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Your Online Reputation: It Counts


Your online reputation (off line too) counts. As a real estate professional, it is a huge part of your business. It’s been written about before on Agent Genius, (here and here for a couple) but apparently it bears repeating…

Your Online Reputation is Critical

And it can be damaged oh-so-swiftly.

Today Carol Hian with Redfin in San Diego wrote what I called The Most Asinine Real Estate Blog Post Ever. She shamelessly attacked an agent many of us know and respect, Kris Berg. In some twist I have yet to figure out, she drug into the fray the fact that Kris and Steve Berg organized a food drive in their community.

I know, it makes absolutely no sense. You can read the disgraceful post here if you are so inclined.

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Glenn Kelman, often real estate blog fodder but really a pretty stand-up guy, commented on Ms. Hian’s post:

This post makes me physically ill. It is not consistent with how those of us at Redfin who have met Kris Berg feel about her or her charitable activity. Kris is a wonderful human being and a credit to our profession.

We have a clear policy that the contractors who contribute local posts about the real estate market should focus only on the real estate market, not on competitors. We are clear with everyone with whom we work that Redfin works as a partner with other real estate brokers, not as an antagonist.

Had we known that Ms. Hian felt this way about Realtors, we would not have commissioned her to write for Redfin at all.

As much as we would like to, we cannot take the post down because it would be sneaky to do so. But we will take steps to ensure something like this never happens again.

I apologize on behalf of Redfin for this post, both to Kris Berg and to the real estate profession.
Regards, Glenn

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Thank you Glenn. That couldn’t have been easy to write and speaks volumes.

But sadly, the damage to both Ms. Hian and Redfin is done. Google never forgets. Within 15 minutes after I clicked “publish”, my post on this travesty was showing up in position #4 on Google for the search term Carol Hian. Others are also writing about it. It’s quite likely that soon, virtually every result on Page 1 of Google will be a reference to Ms. Hian’s insertion of foot into mouth. And though it’s not Redfin’s opinion, the Redfin name will be attached to this mess.

Think twice people before you fire off a post that will live in infamy. The real estate Internet space is surprisingly small. Word travels swiftly.

And people do Google names to check the reputation of service providers.

Others Opine:

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Daniel Rothamel: Wanna Know How You Can do Irrevocable Damage to Your Brand and Your Reputation?

Joseph Ferrara: Rabid Redfin Bites Barbie… and Self

Eric Bryant (on Geek Estate Blog):
A word of advise to Real Estate Agents who Blog, the power of social networking can be a “double-edged sword”

Jim Duncan: Kudos to Glenn Kelman

Jonathan Dalton: Timely Proof of an Old Axiom

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Glenn Kelman: Something I’ve Been Meaning to Say for a Long Time.

Written By

Jay is the Broker / Owner of Thompson's Realty in Phoenix, Arizona. A self-professed "Man with a blogging problem" he can be found across the Interweb, including at the Phoenix Real Estate Guy blog where he opines on all things real estate and tosses out random musings.



  1. Glenn fm Naples

    April 22, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    It is truly ashame that such a good deed was turned into a negative post. Anyone associated with any non-profit organization knows how difficult it is to motivate people to take on a project as a food drive within a large neighborhood.

    Unfortunately, a bad experience travels 17 times farther than a good experience. So my kudos to Kris and her family for the task that they accomplished.

  2. ines

    April 22, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    Jay – talking about on-line reputation, at least Kris had a bunch of people jump in to defend and make the accusations baseless. How about those who stab in the back and hire the underground geek mafia to do damage.

    I’m still trying to recuperate from a backstabbing coward – I would have much rather been hit in the open for everyone to see.

  3. Jay Thompson

    April 22, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    “How about those who stab in the back and hire the underground geek mafia to do damage”

    Well, in my book it can’t get much lower than that.

    If you’re going to attack someone, at least have the …. guts … to say it to their face.

    Coward is the perfect word.

  4. Wade Young

    April 23, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    I know a 40-yr-old man who hit on my wife’s Grandma. None of us could believe it. Why make a play for Grandma? It was strange, and we all bad-mouthed the guy. To make matters worse, he was married to the Grandma’s ex daughter-in-law. It was highly inappropriate, for many reasons. Shortly thereafter the guy wound up in the hospital. He had lung cancer — in his brain. The cancer was the cause of his bizarre behavior. We all felt wrong about the way we had bad-mouthed him. He died a couple of months later.

    This Carol’s post was odd, in my opinion. It hardly even made sense. Inappropriate? Yes. However, the woman may be on medication; she could be going through a tough time; lots of things could be going on. I think people need to back off of this woman. Let the what-comes-around-goes-around law do its thing.

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