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Realtor.com – You Can Put Lipstick on a Pig, But It’s Still Just a 1.0 Pig

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Tough Love

How neat Realtor.com that you have a Twitter handle, and have figured out how to comment on other blogs in reference to the recent alleged debut of porn ads on Realtor.com. We get it, you have no idea how it got there, so in utter freak out mode, you opt to accuse the user of a conspiracy in using photoshop to alter the image, and then decide to go with malware or spyware on the users computer that would still leave you clean of any wrongdoing.

I think that’s great that you responded, but the problem with your response is that you seem to want to shove it down the throats of your own product providers in true 1.0 style with polished spin that should end the conversation. How else would you explain not linking out to the posts that had reacted to the porn ad, or leaving comments closed on the Realtor.com website to your press release? There is no rug to sweep that beautiful porn ad under, there is not enough duct tape in the world to silence one million agents, and there is no press release well written enough to erase it from the minds of those that are reacting peacefully and mostly satirically to a situation that would be humorous had you approached it in that fashion.

You screwed up, but you keep screwing up, and that is the sin. Open comments on Realtor.com and let Realtor members address you with their concerns. I first asked you on Twitter this morning to do the right thing, and I’m urging you again- listen to Realtor subscribers.

I won’t be linking to the Realtor.com press release until comments are open and proper linking takes place, but you can get caught up on the story here as the original story seems to have gone private or been killed by the user.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Derec Shuler (@dereshuler)

    October 6, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Benn, I saw the blog entry on Realtor.com earlier today and had no idea what they were talking about, nor any comments from other people asking what this was about. My first thought was how weird that they were being publically coy about whatever the issue is. Then I saw your post on Facebook and all the realtorcom tweets.

    Seriously, I doubt they intentionally hosted porn ads but by being so evasive and unengaging, it’s raising eyebrows.

  2. Matt Stigliano

    October 6, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    @BennRosales – I just sent EmMee a request to open her post back up to the public. Appears there are now some comments that have disappeared on her blog about it as well – one in particular was from realtor.com.

    The plot thickens. I love when you get worked up on the issues!

  3. Doug Francis

    October 6, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    When I first saw it his morning I really thought it was a parody site that some guy cooked up as a practical joke. I’m into humor… but to think that this actually got through is amazing.

    Maybe the listing was a brothel? Cathouse? Bordello?

  4. Jay Thompson

    October 6, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    I too tweeted r.com asking why their “press release” / blog is closed to comments.

    I got absolutely no response. None.

  5. Matt Stigliano

    October 6, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    For those that didn’t see the original on ActiveRain or read through the comments, the “press release” is word for word the same comments that were put on the post.

  6. Ken Brand

    October 6, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    The more things (Big Bureaucratic Business) change (so-called), the more things (Old-Guard speaking in the new-lingo) stay the same (BS).

  7. Rob McCance

    October 6, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Why should we think they would know how to react?

    RM

  8. Lisa Heindel

    October 6, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    I tweeted the same basic request to them, asking if it was truly a blog if there was no commenting/conversation happening. No response here either.

  9. Paula Henry

    October 6, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    I’m not surprised at all!

  10. Karen Rice

    October 6, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    If this weren’t so sad it would be hilarious.

  11. Missy Caulk

    October 6, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    They should have linked to the blog EmMee wrote.

  12. Joe Loomer

    October 7, 2009 at 6:43 am

    Anyone hit Todd Carpenter up for his take? Seems 2.0 would be his bailwick….. Being the NAR (although not the Move.com) Social Media guy and all….

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  13. Greg Cooper

    October 7, 2009 at 7:35 am

    This is an organization which calls us every 12 months and asks for a check for several thousand dollars so we can modify the information on our own listings on the ‘official’ site of Realtors across the country. I doubt they’re concerned about our input or taking the moral high ground on much of anything.

  14. Jim Duncan

    October 7, 2009 at 7:56 am

    Here’s the thing – Move/Realtor.com don’t have to do anything to earn Realtors’ business. That lack of competition is sure to breed complacency and disdain for their customers/content providers.

    Why should they bother responding in a productive or responsible manner?

    I’m thinking that they should promote and train the person who commented so poorly on the AR discussion to social media manager; at least she gets that they needed to respond.

    As far as the porn ad – apologizing ain’t hard. Do it and move on.

  15. Benn Rosales

    October 7, 2009 at 9:43 am

    @jimduncan I do not see NAR getting Realtor.com back, nor do I see that as a option that works as NAR would not operate it to satisfy a majority anyway.

    I wrote this post as ‘tough love’ because if they take my simple advise, and go all the way in with communicating with subscribers, what they’ll end up with in the short run are a lot of fans that just want to know they’ve been heard, that change can happen- crowd sourcing their visibility and growth is only good for long term survival.

    They tried to deflect yesterday using Lani in regards to malware and spyware intentionally taking her out of context not realizing who they were talking to, and that’s why I got involved. If they continue to treat the crowd as if they’re stupid, this idea that their business cannot be damaged is false and proves they have no idea how powerful crowd sourcing can be, especially if it’s to the negative.

    Again, I’m urging Realtor.com to open the window and let the voices come in, there is nothing but awesome things that come from it for Realtor.com and its subscribers. Listening without defense could go a long way to curing a lot of the distrust agents have with Realtor.com.

  16. Susie Blackmon

    October 7, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Greg Cooper hit the nail on the head AGAIN!

  17. Derec Shuler (@derecshuler)

    October 7, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    This issue reminds me of Top Producer’s approach to consumer feedback. Wait, it’s the same company!

  18. Matt Stigliano

    October 7, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    @BennRosales – I think it’s quite clear that most have said “no big deal” on the ad – at least as far as “things happen.” What seems to have turned into the issue is their inadequate and in part, accusatory response. I think your comment sums it up nicely – an admission, apology, scratching of the head and saying, “Gee, I dunno.” would have generated more favorable responses from the agent-public. Instead the gap has widened and people feel wronged by a company that owns a site that reflects upon us. If it were called Trulia or Zillow, I wouldn’t care so much (although I would expect Rudy or David to jump right on the case), but instead it flaunts its affiliation with us by virtue of name and being our “official” site.

    I doubt we’ll ever see a day when NAR owns the site again, I can wish for it all I want, but I just don’t see it.

  19. Fred Romano

    October 8, 2009 at 9:03 am

    Realtor.com has us by the kahunas… Why? most MLS’s feeds to it for free, then they turn around and charge us to enhance OUR listings. It’s crazy…

    There will come a time when another website… say Trulia, will get all MLS’s to feed their data, then Realtor.com will be done. It’s getting closer now. I know that ListHub is a major factor in aggregating the data to Trulia and Zillow. It will be interesting how this unfolds over the next few years.

  20. Brian

    October 8, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Hopefully after reading these posts Realtor.com will begin building a better Internet plan.

    Brian K.
    Premier Properties Inc.
    premier-properties.com

  21. Karen Rice

    October 11, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    Brian, you are funny!

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Zillow launches real estate brokerage after eons of swearing they wouldn’t

(MEDIA) We’ve warned of this for years, the industry funded it, and Zillow Homes brokerage has launched, and there are serious questions at hand.

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Zillow Homes was announced today, a Zillow licensed brokerage that will be fully operational in 2021 in Phoenix, Tucson, and Atlanta.

Whoa, big huge yawn-inducing shocker, y’all.

We’ve been warning for more than a decade that this was the end game, and the company blackballed us for our screams (and other criticisms, despite praise when merited here and there).

Blog posts were penned in fiery effigy calling naysayers like us stupid and paranoid.

Well color me unsurprised that the clarity of the gameplan was clear as day all along over here, and the paid talking heads sent out to astroturf, gaslight, and threaten us are now all quiet.

Continue reading…

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We watched The Social Dilemma – here are some social media tips that stuck with us

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Here are some takeaways from watching Netflix’s The Social Dilemma that helped me to eliminate some social media burnout.

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Neon social media like heart with a 0

Last weekend, I made the risky decision to watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix. I knew it was an important thing to watch, but the risk was that I also knew it would wig me out a bit. As much as I’m someone who is active “online,” the concept of social media overwhelms me almost more than it entertains (or enlightens) me.

The constant sharing of information, the accessibility to information, and the endless barrage of notifications are just a few of the ways social media can cause overwhelm. The documentary went in deeper than this surface-level content and got into the nitty gritty of how people behind the scenes use your data and track your usage.

Former employees of high-profile platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, and Pinterest gave their two cents on the dangers of social media from a technological standpoint. Basically, our data isn’t just being tracked to be passed along for newsletters and the like. But rather, humans are seen as products that are manipulated to buy and click all day every day in order to make others money and perpetuate information that has astronomical effects. (I’m not nearly as intelligent as these people, so watch the documentary to get the in-depth look at how all of this operates.)

One of the major elements that stuck with me was the end credits of The Social Dilemma where they asked interviewees about the ways they are working to eliminate social media overwhelm in their own lives. Some of these I’ve implemented myself and can attest to. Here’s a short list of things you can do to keep from burning out online.

  1. Turn off notifications – unless there are things you need to know about immediately (texts, emails, etc.) turn it off. Getting 100 individual notifications within an hour from those who liked your Instagram post will do nothing but burn you (and your battery) out.
  2. Know how to use these technologies to change the conversation and not perpetuate things like “fake news” and clickbait.
  3. Uninstall apps that are wasting your time. If you feel yourself wasting hours per week mindlessly scrolling through Facebook but not actually using it, consider deleting the app and only checking the site from a desktop or Internet browser.
  4. Research and consider using other search tools instead of Google (one interviewee mentioned that Qwant specifically does not collect/store your information the way Google does).
  5. Don’t perpetuate by watching recommended videos on YouTube, those are tailored to try and sway or sell you things. Pick your own content.
  6. Research the many extensions that remove these recommendations and help stop the collection of your data.

At the end of the day, just be mindful of how you’re using social media and what you’re sharing – not just about yourself, but the information you’re passing along from and to others. Do your part to make sure what you are sharing is accurate and useful in this conversation.

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WeChat ban blocked by California judge, but for how long?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) WeChat is protected by First Amendment concerns for now, but it’s unclear how long the app will remain as pressure mounts.

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WeChat barely avoided a US ban after a Californian judge stepped in to temporarily block President Trump’s executive order. Judge Laurel Beeler cited the effects of the ban on US-based WeChat users and how it threatened the First Amendment rights of those users.

“The plaintiffs’ evidence reflects that WeChat is effectively the only means of communication for many in the community, not only because China bans other apps, but also because Chinese speakers with limited English proficiency have no options other than WeChat,” Beeler wrote.

WeChat is a Chinese instant messaging and social media/mobile transaction app with over 1 billion active monthly users. The WeChat Alliance, a group of users who filed the lawsuit in August, pointed out that the ban unfairly targets Chinese-Americans as it’s the primary app used by the demographic to communicate with loved ones, engage in political discussions, and receive news.

The app, along with TikTok, has come under fire as a means for China to collect data on its users. U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has stated, “At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations.”

This example is yet another symptom of our ever-globalizing society where we are learning to navigate between connectivity and privacy. The plaintiffs also pointed out alternatives to an outright ban. One example cited was in Australia, where WeChat is now banned from government officials’ phones but not others.

Beeler has said that the range in alternatives to preserving national security affected her decision to strike down the ban. She also explained that in regards to dealing with national security, there is “scant little evidence that (the Commerce Department’s) effective ban of WeChat for all US users addresses those concerns.”

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