online reputation management

Who Syndicated My Listings?

by Victor Lund on August 25, 2014

We have learned over the last half-decade of doing listing syndication that it is complicated, especially for firms that have multiple offices, multiple associations, multiple MLSs, and possibly a franchise or network. We call this overlapping syndication disorder and the existence of this disorder can lead to syndication fraud. Last month, Amy Gallagher of Century 21® Hometown Realty in California encountered a fraud attempt that was blocked by ListHub. This is an important component of our service that you may not be aware of. Gallagher’s firm participates in three primary MLSs along the central coast of California and is also a franchise of Century 21. All three MLSs offer listing syndication and so does Century 21. Because the firm’s listings overlap in some MLS areas (same listing in multiple MLSs), they choose to use the ListHub service offered through their Century 21 franchise as their primary syndication tool. Gallagher has a ListHub account in each MLS, but has the listing syndication turned off. In June of 2014, Gallagher received an email stating that her new ListHub account in a certain MLS was requested. The ListHub team alerted her that someone was using her broker credentials to try to create a ListHub account. The effort was blocked. “Without this fraud alert feature in ListHub, our listings could have been taken over and abusively syndicated!” Since over 90% of consumers begin their home search online, it is essential that technology is available to support real estate professionals who choose to advertise their listings online within a safe environment. And if brokers want to block syndication there should be a mechanism to support this option as well. ListHub, a leading technology-provider used by more than 450 MLSs and 50,000+ brokers in the United States, is a good example of a managed syndication platform. ListHub is controlled solely by the broker-in-charge and connected directly to the MLS. With ListHub, for example, only the broker-in-charge can decide where the company’s listings are being distributed online, or if they are distributed at all. ListHub has protective measures in place to help brokers prevent listing fraud including the ability to block syndication for your office codes, ensuring that no other broker or agent is able to fraudulently syndicate your listings via ListHub. A little background to understand how this works… The ListHub platform is set up so that when a broker account is configured ListHub pulls the […]

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Goomzee Growth

by Victor Lund on July 24, 2014

MLS Mobile is a highly competitive space. There are so many companies challenging for the lucrative contracts that I am afraid to list them all here. We get press releases sent to us almost every day about who has signed a contract with this MLS or this Mobile provider. One of the things that angers me when we get these press releases is that many of them are renewals. I am not sure what is press worthy about a renewal – but that is another story for another day. Goomzee announced this week the addition of a bunch of new MLS customers. They have a solid and competitive product, so it is no surprise. But underneath the press release is something that is more interesting. Many MLS vendors have not cracked their mobile strategy yet. Most of the MLSs who are buying Goomzee are using Paragon, Flex, or Rapattoni as a vendor. I think that they also have a Marketlinx customer or two. The need to have a mobile solution with full MLS access is a core requirement of every real estate agent today that is actively doing business. Today’s professional cannot get away with telling a client “they will get back to them later when they can look it up in the office.” This is the information age! Business is always on, always connected, and happens anywhere. What’s odd to me is that most of these MLS systems have responsive design or a mobile interface. Why the need for Goomzee or another third party app? Mobile is different. MLS vendors are natural creatures of their domain. When they think of their mobile strategy, they think in terms of porting their application to the web. They designate the killer features that must be accessed and port them to mobile in a variety of ways. Perhaps that is the issue. They are inside their domain and not thinking from the outside-in. In this case, outside-in thinking would be studying how consumers use mobile, then applying that knowledge to how an agent would use mobile MLS. The use case scenarios for desktop MLS do not apply to mobile MLS. Clearly, MLS mobile app developers have cracked this user experience where MLS vendors have struggled. I wonder how long that will last. Marketlinx has clearly come a long way with GoMLS. I understand that Flex has an app in the works. I am […]

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What is Your Lead Conversion Strategy?

by THE WAV GROUP on July 9, 2014

This is a guest post sent to us by Carl DeMusz of NORMLS – https://www.linkedin.com/pub/carl-demusz/4/749/249 Real estate markets are cyclical and change with the economy. They tend to be closely linked to employment which is also impacted by the economy. We have often observed times when the housing market can lead the economy out of recession. One thing that helps improve the housing market is a well-informed consumer who realizes that while housing markets are cyclical they always recover. They know that if they buy a home and hold on to it, the value will rise over time simply because people need homes to live in and buildable land is in short supply. Here, the laws of “supply and demand” eventually kick in. That is why for most Americans their home is their most valuable possession. Did you know the most qualified buyers are usually the most impatient when it comes to finding their home? These are the buyers who web search a listing, find ones they are interested in and want facts on the property as quick as possible. How fast are you at responding to an Internet Inquiry? Response time is so important that the WAV Group, a Professional Consulting Firm, did a study of real estate agents responsiveness. I’ve posted a few of their results below. WAV Group evaluated agent responsiveness this year by becoming a homebuyer lead across hundreds of brokerages in 11 states. Our findings may shock you. • 48% of buyer inquiries were NEVER responded to • Average number of call back attempts after the initial contact was 1.5 • Average number of email contact attempts was 2.07 • Average response time was 917 minutes (or 15.29 hours) Agent Responsiveness Study Download Report: http://s3.amazonaws.com/mtssdhosting/wavgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/15085006/AgentResponsivenessStudy2013Final.pdf The worldwide web is a great tool for advertising plus a whole lot more. We can help you increase your lead conversion rate by speeding up your response time to consumer inquiries. Another valuable tool available to NORMLS members working with consumers is the Client Portal in the Matrix system. Each day hundreds of thousands of listings are viewed by consumers through our Client Portal right here in Northeast Ohio. If you are a NORMLS member and are not currently setup to use the Client Portal, I would be remising if I didn’t mention the “GoNEOHREX Mobile App”. This App is available for iPhones/iPads as well as android and tablets. If […]

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Euro Net Privacy Calls Brokers to Action

by Victor Lund on June 13, 2014

I have often been heard shouting about consumer privacy in real estate. Brokers and agents toss listing content onto the web with little care for their ability to take it down. If you ask a seller if they want their home advertised online with a dozen or a hundred photos of every quaint nook and cranny of their home – they shout a jubilant YES! If you ask a home buyer if they want the photos of their daughter’s new bedroom published on 200 real estate websites, they scream a resounding NO! Brokers have not faced any legal action regarding this buyer privacy injustice yet. But it is coming. I cannot be the only one to see it. Here is how it plays out. Someone gets harmed and angry about it. The complaint gets routed to the listing broker who published the information that caused harm. The listing broker points their finger to the publisher, but the publisher says, “not so fast – read the fine print of our terms of our terms of use. The broker assumes all liability when publishing listings on our website. Deal with it.” The European Union is dealing with it. They are providing consumers with the ability to get stuff off the web. Its called the “right to be forgotten.” Europeans can go to a website and paste in URLs of information that is irrelevant, outdated, or otherwise inappropriate.” Unfortunately those links are only removed from search, not from the web. It would be fantastic if real estate publishers took it upon themselves to cooperate on a website that would allow agents to remove content on behalf of their customers from all sites at one time. If they really care about the consumer, they will get on that. If you want to pledge your participation, we will be conducting a meeting at July’s Inman Real Estate Connect Conference to begin the initial discussions. Remember, it is better to get involved early and contribute to developing a workable solution than to complain about it later when the solution adopted becomes a business challenge. Contact victor@wavgroup.com or 805-709-6696 for more information.

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How Great Companies React To Feedback

by Victor Lund on December 13, 2013

AgentMatch from realtor.com  was a solution that was tested in two real estate markets – Boulder, CO and Las Vegas, TX. The pilot program was developed as a service to connect consumers with agents based on performance, interests and recommendation data. Putting aside the debate about the strengths or weaknesses of this form of rating an agent, there is plenty to learn from how it was rolled out, how feedback was generated, and how the company reacted to the feedback. Pre-roll Out Decisions With any new service, the first question should be opt-in or opt-out. WAV Group has always recommended that the default on any consumer facing solution should be opt-in unless there are powerful mitigating reasons that support opt-out. In this test, realtor.com worked closely with both MLSs to be sure all were in agreement with how the data would be displayed. Pre-roll Out Communication Some companies have mandated classes on product roll-outs. WAV Group is not a big fan of this. Rather, offer the class or training online. Record it. Do not enable the service until the broker has either waived or attended the training. Getting the acknowledgement is really important. It is absurd to think that you will be able to reasonably solicit some form of acknowledgement from every broker – but make sure you get acknowledgement from most brokers. Schedule meetings face to face with your 10 largest brokers and phone conferences with 11-50. Again here, I applaud realtor.com for organizing local, executive and broker advisory boards during the development of this pilot. Pilot Testing New product roll-outs are never perfect. Indeed, the mantra for innovation is “fail fast and fail often.” What RDC did by putting the product out into the wild was aggressive. I know they worked closely with, and solicited feedback from, agents before AgentMatch was publically displayed. But they still got a pile of new feedback in the early days of the pilot. React to Feedback AgentMatch was taken offline today. In a statement, realtor.com President, Errol Samuelson said “The AgentMatch pilot has concluded, but the larger project remains: We intend to create the most accurate and complete resource for consumers looking for a Realtor online, and to continue moving the industry forward with innovative solutions.” What makes the company stronger in the eyes of their customers is that they were comfortable with embracing feedback and taking action to resolve important issues […]

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Technology Tools Used by Great Office Managers

by Victor Lund on December 10, 2012

success manager

All too frequently companies focus on broker tools or agent tools, losing sight of the tools used by great managers. Brokers who truly understand the value of office managers dedicate resources to deliver manager tools that drive company success and agent productivity. These tools fold into three categories: Market Analysis, Sales Analysis, and Agent Effectiveness. Market Analysis Tools Market Analysis involves using tools like Terradatum Broker Matrix or Trendgraphix. These tools give office managers access to two specific measurements that are key to success: Competitor Sales Volume and Agent Sales Volume relative to market pace. The first is a competitive overview of competitor sales volume vs. office sales volume. Managers can compare their office productivity relative to competition in the market to understand pace. Pace is a different measurement than market share, and is more important. Your office will always grow or shrink in sales volume relative to real estate cycles. Pace is the measurement of growth vs. competitive growth. If your office is up 22%, you may be excited. But if competitive offices are up 28% in the same market, you are losing pace. Likewise, an excellent manager may have a 10% loss in sales, but if competitors lost 15%, that manager’s office has out paced competitors by 5%. Sometimes even when you are losing, you win. The second measurement of success is individual agent pace and Sales Volume. How are each of your agents doing relative to each other. Your top-producing agent may be having a great year, growing business 22% over the prior year. However, a competitor’s top agent may be growing at 30%, out pacing your top producer. Great managers know this, and use these measurement tools to motivate agents in the office, and identify the best recruits from competitors. Aside from pace, managers can evaluate performance relative to days on market and list to sale ratio. Sales Analysis Great managers use a variety of tools to understand sales. Most MLS Systems and tools like the REALTORS® Property Resource provide managers with the ability to view sales activity on a map. It helps them identify neighborhoods and price points of sale activity so that they can both measure sales performance in hot areas and focus agent prospecting activity in those areas where sales are happening. This is a strategic farming strategy that great managers develop to succeed where others often just tread water. Agent Effectiveness Measuring […]

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A Brief Quiz: What Type of Executive Are You?

by Mike Audet on March 8, 2012

leadership

When you are confronted with potential change to your organization, do you believe you are a “big picture” thinker or a wall builder? True leaders understand how resisting necessary change is never the right option. What type of leader are you? I recently had a conversation with an MLS/Association executive that made me realize how strong some of our leaders are, as well as how short sighted others are.  This particular MLS executive who oversees a fairly good-sized organization with over 5,000 members brought up the issue of sharing data with another MLS.  It really wasn’t the specific reason we were talking but it did have relevance via the big picture on things we were discussing, so we discussed it for a while.  What struck me immediately about this executive’s commentary was the absolute lack of defensiveness when talking about all of the options from data sharing to full regionalization. This leader clearly looked at the situation from a position of what is best for his members and the business, plain and simple.  There did not seem to be any hesitation or resistance to any and all possibilities though clearly some courses of action could potentially impact this person’s position.  This is the type of person you meet and within seconds you respect them and you trust them because they operate from the “big picture”.  They don’t worry about losing their job because they know another opportunity will open up that will be better.  What they focus on is doing the right thing as the executive of their organization. They are a pleasure to work with! Some years ago

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MLS and Brokers need community managers

by Victor Lund on March 6, 2012

Facebook Timeline

Like many others in real estate, I’ve spent the last few days devouring the new brand timelines launched for Facebook pages. This new medium is the focus of this article, but consider other publishing requirements in business today as you read this: website publishing, youtube publishing, twitter, etc. My expectations were sky-high but after several hours I realized that Facebook timeline is going to be a lot harder to implement than most real estate professionals think. As it stands now, there is a clear divide between brands that have adopted the timeline feature set full on and those that have simply migrated their old strategy to the timeline format with a few old brand assets tossed in for backfill. Few, if any MLSs or real estate brokerages have adopted the new format with intent, planning, and execution plans. Big Brand timelines such as those of Captain Morgan USA, which eschewed old ads and brand assets in favor of recreated period scenes, and The New York Times, which, anachronistically, documents behind-the-scenes newsroom happenings, come off as inventive. In contrast, brands that displayed no clear adoption strategy were notable for the dual column, text-based timelines that felt visually reminiscent of a phone book. This begs the question of what Facebook timeline for real estate brands really means. How does it alter brand behavior vis-a-vis Facebook? And what are the resulting implications for brands looking to “adopt” vs. “migrate”? The obvious change is the forced evolution of a real estate company or agent to tell their story visually and chronologically. Taking full advantage of timeline will require increased time and attention from those who understand social narrative. Brokerages that heavily invest in this and use timeline as an opportunity to mature their approach to the platform will see Facebook start to produce real business results, in the form of conversion, change in preference and lead generation. Companies that resist investing will continue to see only minor business gains. For most real estate brokerages today, Facebook draws more consumers and higher conversion rates than listing syndication – so there is an opportunity for investing here that may well pay significant dividends.

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Nielsen credits HAR and Zillow among others

by Victor Lund on November 7, 2011

Agent Ratings

When it comes to measuring marketing effectiveness, there is little argument that Nielsen is the leader. Nielsen believes that providing clients with a precise understanding of the consumer is the key to making the right decisions — decisions that can lead to profitable growth. At Nielsen, they are always innovating to keep pace with emerging market trends and the increasingly diverse, demanding and connected consumer. Joining Nielsen is the Houston Association of REALTORS, Zillow, a few dozen brokerages, and about 500 of the more than 1 Million REALTORS in America today. These REALTORS are the bold, the true, the transparant, the honest – those that submit themselves to a professional rating by the consumers that entrusted them in a home transaction. Agent Ratings.

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A New Perspective on Google+

by Victor Lund on October 29, 2011

Google Plus

Like so many other geeks, technos, and socialphiles – I jumped on the Google+ bandwagon as soon as it came out. I must confess, I did the same on Linkedin so may years ago. Remember Plaxo? In any case, I was not very impressed Google+ on first glance. I doubt anyone was. My first complaint was that the same people I connect with on Twitter and Facebook were on Google+. Why bother? As a result, I would not even think to look at Google+. Today, am beginning to see the +1 button show up on all of the blogs and websites that I read. If the author is a friend of mine, or if the content is good, I like to support their efforts and encourage their writing by socializing it.. (speaking of which – please rate this article and hit the twitter, facebook, and Google+ buttons if you think it is worth sharing). So, I have slowly started using Google+. My experience with Google+ hit an inflection point recently. My attitude changed. As I was socializing a great blog post from my friend Harper Thorpe of CoreLogic (Best Broker Blog in the Industry), I realized that Google+ is surprisingly un-cluttered. Unlike Twitter and Facebook – only the more advanced socializers and bloggers are using Google+. In a way, the lack of popularity of Google+ by the masses makes it, well…..more popular by the intelligentsia.

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Bob Hale honored as CEO Communicator of the Year

by Victor Lund on June 30, 2011

Bob Hale, CEO Communicator of the Year

WAV Group would like to congratulate Bob Hale of the Houston Association of REALTORS® for being selected as the 2011 CEO Communicator of the Year. Hale was presented with this honor by the Public Relations Society of America through its Houston Chapter. As CEO of the Houston Association of REALTORS®, Bob Hale exhibited communications excellence by combining public relations, social media, a website, print, and outdoor advertising to successfully communicate the value of REALTORS® as the trusted resource for real estate consumers, and HAR as the trusted partner to broker and agent membership. Hale has been leading the Houston Association since 1988, growing the organization into the largest trade organization in the Houston Area and the second largest local REALTOR® Association in America representing 24,000 members.

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Online Reputation for Brokers and Agents

by Victor Lund on June 27, 2011

facebook

In real estate, QSC is the leader in Agent Ratings, but today, Facebook is raising the bar and having an impact on the online reputation of agents and brokers. Facebook is big, really big. In fact, it is the most heavily trafficked website in America. It is bigger than Google! And it has an impact on your broker and agent brand – especially if you do not have a facebook page. Although Google is the leader in search, Facebook is catching up and they have partnered with Microsoft Bing to deliver search results that are informed by your friends. When you search for stuff on Bing, pages that your friends like appear in the search results. This is likely to play a role in the online reputation of agents and brokers. Let me explain how.

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