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Show me the Money!

Recently both Century 21 and The Realty Alliance have partnered with® to provide their agents with Showcase Listing Enhancements.



Please welcome our newest writer, Ben Goheen, a Realtor and appraiser in Stillwater, MN. He is active on twitter and uses social media in his practice, he is an analytical thinker and has a great sense of humor, so we know you’ll love his writing. Please welcome him in the comments (as well as weigh in on his first piece).

realtor-left-brokeTwo recent press releases from NAR have peaked my interest but seemed to have gone fairly un-noticed. Both Century 21 and The Realty Alliance have partnered with® to provide “Showcase Listing Enhancements” to their agents. This includes personal branding of listings, up to 25 jumbo size photos, open house alerts, full-motion videos and virtual tours.

Feeding the cash cow

Having to occasionally make extraordinary assumptions as a real estate appraiser, let me try to run some numbers. A Showcase Listing Enhancement for an agent in my area costs $199/year if you have 0-3 listings, $362/year for 4-10 listings and $766/year for 11-25 listings. The Realty Alliance claims to have more than 100,000 agents, meaning the street value is $20,000,000 on the conservative side.

According to Century 21 they are the world’s largest residential real estate sales organization with approximately 8,500 offices. Again being conservative we can add $20,000,000 in estimated revenue. The exact dollar amount these companies paid to NAR will most likely never be made public, but it’s pretty safe to say the Showcase Listing Enhancements aren’t given away for free. Not bad for a month’s worth of work.

Where is the money going?

Let’s hope the extra revenue helps bring positive change to the industry and not on something like this:


photo credit

As the son of two music teachers, Ben spent his first 21 years trying to make a living with his slightly above average trumpet playing. After no return calls from Dizzy Gillespie and then a failed attempt at becoming a fly girl on "In Living Color," he switched gears and finally found his nichè in real estate. He's a Minnesota appraiser and also a Realtor with his better half, Stacia. Labeled “one to watch” from an anonymous source (thanks mom), Ben is smart, good looking, athletic and a rock star inside his own head. He also never passes up a chance to write his own bio. Find him online at twitter or selling Stillwater Real Estate.

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  1. Louise Scoggins

    May 20, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Hi, Ben! My office also has a deal worked out with to offer showcase listings on all of our listings. I think we pay around $200 (each) for the year for an unlimited amount of listings being uploaded. Hopefully that means they are offering some sort of group discount and not making hand over foot from C21 and Realty Alliance 🙂 Good post, I look forward to reading more!

    Oh, and ummmm…LOVE your bio. Hilarious!!!

  2. Ken Brand

    May 20, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Welcome Ben. Looking forward to hearing more from you.

    And I must confess, that pimped ride pic is money dude. Let’s be honest, you’d never lose a listing appointment if you rolled up in that plated bling machine. Cheers.

  3. Matthew Rathbun

    May 20, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Welcome, Ben!

  4. Benn Rosales

    May 20, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    I was concerned about the context of the post, however, I was more concerned that a R was pimping that bling mobile- had to click thru to see who really owned the car haha

    I guess we should expect to see awesome things from r.c over the next year with this phat cash injection, but somehow I doubt it.

    Where does the money go exactly? Anyone know?

  5. Ben Goheen

    May 20, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    @Louise – Is the $200 fee mandatory? Did NAR strike a deal with all of the KW offices or just yours?

    @Ken – Thanks for the welcome. In my neck of the woods homeowners would probably think I don’t need the money if I drove that car. I can’t even imagine how careful I’d be washing it…

    @Matthew – Thanks for the welcome also, and for following me on twitter

    @Benn – The power of Photoshop my friend. I doubt we’ll see any new bells and whistles on r.c either. These deals might help the loss in revenue due to agents cutting back on expenses.

  6. Jason Sandquist

    May 20, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    I see how it goes… When you wanted to snap a few pics of my ride I had no idea this is how you would use it

  7. Ken Montville - The MD Suburbs of DC

    May 20, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    Welcome, Ben.

    Nice ride not withstanding, I wonder what the comparison would be for, say, Google AdWords or for the new iteration of Home Values (now called Market Leader, I think). I have both the Showcase Listing Enhancement and the Featured Listing deal which gives me a slot at the top of the zip code I want to purchase (the Featured spot also has a # of listings and price of listings in the zip code type pricing formula)

    From my point of view, it’s about the clicks and the eyeballs. If I get the drift of your post, I’m guessing you might be suggesting that are getting tons more than the product is actually worth on the backs of hard working Realtors’ hard earned marketing dollars.

    Maybe so. Any more than any other marketing scheme?

    Inquiring minds want to know!

  8. Paula Henry

    May 20, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    Hi Ben and welcome! Even at $200. a year, I’m not sure I would participate. Somehow – I don’t believe will be using their new funds to help the realtor on the street.

  9. Matthew Rathbun

    May 20, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    BTW – is owned by Move. NAR most likely did not receive the money. They just get the royalty for licensing the “realtor” name to Move.

  10. Kim Wood

    May 20, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    Welcome, Ben ! I look forward to seeing some more picture humor outta you 😀

  11. Matt Stigliano

    May 20, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    Ben – Good to see your first AgentGenius post. I think the major cash outlay from these companies will just go to hire more telemarketers for so they can call me more often to see how much money I’m willing to give up.

  12. Ben Goheen

    May 20, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Thanks everyone for the warm welcome. Lani was right, it is like a family here.

    @Jason – everyone knows THIS is actually your car:

    @Ken – Obviously there’s a markup involved, as there is with any marketing service. At least with AdWords you’re in complete control of the cost and placement

    @Matthew – Good point about Move owning My guess is that somehow NAR is reaping the rewards here, kind of like an reverse Peter Pan scenario

    @Matt – Fight the temptation! It can’t be any harder than hanging up on the telemarketers who guarantee you top results on Google

  13. Lani Rosales

    May 20, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    For ANYONE putting on a REBarCamp, now you know who to call for sponsorship!!!

  14. Russell Shaw

    May 21, 2009 at 9:39 am

    >Lani was right, it is like a family here.

    A dysfunctional family, Ben. But still, it is very nice to have someone else here who has the whole smart *and* good looking thing going.

  15. Brandie Young

    May 21, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Welcome, Ben! Provocative article. As members, do you not see year-end accounting? At least now we know where the $2M spent on a “hammer” really went!

  16. Jason Sandquist

    May 21, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    @ben yup and then there is that one

  17. Ruthmarie Hicks

    May 21, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Our Keller Office has a similar arrangement. My sellers are ALWAYS asking for enhanced presence. So I’m glad I can offer it without losing my shirt. My problem with the whole thing is that arrangements like this push small brokerages to the wall. Call me old-fashioned, but I hope that some of the Mom and Pops make it through this morass and area able to thrive. So many went out of business around here. Sad to see them founder.

  18. Lani Rosales

    May 22, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Russ, we can’t take you ANYWHERE! gah! lol

  19. Matthew Rathbun

    May 22, 2009 at 10:11 am


    I took Russ somewhere once, and all he did was use words to describe our waitress (who looked like a 19 year old Sarah Palin), that I didn’t know even existed…. 🙂

    I learned my lesson!

  20. Missy Caulk

    May 22, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Hi Russ, welcome to Agent Genius. I look forward to getting to know you better.

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Business Marketing

10 must-listen-to podcasts for business owners

(MARKETING) If you’re a business owner and want to learn something…anything…give one (or all) these podcasts a listen.



headphones listen podcasts

As podcasts grow more and more popular, it has become increasingly difficult to sort through the sea of excellent options out there.

From interviews with business leaders to industry-specific advice from experts, podcasts are an incredible free and convenient way to get a small dose of inspiration and knowledge.

This short list offers just a taste of the myriad of business podcasts available. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking for some tips on breaking into a new industry or a seasoned vet hoping to get some new inspiration, we hope you’ll find something here worth listening to.

How I Built This, hosted by Guy Raz.

Podcast fans will recognize Guy Raz’s name (and voice) from TED Radio Hour. While that show can be a great source of inspiration for businesses, one of the most consistently inspiring shows is his new project that shares stories and insight from some of the biggest business leaders in the world. In just four months, Guy has talked to everyone from Richard Branson and Mark Cuban to L.A. Reid and Suroosh Alvi. While there are plenty of excellent interview-driven shows with entrepreneurs, if you want to hear about the world’s best known companies, this is your best bet.

The Art of Charm, hosted by Jordan and AJ Harbinger.

The Art of Charm is a business podcast by definition, but the advice it provides will definitely help you in other parts of your day-to-day life as well. With over three million listens a month, the incredibly popular show provides advice, strategies and insight into how to network effectively and advance your career and personal life.

StartUp, hosted by Alex Blumberg and Lisa Chow.

If you’re an entrepreneur, there is no excuse not to be listening to StartUp, the award-winning business podcast from Gimlet Media. The show’s talented hosts come from incredible radio shows like Planet Money and This American Life and bring a top-notch level of storytelling to the show, which provides behind the scenes looks at what it is actually like to start a company. Now on the fourth season, StartUp is one of those business podcasts that even people not interested in business will get a kick out of.

The Whole Whale Podcast, hosted by George Weiner.

One of the best things about podcasts is the wide variety of niche shows available that go in-depth into fascinating topics. One of those shows is the Whole Whale Podcast, which shares stories about data and technology in the non-profit sector. You’ll get detailed analysis, expert knowledge and can hear from a long list of social impact leaders from Greenpeace,, Kiva, Teach For America, and more.

Social Pros Podcast, hosted by Jay Baer and Adam Brown.

Navigating the surplus of social media guides online can be a nightmare, so look no further than Social Pros. Recent episodes talk about reaching college students on social media, the rise of messaging apps, and making better video content for Facebook. Plus, there are great case-studies with companies doing social right, like Kellogg’s, Coca Cola and Lenscrafters.

Entrepreneur on Fire, hosted by John Lee Dumas.

One of the original entrepreneurship shows, Entrepreneur on Fire has logged over 1,500 episodes with successful business leaders sharing tips, lessons and advice learned from their worst entrepreneurial moments. Sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, always inspiring, this show is sure to have at least one interview with someone you can learn from.

The $100 MBA, hosted by Omar Zenhom.

Think of The $100 MBA as a full-fledged business program in snack-sized portions. The daily ten minute business lessons are based on real-world applications and cover everything from marketing to technology and more. Cue this show up on your commute to or from work and watch your knowledge grow.

This Week in Startups, hosted by Jason Calacanis.

This is your audio version of TechCrunch, Gizmodo, or dare we say The American Genius. Each week, a guest entrepreneur joins the show to talk about what is happening in tech right now. You’ll get news about companies with buzz, updates on big tech news and even some insider gossip.

The Side Hustle Show, hosted by Nick Loper.

This is the show if you want answers for the big question so many entrepreneurs face. How do I turn my part-time hustle into a real job? Featuring topics such as passive income ideas, niche sites, and self-publishing, host Nick Loper is upfront and honest about the tough world of side hustles. The show features actionable tips and an engaging energy, and may just be that final push you need to grow your gig.

Back To Work, hosted by Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin.
Focused on the basics that you don’t think about, Back To Work looks deep into our working lives by analyzing things like workflow, email habits and personal motivation. Somewhere between self-help, and business advice, Back To Work takes on a new topic relating to productivity each week.

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Business Marketing

Why your coworkers are not your ‘family’ [unpopular opinion]

(MARKETING) “I just want you to think of us as family,” they say. If this were true, I could fire my uncle for always bringing up “that” topic on Thanksgiving…



family coworkers

The well-known season 10 opener of “Undercover Boss” featured Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar. Brandon Landry, owner, went to the Lafayette location where he worked undercover with Jessica Comeaux, an assistant manager. Comeaux came across as a dedicated employee of the company, and she was given a well-deserved reward for her work. But I rolled my eyes as the show described the team as a “family.” I take offense at combining business and family, unless you’re really family. Why shouldn’t this work dynamic be used?

Employers don’t have loyalty to employees.

One of the biggest reasons work isn’t family is that loyalty doesn’t go both ways. Employers who act as though employees are family wouldn’t hesitate to fire someone if it came down to it. In most families, you support each other during tough times, but that wouldn’t be the case in a business. If you’ve ever thought that you can’t ask for a raise or vacation, you’ve probably bought into the theory that “work is a family.” No, work is a contract.

Would the roles be okay if the genders were reversed?

At Walks-Ons, Comeaux is referred to as “Mama Jess,” by “some of the girls.” I have to wonder how that would come across if Comeaux were a man being called “Daddy Jess” by younger team members? See any problem with that? What happens when the boss is a 30-year-old and the employee is senior? Using family terminology to describe work relationships is just wrong.

Families’ roles are complex.

You’ll spend over 2,000 hours with your co-workers every year. It’s human nature to want to belong. But when you think of your job like a family, you may bring dysfunction into the workplace.

What if you never had a mom, or if your dad was abusive? Professional relationships don’t need the added complexity of “family” norms. Seeing your boss as “mom” or “dad” completely skews the roles of boss/employee. When your mom asks you to do more, it’s hard to say no. If your “work mom or dad” wants you to stay late, it’s going to be hard to set boundaries when you buy into the bogus theory that work is family. Stop thinking of work this way.

Check your business culture to make sure that your team has healthy boundaries and teamwork. Having a great work culture doesn’t have to mean you think of your team as family. It means that you appreciate your team, let them have good work-life balance and understand professionalism.

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Business Marketing

Market your side hustle with these 6 tips

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It can be hard to stand out from the crowd when you’re starting a new side hustle. Here are some easy ways to make your marketing efforts more effective.



side hustle paperwork and technology

Side hustles have become the name of the game, and especially during these turbulent times, we have to get extra creative when it comes to making money. With so many of us making moves and so much noise, it can be hard to get the word out and stand out when sharing your side hustle.

Reuben Jackson of Big Think shared five ways that you can market your side hustle (we added a sixth tip for good measure), and comment with your thoughts and ideas on the subject:

  1. Referrals: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!
    If you’re going to make a splash, you have to be willing to ask for favors. Reach out to your network and ask them to help spread the word on your new venture. This can be as simple as asking your friends to share a Facebook post with information that refers them to your page or website. Word of mouth is still important and incredibly effective.
  2. Start Where You Are
    Immediately running an expensive ad right out of the gate may not be the most effective use of your (likely) limited funds. Use the resources you do have to your advantage – especially if you’re just testing things out to see how the side hustle goes in the real world. You can do this by creating a simple, informational landing page for a small fee. Or, if you’re not looking to put any money into it right away, create an enticing email signature that explains what you do in a concise and eye-catching way. Check out these tools to create a kickin’ email signature.
  3. Gather Positive Reviews
    If you’ve performed a service or sold a product, ask your customers to write a review on the experience. Never underestimate how many potential customers read reviews before choosing where to spend their money, so this is an incredibly important asset. Once a service is completed or a product is sold, send a thank you note to your customer and kindly ask them to write a review. Be sure to provide them with links to easily drop a line on Yelp or your company’s Facebook page.
  4. Be Strategic With Social
    It’s common to think that you have to have a presence on all channels right away. Start smaller. Think about your demographic and do some research on which platforms reach that demographic most effectively. From there, put your time and energy into building a presence on one or two channels. Post consistently and engage with followers. After you’ve developed a solid following, you can then expand to other platforms.
  5. Give Paid Marketing A Shot
    Once you’ve made a dollar or two, try experimenting with some Facebook or Twitter ads. They’re relatively cheap to run and can attract people you may not have otherwise had a chance to reach out to. Again, the key is to start small and don’t get discouraged if these don’t have people knocking your door down; it may take trial and error to create the perfect ad for your hustle.
  6. Go Local
    Local newspapers and magazines are always looking for news on what local residents are doing. Send an email to your town/city’s journal or local Patch affiliate. Let them know what you’re up to, offer yourself for an interview, and give enticing information. The key is doing this in a way that your hustle is seen as beneficial to the public, and is not just an ad.

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