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Why do Realtors Hate Realtor.com so Much? Is it The Brand Name? If it Were Named Move.com, Would They Still Hate it?

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Mr. Rob Hahn posed this question this morning on Twitter, while at the very same time Bill Lublin quotes Chris Brogan “we are all so hungry these days to be commentators.” Seconds Later, Aaron Strout again quotes Chris with “listening is the new black.”

All of this is absolutely true, and answers Rob’s question decisively as well as affirms my post yesterday where I urged Realtor.com to open the windows and listen to its subscribers.

The Realtors’ issue with Realtor.com is many many fold, but the issue at heart is that the Realtor never really felt they had a say, nor do they have a say in how listings are shared, nor do they have any way of making any type of change (there are no committees to join). This is a passionate business, and agents work very hard for their listings to have very little control in how they’re shared; Realtor.com is the ultimate reminder of this fact as Realtor.com is happy to take fees but not interested in crowd sourcing its relationship.

We’ve seen 1.0 model after 1.0 model adopt social media and the principals of crowd sourcing, yet our industry is resistant to it at every turn.

According to Hillary Marsh, her and Pam Kabati with NAR listened for virtually two years before acting on the use of social media; and they acted. Brining Todd Carpenter to NAR was not the first step, as they spent a lot of time and energy listening to as well as asking the crowd before even creating the position. They listened passionately, asked a lot of questions, designed a position, and then they listened some more, and what they got in return after installing Todd was a very excited crowd. For the very first time, the crowd felt that they had been heard, and that NAR was listening, and suddenly, you began to see overall sentiment change where NAR is concerned.

It didn’t change anything at NAR in the short run, but what it has done is open a window for voices to come in, and the crowd for the most part is settled because for a change, members can see progression on behalf of the National Association of Realtors towards modernity.

It hasn’t been perfect for NAR, but NAR is engaged, it’s organic, it’s dynamic, and the relationship is growing between NAR and its members with Todd as a conduit- a visible symbol of the relationship.

Realtor.com could learn a lot from NAR and I’m sure they’re trying, but the problem they have is that Realtors would just assume it be named Move.com. Ultimately they have no relationship with the brand behind the brand, so there is no personal connection to Move, nor Realtor.com at this point. This could change virtually overnight if Realtor.com would simply open the door in meaningful ways.

Remaining in the relationship as a “Take Agent” ultimately ends with the significant other feeling taken advantage of and resentful, and in this case it demonstrates perfectly how its subscribers feel. Inevitably there’s going to be a breakup unless the Take Agent begins to give back in meaningful ways.

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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52 Comments

52 Comments

  1. LesleyLambert

    October 7, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Realtor.com has never been a good tool for me. Realtor.org is clunky and hard to navigate. I rarely visit either site.

  2. Greg Cooper

    October 7, 2009 at 11:00 am

    I love Realtor.com. Other than how it conducts itself, how my clients feel about it, how easy it is to use, the lack of transparency, the ROI and about 37 other things, it’s terrific.

  3. Todd Carpenter

    October 7, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Lesley, we’re working hard to make the experience better on realtor.org. There will be a light refresh of the home page this Fall that will give direction to a whole site redesign that will hopefully surface some time next spring.

    Right now, most of the work being done on the site is invisible to most users. They include cleaning up databases and making the search functions more intuitive.

  4. Maureen McCabe

    October 7, 2009 at 11:09 am

    Hiring Todd was a good move for NAR.

    IMHO Realtor.com would be hated by many members of NAR no matter what. A name change will not help the website. I think the name Move Inc is just as hated by many members of NAR as Realtordotcom is. Many members of NAR are equal opportunity haters, they hated Move when they went by a different name. A name change will not change their relationship with the people whose name they are using.

    They have every right to use the name. NAR gave them the right.

    I wonder why anyone bothers with the site, consumers or agents.

  5. Jay Thompson

    October 7, 2009 at 11:11 am

    I could care less what r.com is called. What annoys me is:

    1) Their “who gives a shit about our clients” attitude.
    2) Their near complete lack of communication or follow up (due to #1)
    3) NARs incessant, “we can’t do anything about r.com, it’s operated by Move” excuse.
    4) The ridiculous prices they charge to “enhance” OUR listings.
    5) The repeated cold calls to sign up for said enhancements (and other “features”) despite being asked repeatedly to never call me again.

    But really, it’s mostly #1.

  6. Benn Rosales

    October 7, 2009 at 11:25 am

    Lesley, Todd just demonstrated my post brilliantly as he answers you, and by answering you, he demonstrates that NAR inevitably listened to criticism of the .org site. When it rolls out, there will be new ideas and criticisms along with praise, and I’m positive NAR will continue to evolve the site which is what it’s really about about- not setting itself into new paradigms for eternity w/o improvement.

    This isn’t all about the big business side of this, we all can take queues and learn in our own businesses as well, that sitting on the fence and not adapting over time and ignoring change will ultimately disconnect us with our consumers.

  7. jlittleaz

    October 7, 2009 at 11:43 am

    R.com bought our birthright from NAR many years ago. It was our trademark, now belongs to a company charging too much, delivering too little. It is just another intermediary trying to profit from our work product and providing little in exchange.

  8. Rita Burke

    October 7, 2009 at 11:46 am

    Jay above sums it up pretty darn well. Less and less of our buyers are searching R.com – they find other sites better suited for their searches. So at least in a smaller scope it’s not just agents that don’t find R.com exciting (LOL) but consumers as well.

  9. Michael Stuart

    October 7, 2009 at 11:54 am

    The core issue is that Realtor.com is a direct competitor – who simply aggregates local (MLS) data as their main content.

    As technology advances, the valuable-local knowledge real estate agencies possess will be made available online – followed by niche/local online communities formed around it, – and the value/need for national level aggregation sites will diminish.

    The major search engines will make it easy to find these rich sources of local real estate information and community.

    The benefactors will be the consumers – having rich-accurate-local information, and the losers will be the national aggregation.

    If realtor.com/realtor.org was truly an operation that was for the benefit of its local members, it would foster this transition, before purely commercial national aggregation sites gain too much digital ground.

    Why, because “real estate is local”….

  10. Benn Rosales

    October 7, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Michael, again, you make my point, crowd sourcing is in essence a partnership in success. By opening up to crowds you create a partnership that both have a stake in rather adversarial one sided relationship with a take agent.

  11. Todd Carpenter

    October 7, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    >>>>>”If realtor.com/realtor.org was truly an operation that was for the benefit of its local members, it would foster this transition, before purely commercial national aggregation sites gain too much digital ground.
    Why, because “real estate is local”….”

    You’re absolutely correct Michael. NAR has been working on two huge projects that address your concern. One provides tools and content to strengthen the relationship between REALTORS and consumers throughout the homeownership cycle. The other provides a comprehensive database of property information exclusive to NAR members. You’ll see more information about both products later this year.

  12. Danilo Bogdanovic

    October 7, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Let’s define REALTOR.com first…

    REALTOR.com (REE-la-tor-dot-com) an inaccurate and out of date real estate search web site licensed to use the REALTOR name in its url in order to produce revenues and profit from the sales of ads and enhanced listings to the very REALTORS who provide them with the content in the first place. REALTOR.com is owned by Move.com, a company who has no relation to nor cares about REALTORS rather, cares only about profits and shareholders.

    Now, to answer your question…

    Though Jay sums it up very well, I’d also like to add, “horrible data”. I have buyers often email me properties they saw on R.com that are showing as “active” despite them being under contract for over 1, 2 even 3+ weeks. That makes my life harder because I waste time double-checking the data and then having to crush my clients’ hopes by saying,

    “Sorry, that house you really like went under contract 2 weeks ago. Yes, I know it’s R.com, but it sux so don’t bother using it anymore. Use (insert name of one of the many better real estate search sites here) instead or just stick with the up-to-date and accurate automated email alerts you’re getting from me.”

    On a personal note, I strongly dislike liars and those who try to deceive me. R.com wants to pitch itself as a “benefit” to Realtors and consumers yet, that is quite far from the truth (example above is one reason why).

  13. Jim Flanagan

    October 7, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    I think Michael hit the bulls-eye with “all real estate is local”, which is why I personally appreciate TRULIA far more than REALTOR.com. But we have been looking at it exclusively from the REALTOR’s perspective and not from the consumer’s:

    The REALTOR.com name, itself, is “priceless”! Despite it’s obvious ineptness, it is still the most poular real estate portal, year after year.

    I would estimate over 90% of all homebuyers start their “research” on REALTOR.com and “find” their way to more “user friendly” and “hyper-local” sites after the frustration factor forces them onward. I would also assume that most, if not all, of our “Sellers” expect to be marketed on REALTOR.com in the hopes of being that needle found in the haystack!

    Regardless, if we, as REALTOR’s want a return on our investment, we should focus our national resources to build a nation of local communities; http://www.realtor.com/tomsriver/nj, etc. In short; let’s buy our soul back from the devil!

  14. Trace

    October 7, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    A year ago I discovered Realtor.com had been hacked and had porn spam / links injected into posts. If not dealt with, the result would be that Google would ultimately de-list Realtor.com and it would not rank or show up in Google. If Realtor.com was delisted, it could possibly cost Realtor.com untold millions in the days and weeks that would follow as they waited on a re-inclusion request and lost millions of page views.

    When I contacted Realtor.com, not only did they never respond or acknowledge the issue (even though our server logs showed the Move.com offices as one of our top visitors), they waited 3 days before taking action, then took part of the site down for 17 hours and then never communicated about the issue and whether or not user information had been compromised. While there was no indication that user data had been compromised, Realtor.com users clearly deserve to be informed either way. To not be transparent on such an issue isn’t good for either party.

    If I couldn’t get a response to an issue that would cost Realtor.com potentially millions of dollars, what chance does an every day Realtor stand in having their voice heard?

  15. Linsey Planeta

    October 7, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    I referred to the Realtor.com salespersons as a ‘Tool’ on Twitter about 3 months ago, or so. I had received a call from one of the salespeople trying once again to resell me on the ability to ‘enhance’ my content. The rep was incredulous that I wasn’t interested and ultimately insulting.

    Interestingly enough, I was contacted by someone assuring me that they would be calling to discuss the experience and that they were ‘working on’ the issue. Needless to say, that never took place.

    Jim described EXACTLY the feedback I get from consumers: “I would estimate over 90% of all homebuyers start their “research” on REALTOR.com and “find” their way to more “user friendly” and “hyper-local” sites after the frustration factor forces them onward.”

    As more and more agents refuse to participate, the value of the site itself continues to diminish. Clearly, R.com refuses to address their reputation with any degree of sincerity. The multitude of blog posts, the conversations ‘at the cooler’, don’t seem to bother them. At some point, the lack of agent participation and revenue might actually catch someone’s attention.

  16. Missy Caulk

    October 7, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    “REALTOR.com is owned by Move.com, a company who has no relation to nor cares about REALTORS rather, cares only about profits and shareholders.”

    But, we give our data to NAR who gives it to Move to maintain and sell us products.

    So even through the long ago agreement was to perpetuity why can’t NAR start a new site. I honestly don’t know anyone who has warm feelings for Move.

    I do believe NAR is trying to catch up,but Move doesn’t care one bit except to make money and charge US for our listings to be enhanced.

    Having your own hyper-local IDX is the best answer, yet many start their searches on R dot com. Before they find the good ones. I tell folks who ask about a house there, (mostly expired or sold) to NOT use it, it is antiquated.

  17. Stephanie Edwards-Musa

    October 7, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Everything that Jay said. Also, I had a salesperson in the past tell me “you are doing your clients an injustice by not enhancing your listings with us”

    Can’t stand that arrogant attitude regardless of what the product is. Next….not the way to get my business.

  18. Bob Wilson

    October 7, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    “If not dealt with, the result would be that Google would ultimately de-list Realtor.com and it would not rank or show up in Google.”

    It doesn’t work that way. Google treats big brands differently. They have to. Realtor.com will always rank because it is relevant to the search query.

    These arguments about the relevance of R.com are superfluous anyways and detract from the solution.

    If you want change with NAR, you leverage the Todd Carpenters of the world. If you want change with R.com, you use the best leverage you have – the brokerage. All leads, enhanced or not, can find their way back to the listing agent. Anything not enhanced goes to the broker by default. An agent working for a broker like Jay could fully leverage R.com for FREE traffic providing a broker like Jay made a business decision to pass on all R.com leads to the listing agent.

    Writing off R.com is foolish. Winning the war is done by first winning key battles. Cut R.com’s revenue from agents and you will get their attention. If your broker wont support you on this, R.com is not your biggest problem.

  19. Trace

    October 7, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    @Bob Wilson: While it is true that big brands have different leverage with Google, de-listing is certainly a possibility for the protection of not only website visitors but Realtor.com itself. De-listing a site that has been hacked serves as a two-fold protection mechanism.

    Website owners who may be unaware they have been hacked are protected as they are no longer unwittingly serving up hacked and possibly malicious pages to visitors / customers and Google users are not inadvertently sent to possibly malicious pages as well via Realtor.com results in Google SERPS.

    While no high profile examples of big brands being de-listed come to mind, I suspect that is more likely due to the fact that very few big brands would ever let their site be hacked long enough to reach the point of de-listing.

    I don’t think that Google would allow big brand leverage to override end user safety by serving spam injected pages that could possibly link to or serve malicious code or links.

  20. Benn Rosales

    October 7, 2009 at 3:26 pm

  21. Bob Wilson

    October 7, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    @Trace,

    That doesnt apply here. R.com wasn’t malicious and it wasnt subjecting anyone visiting to a risk of being infected by malware. Even if it did, it would be a short lived event and it wouldn’t have been removed from the index.

    When BMW was removed from the index a few years back, it was back within 48 hours once the issue that lead to its removal was addressed. Google cant not have the corportate BMW site rank well in its index for “BMW” and the same holds true for R.com with regard to “real estate”.

    You cant compare spam with malware. They are not even remotely related and Google does not treat them the same way. Even if every ad served up on the site had been pr0n, the site would not have been removed. The ads would’ve been disabled at the server level. The sys admins running the site are not stupid and their expertise extends beyond configuring a WP install. They fight off hackers and DOS attacks all the time.

  22. Carolyn Gjerde

    October 7, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Obviously there is a sense of resentment with many members who feel squeezed by realtor.com – the internet and websites have changed greatly since the NAR Move.com agreement was made – if they changed the name of the website to move.com still think that resentment would be there. I think most tech savvy agents feel spending money on enhancements at realtor.com are not a good use of money so the lack of visibility on social media from realtor.com I do not think hurts them with their main constituency.

  23. Trace

    October 7, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Sorry guys, didn’t mean to take discussion off topic like this with initial post, was trying to make a point more than anything.

    I wasn’t clear on malware part, my intent was to point out that injected links could potentially link to malware or malicious sites, so spam can be directly linked to malware in that regard. Hacked sites put users at risk…

    Bob, I take a different position on whether or not Google can de-list big brands, but agree with you in that as long as there is communication, issues should be fixed before de-listing occurs. Many times spam injection also includes keyword stuffing (usually how a hack is initially detected) or other actions that break Google TOS. I would argue that the onus is Google to show a level playing field in terms of how they treat TOS offenders, big brand or not. The point is really that most big brands would never get to that point though, so it is a bit of a moot point and it is likely Google would make a much bigger effort to communicate with r.com before taking any significant actions. The point I was trying to make in original post was that opening themselves up for even the slighest possibility of de-listing was unacceptable, as was their general handling of the situation.

    Regarding the move.com system admins and their capabilities: I think you are giving them a bit too much credit. I was later updated by a move.com team member (off the record) on what the issue was with the hack and why it took so long to fix. The team had been building out functionality on realtor.com by making modifications to the WordPress MU core instead of building out functionality via plugins or other generally accepted means such as WP hooks, etc.

    This meant that if a new MU update came out, realtor.com could not update to the latest secure version as their core modifications would be overwritten. This meant that they were forced to stop updating MU, which resulted in an out of date installation that did not have the latest security updates or holes patched and was open to hackers. While I’m sure there are very talented people on their team, editing the MU core is generally considered an naive move at best, amateur move at worst.

  24. Joe Spake

    October 7, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Jay Thompson (October 7th, 2009 at 11:11 am) answered the title question perfectly.

  25. Bob Wilson

    October 7, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    The team member wasn’t a sys admin, otherwise they would not have told you (off the record or not) that this was a WPMU issue, since the site is windows based – its built on .NET.

    This does illustrate one of the problems that winds its way through the whole incident – NAR and R.com folks talking without knowing what they were talking about. They should have merely said they were investigating the issue and that once they knew for sure, they would let people know.

    We teach every new agent when asked questions where they dont know for sure what the answer is to never speculate, but say, “I dont know the answer, but I’ll find out and get back to you.”

    If that had been done, this would have just been a funny blooper.

  26. Trace

    October 7, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    @Bob: You can assert that I am not telling truth or am misinformed about a first hand conversation I had in person with a move.com team member, but I state it as fact from a first hand experience, whether you choose to believe it or not. 🙂

    You can also assert that Realtor.com is windows based and again you would be wrong. Realtor.com/blog is WPMU based. You can check the source code yourself. In fact, here’s a link to the WordPress CSS: https://www.realtor.com/blogs/wp-content/themes/arrowhead/style.css … You can also see very distinct and undeniable calls to wordpress plugins and /wp-content/ and /wp-includes/ related items as well in the code.

    Sorry to other posters and author for this hijacking of the thread. Not trying to start a geek battle here, just trying to keep the facts straight. 🙂

  27. Russell Shaw

    October 8, 2009 at 12:53 am

    REALTOR.com is the official site of the National Association of Realtors. In my opinion any agent dumb enough to send traffic to “our site” deserves the lack of business they will get from doing that.

    REALTOR.com is cluttered on every page with banner and tower ads that endlessly attempt to “distract” the shopper (who was attracted there in the first place with our listings) to click on the banner ad and wind up on that agent’s site. In short, our listings are nothing but bait for MOVE to sell ads to other agents so they can attempt to poach the client that would have naturally been ours.

    Setting aside the utterly idiotic fees they charge, if it weren’t for NAR’s original bungling of REALTOR.com (*giving* it to Homestore, aka, MOVE) all these “other sites” like Trulia, Zillow, etc. would not even exist. Not at all. They were created because NAR gave away our name.

    In Canada, https://www.realtors.ca/ is FREE, as in included with their dues to Canadian Realtors. Enhanced listings and all.

    I LOVE to see all the different posts from different voices on this subject. I know that people that matter at NAR see these posts and comments.

  28. Joe Loomer

    October 8, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Realtor.com charges $19.95 to “showcase” a listing. I say let them put up more porn ads and get rid of the $19.95….

  29. Jim Duncan

    October 8, 2009 at 9:17 am

    “REALTOR.com is owned by Move.com, a company who has no relation to nor cares about REALTORS rather, cares only about profits and shareholders.”

    But, we give our data to NAR who gives it to Move to maintain and sell us products.

    Here’s one of the key arguments for me – Realtor.com doesn’t have to earn any of the listings whereas TruZilloCyber do. And now Trulia is starting to offer the “enhancements” that Realtor.com does.

    As I said on Twitter yesterday about Realtor.com:

    “@robhahn They have the opportunity to *dominate* – by virtue of making Realtors pay for “enhancements” they open door to TruZillCyb”

    I don’t hate Realtor.com, but I sincerely lament their wasting the opportunity, the data and the potential to be a real service for the members.

    Additionally, they have two customers – buyers & sellers and Realtors – neither of whom is well served.

    A question for Realtor.com – how much do they spend on ad buys every year?
    Realtor.com should be a service provided to its members, but it’s really an adversary.

    re: Their social media “strategy” – I too posted something about them on Twitter and the response was a phone call offering to sell me stuff. Really? Really?!

  30. Aria Kilpatrick - Austin Homes & Land

    October 8, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    I don’t *hate* Realtor.com, but I find a lack in support to Realtors®, their top clients, on Realtor.com. Anything extra, beyond the basic number of photos and no description, costs and arm and a leg. Are my dues worth so little? You can’t even put the actual description and my primary phone number next to my listings without charging me $30+/month? And then they hassle you for $14,000+/year in advertising. I think not, I don’t see the value in the most expensive banner ad I’ve ever been offered. That costs more than a regular, full-page ad in a long shelf-life popular local magazine in my market.

    If they want to dominate the search market, they need DATA, DATA, DATA. Plenty of IDX vendors offer customers much more. With all the hype they give themselves, they need to give DATA to those searching.

  31. Bob

    October 8, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Trace, I wasnt suggesting or inferring that you lied, but that the person you spoke with gave you wrong info if they were suggesting that a problem with MU led to the ad issue. The blog part is MU, but the main site with the listings and ads is a database driven .NET set up on IIS.

    FWIW, there are many installs of MU that are hacked to solve some inherent issues with MU.

  32. Bob

    October 8, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Does NAR have a non-compete with R.com?

  33. Portland Real Estate

    October 8, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Never ever send your clients away to someone elses site. Keep them on a site that you know and you control. They are your clients, they should be getting their information and resources from you and your website. Thats why you need to have an easy and intuitive property search right on your site that connects up to the IDX feed of your MLS. Give clients what they want without sending them to a crappy realtor.com site.

    -Tyler

  34. Mike Bowler Sr.

    October 8, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    Here’s something to think about:

    1. Realtor.com should be FREE (enhanced version) to all Realtor members.

    2. Raise the National Realtor dues by $120.00 per year per member.

    3. Dump the Move.com name and continue to promote Realtor.com

    4. Organize a merger between Trulia, Zillow and Move to get the best of all companies available to all agents on one good name.

    5. NAR would take stake in the newly formed company.

    6. NAR sets the rules. You want our product, you do it our way to give the consumer what they want, which is listings enhanced.

    Thinking outside the box is what it’s called. We need to force some changes. Think about what they could do with 120 million dollars per year. ($120.00 X 1 million members) Think about how many agents would get excited about Realtor.com at $10.00 a month. Think about how are lives would be simplified by not having to maintain and constantly check 3-4 major portals for accuracy.

    OK, I’m going to go hide now and see what kind of feedback I hear on this. Thanks for being open minded and thinking outside the box. It won’t be the same as it is today 3 to 5 years from now. @MIrealestate

  35. Fred Griffin

    October 8, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    Has NAR sold its Soul to the Move.com Devil, or can NAR get its Trade Name back from these misfits?

    A Real Estate website that is Difficult to Navigate, yielding incorrect and incomplete Search Results, based on what, 1990’s technology?

    Realtors cannot provide basic telephone numbers, complete descriptions, or outside links without paying extortion fees to Move.com .

    We get high-pressure sales calls for expensive upgrades, featured listings, showcase ads, banner ads, etc. I paid for this stuff once; cost analysis showed that the money is far better spent elsewhere.

    Ranting on here – no Blog, no Social Media, no Comments. This is 2009 – get with the program already!

    Come on NAR – support your Members by ditching Move.com, and producing a state of the art website that serves your Members.

    Fred

  36. Mary Pope-Handy

    October 9, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    I have had subscriptions for enhanced listings and currently dropped it because I have never seen a return (sale) on it. But without paying the fee, Realtor.com won’t show all the pics and won’t show the virtual tour. It’s like being held hostage by my own organization and I really don’t appreciate it.

    Perhaps most bothersome to me of all, though, is that a percentage of the listings showcased on R.com aren’t even from members – they are members of the MLS, but not Realtors at all.

    I have never, ever had the sense that Realtor.com was there to serve the needs of the Realtors. I guess that’s the bottom line. Maybe I should adjust that a little: by hiring @tcar, I see a move in the right direction. Hopefully there will be an upswing from here. Todd’s a good guy and I have to believe he will do his best to take care of the members.

  37. Bob Wilson

    October 9, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Is NAR obligated to provide Move with listings?

    @Mike – Instead of $120 a year in dues for all, how about an opt in annual subscription along the lines of what realestateshows.com does? This would be available for the listing agent only – no company wide broker syndication of all listings. Included in the subscription would be an agent profile page/blog which would also list their active listings and agent specific contact info. No reason for buyer agents to pay for what they never use, but if they wanted the profile, they could still pay the subscription.

    Sooner or later there will have to be an industry wide standard for mls data. One click and your listings are syndicated to R.com.

    I asked earlier if NAR has a non-compete with Move. Does anyone know the answer? If they dont and NAR cant get Move to get it together, NAR still has R.org. There is no tech reason why you couldn’t have the membership login side and the public facing side with the listings.

    Anyone see any glaring holes in this proposal?

  38. stephanie crawford

    October 10, 2009 at 1:28 am

    I’m with @Mike Bowler (10:09 pm). Higher dues for more services and complete syndication.

  39. stephanie crawford

    October 10, 2009 at 1:30 am

    Also, I seem to remember hearing a long time ago that R.com was going to start using four pics for free. That’s not happening in my area. Any news on that?

  40. John Wake

    October 12, 2009 at 4:15 am

    If NAR has to use Move Inc. or no one to run Realtor.com, I vote for no one and shutting down Realtor.com.

    And how about some competition, NAR could have a few consumer websites, for example, Realtors.com, RealtorHomes.com, RealtorRealEstate.com or RealtorDirectory.com. NAR members could choose which website they want to patronize with their business. Choice is good.

    And would someone please publish this supposed agreement with Move Inc.! My B.S. detector is going crazy. I have a feeling the agreement is not as promoted.

  41. Tracy Lu Guillen

    April 12, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    I just received an aggressive call from a r.com salesperson asking why we stopped our 10 year run with their directory. I told them that our company website was outranking their site on local searches. The rep laughed at me and said they get 5 million hits/yr worldwide…I said that’s my exact point! I am only interested in local SERPs. The rep laughed again and said the proof is in the numbers. I then mentioned to him that our analytics showed our site getting 4,000 hits per month while r.com was sending over 2 hits per month for $35/mo….the proof is in the pudding! Overall, I think directories are phasing out whether it is superpages, yellowpages, yahoo directory, or r.com. People want local organic results when they search.

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Social Media

Twitter branches out into voice chat – what could go wrong?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) We’re learning more about Twitter’s forthcoming audio chat rooms, but what is Twitter learning about moderation?

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Twitter open on a smartphone on table next to a cup of warm brown tea.

Twitter wants you to talk more with more people. Like, actually form words. With your mouth.

In November, the micro-blogging giant announced it’s testing its new Audio Spaces feature, which allows users to create audio-only chat rooms – making it what Wired calls a copycat of the new and buzzy Clubhouse app.

Twitter itself hasn’t released many details, but tech blogger/app-feature detective Jane Manchun Wong has been tweeting some of the deets.

How it works

Here’s what we know about the private beta version, according to Wong: Users create a chat room and can control who is admitted to the group, whether it’s the public, followers, or followees. Group size is currently limited to 10. Members can react with a set set of emojis: “100,” raised hand, fist, peace sign, and waving hand. Spaces conversations are not recorded, but they are transcribed for accessibility. It uses Periscope on the back end.

One thing that’s not clear: The actual name. Twitter’s announcements have been calling it Audio Spaces, but the product’s handle is @TwitterSpaces.

It’s Twitter! What could go wrong?

The big gorilla in the chat room is moderation – as in, how do you keep humans from being terrible on Twitter?

We can all be forgiven for skepticism when it comes to Twitter’s aim to keep Audio Spaces safe(ish). Twitter can be a toxic stew of personal insults and even threats. Interestingly, Twitter is starting its test by inviting users who are often targets: Women and people from marginalized groups. Great idea! Who better to help craft community guidelines?

Requiring platforms to shut down hate speech and violent threats is having a moment, and Clubhouse is already in the controversy mix. Even as invite-only, the app has had some high-profile failures to moderate with threats toward a New York Times reporter and a problem anti-semitic conversation. It seems likely Twitter is paying attention.

Also on the safe(ish) side: The space creator is all powerful and can mute or kick out bad actors. Spaces can also be reported. Then there’s the transcription, which sets Audio Spaces apart from similar apps. Chat transcription was aimed at accessibility but, TechCrunch suggests that might help keep things civil and appropriate if people know their words are being written down. Hmm. Maybe?

Also… Why?

It doesn’t appear that there was a groundswell of demand from users, but Audio Spaces at least is something different from the feature pile-on making the social media big dogs start to look the same, as in Twitter’s also-new Fleets, Instagram’s and Facebook’s Stories, Snapchat’s… Snapchat. (See also Instagram’s Reels, Snapchat’s Spotlight, TikTok’s… TikTok.)

Clubhouse does appear to be hugely popular in Silicon Valley – and it has the investment capital to show it – so maybe there’s something to this audio-only chat thing. But we’ve already seen pandemic-fueled Zoom-happy-hour-fatigue, as users have gotten frustrated with too many people talking at the same time. Video chat can give users at least a few more clues about who is talking and who might be about to talk. Audio-only chat seems like it could quickly devolve into a chaotic cacophony.

But, Twitter says, conversation will flow naturally, and it advises users to “be present.”

“Just like in real life, the magic is in the moment,” it says.

It’s beta testers will surely have a lot to say about “magic” and “moderation.”

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Social Media

Facebook’s latest acquisition dives into backend of social media marketing

(SOCIAL MEDIA) This $1 billion dollar acquisition of a CRM shows Facebook diving into the back end of social media for the first time.

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Woman checking social media on her phone on a balcony overlooking city traffic.

A social media giant is stepping into the Customer Relationship Management Realm.

On November 30, Facebook announced that it had acquired the CRM platform Kustomer for a deal valued at a whopping $1 billion. Founded in 2015, Kustomer boasts to be a customer service focused platform that is made to support high volume transactions. In a statement on the company’s website, Kustomer CEO Brad Birnbaum believes that the platform’s complementary relationship with Facebook will create a mutually beneficial relationship.

“With our complementary capabilities, we will be able to help more people benefit from customer service that is faster, richer and available whenever and however they need it–via phone, email, text, web chat or messaging.” Birnbaum said, “In particular, we look forward to enhancing the messaging experience which is one of the fastest-growing ways for people and businesses to engage.”

The move may seem unusual at first. In the past, Facebook has opted to purchase customer-facing applications and software, instead of back-end applications. Such purchases include Spanish cloud video gaming company PlayGiga in 2019, and popular gif catalog service Giphy this past May. These applications are often used to build out new features for Facebook’s core platform and users.

Considering Facebook makes around 99% of its revenue through advertising, however, the acquisition makes sense. Through Kustomer, Facebook hopes to provide better support to companies wishing to use the social media conglomerate as a channel for attracting customers. By providing end-to-end support for these businesses, Facebook hopes to drive revenue and become a core channel used to sell products and services.

Only time will tell if the investment in a CRM platform can help drive companies to use Facebook as a primary sales channel. Ultimately, the end goal for Facebook is to increase its advertising revenue, and one could expect the organization to integrate Kustomer with popular existing applications like Instagram and Whatsapp.

The acquisition will have to pass a regulatory review, however, before Kustomer can officially become part of the Facebook family. While that is likely to go off without a hitch, Facebook needs to handle some bigger regulation issues before it can take advantage of its new CRM software.

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Social Media

This non-judgmental app can help you switch to a plant-based diet

(SOCIAL MEDIA) There are many reasons people choose plant-based diets. If you’re looking to try it out, this app helps you stay on track.

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No Meat Today, a judgement-free plant-based diet tracking app.

The interest in plant-based proteins continues to grow. Healthline suggests that Americans are shifting toward plant-based meat substitutes because of shortages in the grocery store due to the pandemic, but there are many reasons to make the switch.

Plant-based proteins are considered more sustainable than traditional meat. Nutritionally, plant-based meat alternatives are often healthier. Regardless of the reason, if you’re one of the many Americans who are changing your diet, there’s a new app that can help you stay on track without making you feel judged if or when you do eat meat.

Your companion to eating less meat

No Meat Today is an app available in the App Store. You can get on a waitlist in Google Play. It’s a fun app that asks you, “Did you eat meat today?” You can even define what meat means to you, red meat, fish and seafood, poultry, eggs and/or dairy. As you eat less meat, your “planet” attracts cows. The design is simple, “don’t eat meat, get a cow.” If you eat too much meat, your cows go away. There’s no judgement if you lose a cow.

The creator, Arnaud Joubay says, “I’m not here to tell anyone what they should do, only to offer a friendly app to those who want to do the same.” It’s recommended to look back at your history to decide whether you want to eat meat or not.

Reviews

The app was just released earlier this year. Most of its features are free, but you can pay $4.99 for all the features for one year. There have been some very cute cows released for special days. In the App Store, reviews are positive, but the caveat is that the creator asks you to contact him first if you if your review isn’t 5-stars. It’s a cute app that can motivate you to eat less meat.

Here’s the link to the product page.

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