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Sexually explicit real estate video series under fire

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Last month, PlatinumHD.tv produced a single property video for Australian real estate brokerage NEO Properties which garnered quit a bit of international attention with some viewers praising the sexy models while others called it misogynistic. This month, they have released their second video which takes the innuendo up a notch and features a tied up, sweaty, sexy lingerie model calling Australian emergency services and describing the luxury home’s details to the emergency worker as SWAT team is on their way.

It’s admittedly a very clever ad and maybe innuendo is more acceptable in Australia (where NEO’s clients are), but the video has gone viral in America as viewers condemn a brokerage encouraging kidnapping of lingerie models and objectification of women. Regardless, we’re talking about it from thousands of miles away.

With the release of the last video, we asked our audience their thoughts. The AG Flash Poll results studied a group of respondents with 69% of those who took the poll being male (no, the irony of this stat is not lost on us) and 31% female. Respondents were mostly aged 31-50 (64%) with a smaller response from age 18-30 (15%) and age 51-70 (21%).

The results of how respondents felt were interesting with the most popular responses to “how do you feel about the video?” being “To each his own” (29%) followed by “I liked it and it seems appropriate for that client but not for my company” (24%) and “I love it and wish they would come do a video like that for my listing” (21%). Less popular options chosen were “I didn’t like it but it seems appropriate for that client” (8%) tied with “I hated it and am actually personally offended by it” (8%) and 10% responded “Other.”

What is surprising is that only 8% was personally offended by the video, given how many bloggers have taken to condemning the video series. We suspect this most recent video will offend more than 8% given the more graphic nature.

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Artur

    March 20, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    Sexually explicite? Maybe only for real estate. I think it’s a neat idea and worth exploring: marketing homes this way that is, but this video doesn’t do a good job selling the actual home. It probably does a better job promoting the agents.

  2. Liz Benitez

    March 21, 2011 at 7:58 am

    First time I’ve heard of the ads, and gotta admit the first few seconds I wasn’t sure what you had posted, but then the swat team was call and I was all “OK not a big deal” I’m not sure if I would make one like this for my clients but am not offended that someone else did.

  3. J Philip Faranda

    March 21, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Are they hiring? 😉

  4. J Philip Faranda

    March 21, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    I think it works better for an upscale, avant garde home that is loaded with amentities than an modest starter home with a 1980 kitchen and paneling on the walls. These guys are thinking out of the box and making waves to get their client’s listing to stand out.

  5. Andrew McKay

    March 21, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Gotta love the North American sense of humour ( or lack of sometimes.)
    Tweeted this morning:
    “I’m looking for models again. Volunteers please. Will this work at 15 Poplar Glen Road Wasaga Beach?That is the question? https://ow.ly/4iApU
    Already had one reply ” That is a joke right?”

  6. Erica Ramus

    March 23, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Lighten up! It was done in good humor, I’d say. I am not offended at all.

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Business Marketing

Restaurants might actually lose money through Grubhub and similar services

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Restaurant owners are asking themselves if third-party food delivery apps are nothing more than a good, old-fashioned shakedown.

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If you haven’t seen the GrubHub receipt that has everyone outraged, you probably should. It exposed the food delivery apps for their unreasonably high commissions and excessive charges to the restaurants (on top of the changes to the consumer).

Many people, in an honest attempt to support local restaurants while staying home and safe these days, have started ordering out from their favorite small, local eateries. And they should! This could be the lifeline that allows those restaurants to survive being closed for upwards of a month. However, if they order through a third-party food delivery service, they need to know that a good chunk of their money goes to the service, not the local business. Plus they are paying extra for the service.

It’s a big bummer, to say the least, a bamboozle some might say. Why would restaurants agree to use these services at all, then, if they aren’t beneficial? Well, they initially served the purpose of helping smaller restaurants and food trucks sell to a wider customer base without having to incur the cost and manage the logistics of offering delivery. Not all of the charges are immediately apparent, either, although I am sure they are in the business agreement.

GrubHub, DoorDash, Postmates, UberEats all charge eateries a commission between 15%-30% to even work with them. This is for the most basic level of service. When GrubHub, for example, wants to stimulate more sales, they may offer a deal to consumers. This could be a dollar amount or percentage off of a customer’s order or free delivery.

Everybody loves a deal, so these promotions are effective. They drive more sales, yay. The restaurants, however, incur the full cost of the promotion. You would imagine GrubHub would share that cost, but no, they don’t. If that weren’t unscrupulous enough, GrubHub then charges the business the commission on the full, not discounted, price of the order. Unctuous, right?

Sure, restaurants have to opt in for these specials and other promotions the third-party apps are marketing, so they know there’s a fee. Yet, if they don’t opt in, they won’t appear as an option for the deal in the app. It’s deceptive, feels like a bit of extortion to me. All of these delivery apps have some sort of similar way to rack up fees. For a mom-and-pop food truck or restaurant, the commissions and fees soon eat away at the already small profit margins restaurants usually have.

It’s simply wrong, so wrong. But wait, there’s more! Another nasty, duplicitous practice GrubHub (specifically GrubHub) has implemented, with Yelp’s help, is to hijack the restaurant’s phone number on Yelp. This means if you look up your favorite restaurant on Yelp, and call in an order from the Yelp platform, your call will actually go to GrubHub instead. And get this–they charge the restaurant even if you pick up the order yourself, not only for delivery.

These third-party companies have even started buying up domain names similar to the restaurants to further fool patrons into ordering through them. They also have added restaurants to their platforms, even if the restaurants haven’t agreed to work with them. They seem willing to do anything to get a cut of restaurants’ hard earned dough (and ours). Loathsome! How are these scams even legal?

It happened to me recently. I kept trying to order for pickup at the restaurant, but somehow the order kept going through GrubHub. Bamboozled!

RVB bamboozled

This boils my blood and breaks my heart for these restaurants. In my other life, I am a blogger for a hyperlocal blog whose sole purpose is to highlight, celebrate, and promote local everything. I’m also the internal marketing chair for the Austin Food Blogger Alliance, where we work with local restaurants, distilleries, breweries, and such to promote them and help raise their visibility in the community.

I only bring this up, because I’ve sat with these restaurant and food truck owners, listened to their stories, seen the fire in their eyes as they talk about their recipes. They’ve regaled me with stories of how they got started, what inspires them, and when they had their first successful day. It’s delightful to see the intensity of their enthusiasm for sharing good food with people and how much of themselves they put into their restaurants.

In the original post that lifted the curtain on this shady practice, the Chicago Pizza Boss food truck owner Giuseppe Badalamenti, says the money he got from his GrubHub orders was “almost enough to pay for the food.” Badalamenti had participated in some promotions, which admittedly reduced his cut dramatically, yet the whole premise came as a shock to customers who have been spending their dollars to keep these local businesses afloat. Then here comes the third-party apps, poking a hole in the floaties.

It comes across as downright predatory. Thousands of people have sworn off these apps in favor of calling the restaurant directly for pickup if you are able. This way, you ensure the business you want to support gets the full bill amount. You can get the restaurant’s number directly from Google Maps or the business’s social media or website. This is the best way to help your favorite places stay in business.

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Business Marketing

TikToks new augmented reality ads seeks new audiences

(BUSINESS MARKETING) TikTok product developers hustle to roll out a new augmented reality brand effect to compete with Snapchat and Instagram.

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TikTok is getting ready to launch a new ad feature to level the playing field with Snapchat and Instagram. The unofficially named “AR brand effect” will allow TikTok users to incorporate augmented reality brand advertisements in their videos. The ads will create visual effects that interact with the filmmakers’ physical environment as if it exists in real life. The ads will include music that can be played over the film.

TikTok also offers an ad product called Brand Effect, a 2D advertisement filter that users can add to their videos. The in-house product development team at TikTok created this feature for a reported cost of $100,000 according to Digiday.

Snapchat already has its AR brand experiences called the Sponsored Lens and Word Lens, which allow brands to create augmented reality filters to advertise via Snapchat’s users and their interactions with friends.

Snapchat charges anywhere from $50 to $500,000 for augmented reality advertisements. The lower tier starts with a 10-second ad between videos that users can choose to “swipe up” and interact with. The higher tiers get advertisers a day-long spot with a Sponsored Lens.

Though the efficacy of this advertising strategy appears to be hit-or-miss, the creative opportunities for advertising to a wide audience is attractive enough to keep this product development relevant. TikTok and its Chinese counterpart Douyin clocked in two billion downloads in the month of March. Its users skew young with 41% between the ages of 16 and 24, and its global following boasts 800 million users worldwide.

TikTok is moving with adept agility to roll out new products to keep its increasingly large user base engaged. “They are doing it a lot quicker [than competitor social media platforms],” media agency Starcom told Digiday. “Their ability to scale and move forward is frightening, really. If they get it right they’re going to be a huge player in the next six months to a year.”

TikTok is also working on new ad products that allow advertisers to connect with prominent influencers. With the future of stay-at-home orders looking to turn into an interminable cycle, it will be telling to understand how these advertising strategies will effect e-commerce and digital brand experiences.

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Business Marketing

Bistro owner rewards 1 star reviews to beat Yelps ‘algorithm’ racket

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Botto Bistro Restaurant owner gives absolutely no f***s and recruits negative Yelp reviews for sport. Maybe yelp should be “persuaded” to chill.

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Botto bistro pizza

Chef Davide Cerretini is a legend. If you don’t know his name, maybe you have heard of Botto Bistro, the Richmond, California restaurant that once held the honor of worst-rated restaurant on Yelp.

In 2014, Cerretini offered pizza discounts in exchange for bad Yelp reviews. Yes, you read that right – one star review earns you 25% off your pizza. When Yelp complained, Cerretini upped the ante to 50% off.

Doesn’t Yelp punish restaurants for exchanging incentives for reviews? Yes – but don’t forget Cerretini does not give a flying fart what Yelp thinks. In fact, he started the ploy to beat Yelp at its own game.

According to Cerretini, and many other small business owners, Yelp participates in what amounts to extortion of restaurant owners. Sales reps reach out to these businesses and urge them to buy an ad for a monthly fee. Upon buying the ad, some mysterious algorithm filters more positive reviews to the top of the restaurant’s page. No one knows what the algorithm is or how exactly it works, but it seemed no coincidence to Cerretini that his best reviews disappeared and bad ones rose to the top after he refused to participate.

“I came from Italy, and know exactly what mafia extortion looks like,” he says. “Yelp was manipulating reviews and hoping I would pay a protection fee. I didn’t come to America and work for 25 years to be extorted by some idiot in Silicon Valley,” Cerretini told the Hustle.

Cerretini’s plan worked. In one day he attracted a month’s worth of business in response to the discount incentive for a one-star review. After a few more days, there were 2,300 one-star ratings.

Botto Bistro has since been sold to Mountain Mike’s Pizza. But Cerretini’s legacy is far from forgotten. In fact, he kept the website as a monument to his success: “We would like to thank Yelp for being so stupid and arrogant that they tried to extort the Italians. In doing so they allowed us to have fun, increase our business and our popularity, troll them for the last 6 years, sell our place at a profit, and forge a new career that took us all over the world exposing them for the idiots they are.”

Botto Bistro has a 2.5 star rating on Yelp from 283 reviews. Italy 1, Silicon Valley 0.

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