can add virtual tours and unlimited photos, along with scrolling text to all of my listings (which would all be there anyway).  The cost?  $3,659.00 for the year.  What a deal.  Why did I do it?  It is easier to pay it than to play defense, telling my sellers why we are not there.  No other reason.  None.  None, really.

From The Notorious R.O. B., here is a very interesting idea of how NAR could take Realtor.com back.  Totally worth reading.  Here is the NAR takes back Realtor.com links page.  Please check it out.

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.

41 Comments

41 Comments

  1. Jay Thompson

    November 13, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    I love Russell Shaw. I just posted on NARWisdom.com saying, “In my book, Healy’s statements are deceptive, and flat out lies.”

    Russell though is a much more eloquent statesman than I.

    A-freaking men Russ!

  2. Nick Bastian

    November 13, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    Russ, re:”It is easier to pay it than to play defense, telling my sellers why we are not there. No other reason. None. None, really.”

    BRAVO! Once again, you have nailed it… Thank you.

  3. Bob Wilson

    November 13, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    I’m not in the habit of throwing good money after bad.

    Are there many sgents who lose salable listings because they don’t have enhanced listings?

  4. Dan @ Tampa Florida Real Estate Blog

    November 13, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    I would rather play defense than give my hard earned money to R.com but that’s just me

  5. Dena Davis

    November 13, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    Why dont we just tell sellers the truth???

    We could tell them that we discontinued the realtor.com advertising because the results are just slightly less pathetic than newspaper advertising.

    In my market realtor.com isnt that big of a deal. And I have 14-16 featured listings on realtor.com and I am lucky to get 1 inquiry a month. NOT one per listing. 1 per month.

  6. Craig Barrett

    November 14, 2008 at 12:01 am

    When I saw the post I ugh’ed and shrugged. It sounds like all of us have been backed into a corner when it comes to enhanced listings. I don’t use them any longer and haven’t for awhile. Now I’ve got something tangible to point my sellers too.

    The tangible? My MLS (MRIS as reported by Jim Duncan) is ROCK’in with innovation and JAMM’in out a new UI that utilizes a “Natural language search and “Amazon-like suggestion technology that presents users with properties other users with similar preferences have viewed.”

    Sure, it’s in it’s Beta. Hey, we’ve all used Google since it’s Beta. And you bet I’m talking about it to anyone that will listen or not.

    Clearly, the search functionality and backend connection is a home run for consumers. Give it time to succeed and it’ll propagate through the internet space.

    Hopefully, soon my sellers will be sayin’… R.com who?

  7. Jim Gatos

    November 14, 2008 at 6:18 am

    Although I love being affiliated with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in my market area for many reasons, one of the strongest I can think of right off the top would be it only costs me $99 yearly to have all my listings “enhanced”. When I was affiliated with another office a couple of years ago it cost me over $1,400 THEN.. I felt like I was “financially raped” and you should have heard the “glee” on the voice of the Realtor.com sales jerk when he won the argument and got my cc #. He spread the cost over a 12 month period. Wasn’t that nice of him?

    I signed up for EXACTLY the same reason Russell did. I thought in a post a while ago @ Bloodhound Blog Russell said it was going to cost over $14,000 and that was ridiculous. So now the cost went down to $3,659.00? Can you clarify this? Or did I recall erroneously?

  8. Jason Sandquist

    November 14, 2008 at 7:51 am

    I can’t remember the last time I logged into R.com. I refuse or even visited the site for that matter.

  9. Missy Caulk

    November 14, 2008 at 8:17 am

    First of all, I just tell my sellers that I do a virtual tour on each home I list. I submit that tour to R dot c. I pay 25.00 to do it through Real estate shows.

    I have not done the enhanced thing for 2 years, and it has not cost me any business. If you share your marketing plan with your sellers then this is a non issue.

    If there is a consumer out there that likes the exterior they will click the spinning house and voila they see the interior.

    I could not justify the price to enhance as I track my sales, calls, emails and I have never received ANYTHING from it.

    I did what you and several others did for years, bought it for my sellers, but I could not justify it anymore and so I overcome it at the pre-listing appointment.

  10. Brad Nix

    November 14, 2008 at 8:45 am

    I was one who jumped on and complained about NAR yesterday. Russell, thanks for refocusing my real dislike of R.com to the real issues (and not just some lying fsbo website owner). I dislike R.com because they prey upon their own. The ad options for R.com are worthless and I am glad we stopped sending any ad money to them 3 years ago. Thanks for the reminder Russell.

  11. bryanslist

    November 14, 2008 at 9:59 am

    I’m not even sure what “enhanced listings” means. Just like Dena wrote, I’d actually be surprised if I got any more than a few hits per month as a result of being a “REALTOR.” Doesn’t exactly seem worth $4000/yr Russ? You kind of sound like Buzz Bissinger

    It’s not about FSBO, it’s about GOOGLE! The NAR is a sinking ship. I’m sure that Dick Gaylord will be alright, but you should probably get off and figure out how to adapt to an internet driven industry before it’s too late!

  12. Chris Lengquist

    November 14, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Haven’t used them for six years. Won’t use them, either. It’s ridiculous for me to pay for the same service twice…which is what they want you to do. Our association is like union leadership that fills their coffers at the expense of those that are made to join.

  13. krisstina Wise

    November 14, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    I hate R.com for the “right” reasons and quite frankly wasn’t surprised to ‘hear’ that R.com was in bed with FSBO.com. I assumed it was true based on R.com’s historical mode of operation. I refuse to pay R.com to use my listings (and the hard work and money to generate them) and ‘sell’ the leads generated from MY listings to another. My interpretation is that By paying R.com to ‘enhance’ our listings, we are gifting money to our own competitor. It is like Ford giving Chevy money so that Chevy can take over Ford’s customers. Why do we the REALTOR population do this?

    Occasionally, I have a seller ‘demand’ that we ‘enhance’ their home on R.com, but I decline. I am willing to lose the listing before I support a Company that uses my listings to compete against me.

    Great post, Russell!

  14. BawldGuy

    November 14, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    As an observer from both inside and outside the ‘Realtor’ universe since before I was originally licensed 39 years ago, this latest is only slightly humorous.

    My intro to the local chapter of thugs was when they tried to strong arm Dad, who proceeded to pull their pants down, sending them scurrying away like the pathetic penguins they were.

    Why does such a large segment of the public think so little of the real estate industry in general? Is the answer really a mystery?

    Any real estate association ending in AR is akin to the Keystone Kops. They’ve been bending their own members over a bar for decades, while the members keep shouting, “May have have another, Sir?!!”

    It’s just not funny any more. Pathetic rarely is.

  15. Steve Simon

    November 14, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Over twenty thousand former students over the last 22 years; more than half ended up as Realtors for some period of time… Very few positive feedbacks; hundreds and hundreds of angry comments.
    My position is kind of unique (being off to the side in the RE & Finance education arena 90% of the time), but I have been an interested observer for a long time. They could have done a lot better…

  16. Danilo Bogdanovic

    November 14, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    I strongly dislike R.com as well and think they are crapping on the very ones who keep them in business. But as you said, I should dislike them for the right reasons (and there are plenty).

    What FSBO.com did was totally out of line and a lie. No other way to put it.

    Thanks for reminding that there are plenty of other (real) reasons to dislike R.com.

    One question I do have is this…why would FSBO.com come out with a such a lie? Is R.com in talks with FSBO.com to somehow get together?

    I wouldn’t put it past R.com to do something like that. They’ve crap on all of us many times before so why wouldn’t they do it again in the future?

  17. teresa boardman

    November 14, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    I stopped doing enhanced listings on realtor.com I have been able to show my clients how the web sites don’t help sell the listings anyway. We just use them to make ourselves look good.

  18. Judy Orr

    November 14, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    My office provides Showcase Listings at no cost to us. In our area most offices charge a “paperwork fee” to the selling agent. Most offices that do this keep that money in their own coffers. My office has purchased Showcase Listings for each agent to use and it has worked well for their recruiting endeavors.

    So I use it and promote it. Just as you can promote how it doesn’t really sell a property, I really push it to the max as part of my listing presentation. Why not? I’m not paying for it.

    On a final note, I have had other sellers ask for it. Would I have lost the listing if I didn’t? Probably not, since I would demonstrate how it doesn’t really work. LOL!

  19. Jay Thompson

    November 14, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    Hey Judy –

    Are you sure you’re not paying for those showcase listings?

    You may not be writing a check, and it may not be a line item on an expense report, but brokers rarely just give things away for free. Truly for free…

    On the enhanced listings note…
    I’ve never used enhanced listings. A few sellers have asked, and they get a clear picture of why we don’t do it. It hasn’t happened yet, but were someone to say, “Enhance our listings on R.com or we’ll find another agent” I would respond along the lines of, “Have a nice day!”

  20. Judy Orr

    November 14, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Jay,

    I work for a very progressive company that I left the broker I was with for 22 years to join. I pay a very low monthly fee and a very low per transaction fee plus E&O and that’s it – I get 100% commission after those small expenses. Plus Showcase Listings, full-time staff and 2 brick & mortar offices to use.

    In fact, I felt guilty getting my first 100% checks after those small fees and figured the company wouldn’t be able to sustain itself for the long-term. Figured I’d get it while the gettin’ was good.

    Three years later and we are getting agents joining us from all of the top franchises and are growing by leaps and bounds. Oh, and our Broker is wonderful, knowledgeable, available and fun!

    So if I am paying for those Showcase Listings, I don’t know how!

  21. fred

    November 14, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    I have been reading about this news for the past couple of days, and speaking from a different perspective, I don’t think R.com is bad at all. I have been using the enhanced listings for a long time (even when I used to be a traditional broker), and they serve a great purpose to the sellers.

    The issue with forsalebyowner.com is completely seperate from R.com. They are somehow using a CA broker https://elist.me to submit out of state listings through her local mls. This loophole allows the fsbo to be listed (for a flat fee) and bypass dealing with local realtors (i.e. not having to pay the co-broke).

    The question I have… IS THIS LEGAL? can a CA broker list a home in another state without having a license in that state? I am researching this now, because if this is true, it’s the loophole that allows them conduct business this way.

    should be very interesting to see how it all plays out.

    Fred Romano, Broker

  22. Jay Thompson

    November 14, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Good on ya Judy! Sounds like you’ve got a great broker who’s not looking to fleece his/her agents and ride their coat tails to retirement. That’s the kind of broker I aspire to be.

  23. Michael Sosnowski

    November 15, 2008 at 10:19 am

    We use R.com and only do so because of the fact that it is expected. It is sad that this so-called business has been allowed to survive on the backs of realtors. To be charged for providing THEM our listings….just crazy. On another note, I am absolutely sick of R.com trying to sell crappy products. How about this – take a look at the listing traffic report. It shows NA when there is no featured agent, featured tours, etc. Talk about promoting your products, then making agents “look bad” if they send that link to a client. When we use this data (for what it is worth), we have to edit this junk out.

  24. Judy Orr

    November 15, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Fred,

    From what I learned several years ago, FSBO.com actually joined up with local agents in all MLS’s. The agent had to sign an agreement with them and were able to handle all of the fsbo/exclusive agency listings in their MLS.

    They have always been on R.com with basic listings.

  25. Eric Blackwell

    November 15, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Russ;

    Just caught up with this post as well after all the hoopla…had a lot of REAL work to be done. I’ll echo Jay.

    A-freaking-men.

    Nicely said. Well put and spot on.

    The responsibility for this one lies squarely with ForSaleByOwner.com on this one. There are plentiful other reasons that R.com is not helping our industry, but you are correct that this is not one.

  26. Mark Storolis

    December 3, 2008 at 11:25 am

    @ ALL DUMB AGENTS
    It’s funny how lazy agents can be with their money. It’s easy to exploit people when they just don’t want to be creative.
    Guerilla Marketing by Jay Levinson is a wealth of knowledge on ways to market cheaply and more effectively. Unfortunately many agents are fools, and they DON’T READ BOOKS. They fail to realize that sales is a combination of marketing/psychological/legal skills that must be honed by research.

    Complain about marketing costs. The best marketers do not have the deepest pockets. The best marketers know how to test social exposure and creativity.

    Question: How much more attention would you and your clients get if you spent $3,659 to Search Engine Optimize your personal site.
    Answer: 20,000 hits a month… for me at least.

  27. Mark Storolis

    December 3, 2008 at 11:30 am

    @ Judy
    “From what I learned several years ago, FSBO.com actually joined up with local agents in all MLS’s. The agent had to sign an agreement with them and were able to handle all of the fsbo/exclusive agency listings in their MLS.

    They have always been on R.com with basic listings.”

    THAT IS ABSOLUTELY BOGUS (and obviously confabulated)

  28. Judy Orr

    December 3, 2008 at 11:58 am

    Mark, if it wasn’t FSBO.com then it was one of the other ones (possibly ForSaleByOwner.com). I know because out of curiosity I applied to be one of their “local” MLS agents a few years ago. I didn’t go forward with it, though, just wanted to see how it worked.

    Had I signed up I would have been listing their MLS properties which would have ended up on R.com as a basic listing. So I know these flat-fee fsbo type sites are using local agents to add their MLS listings & have been for quite some time. Once they’re added to the MLS they’re usually sent to R.com.

    In fact, fsbo.com wrote a retraction in their blog stating that the only way to get listed on R.com is to be listed in the MLS by an agent/brokerage. So if they’re offering R.com listings as part of their services, these MLS listings are being added by local agents as I don’t see how else they could get on the MLS in their local area.

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