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Review marketing platform sales even more deceptive than their products

(EDITORIAL) Some agent review platforms use misleading stats to sell their products, and some lead agents down the path of illegal review fraud – are you up to date on the topic?



realtor ratings realtor reviews

You are being lied to. By now, most real estate professionals (especially those trying to better understand if collecting ratings and reviews is the right path to boost their business and if so how) have seen the stat that claims 88% of consumers trust reviews as much or more than personal recommendations.

This claim is regularly cited by marketing companies trying to sell you on the benefits of their “review” platforms. That makes sense, and wow, it must really be powerful if that many consumers blindly trust the real estate reviews they see – you better get started, right?

Hold the phone. This stat, to provide real estate context and add credibility, is often linked to a CREA article on the importance of reviews for real estate agents (oh, and they want Canadian Realtors to sign up for their “review” platform). However, that article is linked to a 2014 study that has nothing to do with real estate services and clearly states that of the 88%, 30% only trust the reviews if they believe them to be authentic, and another 26% only trust reviews for some types of businesses but not others.

Do you think real estate is a business consumers are skeptical of? You’re smart, you know the answer to that.

Much like the “ratings” platforms these marketing companies are promoting, they will never give the complete, honest, and transparent answer; the truth. Because the truth would not help them push a product designed to “help” market filtered reviews that is more likely to damage an agent or broker’s professional reputation in the long term, but the story they have spun feels nice and is less scary than honest (potentially critical) customer feedback, with the transparency and accountability that goes along with it.

The truth, based on the same study they are pulling their deceptive statistics from, indicates that closer to only 32% of consumers may blindly trust real estate reviews. With all of the recent fake news and review fraud studies today, the number is likely even lower than it was 4-7 years ago (when the data for the cited study was collected).

The Real Daily’s Definitive Guide to Real Estate Ratings & Review Platforms, 2018 Edition was the first to objectively investigate the services available based on trustworthiness of the reviews collected and published.

Google and Yelp are taking a stand against Review-Gating (the practice of only requesting reviews from satisfied clients). Google has changed their Terms of Service, in part based on the efforts of Jason Brown of and other pioneers trying to expose those companies, sites, and services that engage in deceptive and even illegal behavior that is harmful to consumers.

Agents who hire someone to write reviews for themselves or their competitors, or use a service that allows, suggests, or helps collect only positive customer feedback, are participating, supporting and associating themselves with review fraud. FRAUD, you guys. These are lies of omission and deceptive marketing, and in many cases outright illegal. Be part of the problem or part of the solution. It is your choice.

Learn the ins and outs by checking out “Fake Reviews and Review Fraud,” an online event this Thursday that includes Jason Brown and Kevin Romito, President of RatedAgent/QSC from the real estate industry.

For decades, including a recent gathering in the desert that produced The Parker Principles – a 12 point Manifesto, industry leaders have been calling for greater transparency, accountability, higher standards and quality service to benefit consumers.

In public, very few argue the other side – who would?

Then why is nearly every review platform designed for real estate agents void of serious standards, accountability and transparency, with some even admitting their “reviews” are for marketing purposes only and cannot contribute to improving the customer experience?

Because they know the data collected is selective and it’s not that they don’t care; in many cases it is actually by design, while others find it is easier to claim a secret algorithm or that an icon of a shield does enough to imply authenticity.

Do you like to be lied to? Neither do consumers.

How can one establish a relationship that requires trust while sharing data that has been manipulated for personal gain? This goes for the review services that help agents “get more positive reviews” and then by extension the agents that buy into and use these less than transparent review platforms.

We believe in ratings and reviews and the value they can have to consumers in selecting a professional service provider. We do not believe review fraud, in any form, benefits anyone other than the marketing companies who profit from it and those agents that cannot compete on the reality of their own service standards, so they can literally “fake it ‘til they make it.”

Like many under-regulated, yet powerful early stage technologies and innovations, how they are deployed directly impacts the potential for benefit or harm to society.

Want to honestly “get more positive reviews”? Use transparent feedback to ensure you are providing your best service, learn from your mistakes to provide even better service, then repeat, repeat, repeat.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The Real Daily and sister news outlet, The American Genius, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.


How to keep your business partner on your same page during COVID-19

(EDITORIAL) COVID-19 has a lot of people worrying about themselves, their families, and their friends, but one that doesn’t get brought up much is business partner.



Business partner

In the age of COVID – we are all having conversations about our personal wellness. Story after story, we are encouraged to be reflective about our self-care to ourselves, our families, and our employers.

Our business partners, while being in the same storm as us, are not always in our same boat.

They have unique situations, perspectives, and needs. To maintain that business relationship, you need to start thinking about how you can communicate your situation to them.

This is a critical piece of communication. You should be mindful of this beyond a simple “I’m at home and may be delayed in answering email” kind of message.

Honesty and openness are essential to good business partnership, but you want to craft the right message to assure your business partner and protect yourself. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind for the content of your message:

  • Identity your primary message. What are you trying to do? Why is it essential for them to know? What do they need to know to keep the business afloat, and manage their expectations. You may need to refresh yourself on any existing structural agreements or roles. We often pick business partners for their skills sets in relation to our own – if you’re doing all the numbers and purchasing, explain to them how the current situation will impact your ability to do that.
  • Say “why”. You do not need to dump all the things you have going on to your business partner – but rather explain things in a way that is relevant to them. This will keep your conversation brief and to the point. A good example of this is to say “We normally have morning meetings with clients, but since my kids are being homeschooled in the morning, I need to have them in the afternoon”. This gives a clear explanation of what you need, and why your business partner should care.

Before you get on the meeting:

  • Recognize differences and see where you can compromise and where you cannot compromise. Your health should be number one. This is not the time to endanger your health or radically disrupt the things you do to stay healthy. But also, if there are places where you can adjust or be flexible, be willing to do that. This is useful when you and your business partner are in different time zones or life situations. The situation around us is changing every day – and is different by region, state, or even city. Communicate changes or challenges promptly and with clarity.
  • Set up the conversation. When is the best time? Is it in evening with an informal “Zoom happy hour?” When does your partner prefer communication? Are they morning people? Are they better after a few hours and coffee? Timing is everything. Especially if the conversation is tough.

Number one? Keep communication open. Nothing makes people more anxious than a partner you can’t get in contact with. There are lots of tools and technology we can utilize. Have a regular check in – and communicate frequently. This will keep heads cool and ensure that the relationship you have is protected.

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10 productivity tips to get the most out of yourself and your team

(EDITORIAL) Keeping up productivity can be a hard goal to shoot for, so sometimes It helps to see what others are doing. Here’s our list of 10 ways to stay productive



productivity in a team

Funny thing about inverse relationships, they are so counterintuitive. Like working hard. That is an example of doing what you think will be beneficial, but usually just makes the job what you expected, hard. When it comes to productivity, harder isn’t smarter, as the saying goes.

And, if you are sick of the word “hack” we hear you. But, finding ease in work will allow you to be more productive and with better results.

We offer you this list of stories to meet your productivity needs. Here’s to finding work-life balance, seeking ease in the moment and rocking out a productive day!

1. If you’re trying to be more productive, don’t focus so much on time management. Instead, consider energy management to get more out of less effort.

2. Meetings suck. Wait, I mean they are a time suck. Yeah, that’s it. Everyone knows some meetings are unnecessary and could easily be handled through an email. Yet, many supervisors are hesitant. But, there’s an app for that now. Here’s to meeting less and actually getting work done.

3. Kondo your desk, for God’s sake. If you say you are more productive with a messy desk, yet you have a sandwich from last week and those TPS reports you were supposed to turn in weeks ago somewhere under a pile of crap, you need to clean up your act. Nobody wants to get a report covered in coffee, chocolate, and mustard.

4. Are you agile? I mean, really. Is your team as productive as it could be? Whether you are a PM or a real estate agent, if you need a tool that helps your team stay agile and nimble, this will help you and your crew kick ass and take names.

5. Cut the team some slack. Too many messages and you forget what you were originally doing. Slack thought about that and has a way to make the app work for your team so you can be more effective and keep the workflow moving.

6. Working remotely has some serious benefits, notwithstanding working in your PJ’s. While it is the norm now, convincing your boss you will actually work in the future and not binge on Netflix may be the challenge. And, for many folks, working from home is a much more productive option long term, even after COVID restrictions lift. Yet, anyone who has worked remotely also knows it can be easy to get caught up in work and miss human interactions, leading to burnout. Here’s how to make the remote transition work for you.

7. Sometimes more is less. That is the truth when it comes to work where quality beats quantity all day long. Our 9-5 workdays may be good for some, but not for all. And, putting in 80-hour weeks may seem righteous dude, but what do you really accomplish? Kick productivity in the butt and consider are you using your hours wisely.

8. Want to be a baller in the workplace? Then get focused. According to the experts, those at the top of their game aren’t necessarily working harder or smarter, they are just hyper-focused. Here are some good habits to have if you want to get ahead.

9. If it seems everyone has a podcast, you are correct! Some of those podcasts are useful, especially if you are trying to get ahead and find ways to use your productivity to the fullest. Here’s a list of podcasts that will fill your free time with useful information.

10. Creative folks love to start new projects. They can be like kids in the candy store any time they have a new idea they must explore. The problem is that whether you are an artist, writer, graphic/web/software designer or developer, you may start a lot of projects and finish few. Here’s how to finish what you start!

By now, you know what information to keep and you are ready to get your rear in gear. We wish you all the success with your future projects. We know you will be diligent and hyper-productive!

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Choice IQ: The self-guided career coach for busy professionals

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) Need help with your career but unsure where to start or struggle to find the time? Choice IQ could help you, even on the go.



Choice IQ robots, designed to help identify strengths and stress in self-guided career coaching.

Although it’s not part of the job description, without a doubt, you’ll eventually develop some form of stress at work. In a way, stress is a good thing because it shows you’re pushing your boundaries and growing. But, too much stress is bad. It can lead to poor health and cause you to deliver sub-par performance at work. And, while not all of us may have a life coach we can easily call on, we could potentially have a digital one.

Meseekna, a computer software company that designs scientifically validated tools, has developed an on-the-go life coach tool for busy professionals. Choice IQ is a coaching platform supported by the learning and training system developed by Meseekna scientists. The app uses “interactive scenarios, storytelling, and art to help you build strategies for managing your stress.”

With a comic book art style, Choice IQ helps describe what stress is and explains how you can manage it. Through its step-by-step guided process, Choice IQ measures your metacognition, or ‘how’ you make your decisions. By looking at your focus, drive, curiosity, and resilience, it can uncover your strengths. The tool also assesses your stress and what aspects of it affect you the most. All these tests are done through a series of multiple-choice questions.

Once you’ve been able to determine your strengths and stress points, Choice IQ can help make a plan that will help you work on reducing the impact of stress in your life. The tool has training scenarios where you can immerse yourself in a different role to test your metacognitive skills. Through interactive storybook-like quests, you also can learn to navigate through stress.

To take your career coaching to the next level, you can sign up for Choice IQ’s Coaching Program. By signing up, you will have access to MONA. The on-the-go interactive coach is packed with six-decades of science and is available to support you 24/7. All you have to do is ask MONA! You will also have access to daily texts that have quick prompts and check-ins to make sure your metacognition training is consistent. And, all your progress is tracked in a digital journal.

By using Meseekna’s simulation technology, “Choice IQ can break down the processes into daily actionable steps and behaviors which enable optimal performance in a dynamically complex world.” For busy professionals, this sounds pretty good. Are you ready to give it a try?

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