Before you read the back story, watch this:
(feed readers, you’ll have to visit the site to see the super creepy video)
And now, the back story:
New York City actor Joe Cummings set up surveillance in his home to catch the unwelcome houseguest after suspecting his girlfriend of eating his food. His YouTube profile still says that he is not acting and that the video above, uploaded on November 7th, 2009 is legitimate and gives detailed questions and answers about the valid nature of the clip.
The video appeared nowhere in blogs (or on any news outlet) until nearly a month later when it appeared on the NYC apartment search portal, Naked Apartments’ blog in an article with the video, posted by the CEO. I searched Google and the video did not appear on any blog prior to Naked Apartments’ blog post.
After appearing on Naked Apartments, the Gothamist posted the video and attempted to contact Naked Apartments:
“We’re guessing that it’s viral marketing for something, perhaps the website it was originally posted on, which has an author that looks suspiciously like the lanky lady caught creeping in the apartment. We contacted them to get some answers and they directed us to their publicist, who assures us that this is in no way viral marketing for the website. So far they haven’t been able to give us an answer as to how they came upon the video, or provide us with the man’s name or what neighborhood he lives in so we can call the precinct… but they have asked us to link back to their site if we posted it. So with that, the needle on our bullshit detector is in the red.”
Naked Apartments posted a Twitter update calling it their “viral video” and taking credit for it, but have since deleted the tweet. After an extensive search of FriendFeed (no luck), their Twitter RSS feed (which sometimes has deleted tweets after the fact) and other places to no avail, but Ashley Drake Gephart discovered it deep in the bowels of Google (because you can delete tweets but Google doesn’t always forget):
Since then, it has not been a featured story in any traditional news outlet, nor can anyone locate any police report matching any claim such as the videographer’s who still claims it is not an ad or a hoax, that it is a real event he has been through.
I would also note that the actor’s fan page on Facebook only has 10 fans and his YouTube channel only has 44 subscribers despite enjoying over 1.3 million views on this one video, so it’s not converting for him personally or for Naked Apartments the way it should (or could).
Why I think it’s a fake- am I wrong?
First and foremost, this story has been done before, down to some of the specific details… in Japan, a man was confused about missing food and found a homeless woman living in the upper compartment of his closet for an entire year (which was verified by Japanese police). Secondly, there was an “experiment” in 2006 called “Living With Strangers” where they secretly lived with strangers for nearly a week and videotaped how they did it (which reeks of the claims of the actor who says someone secretly lived in his home without his knowing).
Furthermore, despite claims of legitimacy, some details in the video were off:
- When he’s setting up the camera, you can see the supposed homeless woman moving around in the crawl hole.
- If she urinated (or otherwise) in the sink, he would have smelled it when he had a midnight snack (that’s not a smell you just ignore).
- It’s all too perfect: the framing of the camera to get her entry point instead of just the fridge (where he suspected she would go) and the homeless lady is consistently in the frame.
- She’s super quiet and careful at first, then starts slamming stuff around. Please, he would have heard that ruckus in a tiny NYC apartment.
- It’s not logical- why would she only come out at night while he’s home instead of while he’s at his job? Also, why would she watch tv and risk getting caught?
- I’m not alone in thinking that his drinking for the exact milk carton she drank from (both for his midnight snack and before his jog (who chugs milk before a run?!?)) as an all too perfect reel moment.
I could be wrong
Maybe I’m a Generation Y cynic, but I side with the majority that it’s a fake video but there are still people (especially the actor) that swear it’s real. It’s a feasible scenario, but did this really happen or was it a well done buzz builder commissioned by Naked Apartments to go viral with mystery (like Gatorade did with their weird “G” commercials prior to releasing their new drink)?
Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home
When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?
Looking at the bigger picture
(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).
That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).
They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.
“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”
Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?
With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.
The average home age is higher than ever
(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.
With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.
Prices of new homes on the rise
Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.
Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?
The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.
Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes
(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.
Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.
So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.
1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues
It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.
Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.
2. Two major media brands emerge
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