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Spineless Cowards at NAR



Breaking ScandalHere is a link from an email I just received.  The people writing at this website may or may not have something worthwhile to say.  But there is pretty much nothing they will ever say that will get any applause from me.  Why?  Because they go WAY out of their way to hide who they are.  Maybe it isn’t a “they” but only a “he” or a “she” – pretending to be a group of “concerned people”.

This isn’t a defense of NAR.  It is saying loud and clear – don’t take potshots or engage in name calling if you want to keep yours hidden.  Otherwise, you are just a covertly hostile weasel who can’t be trusted to tell the truth.

Nowhere on the site does it say who is writing any of it or who supports them.  I have nothing but contempt for the sort of passive-aggressive person who puts up a site like this.  You want to say something and be respected?  Simple: don’t hide who you are or who you work for.

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

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  1. Greg Swann

    March 20, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Damn straight. I had the same reaction.

  2. Janice Bovee

    March 20, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    I’m with you Russell if you going to disagree and call someone out you need to stand up and identify yourself or else it’s BS.

  3. Daniel Bates

    March 20, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    Looks like pretty good info to me. All large organizations need watching and I haven’t been a fan of the NAR since the day I joined. I typically hold back some of my opposition for the same reasons the webmaster(s) of this site are to, they don’t want to be banned from NAR. It’s the only organization where you’re basically forced to joined to participate in a trade and I still can’t figure out how that is legal. I’m opposed to about 95% of the political lobbying and poor budget decisions that they make, I hate to waste my money on them, but my brokers gotta pay either way. Aren’t local, state, and national dues a little redundant. I mean they all waste the money at one level or another.

  4. Jay Thompson

    March 20, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Agreed 100% Russell. Someone needs to man up and be willing to put a name to their claims.

    Daniel said, “I typically hold back some of my opposition for the same reasons the webmaster(s) of this site are to, they don’t want to be banned from NAR”

    Oh come on Daniel. Banned from the NAR for speaking your mind? Name *one* person that’s been “banned” for that. Just one.

    This site’s webmasters and authors have hardly held back on their opinions.

    Seen some of what I’ve written about the NAR? I wasn’t banned. Actually, I was invited to sit on a NAR committee, where I can offer my opinions and try to affect some change within the organization.

  5. Duke Long

    March 20, 2010 at 10:34 pm


  6. Francces Flynn Thorsen

    March 20, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    I see big holes and question marks about many of the claims on this web site. I have a sense that lack of serious fact checking coupled with a highly personal agenda dictates the politics of this web site.

    There is no scholarship and there is absolutely no journalistic integrity connected with any part of this web site. Imagine the irony of the site’s authors:

    “Allow Us to be Your Guide
    “We are also skilled at taking highly complex real estate technology topics and putting them into simple layman’s terms, so please allow us to be your guide on this journey into the future of real estate technology, as major decisions about our future are being made today and you need to be well informed in order to make the correct choices.”

  7. Francces Flynn Thorsen

    March 20, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    Whoops, that comment got away from me before I was able to finish!

    Imagine the irony of these social media guide wannabe’s … They don’t know what they are doing, exercise and model poor judgment … and they want to teach this to the rest of the real estate industry?

    Give me a break!

    I can hardly wait to see who finally emerges and fesses up to this mess.

  8. Jim Duncan

    March 20, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    I feel actively disinterested by such a thing written by cowards who choose to hide their identities and try to charge for “hidden” insight.

  9. Kristal Kraft

    March 20, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    And the scandal is?

    Somebody better go tell Google that harvesting information is a bad thing.

    This site is far from being a trusted authority on anything other than “what’s coming soon.”

  10. Russell Shaw

    March 21, 2010 at 12:11 am

    To my knowledge no one has ever been “banned” from NAR for speaking up. Writers here and elsewhere routinely speak up about the NAR. They sign their names to what they write (or else get ignored).

    I wasn’t defending the NAR. I was only pointing out that the people who put the site up are cowards and are therefore willing to lie. I don’t trust people like that.

  11. Benjamin Bach

    March 21, 2010 at 12:15 am

    I agree Russell.


  12. Joe Spake

    March 21, 2010 at 12:53 am

    I am in total agreement with your post, Russell. I have read 3 or 4 posts about this anonymous site. I wonder how many disgruntled Realtors have bitten on the subscription. I guess the potential audience of over 1 Million makes the creators feel the odds are in their favor for making some bucks.

  13. Jacob Clayton

    March 21, 2010 at 2:18 am

    Interesting post, Russell. I hadn’t heard about that site and I totally agree with you. In general I think you get more respect when you just put what you believe in right out on the table and fight the good fight for it. What’s the point of hiding? If you can’t stand behind your own convictions how can you expect anyone else to stand with you?

    And I think it’s probably very tough to get banned from NAR just for speaking your mind. They’re not that evil. I’ve spoken (sometimes quite loudly) my mind many times and I’ve found they have a pretty thick skin for disgruntled members. And some folks do actually listen, though they may not do much else. I joked that they would probably kick me out but of course they didn’t. Besides, they would want my money right?!

  14. Jim Gatos

    March 21, 2010 at 3:07 am

    Totally agree too.. Your credibility is questionable or non existent if you hide .. The only case I can think of where a hidden identity had merit was “deep throat” during Watergate..

    This isn’t Watergate.

  15. Matthew Rathbun

    March 21, 2010 at 7:35 am

    I’m sooo behind…. The site was down before I could go read it. I couldn’t even find a cached version.

    I liked Martin Luther’s approach… March up to Church doors and tack your “95 Thesis” right to the door with your name on it. Otherwise sit down and remain silent.

    Who has the time to dedicate to building super-secret National Enquirer-ish webpage. Go sell something!

    It does dawn on me that this may be one of those times when something that virtually no one would have cared about was given a huge visitor boost by AG and BHB writing about it. Just a thought… Any url or webname put on these two monster sites is going to get a huge Google boost. (I think)

  16. Mike Woods

    March 21, 2010 at 8:08 am

    When I click the link I get this: Error establishing a database connection. Have they taken it down or is the link not working in the article above?

  17. Joe Loomer

    March 21, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Same thing happened to me as Matt – and I agree anonymous bovine scatology is still B.S. unless you back it up and sign your name.

    I do – however – want to see WHAT they wrote simply becuase of the phrase “RETS.” Our board is killing us here with having to pay for different RETS feeds to syndicate OUR own listings.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  18. Francces Flynn Thorsen

    March 21, 2010 at 9:28 am

    The publishers claim there have been threats against them and they are protecting their families. They are weaving a web of intrigue with fanciful delusions of Woodward and Bernstein grandeur. They are even borrowing “Deep Throat” nomenclature. I have a very hard time taking any of this seriously:

    “Due to the nature of the content we are presenting at, there have been multiple threats against our personal safety. We take all threats seriously, and like many of you, we have loving families to support … So moving forward, we must proceed with caution each step along the way until each of these threats have been properly addressed and eliminated … Proper Authorities Notified … Of course, we have notified the proper authorities, so no worries. We will be moving forward with the as planned … Moving Forward … When the situation arises and we can disclose our identities, we will. In the meantime, we thank you for your understanding and look forward to sharing our research with you.”

    • Laurie Manny

      March 21, 2010 at 10:38 pm


      Somebody is going to have to explain to me how anonymous people have death threats against them. That means that somebody knows who they are and since nobody knows who THEY are then this is all a crock of crap designed to drive traffic and backlinks to the crock of crap site.

  19. Benjamin Bach

    March 21, 2010 at 9:35 am

    “Who has the time to dedicate to building super-secret National Enquirer-ish webpage. Go sell something! ”

    Bingo Matt!

  20. Greg Cooper

    March 21, 2010 at 10:02 am

    I’m still puzzled as to what the point is. All that time and energy for anonymity? You want to have that discussion then have it. If anyone knows what the effects are of speaking one’s mind lately, well let’s just say I can identify with that. They just need to grow a pair and claim it…or make it go away.

  21. BawldGuy

    March 21, 2010 at 11:09 am

    And their 15 minutes is now up.

  22. Jim Gatos

    March 21, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    I try hard to ignore “anonymous” sources. Most anonymous sources reek of tabloid quality crap you can find on ANY supermarket checkout. There was a new agent that argued with me at the office a while ago about getting names and numbers when answering buyer inquires. She said (I’m not kidding) if a buyer doesn’t want to give out their name and number, it’s STILL okay to show them a house. I told her to “go ahead”, “put the theory to the test.” “Take a paper bag with you the next time that happens”, I told her, and ask the buyer to wear it over their head (with eye and mouth cutouts, of course), and they may as well call themselves “the unknown buyer”… So she went, showed a house to a buyer without asking for the name, and of course, the buyer never called her, nothing. It could have been a potential rapist, for all we know. So she wasted her time. Lately, I’ve even been reading of “hero worship” when it comes to anonymous actions. I disagree and think that in addition to being baseless, I for one would like to know WHO I am admiring. If I don’t know who it is, then I don’t “admire.” The person I admire doesn’t have to be perfect; (show me a perfect person, anyone?), but at least I’d like to know WHO they are.

  23. Marilyn Wilson

    March 21, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    I think the best thing we can do is ignore them – anonymous sources that appear to be pretty misinformed after reading a few of the articles.

    I do have to give them credit for being great social marketers – I received 5 phone calls from MLS execs before 10 am yesterday! Whoever they know how to reach an audience – doesn’t mean I’m going to listen anything they say however.

  24. Jay Thompson

    March 21, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Mike –

    The site is down. They are claiming on Twiiter they are suffering from a DOS attack. I bet the next claim is the evil NAR is behind it all. Maybe it’s even George Bush’s fault.

    They need to take off their tin foil hats and end the wild conspiracy theories before they look like complete fools.

    Wait, it may be too late….

  25. Jim Gatos

    March 21, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    They are back up now… Here we go again….

  26. Harriman Real Estate

    March 21, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Their domain registration info is private; however, they give a phone number of 360-449-5933, which a quick check online shows as being the cell phone number of one Talmar Ka in Vancouver, WA. Now, I’m not sure if this is actually someone in the company or just a techie in their hosting company, A Google search for Talmar Ka brings up pretty much diddly.

    Unfortunately, the aforementioned cell phone number also appears to belong to a Jemir Johnson:

    Contact details
    Contact person: Jemir Johnson
    Company name: Creative Elamentz Studios
    Company url:
    Phone: 3604495933

    Maybe they gave a fake phone number, too, although both the number and the company are based in Vancouver.

  27. Fred Romano

    March 21, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    They have got to be jokin about charging for their content! LOL

  28. Mike Bowler Sr.

    March 21, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    This has been an interesting read, comments and all. To bad they pulled their Blog it would have been good material for a “Desperate Bimbos” type show.

  29. Jim Gatos

    March 21, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Their blog is back up!

  30. Ken Brand

    March 21, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    I could tell you who we are, but then I’d have to kill you? Give me a break, “threats on our lives?”

    I say, along with the rest, “Stand Up, or, Shut UP!

  31. Thomas A. B. Johnson

    March 21, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    A post and comments at Bloodhoundblog and here. They must be following the below mentioned
    10 day Social Media Action Plan (free download)!

  32. Jim Gatos

    March 22, 2010 at 6:45 am

    Maybe they saw THIS movie and that’s where they got the idea real estate agents are killers;

    and, to add another thought. I am NOT an overly fond supporter of NAR; I think for all the good things they do they also botch a lot of stuff up. However, I am in total disgust of a group of folks who hide behind a website (mask, curtain, it’s all the same) and attack using their accusations and website. My eyes couldn’t even follow half their poop on their site.

    My name is Jim Gatos of The Jim Gatos Group at Keller Williams Realty in Westborough, MA and I proud stand by what I just wrote.

  33. Cathy Kurvers

    March 22, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Not only do I agree with you, Russell, but I’m dumbfounded that they have the ___ to ask for money to read their stuff! And it ain’t cheap! Puhleez!

  34. Linden Moe

    August 11, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    This argument is still prevelant in todays world. I do think that we still have to be concerned about these issues and putting our name to opposition.

    Alwayg big shout out to russell for telling it like it is.

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Opinion Editorials

Online dating is evolving and maybe networking will too

(OPINION EDITORIALS) How has the online dating industry been disrupted during the pandemic? And can we apply a few pointers from this evolved model to networking?



Woman networking through Zoom video call with two other women.

We are often reminded that hindsight is 20/20 – a proverb that means “it is easy to understand something after it has already happened”, and how ironic that is since we are in the year 2020 and not sure we can fully comprehend all we are learning and what hindsight this will bring.

Reflecting back to six months ago, there were many of us that didn’t have much of a clue about what the rest of 2020 would look like and how we would have to adjust to a more virtual world. We’ve updated our ways of working, connecting with colleagues, socializing with friends, networking with those in our industry, or looking for a new job.

Microsoft suggested that we have seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in about five months. For example: MS Teams, Zoom, and Google Meet have become the new way to host networking sessions, work meetings, and “chats” with colleagues; Tele-med appointments became the norm for routine or non-911 emergency doctor appointments; curbside pickup at grocery stores and food to-go orders via online ordering became the new normal (they existed before but saw tremendous growth in number of users).

We also had to learn how to create engaging and interactive ways to connect solely through a screen. We are already Zoom fatigued and wondering how online meetings have zapped our energy so differently than in person. It turns out, looking at ourselves and trying to talk to a group is a lot for our brains to process.

The Atlantic shares a great article about why the Zoom social life might feel so draining, saying that “Attempting to translate your old social habits to Zoom or FaceTime is like going vegetarian and proceeding to glumly eat a diet of just tofurkey”. No offense to vegetarians, of course.

You could argue though, that we’ve all been interacting via screens for years with the dominance of social media channels – whether it was posting our thoughts in 140 characters on Twitter, or sharing photos and videos of our artisanal sandwiches/cute kid/pet pictures on Facebook. But this seems different. Times are different and we will not be going back soon.

In this interim, many people are trying to make the best of the situation and are figuring out ways to connect. We will always need human connection (and without the germs, even better).

What about our single friends? If they don’t have anyone in the house to already drive them crazy, then where can they go to meet new people and/or possibly love interests?

While many experts are trying to predict the outcomes of this global shift, it may be hard to know what will change permanently. We know many industries are experiencing major disruptions – online dating apps being one of them.

According to Digital Trends, Tinder still ranks as one of the top dating apps. However, now that people are sheltering in place and/or social distancing, there’s a new app taking over as a way to “meet” someone a little faster, while also allowing you to stay behind the screen, sans mask.

Slide is a video dating app that changes your first-date frustrations into real connections and instant chemistry. Explore video profiles, go on first dates via Video Calls at your fingertips, and find that chemistry before dating IRL.”

So, while Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge play quarantine catch-up, Slide is stealing their market share.

How? With video.

Slide recognized the massive success of short-form video platforms like TikTok, and have translated it to dating. They focus on features like:

  • “Vibe Check”, which gives you the option to video chat immediately after matching with someone to see if there’s chemistry. This will save you from long or misinterpreted text conversations and money you may have spent on that first date.
  • A video-first approach that lets you see the real people behind the profiles so you can pass if they aren’t really who they say they are.
  • AI-assisted creation of “future bae” profiles that help suggest your best matches and spare you extra swipes. If Netflix can find similar suggestions…

As of August 2020, the Department of Labor and Statistics estimates about 13.6 million people are currently unemployed and searching for a new j-o-b. Is it possible that some of these newer ways of connecting online could be included in how we network for a new job/career opportunity?

For example, instead of sending a connection or networking request on LinkedIn, what if we could send a quick video about our story, or what we’d love to learn from that person, or how we’d like to connect?

Would that create a faster, better, possibly more genuine connection?

This would seem worth exploring as many job connections are created by in-person networking or reaching real people vs. solely online applications, behind a screen. Some other formats that have seen increased use are Marco Polo for video chats (you don’t have to both be available at the same time) and FaceTime group calls.

It might be worth exploring how short-form video platforms could assist job seekers in networking, outreach, and connecting with others. These are just some ideas as we continue to watch this digital transformation unfold.

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Opinion Editorials

Minimalism doesn’t have to happen overnight

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) Minimalism doesn’t have to mean throwing out everything this instant – you can get similar benefits from starting on smaller spaces.



Minimal desk with laptop, cup, books, and plant.

Minimalism. This trend has reared its head in many forms, from Instagram-worthy shots of near empty homes to Marie Kondo making a splash on Netflix with Tidying Up with Marie Kondo in 2019. If you’re anything like me, the concept of minimalism is tempting, but the execution seems out of reach. Paring down a closet to fit into a single basket or getting rid of beloved objects can sometimes seem too difficult, and I get it! Luckily, minimalism doesn’t have to be quite so extreme.

#1. Digitally

Not ready to purge your home yet? That’s fine! Start on your digital devices. Chances are, there are plenty of easy ways to clean up the storage space on your computer or phone. When it comes to low stakes minimalism, try clearing out your email inbox or deleting apps you no longer use. It’ll increase your storage space and make upkeep much more manageable on a daily basis.

It’s also worth taking a look through your photos. With our phones so readily available, plenty of us have pictures that we don’t really need. Clearing out the excess and subpar pictures will also have the added bonus of making your good pictures easily accessible!

Now, if this task seems more daunting, consider starting by simply deleting duplicate photos. You know the ones, where someone snaps a dozen pics of the same group pose? Pick your favorite (whittle it down if you have to) and delete the rest! It’s an easy way to get started with minimizing your digital photo collection.

#2. Slowly

Minimalism doesn’t have to happen all at once. If you’re hesitant about taking the plunge, try dipping your toe in the water first. There’s no shame in taking your time with this process. For instance, rather than immediately emptying your wardrobe, start small by just removing articles of clothing that are not wearable anymore. Things that are damaged, for instance, or just don’t fit.

Another way to start slow is to set a number. Take a look at your bookshelf and resolve to get rid of just two books. This way, you can hold yourself accountable for minimizing while not pushing too far. Besides, chances are, you do have two books on your shelf that are just collecting dust.

Finally, it’s also possible to take things slow by doing them over time. Observe your closet over the course of six months, for instance, to see if there are articles of clothing that remain unworn. Keep an eye on your kitchen supplies to get a feel for what you’re using and what you’re not. Sure, that egg separator you got for your wedding looks useful, but if you haven’t picked it up, it probably has to go.

#3. Somewhat

Sometimes, minimalism is pitched as all or nothing (pun intended), but it doesn’t have to be that way. Just because I want to purge my closet doesn’t mean I’m beholden to purging my kitchen too. And that’s okay!

Instead of getting overwhelmed by everything that needs to be reduced, just pick one aspect of your life to declutter. Clear out your wardrobe and hang onto your books. Cut down on decorations but keep your clothes. Maybe even minimize a few aspects of your life while holding onto one or two.

Or, don’t go too extreme in any direction and work to cut down on the stuff in your life in general. Minimizing doesn’t have to mean getting rid of everything – it can mean simply stepping back. For instance, you can minimize just by avoiding buying more things. Or maybe you set a maximum number of clothes you want, which means purchasing a new shirt might mean getting rid of an old one.

The point is, there are plenty of ways to start on the minimalist lifestyle without pushing yourself too far outside your comfort zone. So, what are you waiting for? Try decluttering your life soon!

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Opinion Editorials

Your goals are more complicated than generalized platitudes, and that’s okay

(OPINION / EDITORIALS) When the tough times get going, “one size fits all” advice just won’t cut it. Your goals are more specific than the cookie cutter platitudes.



Split paths in the forest like goals - general advice just doesn't fit.

‘Saw.’ – “Vulgar, uneducated wisdom based in superstition”, according to the good volunteer compilers at Wikipedia. See also: ‘aphorism’, ‘platitude’, and ‘entrepreneurial advice’. I’m not saying there’s no good advice for anyone anymore, that’s plain not true. SMART Goals are still relevant, there’s a plethora of cheaper, freeer, more easily accessible tutorials online, and consensus in April-ville is that Made to Stick is STILL a very helpful book.

But when I hear the same ‘pat on the head’ kind of counsel that I got as a kid presented by a serious institution and/or someone intending on being taken seriously by someone who isn’t their grade school-aged nephew, I roll my eyes. A lot.

“Each failure is an opportunity!” “Never give up!” “It’s not how many times you fall!”, yeah, okay, that’s all lovely. And it IS all very true. My issue is… These sunshiney saws? They’re not very specific. And just like a newspaper horoscope, they’re not meant to be (not that I’ll stop reading them).

Example: You’ve been jiggling the rabbit ears of your SEO for months, to no avail. No one’s visiting your site, there’ve been no calls, and the angel investor cash is starting to dip closer to falling from heaven with each passing day.

Does ‘don’t give up’ mean that you use your last bit of cash to take on an expert?

Or does ‘don’t give up’ mean that you go back to R&D and find out that no one actually WANTED your corncob scented perfume to begin with; algorithm tweaking and Demeter Fragrances be damned?

This is the thing about both your goals you make and the guidance you take—they have to be specific. I’m not saying your parents can put a sock in it or anything. I’m thrilled that I’m part of a family that’ll tell me to keep on keeping on. But as far as serious, practical input goes… One size fits all just leaves too much room for interpretation.

When you’re stuck, behind, or otherwise at odds with your growth, are you asking the right questions? Are you sure of what the problem actually is? Do you know whether it’s time to give up a failure of a business and ‘keep pushing’ in the sense of starting another one, or whether you’ve got a good thing on hand that needs you to ‘never say die’ in the sense of giving it more tweaking and time?

No one should have stagnant goals. A pool of gross sitting water is only attractive to mosquitoes and mold. ‘I wanna be rich’ as your business’s raison d’être is a setup for a story about the horrors of literal-minded genies, not an intention you can actually move upon. But that doesn’t mean you need to go hard the other way and get lost in a nebulous fog of easily-published aphorisms.

To be fair, it’s not as if saying ‘Ask the right questions’ is exponentially more helpful than your average feel-good refreshment article, since… This editorial column doesn’t know you or what pies you have your fingers in. But if I can at least steer you away from always running towards the overly general and into an attempt at narrowing down what your real problems are, I’ll consider this a job well done.

Save saws for building community tables.

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