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Opinion Editorials

What Say You? Is this Good Advertising?



This morning I was reading some of my favorite blogs. (Not real estate related.) I glanced over on the side column and what did my eyes see?

An ad by NAR.

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It was a rotating ad, and this came up next…

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I don’t know if it is being advertised by NAR anywhere else because I was on and it led me to a story here.

When you click it takes you to the data that NAR compiled in a survey of 50,000 NAR members of which 4% or 2035 members responded. The survey was conducted between Aug 5th and Aug 14, 2009.

From my chatter around the water cooler, I know most agents are in favor of the extension.  We received a letter this week from NAR asking us to contact our Senators and Congressmen to ask them to extend the First Time Home-buyer Credit. I did not because I am not in favor of anything that is causing more debt for my children and grandchildren. I did not because the Cash for Clunkers worked for a month and now the automotive dealers are dead.

On Monday I did a status update on Facebook and asked if Realtors were going to be contacting their Senators and Congressmen to ask them to extend the credit.  27 folks commented their thoughts.

My question here is to get the opinion from you on this: is this ad an appropriate use for our NAR dues?

I suspect some of my more liberal blogging friends would not like to see this ad on Fox News. I am not sure I would like to see it anywhere.

What say you?

Written by Missy Caulk, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Ann Arbor. Missy is the author of Ann Arbor Real Estate Talk and Blog Ann Arbor, and is also the Director for the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and Member of MLS and Grievance Committee's.

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  1. Fred Romano

    October 8, 2009 at 9:28 am

    What not keep spending till every last one of us is bankrupt! Too bad the government cant just wash the slate clean for all of us and themselves. A “Do Over” for everyone is what we need.

  2. Erion Shehaj

    October 8, 2009 at 11:48 am

    There’s no doubt that there are political implications to the extension of the tax credit — As there are with anything that involves the expenditure of tax dollars. And based on your political inclination, you may view that as a great or terrible idea. But from the perspective of a trade organization like NAR, their very purpose for existence is to make the landscape favorable for their members. And as far as that goes, the ad in question is appropriate because I don’t think anyone could argue against the fact that the members in this trade organization would be better off with an extended credit.

  3. Missy Caulk

    October 8, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Erion, I agree it is probably best for MY income. But…you knew there would be a but.
    When does putting the future of our children and grandchildren come first. The money is not FREE, we are paying for it.

    Is it right for my and Realtors own job’s to borrow against our childrens future ?

    I do we as a nation continue to borrow our way out of debt. I heard the debt today was 3.something trillion. I can’t even conceive of that…and most of the stimulus money is not spent, nor Cap and Tax nor anything for Health Care Reform.

  4. Erion Shehaj

    October 8, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    My question here is to get the opinion from you on this: is this ad an appropriate use for our NAR dues?

    My comment was in reference to your question above. If the question is: “Should tax dollars be spent for homebuying credit?” that’s an entirely different question. If it is true that the tax credit has accounted for most of whatever little wind has been blown in the sales of the housing market this year, eliminating it this early into “recovery” would be a mistake. I’m not too thrilled at the prospect of spending even more money to basically place a stool under a somewhat crippled market, but in much similar fashion to Afghanistan, the alternative would be much worse and the effects wouldn’t be limited to housing market either.

    In all fairness, I didn’t hear the same kinds of concern over national deficits when we went from a surplus to a 1 trillion dollar deficit in 8 years, over tax cuts. The definition of “fiscally responsible” should not change based on who’s occupying the White House.

    Just sayin’…

  5. Erion Shehaj

    October 8, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    I believe the verbatim phrase from Dick Cheney was: “Reagan proved than deficits don’t matter” …

  6. Bob

    October 8, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    I want a utility credit for power and water, a cable credit so I can watch The Pres on the tube, a grocery credit so I can help the traditional grocery stores fend off those capitalist pigs at Wal Mart so they cant continue to show the world how to make a profit, and a gasoline credit to be used to show homes to buyers with the tax credits.

    No more tax credit.

  7. Bob

    October 8, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    To answer the question about the ad, I think Erion nailed it:

    “But from the perspective of a trade organization like NAR, their very purpose for existence is to make the landscape favorable for their members. And as far as that goes, the ad in question is appropriate because I don’t think anyone could argue against the fact that the members in this trade organization would be better off with an extended credit.”

    Do I like the tax credit? No. But NAR is actually acting like a trade org here.

  8. Portland Real Estate

    October 8, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Probably not worth our money. NAR seems to be a little mis managed these days.


  9. Missy Caulk

    October 8, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Bob, appreciate your thoughts. Just seemed weird to see an Ad on Fox News from NAR. Would be interesting to see how many responded.

    Also would be good to see how many first time home buyers bought because of the credit that would NOT have bought otherwise. Since the first time home buyer always dominates the market.

  10. Joe Spake

    October 8, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    Good points about NAR acting as a trade organization – as they were with the “Now is a Great Time to Buy campaign” running as the world watched the US real estate market tank. NAR has acted as a trade organization with other such ads over the last few years, with Mr. Yun’s sunny forecasts, and now the current push for extension of the tax credit.
    NAR’s advocating for Realtors has strengthened the public’s perception that we are willing to bend the truth a little, or do most anything else to make a sale. IMO, a trade organization’s first priority should be upholding the standards of membership and honestly enhancing the public’s perception of the members, not spin doctoring.
    I, too, would love to see the numbers on how much the tax credit has stimulated the market. I really think my clients who took advantage of it would have bought anyway.
    For the record, I don’t appreciate my dues $ being spent on the ad [I didn’t support the Rose Bowl Parade float, either], and I do not support an extension.

  11. SteveBeam

    October 9, 2009 at 12:23 am

    I’m not for the tax credit or the ad. I too have seen NAR ads in crazy places. I think they feel like the government. Throw money at it and it will get better. I guess at least they are trying but not good enough in my opinion. i certainly don’t feel like I receive much for my dues.

  12. Ken Brand

    October 9, 2009 at 7:56 am

    I’m ok with AD. At least it’s a Call To Action, tied to urgency.

    I’m not ok with the general, “Now’s a great time to buy, for no particular reason.”

  13. Susie Blackmon

    October 9, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    I’m not for the extension of the tax credit, or the ad.

  14. Paula Henry

    October 9, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    I can certainly see the call of urgency if a first time home buyer is “on the fence”, but, I for one, do not want to see the first time tax credit extended. Still, I don’t like the ads; they speak of desperation.

    If it really takes a credit for a home buyer to buy, where will it stop. When will we know the market has normalized. We can not continue to throw money at the problem. When the money runs out and it will, then what?

  15. Missy Caulk

    October 9, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    We have just had so many first time home buyers who were HAPPY to get the credit but not buying TO GET the credit…maybe it is just Ann Arbor. We get tons of Residents and grad students who move in.

    Paula, I just can’t imagine a consumer clicking on that ad. Weird to me.

  16. Mike Pennington

    October 10, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Missy: Just read your last comment. I agree. Maybe though we need a tax credit for any buyer. Or maybe one big credit for those who sell and buy a more expensive home.

    In my area, there is low inventory of affordable homes. There is way to much inventory for the expensive stuff.

  17. Bob in San Diego

    October 12, 2009 at 12:31 am

    Is it good advertising? Who were they advertising too? It reminds me of the Drug company ads for some drug you have never heard about.

  18. Jay Myers

    October 12, 2009 at 1:43 am

    Let’s not forget the Tax Credit was put into place to stimulate banks just as much as to stimulate buyers to get out into the market.

    I have not signed NAR’s petition to “extend or Expand” the tax credit because of how it is written. I am in favor of an extension, but only till Spring of 2010. We need to keep lenders lending, since this will most likely be a slow year for retailers. keeping money changing hands is a good thing for the American economy, and if a short extension can do that I am in favor.

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Opinion Editorials

Sci-fi alert: Building cities on quantum networks becoming reality

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) The University of Bristol’s Quantum Engineering Tech Lab has created quantum networks that demonstrate the possibilities for future cities.



Quantum network connections in theoretical city at night time.

The University of Bristol is home to the largest quantum entanglement-based computer network in the world. Its Quantum Engineering Technology Lab, led by Dr. Siddarth Joshi, has been spearheading the development of a method of encryption called Quantum Key Distribution that may soon revolutionize information security.

First, what is quantum computing, exactly? (Giving a concise answer to that question is sort of like nailing jelly to a wall, but here goes…)

Much like a light switch, a conventional computer circuit can only be in one of two states at a time: On (1) or off (0). That’s basically how binary code works – by representing information as a series of discrete on and off signals, or high and low energy states.

Quantum computing makes use of a third kind of state that exists between those two.

Think about it this way: If classical, binary computing models rely on energy states of “yes” and “no” to communicate data, quantum computing introduces a state of “maybe.” This is because at the quantum level, the photons that make up the information in a quantum computer can exist in multiple places (or energy states, if you prefer) at once – a phenomenon known as “entanglement.”

Entangled photons cannot be observed or measured (i.e., tampered with) without changing their state and destroying the information they contain. That means quantum computer networks are virtually hack proof compared to traditional networks.

This is where Dr. Joshi’s team is changing the game. While previous attempts to build a secure quantum computer network have been limited to just two machines, the QET Lab has been able to establish a quantum encrypted network between eight machines over a distance of nearly eleven miles.

As Dr. Joshi puts it, “until now, building a quantum network has entailed huge cost, time, and resource, as well as often compromising on its security which defeats the whole purpose. […] By contrast, the QET Lab’s vision is scalable, relatively cheap and, most important of all, impregnable.”

If it can be successfully scaled up further, quantum encryption has countless potential civic applications, such as providing security for voting machines, WiFi networks, remote banking services, credit card transactions, and more.

In order for an entire population to be able to utilize a quantum network, fiber optic infrastructure must first be made accessible and affordable for everyone to have in their homes. In that sense, quantum cities are still roughly two decades away, posits Dr. Joshi. The technology behind it is very nearly mature, though. A simpler application of quantum encryption is practically right around the corner – think quantum ATMs in as few as five years.

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Opinion Editorials

5 ways to grow your entrepreneur business without shaming others

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) We all need support as business owners. Let’s talk ideas for revenue growth as an entrepreneur that do not include shaming your competition.



Entrepreneur women all talking around a meeting table.

The year 2020 has forced everyone to re-assess their priorities and given us the most uncertain set of circumstances we have lived through. For businesses and entrepreneurs, they were faced with having to confront new business scenarios quickly. Maybe your entrepreneur business was set to thrive as behaviors changed (maybe you already offered contactless products and services). Or, you were forced to add virtual components or find new revenue streams – immediately. This has been tough.

Every single person is having a hard time with the adjustments and most likely at different stages than others. We’re at the 6-month mark, and each of our timelines are going to look different. Our emotions have greeted us differently too, whether we have felt relief, grief, excitement, fear, hope, determination, or just plain exhaustion.

Now that we are participating in life a bit more virtually than in 2019, this is a good time to re-visit the pros and cons of the influence of technology and marketing outreach online. It’s also a great time to throw old entrepreneur rules out the window and create a better sense of community where you can.

Here’s an alluring article, “Now Is Not the Time for ‘Mom Shaming’”, that gives an example from about a decade ago of how the popularity of mommy bloggers grew by women sharing their parenting “hacks”, tips, or even recipes and crafting ideas via online posts and blogs. As the blog entries grew, so did other moms comparing themselves and/or feeling inadequate. Some of the responses were natural and some may have been coming from a place of defensiveness. Moms are not alone in looking for resources, articles, materials, and friends to tell us we’re doing ok. We just need to be told “You are doing fine.”

Luckily, some moms in Connecticut decided to declare an end to “Mom Wars” and created a photo shoot that shared examples of how each mom had a right to their choices in parenting. It seemed to reinforce the message of, “You are doing fine.” I don’t know about you, but my recent google searches of “Is it ok to have my 3-year old go to bed with the iPad” are pretty much destined to get me in trouble with her pediatrician. I’m hoping that during a global pandemic, “I am doing fine.”

Comparing this scenario to the entrepreneur world, often times your business is your baby. You have worn many hats to keep it alive. You have built the concept and ideas, nurtured the products and services with sweat, tears, and maybe some laughs. You have spent countless hours researching, experimenting, and trying processes and marketing tactics that work for you. You have been asked to “pivot” this year like so many others (sick of that word? Me too).

Here are some ideas for revenue growth as an entrepreneur (or at least, ideas worth considering if you haven’t already):

  1. It’s about the questions you ask yourself. How does your product or service help or serve others (vs. solely asking how do I get more customers?) This may lead to new ideas or income streams.
  2. Consider a collaboration or a partnership – even if they seem like the competition. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African proverb
  3. Stop inadvertently shaming the competition by critiquing what they do. It’s really obvious on your Instagram. Try changing the narrative to how you help others.
  4. Revisit the poem All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten and re-visit it often. “And it is still true, no matter how old you are – when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.”
  5. Join a community, celebrate others’ success, and try to share some positivity without being asked to do so. Ideas include: Likes/endorsements, recommendations on LinkedIn for your vendor contacts, positive Google or Yelp reviews for fellow small business owners.

It seems like we really could use more kindness and empathy right now. So what if we look for the help and support of others in our entrepreneurial universe versus comparing and defending our different way of doing things?

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Opinion Editorials

Can we combat grind culture and injustice with a nap?

(OPINION EDITORIALS) A global pandemic and a climate of racial injustice may require fresh thinking and a new approach from what grind culture has taught us.



Sleeping cat with plant, fighting grind culture.

Information is delivered to us at warp speed with access to television, radio, and the internet (and more specifically, social media). We are inundated with messages. Oftentimes they’re personalized by something that a friend or family shared. Other times we manage them for work, school, or just keeping up with news. Many entrepreneurs already wear many hats and burn the midnight oil.

During this global pandemic, COVID-19, we have also seen a rise in awareness and attention to social injustice and systemic racism. This is not a new concept, as we all know. But it did feel like the attention was advanced exponentially by the murder of George Floyd on Memorial Day 2020. Many people and entrepreneurs felt called to action (or at least experienced self-reflection). And yet they were working at all hours to evolve their businesses to survive. All of this happening simultaneously may have felt like a struggle while they tried to figure out exactly they can do.

There are some incredible thought leaders – and with limited time, it can be as simple as checking them out on Instagram. These public figures give ideas around what to be aware of and how to make sure you are leveling up your awareness.

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Director of the Center for Antiracist Research – he has been studying anti-racism and has several books and interviews that help give language to what has been happening in our country for centuries. His content also delves into why and how white people have believed they are more than people of color. Here is a great interview he did with Brené Brown on her Unlocking Us podcast.

Tamika Mallory – American activist and one of the leading organizers of the 2017 Women’s March. She has been fighting for justice to be brought upon the officers that killed Breonna Taylor on March 13. These are among other efforts around the country to push back on gun control, feminist issues, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Brené Brown – research professor at the University of Houston and has spent the last two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She has been listening and engaging on how racism and our shame intersect. She also speaks about how people can reflect on themselves and where they can take action to better our society. She has some antiracism resources on her website.

With all of this information and the change in our daily routines and work habits (or business adjustments), what is a fresh approach or possibly a new angle that you haven’t been able to consider?

There is one social channel against grind culture that may not be as well-known. At an initial glance, you may even perceive this place as a spoof Twitter and Instagram that is just telling you to take a nap. But hold on, it’s actually much smarter than that. The description says “We examine the liberating power of naps. We believe rest is a form of resistance and reparations. We install Nap Experiences. Founding in 2016.”

It might be a great time for you to check out The Nap Ministry, inspired by Tricia Hersey. White people are called to action, and people of color are expressly told to give time to taking care of themselves. Ultimately, it goes both ways – everyone needs the time to recharge and recuperate. But people of color especially are being told to value their rest more than the grind culture. Yes, you’re being told you need to manage your mental health and include self-care in your schedule.

Through The Nap Ministry, Tricia “examines rest as a form of resistance by curating safe spaces for the community to rest via Collective Napping Experiences, immersive workshops, and performance art installations.”

“In this incredibly rich offering, we speak with Tricia on the myths of grind culture, rest as resistance, and reclaiming our imaginative power through sleep. Capitalism and white supremacy have tricked us into believing that our self-worth is tied to our productivity. Tricia shares with us the revolutionary power of rest.” They have even explored embracing sleep as a political act.

Let this allow you to take a deep breath and sigh – it is a must that you take care of yourself to take care of your business as well as your customers and your community. And yes, keep your drive and desire to “get to work”. But not at your expense for the old grind culture narrative.

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