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A Tale of Two Blogs

I am pretty new to the bologsphere or blogiverse or blog-o-rama (pick your favorite) so I jump around a little to see different approaches to blogging and to see what different topics seem to have some “buzz”. Imagine my surprise when, in a short time, I run across two blogs in two different locations, about two completely different subjects that strike me as nasty– nothing that I think is worthy of a second thought and yet they both stuck in my mind. As they whirled around in there, I finally realized what it is that keeps me coming back to both of them. It seemed to me they both exploited the blogging platform to make the writer’s pet position seem superior by denigrating the subject of the post.

The First Tale

In one of the posts, written on Redfin’s site by Carol Hian was a post about Kris Berg and her husband, agents in San Diego who worked for a competitor whose business model was more traditional. The post I read by Ms. Hian was condescending, sarcastic, cruel, and written from a position of unwarranted superiority.

I understand that this blog was a response to a blog by Kris Berg about Redfin regarding a new service they were introducing called “Redfin Select”where buyers could be taken on tours to see homes by Redfin’s agents. That blog used the USDA meat grades as an analogy to the Redfin Service, and was critical of Redfin’s new service. I could understand why an advocate for Redfin would want to respond.

I don’t know either of the agents involved, and they are a continent away from my market. Yet I found Kris Berg’s blog to be less offensive to my sense of fair play. In her blog, she discusses a business model, not personalities. Agree with her or not, the conversation is about how a company does business, not about personalities. The rebuttal should be the same.

In Ms. Hian’s blog, the attack felt personal. The author calls them Barbie and Ken, and castigates the Berg’s efforts in organizing a canned food drive, faulting them for not providing “can openers, a cooktop and plasticware”. She goes on to say

Barbie and Ken have accrued quite enough wealth of their own and could easily throw a gracious party. Yet, they choose to feed on the wealth of others instead

This was, I understand to compare the canned food drive to a party organized by Redfin as a thank you to their customers and clients.

The reaction of the blogging community was pretty quick. By the time I had read the blog, the author had been dismissed from their position at Redfin, and the company’s CEO had written a blog apologizing, though the offensive blog was left up in the interests of transparency . Though the blog is still there, a disclaimer has been added to the top of the blog explaining that this was a post that was not in keeping with the company’s policies.

And Another Attack Began

So a little later, I come across a blog on the BloodhoundBlog by Barry Cunningham reviling NAR . The post, entitled “The National Association Of Realtors Announces That The Typewriter Is State Of The Art Technology” was an unwarranted , and more importantly inaccurate attack on NAR and 2007 President Pat V. Combs.

This post mocked NAR and Past President Combs for a video posted on a new website called NAR Confidential which NAR ” designed to educate our membership about technology-related topics and investigate how NAR can best use Web-based technology to communicate with members.” Loosely translated, this was a new communication initiative – an experiment.

The fact that NAR has set up a website utilizing streaming video, soliciting videos from members, podcasting to iTunes, and using a Commoncraftexplanation of Podcasting to help members understand the podcasting process is laudable, but not the focus of the post I read. There are no Kudos to NAR for trying to reach out to the members in an inventive manner. Instead the focus of the post is about the presence of a typewriter in the office of an NAR Past President.

When Pat is not donating her time to improve the industry as a member of NAR, this 37 year veteran of the real estate industry is Vice President of the 2nd largest Real Estate company in Michigan. That makes her company pretty succesful in their marketplace don’t you think? In a video showing the technology being used by one of her offices, she shows us electronic lock boxes, laptops, desktops, faxes, copiers, color printers, multi-function (copier/scanner/fax) machines, and a typewriter, discussing how all of these things are used by the agents in her very successful company.

Cunningham’s blog states,”There you have it. For all of us who did not know, it is the typewriter that no real estate agent can do without because you simply can not fill out forms in any other manner. Ummm…okay“. That isn’t what was said in the NAR video (though this fiction does make for better reading then the reality).

The truth is that during the tour Pat makes the comment, “I think all real estate offices have typewriters because there are a lot of forms and a lot of deeds and a lot of things that you have to prepare, that you can only do on-site on a typewriter that you can’t do on a computer” At the same time a balloon appears on the video that says “the first commercially successful typewriter was invented in 1867 “. Now I consider myself technologically savvy, and no one loves new toys or applications more then I, but I have to reveal a terrible truth to the world – I own a typewriter! And I don’t care who knows it- Is that really so terrible? In our company, we found out a long time ago, that having new technology doesn’t mean you need to get rid of all the old technology- sometimes you do need those things.

I don’t know what Mr. Cunningham’s issue is with NAR. On BHB he is listed as a “Real estate Broadcaster and Investor”. I only know what I have read of his, and he may have some background which makes him an authority on what it takes to run a successful real estate office or a large Trade Organization. But he seems to have very little first hand information on the workings of NAR or diversity of the business operations of its members. In response to one of the comments on the post that asks his relationship to NAR he says ,”I don’t have a relationship with NAR nor do I desire one”. Its a shame that this articulate writer feels that its better to criticize NAR then it is to contribute to an organization that does so much for our industry.

As I said, I’m the new kid here, and he seems to be well known as a blogger. But picking on NAR is easy because its an organization, and organizations that are not designed for the specific purpose of communicating in this arena don’t have a blogger alarm that goes off every time that an inaccurate comment is made. Maybe posts like these are just about creating controversy, but I don’t believe that controversy for its own sake helps anyone. I do think in this type of arena, you might recognize someone of something for their efforts rather then jumping to criticise or denigrate the effort that they made.

Can’t we all just get along?

Look, I’m a fan of controversy, and I’m not saying that anyone should abandon their position or that reasoned articulate disagreements are not enjoyable to participate in or to observe. Nor do I think that NAR, or any company, agent or business should be exempted from discussion or above criticism, but I do think that there should be some standards.

It is so easy to take swipes when you speak as an individual on the Internet. And so much harder for someone to respond on behalf of a company or an organization. After all they need to be not only articulate but well reasoned and factual, because they are not speaking for themselves, they are speaking for the larger group and therefiore have an obligation to act responsibly. As we saw from Ms. Hian’s dismissal, individuals speaking on behalf of an organization need to be mindful of that organization’s position before they begin to rant.

I think all of us need to be balanced. Not impartial, but balanced. As I said earlier, I don’t know much about the participants in the Hian controversy so I’ll use the NAR situation to illustrate my point since I’m more familiar with that.

I am a big supporter of NAR. I believe in the organization, and its role in making the industry better. I believe that our staff is exceptional and that they work diligently to improve the industry and provide meaningful and important services to the membership and the public. I also believe that the individuals who volunteer are are working hard to keep the organization effective and bring a tremendous amount of practical real estate experience to their efforts at NAR. I also believe that most people that criticize the organization often do so from an abysmal lack of knowledge about the organization. But none of that means that someone else can’t have a valid viewpoint, or that we might not have an articulate and respectful disagreement.

All I ask is that if you quote somebody or something, don’t paraphrase them unless you identify it as your paraphrase. When you take a position, articulate the position and your suggestion for reaching some objective. Try to acknowledge the position of the other party even when you disagree, and demonstrate some understanding of the challenges of the person or company or agent or organization even if you oppose them.

It might be easier to write something negative or critical, but I have to believe that well reasoned, substantive discourse provides more for all of us. I think that our readership deserves more then a sharp staement that has form without substance.

Bill is an unusual blend of Old & New - The CEO Century 21 Advantage Gold (Philadelphia's Largest Century 21 company and BuzzBuilderz (a Social Media Marketing Company), He is a Ninja CEO, blending the Web 1 and 2.0 world together in a fashion that stretches the fabric of the universe. You can follow him on twitter @Billlublin or Facebook or LinkedIn.

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70 Comments

70 Comments

  1. Vicki Moore

    April 29, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    I have a lot to say about this topic – I said some of it privately to Jonathan Dalton today. And although my better judgement is telling me to keep my mouth shut…here goes. I’m confused by Barry Cunningham’s overall presentation. I don’t understand his purpose in slamming everyone/everything in sight. Of his articles that I read they were insightful and agitating – so much so that I stopped reading them after a couple of contributions.

    In the blogging world everything is open to critism and it’s not a bad idea to put ideas under a microscope, but how about some suggestions for change or improvement, instead of just hammering your opinion into the ground?

    I’ve had blog battles and I’m sure there will be more to follow. That is occasionally the result of a strong opinion. I certainly understand the purpose of firing up your readership, agitating them to respond, but after a while it’s just boring. Get off your soap box and write something interesting, thought-provoking and smart instead of smart-ass.

  2. Barry Cunningham

    April 29, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Same old blah..blah..blah…C’mon Bill if you had some questions you might have asked.

    The “attack” word is getting pretty old don’t you think? Don’t like what somebody says..call it an attack. Can’t find any substance to back up your argument..call it an attack.

    That’s so very tiresome. Almost as tiresome as those like you thinking that something must be written for shock value or sensationalism.

    There was no need to “mock” the NAR in this regard. They did enough damage on their own.

    The fact that you are a NAR supporter speaks volumes. I am sure you’ll have plenty of those who will find refuge in your statements. You are specifially NOT in the demo of my audience and as such I would EXPECT you to react this way.

    You wrote: “I don’t know what Mr. Cunningham’s issue is with NAR”…you really don’t know? How about listening to our show and reading our stories. If that does not do it for you I will send you links to tons more speaking to the innefficiency of the organization.

    You also wrote: “I don’t have a relationship with NAR nor do I desire one”. Its a shame that this articulate writer feels that its better to criticize NAR then it is to contribute to an organization that does so much for our industry.”

    The demise of the NAR in my mind would be a benefit for a great many agents. I would rather do as we do, help young agents make there way in the business. NAR, in my opinion and that of many others, is a lost cause. Maybe not…but it appears to be that way.

    Bill, I respect your opinion and I encourage your continued voice. We may not always agree but I am not the “attacking” kind of person you allude to. If I was…you most assuredly would know.

    In the future, please realize that I enjoy spirited discourse and I encourage dissenting opinion. The sooner most realize that the NAR and the real estate industry is not hallowed ground the soner more can look at it for what it is, what many consumers see as the problems, and take a concerted action to weed out the obvious malaise affecting the industry and encourage the revolution of change in the needed to offset the quickly becoming obsolete business model.

  3. Barry Cunningham

    April 29, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    Vicki..you obviously do not listen to the radio show, as many off the cuff detractors have’nt.

    On our show, you would know we feature the brightest and best in the real estate industry. In fact tomorrow we feature a live interview with David Knox.

    Our show is ALL about helping real estate agents and is the #1 real estate related talk show in the nation.

    I could begin listing all of the guests we have had on our show but it would absolutely blow you away. We deliver content to an audience that is substantive, viable, current and provides our audience with the tools to be very successful.

    You would be very hard pressed to find a venue that provides such top notch information in regards to real estate.

    So when you make statements like “Get off your soap box and write something interesting, thought-provoking and smart instead of smart-ass”…you show yourself for what you are rather than what you should be.

    Many people react from emotion. It’s easy and it sometimes makes them feel better. We are not looking to speak to those with such knee jerk reactions. We speak to those who want to listen, who are not afraid of change, and can envision the future of real estate.

    Grandstanding and being a smart ass?? No, being realistic, seeking to call out those holding others back and providing top notch information from guests that are known around the world for their success.

    Maybe you should actually listen in. You might be surprised…you’ll definitely learn something!

  4. Bill Lublin

    April 30, 2008 at 6:44 am

    Barry I didn’t have any questions, that’s why I didn’t ask.I thought the post was clear, I just didn’t agree with the position you took on NAR’s effort to explore a new communication vehicle, and thought that your criticism of it wasn’t substantive.

    blockquote>That’s so very tiresome. Almost as tiresome as those like you thinking that something must be written for shock value or sensationalism.

    I was actually making that point after reading your response to a comment on a post where you refer to yourself as a GPH. And since I didn’t see another reason for the criticism of a new effort, I drew that conclusion. Sorry if it was inaccurate.

    You are specifially NOT in the demo of my audience

    So who is?

    You wrote: “I don’t know what Mr. Cunningham’s issue is with NAR”…you really don’t know? How about listening to our show and reading our stories. If that does not do it for you I will send you links to tons more speaking to the innefficiency of the organization.

    I still don;t know what your issue with NAR is. I don’t think I should have to review your entire body of work to understand the basis for your dislike – and remember I’m not your demo 🙂
    And going to other links that criticize NAR wouldn’t explain your issues to me.

    The demise of the NAR in my mind would be a benefit for a great many agents. I would rather do as we do, help young agents make there way in the business. NAR, in my opinion and that of many others, is a lost cause. Maybe not…but it appears to be that way.

    Barry – this is part of my problem – WHY would the demise of NAR benefit many agents? I only see statements ike that from people who don’t know what the organization does for its members, the consumer and the industry.
    I know that NAR advocates legislatively for the real estate professional where no one else does.
    I know that NAR pioneered and promotes the education of real estate professionals through designations and courses.
    I know that NAR has supported besieged members and associaitons through its legal action committee.
    I know that NAR’s Code of Ethics led the way for real estate licensing laws, and has provided consumers and members with an arena to redress wrongs they felt they suffered (and before you dismiss that, I have participated in hundreds of such hearings and heard the thanks of those consumers and professionals – and I’m only one guy- there are and have been tens of thousand like me – you do the math).
    I know that they encourage diversity
    I know that they assist brokers and agents in Risk Management
    I know that their Legal Action Committee has helped agents and Associations beleagured by lawsuits that could impact the entire industry negatively.
    I know that NAR has helped State and Local Associations by developing guidelines for their own efforts in all of the aforementioned fields.

    I could go on and on, but it would be past the point, and I still don’t know what NAR did or might do that you think is so bad that their demise would benefit anyone

    Is it because you think they inefficient? That’s an opinion, but I would suggest that the larger any organization grows, there is some inefficiency that is going to apprear as a result of the size of the organization, but at least NAR has shown that they areopen to new ideas and willing to change.

    In the future, please realize that I enjoy spirited discourse and I encourage dissenting opinion. The sooner most realize that the NAR and the real estate industry is not hallowed ground the soner more can look at it for what it is, what many consumers see as the problems, and take a concerted action to weed out the obvious malaise affecting the industry and encourage the revolution of change in the needed to offset the quickly becoming obsolete business model.

    I don’t think NAR or the industry is hallowed ground. I grew up near the place where they signed the Declaration of Independence – Now that’s Hallowed Ground! And I don’t undertsand what you refer to as an obvious malaise – I don’t see NAR as suffering from some vague sense of mental or moral ill-being (yes, I’m using the second definition of the term) Come to one of its meetings and you’ll see a strong vibrant organization working towards well defined goals for its members. And since NAR is a trade organization and not a business, with members that have lots of different business models, I don’t get the statement regarding the revolution of change and the obsolete business model. That seems again to be more rhetoric then substance

    Bill, I respect your opinion and I encourage your continued voice. We may not always agree but I am not the “attacking” kind of person you allude to. If I was…you most assuredly would know

    Thanks Barry – Me too

  5. Bill Lublin

    April 30, 2008 at 6:46 am

    Vicki – Thanks – I love it when smart people agree with me! 🙂

  6. Glenn fm Naples

    April 30, 2008 at 7:26 am

    What I find is that many people (bloggers) are quite different in person versus how they present themselves in person. Those that I have met in person or have had the opportunity to talk with are actually very nice people and people that I can admire. However, the first couple of interactions on a forum – I was ready to jump thru my monitor and strangle the person. LOL Hopefully, someday, we can “humanize” the web.

    I also read posts that are created to create “buzz” or attempt to create “change” – however, the written communication actually causes a negative affect rather than a thought process.

    We need to be mindful that we are communicating via the written word and our facial and body language is missing and leaves much to interpretation.

    Old saying “Praise in public and criticize in private.”

  7. Matthew Rathbun

    April 30, 2008 at 7:47 am

    Barry,

    I recall actually writing an article defending you – not for what you say, but that you have a right to say it without being “attacked”. The mere fact that you’re tried of hearing the word, doesn’t make it any less appropriate to the conversation.

    I think even you know that your columns and words are considered more “National Enquirer” than “Wall Street Journal”. It’s easy to be controversial and it’s easy to say things against NAR. It’s much harder to be constructive and to roll up your sleeves and help build, than to sit back and destroy.

    Since you asked Bill for questions and he, having none, leaves an opportunity for me to ask:

    1. If your knowledge about Real Estate practice is so much keener and in depth, why are you no longer doing it? I would think that someone who had the portion of answers that you project, would be able to rival Donald Trump.

    2. Saying that we can do well without NAR, may be a valid point; but how do you propose to fix the many issues that would be created as a result? Who would be fighting the many issues facing the practitioner as a whole? Can they do better? Undoubtedly, but I ask you – why are you so against fixing the issues and so intent on dissolving it?

    3 I understand too well that controversy and derogatory gimcrack that Jerry Springer-like tactics will yield, but really, what’s the point?

    4. I hear your comments about demographics…. I have to ask, do you really want followers, who follow you simply because you denounce everything!?!?! You’re point to Vicky is well received – perhaps if I listened more; I’d hear some sense of you building something. But I don’t have the time to listen that intently to “hope” to walk away with some positive nugget from an otherwise offense program.

    Each of your articles that I have read, have simply torn everyone and everything down. I simply couldn’t relate. Perhaps, it’s the pastoral mentality in me – or my drive to improve things versus destroying them. I am sure it’s me, but I’d be happy for you to put me on the map. Show me how your are helping the practitioner.

  8. Matthew Rathbun

    April 30, 2008 at 7:49 am

    Barry,

    OK, so I totally had this window open too long commenting and didn’t realize that Bill had asked questions…. I still really want to know and you can certainly e-mail me directly, as I am sure you want to hurl some words at me that aren’t tasteful on a public blog 🙂

    And… I wasn’t being rhetorical, I really want your insight of the questions above…

  9. Barry Cunningham

    April 30, 2008 at 8:14 am

    Hi Matthew..Like I told Vicki above…you need to really listen to the show to get an accurate viewpoint. As for us being more Enquirer than WSJ..not really. We often link studies and research info to our posts. I can’t control people reading them or not.

    On to your questions:
    1. If your knowledge about Real Estate practice is so much keener and in depth, why are you no longer doing it? I would think that someone who had the portion of answers that you project, would be able to rival Donald Trump.

    Answer……..who said we are no longer doing it? We are actively involved in the purchase and sale of real estate as investors and opening a real estate brokerage office as well. As for Trump reference..we don’t work in the commercial market and I don’t care to pay a license for the use of his name.

    2. Saying that we can do well without NAR, may be a valid point; but how do you propose to fix the many issues that would be created as a result? Who would be fighting the many issues facing the practitioner as a whole? Can they do better? Undoubtedly, but I ask you – why are you so against fixing the issues and so intent on dissolving it?

    Answer: This would command most of the Agent Genius page and I would not do that to some one else’s page but suffice it to say that the NAR has had ample opportunity to “fix” the problem yet they insist on issuing unfounded advertising campaigns and rhetoric that is panned and ridiculed by just about every major media organization on the planet. It might be easy to defend by some agents but take a long hard look at what they have published. It’s a puppet regime. I will email you more if need be. I am all for helping other agents however. I would give any agent any support that I can..and I do.

    3 I understand too well that controversy and derogatory gimcrack that Jerry Springer-like tactics will yield, but really, what’s the point?

    Answer:That’s your perception. Sometimes the truth really hurts. I can’t really address this question becasue you have not quoted any specific reference of sensationalism. Please do. If you and some others mistake truth and reality for sensationalism then I can not be held responsible for that. Please provide a reference for what you describe as pure sensationalism.

    4. I hear your comments about demographics…. I have to ask, do you really want followers, who follow you simply because you denounce everything!?!?! You’re point to Vicky is well received – perhaps if I listened more; I’d hear some sense of you building something. But I don’t have the time to listen that intently to “hope” to walk away with some positive nugget from an otherwise offense program.

    Answers: I don’t want “followers” at all. The NAR has enough of those. I like to communicate openly with agents, investors, and consumers who have a true free mind to expand their horizons beyond conventional wisdom. In case some have not realized, there is a whole new world out there and I believe there is a revolution brewing in real estate and in business. Our dem understands that and is seeking to prosper in today’s economic times using the contemporary tools and resources afforded them. As for not having the time to listen to the show or the guests we have on, that is certainly your choice. If you have’nt listened, then how can you call it offensive? What you may not know is that are numbers are large and growing and we have the best in real estate and business on the program and we don’t need to prove anything to anybody.

    Each of your articles that I have read, have simply torn everyone and everything down. I simply couldn’t relate. Perhaps, it’s the pastoral mentality in me – or my drive to improve things versus destroying them. I am sure it’s me, but I’d be happy for you to put me on the map. Show me how your are helping the practitioner.

    Answer: it’s your perception, again without specific reference I can not respond. If you want to know how we are helping the practitioner that’s an easy question to answer.

    We are helping to usher in an alternative model to the current real estate business model. We are helping those agents and investors prosper by breaking the chains of an otherwise obsolete and archaic way of doing business. While it’s not for everybody, and while I am sure and know very successful agents out there, there is a HUGE number of agents who need asistance making the change.

    With only 1-2% of agents utilizing a Web 2.0 approach, with 5% of agents garnering 95% of the market share, With the emergence of a new wave of buyer in the Gen X and Gen Y demo needing to be serviced, in the manner in which they want to be serviced, with Investors across the country seeking to enhance the process of virtual real estate investing….I could go on and on. the fact that you had to ask this question indicates that you truly don’t know what we are about.

    That’s a problem only you can address. Our evangelical approach to a new model of real estate is being accepted and welcomed by many.

    I encourage dissenting opinion because as you see, I am quite open and willing to have discourse without the need to be incendiary.

    If you truly wanted to know that you would ask,,,and you did, and I commend you for doing so.

  10. Barry Cunningham

    April 30, 2008 at 8:16 am

    Bill..I hope my answers to Matthew provided you with a response as well. If not sufficient, please by all means, let me know. Thanks.

  11. Matthew Rathbun

    April 30, 2008 at 8:26 am

    Barry,

    Those were excellent answers… even if I don’t fully agree. Kudos for taking the time to interact. I’ve printed out the exchange for conversations in our tech meetings and training.

  12. Bill Lublin

    April 30, 2008 at 8:32 am

    Barry:
    I’m sorry to ask you again, but I still don’t get what exactly it is about NAR that you have issue with- They don’t foster any business model so they issue of how agents do what they do isn’t really relevant there.
    You seem to have issue with their positive advertising campaign, but there is as much to be said about the inappropriately negative national media, so I would say that’s a pot stirrer more then a substantive issue – I prefer the COE advertising they did last year, but it isn;t enough to talk about the termination of an organization.
    Most of what I saw in your response to Matthew was really rhetoric rather then substance- You kept asking him for specifics – Help me out here by doing the same for me.
    Thanks for taking part in the conversation, I look forward to talking about those specifics when you write them.

  13. Bill Lublin

    April 30, 2008 at 8:34 am

    Baryy – Sorry for the break, but I really do want to know – What is that demo that I’m not part of? 🙂

  14. Barry Cunningham

    April 30, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Hi Matthew..I am very open to discussion. Kudos to you for asking. Most assume and then don’t really take the time to ask what’s behind the mask per se.

  15. Barry Cunningham

    April 30, 2008 at 10:19 am

    Bill,

    You wrote: “I’m sorry to ask you again, but I still don’t get what exactly it is about NAR that you have issue with- They don’t foster any business model so they issue of how agents do what they do isn’t really relevant there.”

    Answer: No need to beat a dead horse here or insult your values. I find them to be useless and directionless in every way and to be deficient in leading the way for MOST agents to be able to be successful. One of the reasons I like writing at Bloodhound is becasue we see eye to eye about the NAR. I feel they take our money, and provide little in return. The question I would ask is why you think you need them. Here’s a question that we ask to many agents and I am sure that you would be surprised by the answer.

    “If you could have open access to the MLS and did not have to pay dues to the NAR in order to access the MLS would you be a member”….I think the response would surprise you.

    “Most of what I saw in your response to Matthew was really rhetoric”…C’mon Bill..It does not appear Matt felt that way. You are the one who is here stirring. You have not read much of what i have written nor listened to our show. I can’t take my day up this way.

    I am balanced in my approach and taking snippets of what you call attacking and controversial is basically becoming a blogger without doing some homework on your subject matter. You may have an opinion but that’s all it is.

    You want specifics…by all means go to our site, read the articles and listen to the show. Or don’t..it’s totally up to you. I personally would want to be more informed.

    As for my demo..it’s agents without a closed mind who are not afraid of change but who embrace it and realize that the conventional wisdom has not shown them the path to success.

    If 5% of all agents generate 95% of the revenue, our demo is decidedly that part of the 95% who want to be added to aforementioned 5%. That’s our demo in great specificity.

  16. Melina Tomson

    April 30, 2008 at 10:19 am

    I know many agents that have many issues with NAR…It’s part and parcel to having a large base. People just aren’t going to agree. I know many agents that were repulsed by the “It’s a good time to buy campaign,” since it wasn’t a good time to buy in their markets.

    I have read some of Barry’s posts here and on AR. I agree with him that the real estate industry has some changing to do and I know many agents that agree. I think what agents don’t like about Barry is just his manner of communication in writing.

    I have never heard his show so I can’t comment on that, but his style of writing tends to be caustic. It’s not that his ideas don’t need to be said, but I think he would have more of a real estate agent following, if he could figure out how to express himself in his blogs in a less caustic manner. There are agents that agree with his points, but many dislike his tone when writing.

    It’s small things like NAR says they want to hear from their members, but then they censor and don’t post some dissenting comments. You can see Lane Bailey’s blog on AR for a good, professional post on this.

    All of these things need to be talked about, I would just encourage Barry in his blogging to chose a less demeaning tone.

  17. Barry Cunningham

    April 30, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Melina…” I think he would have more of a real estate agent following”…what makes you think we don’t?

    I don;t think you have seen our numbers. Our first post ever was on January 3, 2008. In just over 90 days we have received a PR4 rank from Google, have an alexa ranking that placs us in great company of those blogs in real estate with the highest traffic..have a subscriber base of thousands, and a listenership that is leading to a nationally syndicated broadcast and satellite radio contract…perhaps what you statement should have said was …..

    ” I think he would have more of a real estate agent following from those who have a problem right now with the reality and directness of his message”…

    as you said above…you have never heard the show. I would think that some of those quick to respond might want to check themselves and realize all is not as they see it. there’s 1.4 million agents out there and there are obviously more who think that a change is needed and are frustrated with the industry than those who think we speak in forked tongues.

    We msot assuredly are not the place for Kool-Aid drinkers…not saying you are, but it would behoove those who speak first and review later to take a listen…you will be very surprised.

  18. Matthew Rathbun

    April 30, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Just a few points:

    Barry, I feel that same way that my day is busy and I can’t spend it here all day – yet, here both of us are…. So, I guess we can spend out day here.

    Bill, I don’t necessarily agree that Barry’s response was rhetoric, or that is to say that rhetoric is bad. I think that each and every time you and I hit “post” that we’re spilling rhetoric in someone’s eyes and we should all have the right to do so. I hear what Barry is saying and I don’t feel that I am so feeble minded that I can’t tell where he may have side stepped some deeper question and then choose to answer others. We disagree – that’s ok, so long as neither party is personalizing the issue. Debate is great and rhetoric is a necessary part of debate.

    Both: I have asked the question of members all over Virginia, “If you have free access to MLS and lockbox systems, what would you need NAR for” Most can’t answer it and to those I ask; “What of the many educational, legislative and marketing resources that are offered; have you taken advantage of lately?”

    Our association did a suvey not too many years ago and we asked if the agents had attended local training or used the association’s website (we have TONS of tools and resources). Two members answered that if these tools weren’t delivered to their laps, they didn’t have any interest. Well, if you’re too lazy-stupid to go to a webpage or drive 10 minutes to the office and attend training to enhance your knowledge and business, than get out.

    NAR has a long way to go to get back to it’s roots of being really oriented to the agent – however, they are (although very slowly) going back that direction. EVERYONE tends to forget that NAR is ran by elected REALTORS. You want to change it? Get involved. If you don’t vote or get involved then you have no right to criticize it, because the machine is a product of your own complacency. If you don’t direct it, others will.

    It’s always easier to stand around and complain about something – anyone can do that.

    I happen to think that NAR is reflective of the membership, Realtors are typically complacent and difficult to get motivated to meet today’s challenges. We need to stop thinking that when members ramble about the Association that consumers see a difference between the entity and the member. It reflects poorly on everyone.

    If an “outsider” wants to do it – well that’s just a necessary by-product of freedom of speech. All we can do is try to fix it a little at a time.

  19. Matthew Rathbun

    April 30, 2008 at 10:44 am

    BTW, can we carry this on over to ActiveRain? I could really use all the points 🙂

  20. Barry Cunningham

    April 30, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Activerain points……LOL!!!!!

  21. Bob Stewart

    April 30, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Did someone say points 😛

  22. Melina Tomson

    April 30, 2008 at 11:08 am

    What commenting here doesn’t get me points?? 🙂

    ” I think he would have more of a real estate agent following from those who have a problem right now with the reality and directness of his message”…

    Barry, I don’t think the reality of your message is an issue. That’s the great thing about blogging. It is a reflection of who you are, and if how you write is truly who you are then you will have people who love you for it, and people who don’t. There are plenty of people in the world. There is no point in trying to please everyone.

  23. TheRECoach

    April 30, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Nice to see that I am not alone. Seems to be a reoccurring theme Barry. https://therealestatecoach.wordpress.com

    Your brilliant, articulate, educated, and often correct, however you choose to reach your level of success “Springer-like” vs “Donahue-like”. I guess that is what frustrates me most. Now that you have reached such lofty Google Goals, can’t you use your superior traits to do good?

    Our debate still exists. Is the term “Google Pandering Ho” That yo used to describe Kris Berg in this post https://www.bloodhoundrealty.com/BloodhoundBlog/?p=3011

    really acceptable or is it “Defamation”? Can’t wait to receive your invitation to speak about this on your radio show (which I have heard, and at times enjoy very much)

    To Bill Lublin and Matthew Rathbun, as well as the heard of Twits and FB friends who have weighed in on this subject, “thank you for your support”

    TheRECoach

  24. Vicki Moore

    April 30, 2008 at 11:26 am

    No, I have never listened to the show. I may at some point wonder over to listen, but I prefer to be spoken to not at. I’m not referring to the show. I’m referring to your posts.

    Opinions are like assholes; everyone has one. Mine is that you’re unnecessarily and intentionally explosive. Your points can be made without all of the extraneous crap and without shoving it down people’s throat. I’m sure some love your writing; I just don’t happen to be one of them.

  25. Barry Cunningham

    April 30, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Vicki…like you said…you have your opinion and you so eloquently stated what it’s worth.

  26. Jonathan Dalton

    April 30, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Isn’t the point of a blog to communicate? What’s confusing me is why I would need to listen to your show to uncover the truth behind what I read on the blog. Nothing pro or con with the show, but “listen to the show” doesn’t really answer specific concerns about the Rupert Murdoch approach to real estate blogging being employed.

  27. Vicki Moore

    April 30, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    May I never reach the height of the pedestal you have put yourself upon. Arrogance personified is ugly.

  28. Barry Cunningham

    April 30, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Jonathan..25 comments later and we’re still at this? Hmmm…

    I was very specific. Some here say we don’t speak to realtors in a manner in which they feel is helpful and that we are always bashing realtors. What I answered was unless you have read the posts and listened to the show you are erroneous and just levying a baseless opinion.

    We speak to real estate professionals and consumers who want information provided in a bare bones, directed expose type of manner.

    If we can be even a percentage of a point as successful as rupert Murdoch I would be VERY happy. (As if there is something wrong with that) Yes..we have patterned ourselves and our direction in Fox News type of fashion. Which is why many of our guests have appeared on Fox News.

    I am not sure why many in the real estate industry desire to be coddled. Our audience appreciates an unbiased review and reporting of industry related information. yes, it has an edge and an opinion predicated upon said information.

    Our audience appreciates our candor, our guests support our endeavors and our advertisers like the traffic. So the model is working.

    I can in no way expect to appeal to all facets of the industry. When we were planning what we were going to do we looked at where the industry was, where we thought it was headed and who would be interested in hearing what we have to say.

    Just as agentgenius has its detractors and dissenters, so do we. Doesn’t not stop me from enjoying your blog or respecting your opinion.

    It’s comments such as what Vicki wrote that tell me that some simply do not want to hear it. I am not now or ever looking to convince people of my opinion. I rest easy knowing that a growing portion of the industry likes what we say and some don’t. I can’t compromise what is working to appease the SMALL minds of people who can not engage in spirited discourse and leave the table understanding that the personal side of things is not important.

    I challenge you to find an instance in anything I have written wherein I have personally attacked any individual, even if they disagreed with what I way saying.

    Even here some 25 comments later, even after both Bill and Vicki took shots, even after your last post villifying me..I never took a shot…That’s got to say something

  29. Jonathan Dalton

    April 30, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    I wouldn’t say I villified you. I would say I questioned your methodology for questioning those who would respond to your posts. Attack? Maybe not. More akin to troops massing on the border and making faces at each other.

  30. Natalie Langford

    April 30, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Hey Bill, Barry, & Matthew.

    I have read with great interest all that you 3 have said. I’ve taken it all in and will surely digest it in my sleep. Barry, I think I need to actually listen to your voice and try to pick up on your personality over the radio before I carry on judging. Like Bill shared, sometimes you get my blood pressure up. Yet at other times, you raise excellent questions. I’m very loyal to NAR and realize that every industry has room for improvement. I’m involved, but not sure how to make a positive contribution. Perhaps through discussions like this, I’ll find my way. Matthew, you’re an amazing leader!

  31. Daniel Rothamel

    April 30, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Since I’ll be on the show with Barry tomorrow at 4:30 pm EST, those of you who commented here and have never listened to the show might find that tomorrow is a good time. At least you get to listen to me. 😉

  32. Daniel Rothamel

    April 30, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Oh, I forgot to mention that I HAVE listened to the show, and NAR actually has REALTOR ads on the show, FWIW.

  33. Matthew Rathbun

    April 30, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Holy Cow, this post got a lot of attention! Ok, so I have spent the day listening to Barry’s show in the background. I know… I was duped. The negative trend of Barry, got attention from Bill, got me involved in this conversation which led me to the site, which caused me to add the episodes to iPOD. The unintended consequence of Bill’s post was my attention to Barry’s blog and radio shows.

    It’s 25% offensive, but really the interviews with other folks are outstanding! Hearing some of my RE.net “friends” share is great. I honestly think if the same message was delivered more a more educational format as opposed to antagonistic, I would share this resource with lots of folks!

  34. Barry Cunningham

    April 30, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Daniel..you recieve the prize brother!!!!!!!!!! Thank you..thank you..thank you..That’s how I knew no one has listened!!

    From day one we have always included rotating PSA commericals promoting the use of a realtor!!

    Jonathan, that’s why I kept saying listen..listen..listen…

    The Realtor PSA announcements have ben a mainstay of our program and have been included in EVERY single broadcast!

    Daniel I look forward to speaking with you tomorrow. It will be fun and Go Blue Hens (Flacco in the 1st Round baby!!)

    Jonathan I didn’t feel “villified”..was making a point as to how childish it sounded. You have a right to your opinions and I did not take anything personal.

    Vicki needs to take a chill..but whatever…

    Natalie..give it a shot..you may like it. Today we interviewed David Knox and Travis Greenlee and it was a great show.

    Matt…I knew you would be quite surprised.

  35. Barry Cunningham

    April 30, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Well Re Coach..I understand that you are now booked so we’ll be able to discuss the whole GPH issue live. I look forward to it!

  36. Jonathan Dalton

    April 30, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    > how childish it sounded

    Ah, but at least you’re on the high ground, right?

  37. Barry Cunningham

    April 30, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    Hey Jonathan..no I meant how childish it was for ME to say I was villified..LOL…I was making light of how people so flippantly use the attack word. Thought it would be quite self-effacing to consider my self attacked..wonder why people feel that way?

  38. Charleston real estate blog

    April 30, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    Bill, thanks for your post, I’ve dueled with Barry on bhb and all I can come up with is the word, *disingenuous* to describe his take on positions. I think Barry is enjoying the controversy he is creating with his outrageous spin on statistics and accompanying misleading headline to his posts but he seems to be lacking the sincerity he is professing to be of help to the real estate industry.

  39. Barry Cunningham

    April 30, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    Howard if you only knew how in the minority you are. Also..please see above when I speak to Bill in reference to our audience demographic and how you also are specifically not in it.

    Wow..I am Disingenuous eh? I guess it could have been worse, I could have been called Ken or Barbie.

    Shudder to think.

  40. Bob

    April 30, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    There are no Kudos to NAR for trying to reach out to the members in an inventive manner.

    Bill, the video was mocked by many primarily because of content. Pat my be a real estate rock star, but her office was not cutting edge. Aside from the lockbox, everything in the video was boilerplate technology found in any basic, functioning office. The video deserved to be mocked, as did NAR for thinking that that it added any value to our industry.

  41. Bill Lublin

    May 1, 2008 at 3:47 am

    Boy, I drive home from another state and I get some work cut out responding – I wish I could figure out how to drive, read and type at the same time 🙂

    @Barry – I didn’t take a shot at you, I really didn’t villify you , and my reference to rhetoric was not a negative, it was a statement based upon a lack of specificty about NAR’s shortcomings in your response – believe me, though its not my style, If I took a shot at anyone or wanted to villify them I would have been much harsher and more pointed. I’m sorry if you interpeted it that way. I hate it when I am unitnetionally rude – If I’m being rude, I want it to be intentional 🙂

    I do agree with some of the comments above that a post in a blog shouldn’t require additional reading or listening to the author to be understood- and I will be very pleased to listen to the radio show for information. I did know that Daniel was going to be interviewed (though I didn’t know the time) and I think that’s terrific. In return I would ask that you spend a little more time finding out what NAR is doing right – you might be surprised – Its funny how often critics of NAR turn into supporters, or at least lose their negativity when their knowledge of the history, programs, services, and leadership of the organization increases.

    And not to be contentious, but because it strikes me as funny – (I have a strange sense of humor) do you really think that you can Can anyone have “unbiased review and reporting” with “an edge and an opinion”? I really don’t have a problem with edge and opinion, the juxtaposition of the phrases just tickled me a little – Come on…no shots… that’s cute –

    Thanks for taking the time to respond here, I look forward to Daniel’s interview

    @Matthew

    EVERYONE tends to forget that NAR is ran by elected REALTORS. You want to change it? Get involved. If you don’t vote or get involved then you have no right to criticize it, because the machine is a product of your own complacency. If you don’t direct it, others will.

    And therein is the most important statement regarding NAR membership anyone can make- Can anyone wonder why you da man? If I get tickets to “Iron Man” for tomorrow you want to come to Philly and go to the movies? I’ll buy the popcorn.

    @TheRECoach – Send me in Coach I’m ready to Play 🙂

    @Vicki – I usually say that opinions are like nostrils – most people have at least one and generally two – And you may have already been placed on a pedestal by others for your good works and contributions 🙂

    @Johnathan – I know you said “Attack? Maybe not. More akin to troops massing on the border and making faces at each other.” But I got this visual from “Braveheart”….

    @Charleston – Thanks for the comment

    @Bob – The video was not supposed to show her office as cutting edge, merely to demonstrate how some people used technology – Not everyone is riding at the front ot the train , but increasing our knowledge of what others are doing is usually a good thing. Ian Smith from REALTOR Confidential explained the show in a comment on Barry’s post:

    I think that we didn’t explain the series properly. The show is essentially a makeover show. For those of you who are unfamiliar with makeover shows a good example, and the I think the original, of a makeover show is This Old House. Over a series of episodes the crew of This Old House rehab a house. The first show of one of their series is the one where they show the house before the transformation- the before house. In the last episode they show the finished house. REALTOR® Confidential episode 1 is the before house of our series- or before office if you will.

    As the series progresses our subject broker and some of her staff will be introduced to some new technologies, learn to use them, then integrate them into their business practices. At the end of the series we will show what worked for them and what didn’t- the finished house.

    Episode 2 will showcase a technically advanced REALTOR® to illustrate how far technology can take you- he doesn’t have an office and does just about everything from his Laptop or Cell phone.

    Episode 2 will be posted May 15th.

    And my point in the post was that the fact that NAR was looking for new ways to communicate is of far more importance then the fact that a REALTOR member has a typewritier in one of her offices- by mocking the video and minimizing the efforts that went into the creation of the series, one might limit the exposure of what could develop into a beneficial tool for communication – Even Seinfeld was nearly cancelled in the first season, and “The Office” US version didn’t hit its stride until season 2

  42. Bill Lublin

    May 1, 2008 at 3:50 am

    Oh, I forgot –
    Everyone gets 20 points for their posts- Good for absolutely nothing 🙂

  43. Matthew Rathbun

    May 1, 2008 at 5:41 am

    Bob: No one “deserves” to be mocked. Individuals work, time and effort went into that production. People who have families and are simply trying to make a living doing a job, put effort into that. Whereas, I am sure everything you do is the highest quality and you may have never made a mistake in life, I certainly have. I don’t want to be “mocked” for being human and not making other’s list of sophistication.

    The fact that we may not fully appreciate the content, doesn’t mean that we can slap the faces of those who were doing the best they could at the time. This whole thing is a growing process.

    We tend to also forget that a very small percentage really “gets” technology in this industry and the rest we’re having to bring along kicking and screaming. Don’t presume that because there are a large number of AR members, that they remotely understand technology. (not slamming AR, the platform is fantastic, but the members are not always the best and the brightest).

    Had NAR come out with Ms. Combs video introducing VOIP, Social Media client production and how to building a wireless home network; they would have lost 90% and they would never have returned. NAR and it’s members as a whole are going to have to start off very basic.

    NAR is not the “organization of the 5% who get it”; they have to represent those who don’t. Unfortunately education has to start with the least common denominator and move up. I hate that; that is the case, however it is the reality.

    As much as us elitists would love to see all the other Realtors die so that we could do business “our way”; there are folks who have been doing this for literally longer than I’ve been alive and I don’t think we should just shove them out the airplane door without a ‘chute.

    I have always felt that it the moral responsibility of the more knowledgeable to educate those who do not understand. Otherwise, what was the point to being more capable? I would like my legacy in life be that I took the time to patiently help others achieve whatever their goals are. If not what was the point in life.

    So, if I have to tolerate a video that may be beneath me, so that others can catchup (even slowly) than I’m ok with that. If the rest of you aren’t; well that’s just sad and speaks volumes about the validity of the publics poor perception of practitioners.

  44. Bill Lublin

    May 1, 2008 at 7:00 am

    Matthew; Thank you for an exceptional response which proves that an opinion can shared with strength, logic and thought proving that substantive discussion can be both literate, interesting, and without rancor (bringing the point of my original post back into focus)

  45. Barry Cunningham

    May 1, 2008 at 8:03 am

    We’ll be talking to Daniel at length about this today (NAR Realtor Confidential Series)

    Matthew, I don’t know about anyone being an “elitist”..certainly not where I am coming from. Heck our first blog post was on January 2nd of this year, but my point was not a “mocking” of the series but rather a point of discussion as to how far behind NAR is.

    Remember Bill..Ian’s response was not until the story was already posted. None of that which he said in his post was on the realtor confidential website. There was not one inference to what his response articulated. I of course will give him the benefit of the doubt but this is a good example of some Realtors taking what the NAR says as gospel.

    Your comment above basically says everyone missed the point and your statement was based upon Ian’s comment AFTER the fact.

    We have and many others, the Zebra included, have produced video after video with much more content and with much more production value.

    I don’t think anyone would have been booted off of the proverbial plane if the production value was higher and if the shoot and edit was not so bad.

    My most recent article (based upon the average age of the agent base) spoke directly to this. While no one wants to herald the ushering out of the old guard, Matthew’s point above does not take into account the absolute need to recruit new, fresh, younger agents into the fold and that video makes that a tougher challenge and implies that the NAR is completely out of touch.

    While most may not like it, the future of real estate is going to be borne by a new and younger breed of agent.

    It’s not an insult, it’s a fact. no spin, no opinion..pure fact. By 2010 over 60% of real estate agents will be 65 years or older. The video may have catered to that slice of membership but it, (here’s the opinion part), is wasted energy as the focus needs to be on recruitment.

    have you seen the newest Coldwell Banker series of commercials with the 2 old paintings of old men speaking to each other…what’s up with that.

  46. Barry Cunningham

    May 1, 2008 at 8:27 am

    Wondering aloud why my last comment was deleted…….

  47. Matthew Rathbun

    May 1, 2008 at 8:53 am

    Barry, it looks like your last comment is there…

    I teach pre-licensing and have for awhile. I can only speak for Central and Northern Virginia, but the age group is getting younger and younger with each new class. Unfortunately, the wisdom of the seasoned members is leaving us for the theoretical knowledge of my generation. I’d rather have wisdom, personally…. Experience is much more valuable to me than aggressive practices. But a balance in the two is priceless.

    Our state association (Virginia) hired Ben Martin as the New Media Director because Scott Brunner (our AE) had this vision. Ben has been an invaluable resource and is sitting the standard for NAR and all other state associations. NAR has sent reps to our Bloggercons and Political Reps to sit and have drinks with reps from the Virginia blogosphere. We’ve even pulled Lawrence Yun from his office to come meet with us, in my home town for lunch.

    THEY ARE TRYING…. is all I am saying. They should get credit for putting the effort into the 5% of practitioners who are using this information. They will come along with better products. Until then, those who are in RE 2.0 should be thankful that NAR isn’t giving it the full court press. Otherwise, EVERYONE would be doing it!

    All these are great points to consider from all sides. However, almost 50 comments into this post, I am moving on to other “battlegrounds” (said in jest).

  48. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    May 1, 2008 at 9:19 am

    no one’s comments have been deleted. 🙂

  49. Benn Rosales

    May 1, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Barry, the conversation looks whole here. AG is designed in a way that allows frequent commenters open access, or no moderation. That only changes if you change your email address or name or drop in a bunch of links. Your words are good here. Drop me an email if still think something is missing.

    Thanks, Benn

  50. Barry Cunningham

    May 1, 2008 at 11:55 am

    I see it above..must have been caught up in cyber hold..please disregard

    thanks Benn,

    Barry

  51. Tim

    May 28, 2008 at 10:46 am

    I don’t mean to beat a dead horse here, but I happened to notice that the 2nd episode of Realtor Confidential has recently been posted. It is very interesting to me that the “Barry’s” of the world decided that they were done with the series after the first episode. Some people were very critical of the first installment and I just wish they would continue to view the evolution of the series as it was intended to be viewed.

    But I must admit that the NAR critics will be critical for whatever reasons they desire. Maybe I’m overly optimistic that those who pointed out the flaws of the first episode would watch the second episode and see the contrast that was intended.

  52. Barry Cunningham

    May 28, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Tim..I saw the second edition when it was posted. SOS…the guy in the episode doesn’t have a blog, does no social media marketing, hasn’t recorded a show in who knows how long, the ones that he did record don’t load on his website, he does not have any distribution for the videos he has done, not available on Itunes, or many other sites, his website is a static horrible low ranking no traffic website…do I need to go on?

    You have to understand, I see that the NAR is trying to bring the aging fold in to the new world. It just ain’t gonna happen.

    Have you read Real Estate Trends by Stefan Swanpoel or a myriad of other studies? The NAR needs to realize that their membership base is getting older while the average buyer is skewing younger.

    This kind of “catering to the oldies” just does not cut it.

    So yes, I checked back and saw it and until you called me out, I wasn’t going to say anything. I bit my tongue and let it be.

    But since you asked..now you know why we did not say anything!

  53. Bill Lublin

    May 28, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Barry, Barry, Barry;

    the guy in the episode doesn’t have a blog, does no social media marketing, hasn’t recorded a show in who knows how long, the ones that he did record don’t load on his website, he does not have any distribution for the videos he has done, not available on Itunes, or many other sites, his website is a static horrible low ranking no traffic website…do I need to go on?

    When I got on his site, I was able to open his podcast, his videos are broadcast on cable, it seemed that he is using a number of pieces of technology that work for him, and he is doing business. In fact, I happened to meet him in a different venue at the NAR Mid-Year meetings (I was the Short Sale Working Group Chair for NAR and he approached me after a meeting since he is doing a significant number of them) I later ran into him in the Bloggers loung where he was working on his laptop listening to his Ipod – and interuppted him to have a further discussion about short sale language and disclosures. BTW he is a pretty young guy.

    You know, it is entirely possible to be technologically advanced without doing social media marketing. According to BusinessWeek
    less then 25% of the on-line adult population of the United States bothers reads a Blog once a month. That’s 25% of the on-line adult population and the bar is set at 1 blog per month. Seems like that leaves a whole bunch of other clients that need to be serviced.

    So in the final analysis, it seems that NAR has interviewed a succesful REALTOR, reviewed what he did with technology so that he could share with other practitioners his techniques, and provided value to a pretty large segment of the industry. And we’re only at episode two. Don’t you think that even you might choose to cut them a little slack, allow for a learning curve, and stop trying so hard just to be controversial or adversarial?

  54. Barry Cunningham

    May 28, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    Actually Tim..I could care less what NAR does. I wish them well!

  55. Tim

    May 28, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    I couldn’t have said it better myself, Bill. My issue has and continues to be that Barry and the anti-NAR bunch don’t even listen to the other side of the argument. It’s so one sided! Barry’s last comment illustrates that perfectly.

    “Actually Tim..I could care less what NAR does. I wish them well!”

    It’s very hard to have a discussion about the things that NAR does to try to help its members when the opposing viewpoint “doesn’t care what NAR does.” Kind of a mixed message don’t you think?

    Furthermore Barry, how can you have the nerve to continually criticize an organization that is listening to its members and making an effort to provide the resources for which they are asking when you admittedly don’t “care what they’re doing?”

    I guess when it comes down to it, those questions are all rhetorical. Not because I don’t think you could answer them, but more that I already know the answers you would likely give. If you’re unwilling to listen or “care” what the NAR does, then it’s rather unfair of you to continue to criticize them. After all, since you really don’t care what they do (and I really do believe that- based on what I’ve read of your posts) then your opinion of the NAR will never change. Very closed minded I should say.

  56. Barry Cunningham

    May 28, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    Listen Bill..quit with you poster boy choir practice. NAR is useless, they drain money from their members they spend 40 Million on doa ad campaigns…the reason I left the comment I did is not becasue I don’t want a discussion. It’s because people like you and tim are carrying a torch and there is nothing of fact that you are willing to accept. So why would I bother going back and forth over nonsense. I don’t need the typing practice.

    I asked a question weeks ago and I received all of the answers that I needed. That question was if you did not have to pay dues or if it wasn’t required to gain access to the MLS, would you? Overwhelmingly agents responded and said NO they would not support the NAR.

    Discussions with devoted to the bone members like you is a nowhere argument.

    Do I care what the NAR does..absolutely not. I am not a “Realtor”..have had many agents on staff…some who simply worked under our development company and some we had to gain access to the MLS and never once needed anything from them.

    You can go to their meetings, carry the flags and trumpet them all you like and it does not matter.

    Until this trade organization decides to be what a trade organization should be then it’s useless.

    I understand you have been very successful. But when I read releases from NAR as to most new agents existing below the poverty level, I find it quite ironic that you think they are working in the whole of the members best interest.

    We have a number of agressive, young agents we are working with and to an individual they feel that NAR is useless and in actuality holding them back.

    Forget me, come down off of the altar and speak to some really struggling agents and ask them if they give a rat’s patootie about the NAR.

    My questions are’nt rhetorical…you just can’t answer them. But like I said, you don’t have to answer me..ask the young agents.

    Close minded..hardly..we are working with young agents to be successful in this business in spite of NAR. If Nar wanted to be remotely helpful they would listen to the masses..yes the majority of agents who believe that they are obsolete and do something about it. But they won’t and guys like you who continue on with the grandstanding perputuate this nonsense.

    Realtor confidential..c’mon, I know young agents who have and can do better than the crap they are putting out. Cutting edge?? To who??

    It’s a joke and it may serve to help out a small portion of members who still think that AOL is the Internet but to a mass audience it’s toast!

    Rhetoric…talk to people outside of your fences..talk to the agent wondering how he is going to feed their kids.

    One of the problems, main problems with NAR is that it is run by agents instead of professionals in the field that they need work on.

    Marketing should be turned over to a top notch marketing agency, technology to a crack pot technological company…and so on..right now it just ain’t working and the sooner you and Tim and guys like you realize that the better.

    20,000 realtors hanging out in Orlando is hardly a representative sample of 1 million.

    C;mon Bill..at least be realistic …that’s why I can’t discuss things with you.

  57. Bill Lublin

    May 29, 2008 at 4:04 am

    Listen Bill..quit with you poster boy choir practice. NAR is useless, they drain money from their members they spend 40 Million on doa ad campaigns…the reason I left the comment I did is not becasue I don’t want a discussion. It’s because people like you and tim are carrying a torch and there is nothing of fact that you are willing to accept. So why would I bother going back and forth over nonsense. I don’t need the typing practice.

    Barry; I actually got a chuckle out of the poster boy choir practice mixed metaphor – and at $80 per year in dues, I din;t see them draining money from anyone – And it would seem from the lack of substance in your response, that you might actually be doing this for typing practice 🙂

    I asked a question weeks ago and I received all of the answers that I needed. That question was if you did not have to pay dues or if it wasn’t required to gain access to the MLS, would you? Overwhelmingly agents responded and said NO they would not support the NAR.

    Daniel Rothamel asked the same question here and got very positive responses. I guess part of your claimed reaction was a result of the audience to the question. To go back to the choir reference- perhaps you were preaching to a choir of your own?

    Discussions with devoted to the bone members like you is a nowhere argument.

    Barry; That’s just not true. If you would discuss specifics and stop making huge sweeping “NAR is bad ” statements and discuss specific issues you have a problem with, I would be glad to listen. What exactly do they do that you don;t care for? Other then positioning them as some great negative force, you really say very little that is factual.

    Do I care what the NAR does..absolutely not. I am not a “Realtor”..have had many agents on staff…some who simply worked under our development company and some we had to gain access to the MLS and never once needed anything from them.

    Again, for someone who doesn;t care what NAR does, you certainly take every opportunity to criticise them without any real knowledge of what they do. You remind me of a guy who is critical of a movie that he hasn;t seen.

    You can go to their meetings, carry the flags and trumpet them all you like and it does not matter.

    Thank you for permission to attend the meetings. I don’t carry flags, and regretably I don;t play a musical instrument. And with all do respect to the last statement, I think that what I do at NAR, and what the other volunteers and staff do does matter to the industry. And if you took the time to learn more about what the organization does, and has accomplished during its 100 years, I think even you might agree. Do you like FHA financing Barry? NAR was instrumental in the creation of FHA. Just one littel tidbit out of hundreds of parts of the industry that were influenced by NAR.

    Until this trade organization decides to be what a trade organization should be then it’s useless.

    This is another example of a sentence without any semantic content. They advocate for their members legislatively, they have the oldest and most respoected Code of Ethics in the Country, have developed Mediation programs that are unique in Service industries, have provided educational programs for the industry, have reached out after national catasrophes like 9/11 and Katrina, advocated for home ownership, were the platform for a number of other professional organizations that strated as division on NAR like NAHD, the Apraisal Institute, and so much more. What do you think a trade organization should be?

    I understand you have been very successful. But when I read releases from NAR as to most new agents existing below the poverty level, I find it quite ironic that you think they are working in the whole of the members best interest.

    Thank you. But you should know that when I got started in the real estate business I didn;t have $100 in the bank and couldn;t get a credit card. And while I believe that whatever success I enjoy is at least partially a result of my work ethic and determination, being a REALTOR also helped me through networking, education (my CRB,CRS,and GRI designations), their legislative advocacy as well as saving me thousands of dollars in legal fees by making arbitration a viable alternative to litigation when commission disputes arose over the years.

    We have a number of agressive, young agents we are working with and to an individual they feel that NAR is useless and in actuality holding them back.

    I think if they knew more they would feel differently. My guess is that they have not had a lot of exposure to REALTOR associations other then through the filter of your opinions.

    Forget me, come down off of the altar and speak to some really struggling agents and ask them if they give a rat’s patootie about the NAR.

    My agents are all REALTOR members, and just as yours are not interested in the association because of your opinions, our company’s culture has provided the local associations with 5 past presidents, the state association with a number of state directors and chair people, and Nartional participation as well.

    My questions are’nt rhetorical…you just can’t answer them. But like I said, you don’t have to answer me..ask the young agents.

    Barry I’ve answered every question you have posed in any of our discussions. But again, you make statements and speak in generalities more then you ask questions. If you want answer to questions need ot make them specific.

    Close minded..hardly..we are working with young agents to be successful in this business in spite of NAR. If Nar wanted to be remotely helpful they would listen to the masses..yes the majority of agents who believe that they are obsolete and do something about it. But they won’t and guys like you who continue on with the grandstanding perputuate this nonsense.

    Exactly what don’t you think NAR is listening to? I think, if you stopped and lsitened to the communities out there, you would find that anyone who actually attends meetings, writes to staff or directs communications ot the organization is heard and responded to. As a Chair of an NATR committee, I see some of the correspondence. And believe me, every inquiry is resonded to.

    Realtor confidential..c’mon, I know young agents who have and can do better than the crap they are putting out. Cutting edge?? To who??

    It’s a joke and it may serve to help out a small portion of members who still think that AOL is the Internet but to a mass audience it’s toast!

    What mass audience are you talking about? Those of us who blog? According to a report in the last issue of BussinessWeek , less then 25% of the on-line adult community reads a blog even once a month? Where are the masses Barry?

    Rhetoric…talk to people outside of your fences..talk to the agent wondering how he is going to feed their kids.

    One of the problems, main problems with NAR is that it is run by agents instead of professionals in the field that they need work on.

    Barry – This is just plain confusing andcontradictory – In one sentence you chastise NAR for not being responsive to real estate professionals and in the next you chastise for being run by real estate professionsl

    Marketing should be turned over to a top notch marketing agency, technology to a crack pot technological company…and so on..right now it just ain’t working and the sooner you and Tim and guys like you realize that the better.

    NAR does outsource much of its work ehn they need to, and IMHO CRT and the NAR tech folks like Keith Garner and Mark Lesswing are outstanding (and wicked smart!)

    20,000 realtors hanging out in Orlando is hardly a representative sample of 1 million.

    So how many members of any trade associaiton or organization do you thnk would typically attend a national meeting?

    C;mon Bill..at least be realistic …that’s why I can’t discuss things with you

    Barry, I think the only problem you have discussin things with me is that I can;t be bullied and I won;t bow to rhetoric over logic.

  58. Bill Lublin

    May 29, 2008 at 4:11 am

    I apologize for the lack of blockquotes onthe last few paragraphs
    Barry;s comments start with

    Marketing should be turned over to ….

    20,000 realtors hanging out in Orlando …

    C;mon Bill..at least be realistic …

    My responses are then a little more obvious 🙂

  59. Barry Cunningham

    May 29, 2008 at 6:17 am

    not going to hijack this thread, but this line you wrote speaks volumes:

    “they have the oldest and most respoected (sic) Code of Ethics in the Country” I guess the Harris Study and the Stanford Univesrity study and others missed that tidbit.

    Last thing, I have to ask since I won’t assume…did you read the Businessweek article or did someone just tell you that stat? Seems a lot of people are using that stat to say that this medium of ours is not that important, which is quite contrary to what the article said.

    Besides, 25% of 1 Billion people is one big a$$ number!

  60. Bill Lublin

    May 29, 2008 at 7:06 am

    Barry; Send me the link to the studies you mention – I’ll be glad to read them so that we’re on the same page.

    If you are talking about surveys which focus on consumer perception of the industry, that’s not quite the same thing, and I would be glad to dialogue about that anytime.

    And yes I read the article – I try to keep my statements reliable -They quote “a recent study from Forrester Research” on Page 46 of the June 2, 2008 issue.

    I don’t think they are saying this medium is not important, but that it is only one of a large number of social media, a number of which have emerged since their earlier article on Bloging in 2005. And the point I wanted to make is not that its not an important medium,( I’m here so I think its worth the time), but rather that when we write at our computers, wes ometimes forget that there is a larger world out there with different visions of the world – and that our perceptions of the impact we have may be over-rated. To bring that back to the point about NAR, I think if you knew more about the organization, and met people involved in it, you would be more appreciative of what they do as a trade organization, and how effective they and their staff are, and less generally critical (though perhaps not as controversial) ;-).

  61. Barry Cunningham

    May 29, 2008 at 7:34 am

    Bill Look up the Harris Interactive Study ( not survey) and StanFord University Study you may check on seekingaplpha. Surprised that an NAR soldier has not seen these studies.

  62. Bill Lublin

    May 29, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Barry; I looked up the Harris Interactive Study (which is a poll or survey) and the Stanford University Study, both of which deal with prestige in occupations and are not relevant to the commnet I made about the code of ethics –

    I did manage to find a study from Stanford that also says that the use of a real estate broker does not impact the price a home sells for, though it does, according to their study, positively impact the time it takes to sell the home. I can tell you that study is just dead wrong based upon my experience. A different from study from Stanford did talk about the stauses of occupations here and in Sweden. But that had nothing to do with the respect that the Code of Ethics deserves, nor the imapct that it has had on the industry.

    If you think that the public conception of a real estate broker is low, imagine what it would be if there weren’t so many people out there trying to do the right thing and make the industry a better place.

    BTW I am not an NAR soldier, any more then I am a poster boy, a choir boy, nor standing on an altar – and I didn’t arrive at the conversation by being driven on a short yellow bus. Let’s keep it about the facts.

  63. Barry Cunningham

    May 29, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Bill..I can’t stop laughing…”I can tell you that study is just dead wrong based upon my experience”..If you think that the public conception of a real estate broker is low”

    Wow…you say you are’nt a kool-aid drinker..okay…

    This argument is obviously a dead issue. I wish you well with your continued support of the NAR.

  64. Bill Lublin

    May 29, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    Barry – did you really take two statements out of context to make that one inaccurate sentence?

    I said the study was wrong about brokers not adding value to the sale of property. I kept empirical records on FSBO sales for eyars as an active agent and sold the properties for an average of 10% more than the highest offer received by the consumer.

    The second sentence reffered to the fact that if you believe that the public perception is low with the COE, imagine what it would be without –

    But thanks for your good wishes 😉

  65. Barry Cunningham

    May 29, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    Bill..respectfully…your response works here, and only here. To say that the “study is wrong” because of YOUR experiences is foolish…actually it’s silly.

    A sample of your experience is supposed to refute a national study performed by a prestigious university. I can only imagine how nutso that sounds outside the real estate agent box. I can’t even respond further. That is just an amzing statement to make. You’re unreal!

  66. Bill Lublin

    May 30, 2008 at 2:36 am

    Barry;
    You’re right the phrase should have been, “I disagree with the results of their study because of empirical data I collected over a number of years in my marketplace.” To sya it was wrong was a misstatement. I would also point out that the study disagrees with other studies about the value a real estate broker brings to the transaction.

    And to bringing the thread of the conversation back to the original point, back at comment #60,
    you said , ““they have the oldest and most respoected (sic) Code of Ethics in the Country” I guess the Harris Study and the Stanford Univesrity study and others missed that tidbit.”

    I responded, ” If you are talking about surveys which focus on consumer perception of the industry, that’s not quite the same thing, and I would be glad to dialogue about that anytime. ”

    And I think the point was made that the surveys you referred to did not address the issue of the Code.

    And rather then “unreal”, I like to think of myself as “ethereal” 😉

  67. Matthew Rathbun

    May 30, 2008 at 4:49 am

    Is there a medical term for the overwhelming compulsion to have the “last word?” ….just saying…. 🙂

  68. Matthew Rathbun

    May 30, 2008 at 4:50 am

    ….that’s not to say that I don’t enjoy watching the Bill and Barry show, I’m just running out of popcorn, is all I am saying! 🙂

  69. Charleston real estate blog

    May 30, 2008 at 5:51 am

    As Ronald Reagan said to Jimmy Carter in their debate, “there he goes again”. Nuf said.

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Business Marketing

Spruce up your product images with Glorify (just in time for Black Friday!)

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Want professional, customizable product images for your company? Consider Glorify’s hot Black Friday deal.

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Glorify app lets you create beautiful designs for your products.

Glorify, the app that creates high converting, customizable product images for your business, is offering a lifetime deal for $97 this Black Friday. In just a few clicks, you can transform one of Glorify’s sleek templates into personalized, professional-looking content – and now, you don’t have to pay that monthly fee.

Whether your business is in electronics, beauty, or food & drink, Glorify offers a range of looks that will instantly bring your product images to the next level. With countless font styles and the ability to alter icon styles, shadows and other elements, you can access all the perks of having your own designer without the steep price.

In 2019, Glorify was launched – the app was soon voted #2 Product of the Day and nominated for Best Design Tool by Product Hunt. Since then, they have cultivated a 20k+ user base!

Glorify 2.0, which was launched last week, upgrades the experience. The new and improved version of the app is complete overhaul of intuitive UI improvements and extra features, such as:

  • background remover tool
  • templates based on popular product niches and themes
  • design bundles for your website/store, social media
  • annotation tool
  • upload your brand kits and organize your projects under different brands
  • 1 click brand application
  • & much more!

“But the most important aspect of Glorify 2.0, is that it comes with a UI that sets us up for future scalability for all our roadmap features”, said CEO of Glorify Omar Farook, who himself was a professional graphic designer.

Farook’s dream was to provide a low-cost design service for the smaller businesses that couldn’t otherwise afford design services. Looking through reviews of the app, it’s evident that Glorify does just that – it saves the user time and money while helping them to produce top-notch product images for their brand on their own.

Glorify is one of the many new design-based apps that make producing content a breeze for entrepreneurs, such as Canva. As someone who loves design but doesn’t have the patience for Creative Cloud, I personally love this technology. However, Glorify is unique in that it is the only product-driven design app. All you have to do is upload your photo!

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Business Marketing

This new Chipotle location will be fully digital

(BUSINESS NEWS) In the wake of the pandemic and popularity of online delivery, Chipotle is joining the jump to online-only locations, at least to test drive.

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Chipotle exterior, possibly moving to a fully digital restaurant space soon.

A lot of industries have switched to an online-only model in the wake of the pandemic. Most of them have made sense; between abundant delivery options and increased restrictions on workers, moving away from the traditional storefront paradigm isn’t exactly a radical choice. Chipotle making that same decision, however, is a plot twist of a different kind—yet that’s exactly what they’re doing with their first online store.

To be clear, the chain isn’t doing away with their existing locations; they’re just test-driving a “digital” location for the time being. That said, the move to an online platform raises interesting questions about the future of the restaurant industry—if not just Chipotle itself.

The move to an online platform actually makes a lot of sense for businesses like Chipotle. Since the classic Chipotle experience is much less centered on the “dining” aspect than it is on the customizability of food options, putting those same options online and giving folks some room to deliver both decreases Chipotle’s physical footprint and, ostensibly, opens up their services to more people.

It’s also a timely move given the sheer number of people who are sheltering in place. A hands-on burrito assembly line is not the optimal place to be in a pandemic, but there’s no denying the utilitarian appeal of Chipotle’s products. To that end, having another restaurant wherein you have the option to order a hearty meal with everything you like—which is also tailored to your dietary needs—is a crucial step for consumers.

Chipotle’s CTO, Curt Garner, says he is hoping this online alternative will offer a “frictionless” experience for diners.

As a part of that frictionless experience, consumers will be able to order in several different mediums. Chipotle’s website and their mobile app are the preferred choices, while services like GrubHub will also be available should you choose to order through a third-party. The idea is simple: To bring Chipotle to you with as little fuss as possible.

For now, Chipotle is committing to the single digital location to see how consumer demand pans out. Should the model prove successful, they plan to move forward with implementing additional digital locations nationwide.

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Business Marketing

Your business’ Yelp listing may be costing you more than you think

(BUSINESS MARKETING) The pay per click system Yelp uses sounds good in theory, but it may be hurting small businesses more than helping.

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Man browsing Yelp for his business listing in open office environment.

We all know Yelp – we’ve probably all used Yelp’s comment section to decide whether or not that business is worth giving our money to. What you might not know is how they are extorting the small businesses they partner with.

For starters, it’s helpful to understand that Yelp generates revenue through a pay per click (PPC) search model. This means whenever a user clicks on your advertisement, you pay Yelp a small fee. You never pay Yelp a cent if no one clicks on your ad.

In theory, this sounds great – if someone is seeking out your product or service and clicks on your ad, chances are you’re going to see some of that return. This is what makes paying $15, $50, or even $100 a click worth it.

In practice, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. When setting up your Yelp account, you are able to plug in keywords that correspond with your business. For example, owner of San Francisco-based Headshots Inc. Dan St. Louis – former Yelp advertiser turned anti-Yelp advocate – plugged in keywords for his business, such as “corporate photographer” and “professional headshots”. When someone in the Bay Area searches one of those terms, they are likely to see Headshots Inc.’s Yelp ad.

You are also able to plug in keyword searches in which your ad will not appear. That sounds great too – no need to pay for ad clicks that will ultimately not bring in revenue for your business. In the case of Headshots Inc., Dan plugged in terms such as “affordable baby photography” and “affordable studio photography”, as his studio is quite high-end and would very likely turn off a user who is using the word “affordable” in their search.

How Yelp really cheats its small business partners is that it finds loopholes in your keyword input to place your ad in as many non-relevant searches as possible. This ensures that your ad is clicked more and, as a result, you have to pay them more without reaping any of the monetary benefits for your business.

If you plugged in “cheap photography” to your list of searches in which your ad will not appear, Yelp might still feature your ad for the “cheap photos” search. As if a small business owner has the time to enter in every single possible keyword someone might search!

In the case of Headshots Inc., Dan ended up paying $10k in total ad spend to Yelp with very little return. Needless to say, he is pissed.

So what does this mean for you if you use Yelp for your business? If you don’t want to completely opt out of Yelp’s shenanigans, try these 3 tips from Dan:

  1. Try searching some potential irrelevant keywords – are your ads showing up in these searches?
  2. Do your best to block the irrelevant keywords. It’s impossible to get them all, but the more you do the more money you will ultimately save.
  3. Keep an eye on the conversation rate on your profile – does more clicks mean more client inquiries? Make sure Yelp isn’t sending low-quality traffic to your profile.

Ultimately, it’s about protecting your small business. Yelp is the latest in big tech to be outted for manipulating individuals and small businesses to up their margins – a truly despicable act, if you ask me. If you don’t have tens of thousands of dollars for ad spend, then either boycott Yelp or try these tips – your company may depend on it.

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