No Internet Marketing – Is this a nightmare?

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nightmareHave you ever been consciously aware of passing over a “continental divide”? You know, a spot where you cease traveling up one side of a mountain and begin descending into the next valley? And right at the tip top of the mountain you’re actually aware that no water will run toward you; it will only run downhill? Well, according to Georgia Association of Realtors we’re there with regard to posting information about our listings on the internet. Apparently the GAR believes that we’ve reached the “saturation point” of internet marketing. Phooey!

The revised Marketing paragraph (Par. 5) of the Exclusive Listing Agreement states:

If Seller desires to limit the manner or scope in which the Property is marketed Seller should check the appropriate box or boxes below:
_____Seller does not wish to have information about the Property displayed on the Internet
 _____Seller does not wish to have the address of the Property identified on the Internet, but does wish to have all other information about the Property displayed on the Internet
 _____Seller does not wish for third parties to be able to write comments or reviews regarding the listing or display a hyperlink to such reviews on an Internet web site of a broker or affiliated licensee of a broker.

I personally never thought I’d see the day when sellers might ask us not to market their properties on all available internet sites, did you? In my experience in Broker Support, sellers call demanding more internet exposure. Yet, sellers now have check boxes in our listing agreements asking us not to put their property on the internet at all, or asking us not to include the address of their property on the internet,  or asking us NOT to allow third parties to be able to write comments or reviews about the property that others could read. What are they thinking?

Of course a seller wants their listing to be displayed on the internet. Almost 90 percent of buyers use the internet to search for homes. Of course a seller wants to have the address of their property displayed. Market research shows that buyers want to see three things when searching for homes: location, price and photos.  If the location is not included, you’ll miss a lot of buyers. Plus, you won’t be able to necessarily send your listings to a lot of other websites like Trulia.com, Frontdoor.com, etc. because they want street addresses.

As for the third point, feedback is extremely valuable to the seller – feedback about what the (potential) buying public actually says about their property’s size, condition, location, decorating, smell (assuming the commenter has actually visited the property), floorplan, curb appeal, room sizes, etc. Criticism is valuable in a competitive market.

Personally, I love looking at pictures of listings on the web…the more the better! I’m amazed and impressed at the number of sellers and agents who take the time to get the property “showing-ready” – ditching the clutter and simple cleaning and neutralizing. I believe that sellers with bad photos posted (or whose property doesn’t really show like the pictures posted) will benefit from feedback taking them to task.

And again, this prevents listings from being seen on websites that allow comments. This means you can’t promote your listings on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr or your own blog for that matter.  The new changes from GAR just don’t make sense.

The good news is that sellers are going to ask, “Huh?” and be happy when a knowledgeable listing agent explains the benefits of not checking any of these boxes.

The other good news is that a full-service company like Metro Brokers (shameless plug) won’t deliver “partial service” – we assure clients that their listing is going to be posted at no cost to them on about 30 of the best, most popular, most up-to-date, most accurate and safest websites as well as any other internet exposure sponsored by the listing agent. Full service means full internet exposure.

What do you think? How do you see this affecting others in the industry?

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10 Responses to “No Internet Marketing – Is this a nightmare?”

  1. kristinwilhoyte Says:

    Wow, that’s unbelievable…it really doesn’t make any sense to me. Why would GAR make these changes? And, why would a seller check any of these boxes? Maybe I’m missing something, but I just don’t understand this at all. Has anyone ever had a seller make such requests?

  2. Monique Mills Says:

    I am proud that Metro Brokers has taken the stance of full service or nothing at all. To meet seller’s expectations of selling their homes, agents need as many avenues of advertising as possible to increase the exposure of the listing. So why would we agree to deliver less than our best by taking a listing where a seller limits internet advertising? A seller’s expectations of selling their home effectively will still be placed on the agent, therefore, agents will need the freedom to market homes as needed to get the results. Internet is advertising is the most effective in these times. Has GAR been notified of that? Hopefully, good agents will be able to educate sellers on the benefits of agreeing to full internet exposure.

  3. Terry Young Says:

    I agree with you too! Am I missing something? Did GAR ‘talk’ to anyone but themselves and the lawyers? Go back to the blog on Top 5 Mistakes in Marketing https://blog.metrobrokers.com/2009/05/22/top-5-mistakes-in-advertising-listings/ Remeber photos – take them please!!! Even NAR’s site REALTOR.org promotes the use of the web. I am confused!!!

  4. Kat Arrendale Says:

    I don’t understand either. Doesn’t the saying go “There is no such thing as bad publicity”?

  5. Eddie Krebs Says:

    This will never work. Not only is it ridiculous for sellers to force agents to NOT market their property, it is almost impossible to enforce technically.

    First, FMLS, GAMLS, and NEG MLS have to have fields allowing agents to specify these “privacy” settings on the listing forms. Then, they must remove the entire listing, or parts of the listings, from their FTP and RETS feeds. Then, the brokerages have to modify their systems to support these partial listings.

    Also, brokerages must modify their websites and their feeds to sites like Trulia and Zillow, who in turn must modify their search engines. And I suppose Realtor.com will have to make system changes too.

    Who is going to police the internet? Someone ask Steven Fischer that question for me.

    Companies like ours will start putting clauses in their contracts nullifying those specific checkboxes on the GAR forms. Way to create extra work for your Realtors GAR! Who do you work for, exactly?

    It’s backwards thinking by a set of officers stuck in the past. They still wish for the days when they held a book of listings hidden from the public. We as an industry need to realize we no longer control access to the listings, and that information flows freely on the internet. This is a good thing, for Realtors and the consumers.

    I hereby pledge to keep Metro Brokers living in the technology present, no matter how hard our industry wants to fight it.

  6. Mary Ann Varner Says:

    OMG!!! NO Internet Marketing??? Having the same, if not more disasterous effect than NO Sign + NO Lockbox + NO Open Houses + APPT. ONLY …. EQUALS……NO BUYER!!! This has to be a nightmare!

  7. conyersom Says:

    I’m with you on this one, Ann. I can’t imagine a seller or anyone asking to advertise less. Sellers always want more of everything for less cost or effort but not less exposure. Isn’t the point of advertising to get your property out there to everyone because the more exposure, the more chances of selling in a timely manner?! I think somebody dropped the ball on this one but, thank goodness, Metro Brokers has a winning team with good in-fielders to direct their sellers to all the bases and end up with a home run situation!

  8. Steve Adkins Says:

    In a recent group of listings I took a few weeks ago, internet leads started flooding in within 24 hours of the listing going on the market. And from all over too! AJC, Zillow, Trullia (sp), and 4 or 5 others. I know I took 15 emails and 100 phone calls in 3 days all related to some of these listings.

    Internet marketing works! It’s the best tool we have right now. Why would anyone even think of cutting that out?

  9. K Bernard Strong Says:

    I am sure that the change was not made in a vaccuum. There were probably some complaints and possible lawsuits that gave legs to this change. That being said, I applaud the policy position taken by management. Staying true to our full service concept and keeping it simple has merit.

    As I ponder this change, I think I can see the opportunity within the belly of this “chaos”.
    #1. We are presented with a fantastic opportunity to more distinctly differentiate our full service approach to real estate compared to our limited service competitors.
    #2. We, as agents, will be better able to discern the level of seller motivation. Any motivated seller will not have a problem with this paragraph. If they have a problem, then they are waving a big red flag. #3. We can polish our presentation/sales skills when addressing this paragraph. As long as we are able to present what we do, why we do what we do and how the seller benefits from what we do, then all will be well.

  10. Charity Cason Says:

    Agents have to learn the ins and outs of internet marketing themselves so that they can explain the huge importance of internet marketing for the seller.

    It is no longer simply putting an ad on Craigslist these days. We are talking about blogs, Facebook, Twitter, SEO and so many other out of the box ways to market properties.

    Sellers would be crazy to limit themselves by NOT putting it on the internet!

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