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The MLS Whoopee Cushion

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Fault Sign

Beware all agents: My loyal spies and I are watching everything you put in print. Why? Because real estate ads can be more fun than a whoopee cushion! We found another batch of blatant bloopers that will set February into full swing. Here we go again – jump onto the MLS Malapropism Merry-go-round and enjoy the ride:

 The Demise of Webster and Roget

“House near Malibu Whinery” (Buy a bunk near the Drunk n Funk)

“Bambo floors” (Bimbo Agent)

“Paneling made of imported Europein wood”  (If you’re a peein,’ Ima leavin’.’)

“Delicious abbatizers served” (Cue the Abba music: “You are the dancing queen…”)

“A real diamond in the rust.” (…And a water intrusion problem, it seems.)

“New flushing installed in back for drainage.” (I believe that’s called an outhouse.)

“After stop at Sixes Tavern, turn left, then right, cross tracks and wind uphill.” (This must be the sobriety test AFTER the stop at Sixes Tavern.)

“Chandeleer & other fizures stay” (Home for sale in prime San Andreas Estates)

“Ranch with beautiful hillslide view” (Welcome to Avalanche Ranch)

“Property line goes to last swill”  (Agent apparently does also.)

“House on pile ons”  (Must be near the ranch with the hillslide view.)

 “Near Beverly Hills Hortel” (Enough said.) 

Too Much Information, Bozo 

“Please don’t ask seller about the hole in the wall.” (And shall I also ignore the arrow in his forehead?)

“Seller wants fast sale – doesn’t like area” (Great pitch – next you’re going to tell me he hates the corpses in the cellar.)

“Tenant is difficult, please leave fast if threatened. Seller Motivated.” (Motivated or mutilated?) 

Best Sense of Humor Awards: 

 “It’s Hollywood – someone famous must have spent the night here.”  (Especially if it’s Hollywood Lock-up)

“Short drive to famous rehab…just in case” (In that event, perhaps driving is not the best choice.)

And This Week’s Faves: 

“This house has gott titt all.” (Hmmm…is that a good thing or a bad thing?)

“Marble floor – great for clogging” (A swingin’ house near Holland Tunnel)

I wear several hats: My mink fedora real estate hat belongs to Sotheby’s International Realty on the world famous Sunset Strip. I’M not world famous, but I've garnered a few Top Producer credits along the way. I also wear a coonskin writer's cap with an arrow through it, having written a few novels and screenplays and scored a few awards there, too. (The arrow was from a tasteless critic.) My sequined turban is my thespian hat for my roles on stage, and in film and television, Dahling. You can check me out in all my infamy at LinkedIn, LAhomesite.com, SherlockOfHomes, IMDB or you can shoot arrows at my head via email. I can take it.

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39 Comments

39 Comments

  1. Bruce Lemieux

    February 5, 2010 at 8:19 am

    You made some of these up … didn’t you?

    Showing instructions for two homes I recently showed:

    “Door is unlocked and no lockbox. Push front-door really hard to get in”.

    “Seller requests that you don’t take anything when showing”. Disappointing since I normally take a lamp or end-table on all my showings.

  2. Sheri Moritz

    February 5, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Thanks for the laugh from both of you. A great comedy book could be spun from comments agents make.

  3. Ross Therrien, Prudential Verani

    February 5, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Our mls has trigger words that will prohibit the use of certain words ie. we can’t say trash pick up if its a mobile home listing. Wonder why?

  4. Joe Loomer

    February 5, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Wow Gwen! Bruce is putting up some stiff competition today!

    Oh, and once very early in my real estate career, I showed a home to an investor. List agent told me the tenants knew we were coming. Got there before my clients, tenant answered the door with a 12-inch hunting knife, I asked him if he knew we were coming, he said yes, and then stuck the knife in the door frame. I said “I’ll just wait out here for my client.” He says “client? ok that’s fine” and goes back in.

    Client gets there, I knock again – get a “c’mon in” – BIG MISTAKE. Two dudes smoking crack on an upside down crate, Glock next to the stash – didn’t bat an eye as we looked around. Client says “yeah, uh, can we see the back?” Well homeboy #1 loses his freakin mind. “What the %#@ you need to see out back ##$%#?” hand inching toward the Glock.

    By now I’m fingering the mace in my pocket wondering if we’ll live to SEE the back. I state – didn’t John Doe the Listing Agent tell you we were coming to see the house?

    A dim light of awareness crosses his gold-toothed countenance. “Oh, y’all heah to see the house? Go ahead out back then….”

    We back out slowly, go out back, and there’s the obligatory abused pit bull with spike collar protecting some dubious barrells of chemicals. This client – who I fired before we got back to our cars – wanted to go back in and ask them what the smell was, why they needed a gun, and why they treated their animals that way.

    Needless to say, I now phrase my introductions to tenant owned properties like this: “Did John Doe the Listing Agent for your Owner tell you a real estate agent – specifically ME would be bringing a client to see your home today?”

    I managed to survive people trying to kill me during my military service, I didn’t realize I needed to be better armed AFTER I retired – my old Master Chief used to say – “I ain’t never seen no &%#@ like this before.”

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    • Bruce Lemieux

      February 5, 2010 at 9:47 am

      OK – so this is how it went?
      – The guy answers the door with a 12 inch hunting knife. You don’t leave.
      – Once inside, you see two guys hanging upside smoking crack. You still haven’t left.
      – You spy an automatic weapon. You’re still there?
      – Pitbull and barrels of chemicals in back. Now you are ready to leave.

      I only have a few rules when showing homes. One of them: if the resident answers the door with a 12 inch knife, the home isn’t a fit for my client. Leave. Leave now. Nothing else to see.

  5. Patrick Flynn

    February 5, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Another great round of Oopsies from the wordsmiths of our industry! -Thnx Gwen

  6. Madison real estate

    February 5, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Absolutely brilliant – a real hoot! It’s also quite sad and reflects pretty badly on our industry. Thankfully (or not), I’ll bet a lot of those typos are the result of undermotivated (or undereducated, take your pick) support staff. Yep, I said it. Blame it on the office support. That’s why I’ve always made it my practice to input all my own listings on the MLS. I write it, rewrite it, catch my own typos, etc. Saves mega time and aggravation and there’s no one to blame but me if the description sucks!

  7. Joe Loomer

    February 5, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Bruce – you’re spot-on in everything you said. Problem was, it was so early in my real estate career I thought EVERY showing on the wrong side of the tracks was like this. Invester client was looking for very low end Section 8 (govt subsidized rent) properties.

    My wife blew a gasket when I told her about it – for the very reasons you state. Her tone was slightly more – shall we say – heated?

  8. Gwen Banta

    February 5, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    With comments like the ones you came across, Bruce, can one have any doubt about that bag of crazy we call the MLS?

  9. Gwen Banta

    February 5, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    You are right, Sheri – truth is always better than fiction!

  10. Gwen Banta

    February 5, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Ross – that is hysterical – subtle, but hysterical!!!!

  11. Gwen Banta

    February 5, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Good God, Joe – That’s more frightening than anything I have ever had to face, although I have heard similar stories from my colleagues (most of whom are now undergoing shock therapy.) But I really have to ask: Once you saw the knife in the door frame, what made you think the situation was going to get better? Who was the one on crack? NOTE TO JOE: If you see a knife, a glock or a pittbull, run like a hungry rabbit. Either you are at the wrong house, or you have drifted across state lines to Los Angeles…and then I will have to see your license and your botox discount card. And incidentally, even if the tenant says he was forewarned, what makes you think he would not like a Loomer popsicle (which involves a head and a stick)? We are all so very grateful for your service to our country, so we sure as the devil do not want to be pulling the teeth of a pittbull out of your Navy arse!

  12. Gwen Banta

    February 5, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Bruce – I just read your comment to Joe. I think you and I are thinking the same thing: What about the word ‘knife’ made you think you should enter the building? Perhaps on first glance Joe thought it was a beer bottle opener, right Joe?

  13. Gwen Banta

    February 5, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Hi Patrick – The MLS oopsies today cannot rival Joe and Bruce!

  14. Gwen Banta

    February 5, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Dear Madison: I love your style – passing the buck is the American way. From now on, I am going to blame all my goofs, which are continuous, on Joey Butofuoco, who never got anything right.

  15. Gwen Banta

    February 5, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Joe, your wife sounds very wise to me. I don’t know where the tracks in your town are or which side is the eighth ring of Dante’s Inferno, but I DO know you better be keeping your backside out of target range. I don’t think the government subsidizes arse reconstruction.

  16. Jennifer Rathbun

    February 5, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    You know…. each week when I read these funny comments, I think, “Boy, I hope I wrote my MLS comments correctly or they’ll be plastered all over AG!” I hope those that make a mistake can laugh at themselves! (Just writing this, I found 3 spelling mistakes!)

  17. Thomas Johnson

    February 6, 2010 at 12:41 am

    I don’t think the government subsidizes arse reconstruction.
    Gwen: They want to tax it.

  18. Gwen Banta

    February 6, 2010 at 1:05 am

    Jennifer – I am the one who accidentally referred to a seller Dr. Dunghill instead of Dunhill – so I guess we are all guilty. That’s where the fun starts!

  19. Gwen Banta

    February 6, 2010 at 1:07 am

    I think you are right, Thomas. But maybe the new Obama health care plan will at least cover arse botox. It would be nioce to sit on something firm for a change.

  20. Joe Loomer

    February 6, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Thanks Gwen, thanks. Ass Botox. Lovely. Simply $%##ing lovely. HAD to remind me, didn’t you?

    The Navy women’s softball team I coached back in the mid 80’s used to call me “Coach No-Butt.” I thought I was over it, but noooooooo. Thanks Gwen.

  21. Gwen Banta

    February 6, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Ah, Joe – you took one for the team – way to go! I checked with some of the girls who were on the team, and they said you always misunderstood the sobriquet they had so fondly attached to your person – that being “Coach Po’ Butt” because the team was always getting their po’ butts kicked. I asked them if you needed butt botox, and they collectively agreed that you are “Navy Chief, Navy Beef.”

  22. Ken Brand

    February 6, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    I love that real life is better than fiction and I love that you share the most sinful stuff. We’re in cahoots and it’s a beautiful blessing.

    Cheers.

  23. Gwen Banta

    February 7, 2010 at 1:52 am

    Thanks, Ken – it’s so nice to hear from you. I don’t share the absolute most sinful stuff, as you can imagine, because we are PG rated. I’m saving all that stuff for AG After Hours – it’s a new club I plan to open on the Sunset Strip. I’ll make you bouncer if you promise to frisk anyone named Loomer 🙂

    • Ken Brand

      February 7, 2010 at 8:17 am

      Head Of Security sounds awesome (I just gave my self a promotion). And yes I’m happy to frisk, very quickly, Loomer….provided you give me, very slowly, a hands on demonstration/training session 😉

  24. Joe Loomer

    February 7, 2010 at 8:12 am

    So. Woke up Friday morning feeling pre-tay dang good about myself. What a difference two days and one Gwen Banta post make. Do these comments make my a** look fat?

    Navy Chie…..oh never mind…..

  25. Gwen Banta

    February 7, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Ok, Ken – Training starts at midnight. Be there and BE-Ware!

  26. Gwen Banta

    February 7, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Hey Chief – “J-Lo” is synonymous with “great butt.” I always thaought J-Lo was Joe Loomer, no?

  27. Gwen Banta

    February 7, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Hey All – I am always the one catching other people’s typos, but check out my last comment to Navy “Chief” Joe Loomer. It looks like I was on a heroin nod! ZZZZZZZZ

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Business Marketing

Tired of “link in bio”? Here is a solution for Instagram linking

(MARKETING) The days of only one link in your Instagram bio are over. Alls.Link not only lets you link more, it gives you options for marketing and analytics too.

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Woman checking Instagram on phone

If you’re like me, you’ve probably swapped out the link in your Instagram bio 100 times. Do I share my website? A link to a product? A recent publication? Well, now you don’t have to choose!

Alls.Link is a subscription-based program that allows you to, among other things, have multiple links in your bio. I’m obsessed with the Instagram add-ons that are helping business owners to expand the platform to further engage their audiences – and this is NEEDED one.

With the basic membership ($8/month), you get up to 10 customizable Biolink Pages with shortened links (and you’ll be able to choose your own backend). You also get access to Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel for your pages. With the basic membership, you will have Alls.Link advertising on your Biolink Page. Plus, you’ll be allotted a total of 10 projects, and Biolink Pages with 20 customizable domains.

With the premium membership ($15/month), you get link scheduling for product drops and article releases, SEO and UTM parameters, and you’ll have the ability to link more socials on the Biolink Page. With this membership, you’re allotted 20 projects and Biolink Pages with 60 customizable domains.

If you’re unsure about whether or not Alls.Link is worth it (or which membership is best for you), there is a free trial option in which you’ll be granted all the premium membership capabilities.

Overall – premium membership or not – I have to say, the background colors and font choices are really fun and will take your Biolink Page to the next level. Alls.Link is definitely a program to consider if your business has a substantial Insta following and you have a lot of external material you want to share with your followers.

The day-by-day statistics are a great tool for knowing what your audience is interested in and what links are getting the most clicks. Also, the ability to incorporate Google Analytics into the mix is a big plus, especially if you’re serious about metrics.

If you have a big team (or manage multiple pages), I would suggest going premium just for the sheer quantity of domains you can customize and link, though there are various other reasons I’d also suggest to do so. Take a look and see what works for you!

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Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?

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blemish effect

Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible. If your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Business Marketing

Google Chrome will no longer allow premium extensions

(MARKETING) In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue on Chrome.

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Google Chrome open on a laptop on a organized desk.

Google has cracked down on various practices over the past couple of years, but their most recent target—the Google Chrome extensions store—has a few folks scratching their heads.
Over the span of the next few months, Google will phase out paid extensions completely, thus ending a bizarre and relatively negligible corner of internet economy.

This decision comes on the heels of a “temporary” ban on the publication of new premium extensions back in March. According to Engadget, all aspects of paid extension use—including free trials and in-app purchases—will be gone come February 2021.

To be clear, Google’s decision won’t prohibit extension developers from charging customers to use their products; instead, extension developers will be required to find alternative methods of requesting payment. We’ve seen this model work on a donation basis with extensions like AdBlock. But shifting to something similar on a comprehensive scale will be something else entirely.

Interestingly, Google’s angle appears to be in increasing user safety. The Verge reports that their initial suspension of paid extensions was put into place as a response to products that included “fraudulent transactions”, and Google’s subsequent responses since then have comprised more user-facing actions such as removing extensions published by different parties that accomplish replica tasks.

Review manipulation, use of hefty notifications as a part of an extension’s operation, and generally spammy techniques were also eyeballed by Google as problem points in their ongoing suspension leading up to the ban.

In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue. The extension store was a relatively free market in a sense—something that, given the number of parameters being enforced as of now, is less true for the time being.

Similarly, one can only wonder about which avenues vendors will choose when seeking payment for their services in the future. It’s entirely possible that, after Google Chrome shuts down payments in February, the paid section of the extension market will crumble into oblivion, the side effects of which we can’t necessarily picture.

For now, it’s probably best to hold off on buying any premium extensions; after all, there’s at least a fighting chance that they’ll all be free come February—if we make it that far.

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