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Technology Advances that Ain’t

Photo Courtesy of Freshwater2006

Technology Rules

I know that as an active Blogger and a participant in Web 2.0 that technology is the center of the Universe.

I love great places to find things to do on the web, and agentgenius has been a source of some of those great places. Like Vicki Moore’s recent blog about DocStoc or when Vicki introduce me to Makeuseof in another blog or the blog about free real estate sites written by Nick Bostic, or some many other great, useful applications that have been shared here.

As a long time gadget freak I need to have every piece of technology, from my Ipod to the distributed sound system at my house I need it bad! My cars both have built in GPS and yet I own a Garmin Nuvi 660 for use in rentals. My wife and I each have PC laptops, and we’re currently thinking about adding Macbooks. I use four different desktops for my personal use, and at one time carried two phones AND a palm pilot.

I Have a lot of History

I am ready to advance the technology I use as rapidly as it comes out. My first computer was a Commodore Vic 20, which I upgraded to a Commodore 64 in my first real estate office . My first mobile phone needed a satchel, my first smartphone was the size of a paperback book, and my first digital camera used a floppy disk for storage. My first videos of houses were taken 20 years ago, and I run to the Trade shows at every meeting I attend to see what new and inventive and what the rest of the world thinks we should own or be using. And some of it is just plain disappointing.

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So What is Silly Technology?

I don’t think that a solar powered light on a sign is a significant marketing advance. In my market area we have street lights in most areas, and in those truly rural areas, the only thing you would be able to see would be the sign, since the house would be shrouded in the dark.

Talking houses are another piece of technology that leaves me cold, though they have been around long enough that somebody likes the concept. I think that if the buyer has gotten close enough to read the sign directing them to whatever the frequency is, and they are going to make a call, I want them to call me! If the exterior of the house has them interested I would rather not give them the opportunity to rule it our because of the description my sign provides them with. It is a basic rule of advertising that consumers make calls for information so that they can eliminate properties not so they can see even more properties.

I feel the same way about large displays of photos in a broker’s window where the consumer presses a button to hear property information. What the heck happened that we think that people prefer speaking to a recording instead of a person. And when did we decide we woud rather buy a machine to do that for us?

Recently at the NAR Mid-Year meetings I saw a piece of technology that was touted as the latest greatest technology. This company provided an agent with buyer information if the consumer dialed a specific code to get property information. Of course to get the number to dial, the consumer had to be sitting in front of the property looking at the sale sign. In 1988, I was an investor in a company that had a similar product. The consumer called a phone number dialed a code and was provided with information about the house. Of course the new technology provides the agent with the caller ID information, but they need to be in front of the house first. And what got them there? A sign, or maybe a website, but it had nothing to do with their cell phone

While there are great technologies available for us to move forward with, sometimes the technological advances are just plain silly. I guess that’s why they say that you can always tell pioneers – they’re the ones with arrows in their backs.

So how about it? Have you run into silly technology? Tell me about it.

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Written By

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.



  1. Gotbob

    June 12, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    There’s a lot of silly stuff out there. If it ain’t free it ain’t me. Everyone wants in a REALTORs Pants Pocket wallet. “It only takes one transaction to pay for itself”

    My first computer was a RadioShack TRS-80 with cassette tape back up. Oh those were the days.

  2. Roberta Murphy

    June 12, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    Canned websites.

  3. ines

    June 12, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    I think this goes hand in hand with Rudy’s post on using snail mail – we use technology but sometimes forget to focus on the basics like answering your phone or face to face contact.

  4. Barry Cunningham

    June 12, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    Not Sure If It’s Silly Technology by I second Ines, there is nothing worse than erroneously utilized voicemail in a sales business.

    Want to increase your business?


  5. Jennifer in Louisville

    June 13, 2008 at 4:48 am

    I personally find the individual domains for specific properties to be silly (i.e. you list 123 Main Street, so you register 123mainstreet(dot)com and create what essentially amounts to a brochure online). The new domain isn’t going to have immediate new exposure in the search engines. You could have just as easily done a featured spot on your main website, or placed a subpage behind your main site i.e. .

  6. Bill Lublin

    June 13, 2008 at 6:57 am

    @GotBob That is one of my favorite statements. With average brokerages posting 10% prifits, any new expense only breaks even when there are 10 transactions. And that’s not to make a profit, that’s to breakeven. So it takes 11 transactions for a new expense to even remotely interest me.

    @ Roberta – Not nuts about them either – get something the consumer wants to interact with – Otherwise its the same as databases used to be. Every broker had one, they just weren’t doing anything with them 🙂

    @Ines – Amen – I can’t even amplify on that – Its like chocolate – just perfect!

    @Barry – I don’t know if its silly technology either, but I agree with you 1–% its just plain silly! Stop whining and start working!

    @Jennifer – Me too- and if you do a large volume of business, that gets really expensive, and you have lots of domain names that you only needed for a really short period of time. So it has the twin benefits of dong little AND costing a bunch

  7. Matt Thomson

    June 13, 2008 at 9:19 am

    My new favorite is our local cable company, Comcast, having their “Northwest Real Estate On Demand.” For only $150 per listing, agents feature their houses on the TV. So somewhere, there are buyers who would rather sit in front of their TV watching photos of houses spin by to soothing music (sorted in $100k increments by county) than sit down at their computer and search for houses they actually want. If they have Comcast cable, 99% sure they have Comcast internet, too.

  8. Bill Lublin

    June 13, 2008 at 10:48 am

    @Matt- Oddly enough I owned a company that was doing videos of house 20 years ago. And we had slide shows of properties on television way back when 1200 baud dial up was quick – And even then people found that b-o-r-i-n-g. Me, I have DirecTV 😉

  9. Elaine Reese

    June 13, 2008 at 11:21 am

    I’ve questioned the value of the programs like RealPing or Call Me Now where an agent can pay and install on their web site. If the prospect is sitting at their computer, my phone number or email icon is right there. The phone number I provide on my web site is always forwarded to my cell phone, and my cell captures the incoming number. In order to use these buttons, a prospect has to give up certain info that they may not wish to do. If that’s the case, then I think they’ll probably send an email.

  10. Eugene

    June 13, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    I think buying google ad words or targeted keywords is silly. There are very cost effective methods of organically increasing your natural search ranking. One of them is utilizing video and uploading them to video sites like (Google Video, Yahoo Video, AOL Video, YouTube, etc.).

    #4) Answering your phone and great customer service will set you far ahead of your competition. That’s what sets us apart from our competitors

    #5) I think the individual address domain (123 Main can have some value. The URL is so different that it can be ranked if you are proactive enough to get Google to pay attention. But I do agree the agent’s main site should have a featured spot.

    #9) Displaying phone number, or a Grand Central Number is far more reliable.

  11. Paula Henry

    June 14, 2008 at 12:07 am

    Is there another group of professionals as targeted as Realtors?

    The “silliest technology” I have seen/heard is the cable spots. Who really watches cable to find a home? Another, the narrated slideshow, verbatim of the property description:

    This lovely three bedroom, two bath home is……..blah…..blah…..blah.

    I guess I have something against those dry, passionless voices trying to sell a home.

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