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Today’s is Teri Lussier’s fifth blogiversary on BloodhoundBlog.

Here is Teri Lussier’s first post at BloodhoundBlog: Hi. I’m Teri…And I’m aghast.

Teri had to tell me that today is the first day of her sixth year writing with us. I’m not a birthdays and anniversaries kind of guy. But I am nothing but proud of the dawg she has turned out to be, and it’s fun to herald the event.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I met Teri just at the beginning of the end of the golden age of the RE.net. The Project Blogger contest was the first little bit of orchestrated hoke in the real estate weblogging world, and I had just told the mob of cliquey mediocrities the first of many truths they did not want to hear, inciting the first of many failed mass sneerspasms.

In each one of those mob actions, writers at BloodhoundBlog were assailed with entreaties to stop writing here. I think the theory was that depriving BloodhoundBlog of their voices would somehow silence my voice. These campaigns were initiated by Joe Ferrara; all of this mob-maniacal horse-shit originated with Joe Ferrara. It all came to nothing, of course, at least on my end. But a lot of agents and lenders screwed up their careers trying to recreate a kindergarten playground — Lord of the Flies with no points off for spelling errors.

This was evil, awful and wrong — not that I’ve ever made a secret of my opinion of social media and the mobs it engenders. But the whole phenomenon is interesting to me, because my thinking runs entirely the other way.

Teri Lussier has written great essays on BloodhoundBlog, and I’m very grateful for that. But I’m also very grateful to call her my friend. I don’t make friends quickly or easily, and I am very, very quick to push people away from me as soon as I realize they are not friends to me.

But I am a friend to Teri not out of loyalty to her, but out of my indivertible loyalty to principle. Teri lives up to values I admire, revere and worship, and that is the source of my devotion to her as my friend. If I should discover some hidden corruption in her, that would change everything for me — and I would expect her to take the same position with regard to me.

To the other BloodhoundBlog writers: If you are being pressured to pull out, and if you are staying out of a personal loyalty to me — in betrayal of your own beliefs and principles — please go with my blessing. I hate mobs, and that is what a mob is: A collection of people who betray the highest of values for the sake of friendship or collective rent-seeking or simply a jovial mutual absolution of vice. I want no part of anything like that.

Meanwhile: Congratulate Teri as suits your sensibility. Almost every post in our archives is worth reading, but Teri’s contributions — in posts and in comments — are among the very best. I say that not in loyalty to her but out of love for the very best values to be found in each one of us.

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  • Teri Lussier: There are no do-overs in weblogging
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  • 10 comments

    Real Estate Declaration of Independence

    I’ve been a bit quiet on BHB due to some personal issues I’ve been working through.  But, I was very happy to see Greg’s latest post on challenging everything!  I had a little holiday brainstorm today and wrote a post on my local Lake Chelan blog on a Real Estate Declaration of Independence for the consumers of services from Real Estate Professionals.

    I want to share it here on BHB and get your thoughts on what I missed, should add or could have said better!  So, without further ado here is my Independence Week start to the Real Estate Declaration of Independence:

    Real Estate Declaration of Independence

    We, the people who buy and sell real estate, hold these truths to be obvious:

    • We the people believe that information on real estate for sale should be readily accessible without surrendering our private information.  We reject having to register on a web site in order to view listings in an area.  We value our time and will contact a real estate professional when we are good and ready for their services.
    • We the people reject all policies of the National Association of Realtors that are not in the best interest of the real estate buying and selling public.  Limiting our access to information, restricting our ability to a free and open market through regulation and limiting our market choices are all examples of policies we reject that are designed to line Realtors pockets at the expense of the public.
    • We the people reject “Dual Agency,” where a real estate agent has an inherent conflict of interest with his agency and fiduciary duties by attempting to represent both the buyer and seller in order to earn a larger commission on our transaction.  If the agent is truly delivering value, both parties of a transaction have an equal right to that value without a conflict of interest and each party deserves their own agent in the transaction.
    • We the people reject the practice of real estate agents trying to “Buy the Listing” by telling a potential seller an above market price in an attempt to secure a listing.  This practice costs sellers time and money while their home sits on the market as the agent waits for the seller to cut the price to where it should have been to start.
    • We the people reject the practice of real estate MLS systems that limit a home seller’s exposure to potential buyers in an attempt to control access to a market.  A listing agent’s responsibility is to market a property to the best of their ability and limiting the exposure of our home costs us money.

    We the people are independent in a country that still allows us to make market choices.  We the people demand better service and will exercise our freedom of choice and only choose Real Estate Professionals who deliver better value.

    You might want to have a look at the entire post and give me feedback on it as well.  Feel free to use it as your own if you agree to it and I would truly love suggestions to improve it.

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  • 7 comments

    Multiple blog hosting and your files. A Project Bloodhound inquiry for DIY WordPress publishing.

    I’m in need of clarity. Being mostly clueless to the concept of file management and hosting in general has led me here by way of looking to publish more then one blog.  That, and after spending far too much time with “online and phone help” with what should be a simple domain name transfer for Yahoo to Godaddy, I’m at my wits end.   Word to the wise.  If someone offers you a domain name for $1.99, don’t bite.

    Here’s the deal. I have a “deluxe hosting account” with Godaddy which runs me, I think, around $6.50 a month and gives me what I need. ( I know your bluehost mediatemple whatever is better and that’s not the fix here ).  Focus.

    When I started another blog, I created a new database via my SQL database and now this blog lives in a folder under the main account as well (see below).

    hosting-control-center-file-manager-1

    So from what I gather, with 25 databases I can run 25 different sites under this one account, right?   The databases (sites) just become sub-files of the main account.  If I’m off, just let me know.

    One other thing that puzzles me (utter ignorance) is the file placement in my directory.  I was going by the intructions given to me by the help desk at Godaddy, and what you see is what I ended up with.   Could you all give me a little insight to whether this looks OK or not?

    Assuming that everything is set up right so far, my next question would be, what is the advantage of opening up a separate account for a new site?  With each and every domain I purchase, I am offered a free “Economy hosting account”, which of course will not allow you to host WordPress.   To do this, I would need to open another “Deluxe hosting account”.

    Any insight here would be appreciated.  I plan on helping my wife with her own site and hosting and I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to get her set up separately or just run hers with mine.

    Many thanks. If I get somewhere with this, I have one for Engenu one next.  These are the kind of mental stumbling blocks that hold me up for days.

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  • 12 comments

    Bar At The Raddison Phoenix?


    The Raddison In Phoenix is great so far. Everyone’s friendly. Coffee
    was tasty tasty.

    But hey, we’ve got like 5 hours to kill before the fun starts at
    Unchained. So where’s the Bartender?

    It’s noon in Phoenix, but it’s about time for happy hour for those of
    us still on the (ET)!

    -Ryan Hartman
    (Sent From My Fancy Phone…)

    Latest Videos From Youtube.Com/BloodhoundUnchained!

    [tubepress]

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  • Comments are off for this post

    “No Matter How Good You Get, You Can Always Get Better…

    … and that’s the exciting part.”  End Quote.

    That’s a peek into the mind of the man who arguably will go down as the most dominant athlete of all time – Tiger Woods.

    For those of you who aren’t golf fans, let me rewind a few years.  Tiger Woods was firmly entrenched as the #1 player in golf.  And by firmly entrenched, let’s just say that the #2 player in the world couldn’t even carry Tiger’s bag.

    Yet, at the height of his dominance, Woods shockingly fired his “swing coach” and re-engineered his entire mechanical approach to the game.  Virtually everyone in golf thought he was nuts.  And the results were far from immediate.  In fact, some players on the PGA Tour even began referring to Tiger as “beatable”.

    We all know what happened next… he won last year’s US Open with what basically amounted to a broken leg.  Woods refers to this victory as his greatest ever.

    Here’s the thing:  Tiger Woods doesn’t share his secrets of success with his peers.  Any golfer looking to supplant Tiger as the world’s greatest player is going to have to figure it out for himself.

    But for some reason, the sharpest minds in the real estate industry are willing to share what makes them successful with the rest of us.  Here are some of the questions I asked myself before committing the time and money to attend Unchained:

    • Can you create your own website without any help from anyone?
    • If so, how long does it take you to publish something worth seeing?
    • Are you ranking for the keywords your prospects are Googling?
    • Are your systems outdated and archaic?
    • Is there someone in your market who’s about to catch and pass you because they know more than you do?

    Here’s another Tiger Woods quote from early in his career:

    “Second sucks.”

    If you live within 500 miles of Phoenix and you’re not committed to attending Unchained, chances are good there’s someone down the street who will be nosing up alongside you very soon.

    I’ll be honest with you – I get the feeling my competitors are crawling up in the fetal position right now… cutting costs and wondering where the good times have gone.  But I’m not counting on it.  I’m making the investment to better myself and hopefully widen the gap between #1 and #2.

    Hopefully, someday I’ll be able to take an entire year off and remain the best at my game – just like Tiger Woods.

    If you’re going to be at Unchained, I can’t wait to meet you.

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  • 3 comments

    The Wannabe Cosmopolite

    I choose to live in a big American city because frankly, I stick out like a sore sport in most rural settings and my accountant says we can’t afford London. One of my earliest pre-school memories was a Trenton to New York City train ride with my mother on a blustery Saturday morning.  How much of  that early 1960s day trip I accurately recall and how much is anecdotal family filler (pulled, kneaded and peppered over the redolent decades around my parents’ kitchen table) I’m not quite sure.  Still, certain sepia frames have been imprinted in my mind for life— gazing up at the sky scrapers whose dizzying heights give me vertigo to this day; creeping like a mouse through the bowels of  The Museum of Natural History, terrified of the mummies and the smell of all that marble; seeing  a man get his arm tore off by a taxi cab while standing at a busy Broadway corner…I’m pretty sure; sitting on a New York City phone book for a child’s eternity at  Mamma Leone’s, waiting for the dessert course to arrive.  Feeding the ducks in Central Park.  Observing  the landscape artists with easels and tams, their turpentined pigments slathered on thumb-holed palettes, probably all long dead by now but  full of  abstract perspective on that day.  Not peeing my pants for the entire afternoon.

    A similar ferment churned in my gut when I first strolled the arrondissements of Paris; same thing along the canals of Rome; and Gaudi’s Barcelona.  And while I can easily inhale the woodsy fragrance of say, a Walden Pond (or even Dyer, Tennessee) without much complaint, I am clearly no Thoreau.  Once you think you see a guy get his arm torn off in Times Square, you can never really go back to the suburbs.  Not entirely.

    As each year strikes like lightning, I find myself  being both drawn to, and repelled from, the urban twist of what once was Sandburg’s Chicago with its animal sense of outcome and yellow inner eye… ‘ hog butcher for the world.’  Liebling’s Second City.  On a calm evening the whispers can still be heard beneath the newer, vertical townhouses that just 40 years ago were stockyards.  On the hottest of days, the mephitis still rises from the soil. I had a listing down there once (before the market downturn) for over 500 days. At the very end, everyone involved got slaughtered.

    I read each morning, with curious attention, as my real estate compatriots post their streaming routines on Twitter, Facebook, and the Blogosphere du monde. I imagine what it would be like to mentally attend a ‘Four Day Foreclosure Conference in Fresno’ or physically prepare ‘REO Listing  Paperwork til Midnight’  in Raleigh or hobnob with @townsquare.  I find myself, instead, cherry picking the downtown Chicago buyers I wish to work with from our own brokerage website registration and passing along the rest. I attend to only one listing these days; a favor to a friend.  I’ve become an Accidental Realtor of sorts, sitting on a virtual phone book in my iPhone, waiting for the big hogs to fatten.  The Entree. I sell metropolitan real estate because (aside from luxury yachts and illegal drugs) it’s the biggest ticket item around here that pays a commission large enough for my wife and I to live comfortably in our empty nest, still do some social good, and travel the world—or at least the country. (We’ll be in Phoenix this April for Unchained.)

    At the end of  Henry James’s life the historians say he finally realized that no matter how much a man loved his adopted foreign city or how long he claimed residence to a particular Transatlantic society— unless he was actually born there, he never quite belonged.  Again, not entirely.  I’m not sure where I’ll wind up at the very end.  I can’t really recall where I came from, come to think of it.   I suppose for now I’ll just stay put here in the Midwest and wait for this house I sold myself to at least reclaim some of its original value. As long as I’m paying the property taxes on time, the City of Chicago promises not to tear off my arm. Not entirely.

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  • 11 comments

    WordPress 2.7 – Or Maybe Older Too?

    On my recent blog post about Niche Marketing there was a lengthy discussion about how to make a WordPress Blog a little more user friendly and along with that, what it seems as though Consumers are looking for when they come to a site.  One of the things that was mentioned a few times is a Static Home Page.  This way it looks and feels a little more like a website.

    The more I thought about it, I really liked the idea and did some Research.  Apparently within the New WordPress 2.7 you can make any page on your site a Home Page, Landing Page, whatever you want to call it.  I figured that maybe if I didn’t know about, others may not either.  So, thought I would spread the word.

    All you have to do is from within your Dashboard go to Settings along the left- Go to Reading- and it will bring up a page that allows you to set any page as the static Home Page.  Easy!  No plugin, code or anything else required.  Hope that helps someone!

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  • 5 comments

    Niche Marketing- A Different Kind Of Blog?

    Well, I’m guilty of thinking again.   My mind wanders thinking of ways to do things differently-actually, a way to do things better, which brings questions, and then getting lost a little bit.

    My blog, if you remember, is a pretty narrow niche in that I write about Green Real Estate. But, the other day I was thinking…What if there were a way to have multiple pages or categories with their own blog?  I know that makes absolutely no sense, but I’ll explain.

    I have tried to spend some time looking at Niche Marketing Blogs over the past few months and each one proves that Niche Blogs are just…different.  If you get off topic, you lose readers.  If you don’t get out on a limb and break up the content sometimes, it bores people..and then you lose readers.

    So back to my idea.  Personally, I think this is an amazing idea for the real estate industry.  In a way it would be multiple sites all in one.  For example, we have pages right?  Contact, Search for listings, yada..yada.  Then we have tags for our posts: Foreclosures, Mortgage, Marketing, New Listings…whatever.

    What if within the separate pages we could have a different blog, or a way to filter a blog to a separate page?  Instead of having just one long page of posts on a blog page it would be nice for within the Dashboard to filter the Blog Post to a different page.

    So, I’m writing a post on Foreclosures and I would like to filter it down to appear only on the Foreclosure page.

    In my case, I would like to be able to write posts for say Builders and move it over to a Builders Going Green page.   Another idea would be a not so Real Estate page with General Green Information.

    I would think that any one in Real Estate that focuses on a Niche of any kind would like the ability to do this.   Does anyone know plugin to do this?  Or are there any of my Genius friends out there that would happen to want to tackle it? :0)

    Or is this just a dumb idea?

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  • 59 comments

    Prequel to Speaking in Tongues: Displaying Author Images in WordPress

    Several months ago, Greg described this process in Project Bloodhound speaking in tongues: To whom am I speaking?

    At the time, I had no need to implement author images in a WordPress multi-author blog, (and I already knew the technique for TypePad), so I didn’t work with the process until just today.

    As I set up what will become a company blog for our incoming agents, I realized that the average WordPress user might need a little more background information to put Greg’s code to use.

    First of all, you need to find all your authors’ ID numbers.  Unfortunately current versions of WordPress do not show author ID numbers.  The easy solution for me was to download the Reveal IDs for WP Admin plugin.

    Once the Reveal IDs plugin is activated, when you go to the Users page, you’ll see each author’s ID number displayed beside their username.  All ID numbers, that is, except your own.  The only way to see your own ID number is to create a new separate admin username and login, then login as that new identity, and find your old self on the list.

    Next step:  Obtain images of each author.  Resize each image (I decided on 52 pixels in height, and 50 pixels in width as appropriate for the design I am using.)  Each image must be named simply by the author ID number.  For instance, my lovely image here on Bloodhound Blog is titled 34.jpg.

    Upload all the newly resized and newly renamed images to your blog’s root directory.

    Now you are ready to rock and roll.

    Open your Main Index Template file (index.php)

    I simplified Greg’s code for now to only display the author’s image and name

    <img src=”http://www.bobtaylorproperties.com/blog/<?php the_author_ID(); ?>.jpg” height=”52″ width=”50″ align=”left” hspace=”10″>
    Posted by <?php the_author() ?> <br>

    And I placed it under the PHP code that inserts the post title.  Here’s the complete snippet:

    <?php if (have_posts()) : while (have_posts()) : the_post(); ?>
    <div class=”entry”>

    <h1><a href=”<?php the_permalink() ?>” rel=”bookmark” title=”<?php the_title(); ?>”><?php the_title(); ?></a></h1>

    <img src=”http://www.bobtaylorproperties.com/blog/<?php the_author_ID(); ?>.jpg” height=”52″ width=”50″ align=”left” hspace=”10″>
    Posted by <?php the_author() ?> <br>

    <span class=”meta”><?php the_time(‘F jS, Y’) ?> <br>
    Posted in <?php the_category(‘, ‘) ?> <?php edit_post_link(‘| Edit’, ”, ”); ?></span>

    <br class=”clear” /><br />

    I’ll add the email link code when l actually have live people posting. :-)

    UPDATE: Reading the comment stream suggests that a footnote might be indicated:  If you copy and paste the above code, you might want to first paste it into a plain text editor (Windows Notepad, for example), save it, select and copy it again from the text editor, then paste it into your index.php file.

    Why?  Because your browser might copy in rich-text format, changing straight quote marks to curly quote marks  …  And code won’t run with curlies.

    ( Screen shots available at Queen of Kludge )

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  • 8 comments

    Why Bloggers Fail To Become Top Producers

    I know your secret.  Honestly…I do.

    You aren’t knocking the ball out of the park, regardless of your blogging effort.  You play around on Twitter, Facebook, Active Rain, and might even comment on Bloodhound Blog.  You’re probably REALLY smart and can’t believe that you’re having problems in business.  I know you are; I’ve read most of your blog posts, Tweets, and Facebook messages.  You fancy yourself ethical.  I believe that, too.

    Why is a smart, ethical real estate agent like you failing then?

    You got hoodwinked.  Tricked.  Sold a bill of goods.  That snake oil you bought?  Web 2.0- it was supposed to be the new way to do business; you just didn’t realize it was gonna take 3-5 years.  It’s taking longer than you imagined and you’re stuck.  Your spouse is riding your ass as she punches a clock while you play on Twitter.  Your kids wonder why you treat the occasional prospect who calls you to Ruth’s Chris while making them eat off the value menu at Mc Donald’s. You’re failing because you bought into the hype and you’re scared to admit that you blew it.

    That’s okay- it’s not your fault.

    You see, I got hoodwinked too.  I was all puffed up, speaking in San Francisco and New York like I was some kind of expert.  As I was hob-nobbing with the RE.net, I heard more than one of the “blogging elite” talk about their fear of personal foreclosure.  I heard the practitioners talk about losing their homes and the tech gurus talk about how rich they were getting…

    …off the poor practitioners whom they appointed “experts”. THAT disgusted me.

    I knew I had to make a VERY big change in my life.  I was following the “wrong crowd” and if I kept it up, I’d be face-down, lying in the gutter, with no customers at all.  I definitely didn’t want that…so I made some changes.  Those changes, combined with the things I learned from the folks who DO make money online, grew my business while my competitors were submitting employment applications at the mall.

    Let me do my best Joe Biden…  It’s not your fault.

    Greg Swann and I hosted the Bloodhound Blog UNCHAINED Social Media Marketing Conference (sponsored by Zillow).  About one hundred people gathered for three days and listened to the ideas about the brave new world.  We learned a few things and changed our Orlando conference to reflect those revelations:

    1- SEO matters.

    2- SEO can be helped but not manufactured.

    3-  Organic online branding, which we talk about constantly, does take time.  It is the future of marketing for real estate and mortgage brokerage but the critical mass isn’t there, yet.  It’s coming and we need to be prepared.

    4- You (and I) can go broke waiting for the masses to move to the right side of the learning curve.  While we’re waiting, we need to find out EXACTLY how to find those potential buyers and deliver content to them.

    5- IDX solutions work.  The contact information capture feature, as distasteful as you may find it, works.  Joe the Plumber searches for homes online and listings are the bait.  Blog content, designed to call Joe to action, augment but can’t replace the contact information capture feature JUST YET.  I will stipulate that more savvy consumers demand free access to listings but the average home shopper will give up his contact information to see home listings.  There is a way to appease both sets of consumers and Greg Swann will teach you how to do it.

    6- Social networking DEFINITELY works but you gotta bridge the digital divide that keeps potential customers behind that cyber-wall.

    7- Top of mind status is important.  Seth Godin talks about the importance of permission-based marketing but Gary Keller showed you how to do it.  I’ll talk about how to advance the MREA idea and integrate it in into your social media efforts.

    8- Buying traffic doesn’t suck as much as we think it does.  It costs money and it constantly evolves but it DOES work.  You’ll have a chance to hear Mitch Ribak discuss this.  He is doing volume that places him among the top 50 real estate teams in the country.  Mitch gets his business by buying traffic.

    9- There is more than one way to “skin the cat”.  Kelley Koehler (aka HouseChick) found out how and you’ll have a chance to hear how the HouseChick finds gold in sparsely searched streams for a lot less money.  It’s tricky but effective.

    Click on the PayPal button shown below to get your $99 ticket for BloodhoundBlog Unchained in Orlando on Friday, November 7th, 2008


















    Let’s face it.  The RE 2.0 world just ain’t cutting it for practitioners by itself.    Oh, there are people making a living through blogging but they aren’t demonstrating break-out results.  While we are committed to the future, we live in the present…and the present challenges are just too much for the 2.0 offerings.  Here’s what you can learn at the Bloodhound Blog UNCHAINED Online Marketing Conference in Orlando, Friday, November 7, 2008:

    Greg Swann will deliver his manifesto about the “brave new world”.  If you haven’t heard it, it’s nothing short of amazing.  He’ll tell you why you, the real estate practitioner, can disintermediate traditional chokepoints and talk directly to the consumer.  He’ll explain how to use the principles of direct response marketing in your online profiles….so they sell your services 24/7/365 (even while you’re fast asleep).  He’s teach you how to farm the big guys’ crops by using their strength against them.

    I’m going to discuss my ninja-like tactics of social media marketing.  I”ll show you how to contribute to a community, position yourself properly online, demonstrate expertise, and have customers to talk about YOU.  I’ll share the six words, placed in the proper forum, that led to eight closed loans in a three month period.  I’ll show you the single best Facebook feature, the hidden 2.0 feature of LinkedIN, and the best place to find Joe the Homebuyer online (HINT: Joe isn’t in a sea of voices nor is he checking out homevalues).

    Alas, while the title suggests that blogging won’t get you to the top, that doesn’t mean that top producers can’t blog.  Teri Lussier will show you how to avoid the echo chamber and build a local community through a weblog:

    Warning: This is not the Get Rich Quick way of Blogging for Dollars. This is the slow and thoughtful way of connecting, networking, communicating. It doesn’t get you to the top of Google in 30 days, but it does get you as close to belly-to-belly as you can get online. It means you have to pay attention, think, share, discuss. It also means that we may not have anything in common, so I’m going to have to work to find a common ground. It means that I will find something interesting in your posts, and share it on my blog. In other words, it takes time to build relationships locally, which may not be the case with the echo chamber.

    The echo chamber: I’m okay, you’re okay; I’m a Realtor, you’re a Realtor. Ah. A shared experience, a common ground. I may not have to pay too much attention because we have real estate in common. Unlike those local folks who may not want to talk to me at all because I’m a Realtor. You and I can fall into conversation faster, with more ease, talk shop- and it’s all good. Except it isn’t really. Ultimately it’s distracting to someone like me.

    Sean Purcell will share how he is listing (and selling) properties “The Bloodhound Way”:

    So… within minutes of hanging the sign I had eyeballs from three cars and conversion on one; you have got to love that kind of impact!  BTW, the first thing my clients said was they loved the sign.  I remarked how standard signs only tell people a house is for sale while marketing for the brokerage.  One of the ideas behind a custom sign is to encourage people to stop the car and get out to read the sign (thus increasing the possibility of interest).  They replied: ”This should do it.  You know… every agent in the area is going to stop and read it!”  Just love that.

    I told you about Kelley Koehler.  Don’t listen to me, listen to Teri Lussier’s description of her presentationWhat to Do When Google Doesn’t Love You“:

    If you are not paying attention to what the Housechick is doing, you are missing out on one of the sharpest minds in the RE.net. Her Vegas presentation on Pay Per Click marketing was, by all accounts, one of the best sessions of the entire weekend. Watch this space and learn how brilliant and unique marketing can create a kickass online presence. Some take aways that you can put to use whether or not you care to PPC “Win the small battles. Go niche.” Kelley’s focus for her ads is not for broad search terms like “Tucson real estate”, but in very well defined terms like “average sales price for homes in Tucson”, or even more narrow- down to neighborhoods. Then she writes posts to answer that question. She likes to focus on verbs “Buy a home in Tucson”, “Search for a Tucson home”. She’s using concise terms, with a clear benefit, and action words to create her ads. I think using those parameters as a basis for a post and post titles, is a wise idea. Write to that person’s mind, write in an engaging style, you’ve got yourself a blog that has real value for the reader.

    Click on the PayPal button shown below to get your $99 ticket for BloodhoundBlog Unchained in Orlando on Friday, November 7th, 2008


















    I already mentioned Mega-Producer Mitch Ribak.  He’s breaking records in a crappy real estate market (The Space Coast ain’t exactly “hot”). How the heck does he do it?  Well, this isn’t Mitch’s first rodeo.  He’s been involved with internet marketing long before he started in real estate.  You’re never gonna believe how he learned it.  I asked him and he told me:

    One thing most of you don’t know about me as my first Internet business was a Dating Service. Not only did I have the dating service, I had an advice column called AskMitch.com. Oh and there was the radio show, Ask Mitch The Date Doctor, that played on 45 radio stations around the country.

    So, yes, my venture into the Internet back in 1996 came from my imagination that there has to be a better way to do business.

    I worked for Great Expectations Video Dating Service as their Director from 1993 to mid 1996. It was the only time since I was 23 that I hadn’t worked for myself. I spent half of 1996 trying to find a company that would build a dating software for me that I could use over the Internet.

    Funny thing was that at that time they all told me it wasn’t possible to do data integration over the Internet. I didn’t believe them of course so for a half a year I searched and talked to tons of companies…it just made sense to me.

    Finally I found a company that said they had heard of a new type of software that would allow me to do everything I wanted. My customers would now be able to see pictures and profiles of people over the Internet.

    Think you might learn something from Mitch Ribak?  Don’t say that “you’re business is different from a dating site“- Mitch has close to 350 reasons that verify that it isn’t.

    While he’ll share his online marketing expertise with you at UNCHAINED Orlando, I forgot to tell you that he offers it at the e-homes realty network.  What I haven’t told you is that Mitch is going to give ALL of the Unchained Orlando attendees two follow-up lessons in addition to a $49 gift (I’ll let him tell you about the gift at the conference).

    Click on the PayPal button shown below to get your $99 ticket for BloodhoundBlog Unchained in Orlando on Friday, November 7th, 2008


















    I know what you’re thinking.  Just what have Greg Swann and Brian Brady cooked up now?  Dating sites?  Long-tail pay-per-click?  The Bloodhound Way of listing?  Building a community weblog?  Cold-calling Facebook profiles?  It will NEVER work because I’m a blogger…and the tech guys TOLD me that RE 2.0 works

    I’ll say it again, just like Joe Biden. I know you’re secret.  Honestly, I do.

    So, here’s the deal.  I share our secret with you.  We were nowhere near the few hundred people we thought might attend the Bloodhound Blog Unchained Online Marketing Conference in Orlando.  We did a lousy job promoting it because we were pretty busy.  As luck would have it, personal implementation of the principles we discussed in Phoenix caused us both to get REALLY busy in our day jobs.  We lowered our expectations and reduced the room size…and that benefits you greatly.

    Unchained Orlando will be MUCH more intimate for the attendees.  You’ll have better access to Mitch, Kelley, Sean, Teri, Greg, and me.  You’ll have a chance to bond with the other folks attending to exchange marketing ideas.  I’m toying with the idea of organizing some “mastermind groups” comprised of the people who show up and participate.

    We never said we were in this for the money and thank God that our speakers share their wealth so generously.  Here’s the problem with the smaller room:

    There really aren’t a lot of seats left now.

    With two weeks left, our market is pretty limited; that’s why I’m hitting those of you who plan to be in Orlando.  If you’re going to the NAR convention, the value we offer, for less than a c-note, will yield a much higher ROI than you’ll get from the convention…

    …although I LOVE Kool & The Gang.

    Click on the PayPal button shown below to get your $99 ticket for BloodhoundBlog Unchained in Orlando on Friday, November 7th, 2008


















    When: Friday, November 7th, 2008, 8 am to 8 pm

    Where: Crowne Plaza Hotel and Conference Center, Orlando Airport, 5555 Hazeltine National Dr, Orlando, FL 32812

    See you in two weeks!

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  • 57 comments

    The Latest Project Bloodhound – Need for Speed Edition

    Apparently there is a NEW Project Bloodhound.

    Here’s the project website here. I’ll bet that you won’t catch Odysseus hanging his head outside for a whiff of the fresh breeze on THAT car–GRIN.

    You gotta admire their taste in names, though!

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  • Comments are off for this post

    Project Bloodhound: Online Reputation Management: “It’s in the Google”

    Incubating, according to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:
    Etymology: Latin incubatus, past participle of incubare, from in- + cubare to lie
    transitive verb
    1 a: to sit on (eggs) so as to hatch by the warmth of the body b: to maintain (as an embryo or a chemically active system) under conditions favorable for hatching, development, or reaction
    2: to cause or aid the development of intransitive verb

    One of the sessions I went to at Blog World was “Taking Smart Risks with Your Online Personality”, with Alex Hillman and Jake McKee. Being on the Bloodhound Blog I figured it would come in handy, right?

    The session went well, solidified some things I knew and clarified a few things I had an inkling about. I didn’t have any epiphanies during the session, but one phrase wormed it’s way into the deeper crevices of my brain and began to incubate: “It’s in the Google”.

    Hillman, if I remember correctly, was quoting his father’s insights into the far reaches and lasting legacy of everything we do online. Everything we do online is “in the Google”. Everything. For better or worse, it’s all out there for someone to find. That’s obvious, you say. Perhaps, but “it’s in the Google” has been incubating in the warm gray matter ever since, and late last night I Googled myself. And then I Yahoo’d myself (no comments from the Peanut Gallery). And then, while I was sleeping, “it’s in the Google” bumped into Kelley Koehler’s advice to “Win the small battles. Go niche”, and then it shook hands with an unfortunate situation for a dear friend who is unable to comment on this blog because Akismet eats everything he writes, and when I woke up, those thoughts had joined forces.

    What’s in the Google for me? Stuff, stuff, and more stuff- some good, some bad, some ugly. I’d like to do away with the bad and ugly, or at least bury it, but what if I made the good even better? I noticed that there are quite a few comments that are coughed up from the Google, and I’d like to do a better job of managing those. So here’s my idea, and I’m wondering if anyone else is doing this: Really using the power of leaving a comment, not just to leave a witty and insightful comment, not only to leave a url, but to leave a url to a landing page, to a category, depending on the topic of the post. Just to make this clear, I’m not talking about leaving a link in the comment, but leaving a specific page in the url field.

    What if I was truly thoughtful about this, so when I commented on a Dayton blog, on a post asking how Realtors come up with a listing price, I left the url of my Selling a Home in Dayton category instead of just my home page? What if, when I leave a comment on a Dayton blog, on a post discussing something cool going on in Dayton, I left a url to my Things to do in Dayton category? Wouldn’t it be more useful to someone clicking over? Could I win a small battle? Go niche? I could send people to a flickr account, if appropriate, or one of my multiple twitter personas. When commenting on a blog here, in the RE.net, I could send people to my Bloodhound archive, or my BHB subscription page…

    This has never occurred to me before, but I wonder if this idea is fully incubated. Would it be more useful to a reader, or is this poor online etiquette? Anyone else doing this? Everyone else doing this? Any results you’d like to share?

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  • 15 comments

    Project Bloodhound: Viva Las Vegas pays out in Black Pearls

    Blog World and companion conference, REBlog World, have ended. Kudos to Todd Carpenter and Jason Berman for putting REBlog World together, very nice to meet both of you. I completely agree with Eric Blackwell that the relationships matter. I agree with Inman Connect and NAR Convention goers that what happens in the halls is very important. I maintain my aversion to the vendor exhibits, bringing home zero sch-wag except for a crap pen from the hotel, the Palms, which has the Web 2.0 cluelessness to charge $2.00/page for printing. For that reason alone, I won’t be staying there again thanksverymuch, although the bathroom in our room was quite spectacular, and the bed was comfy enough to sleep in. No cockroaches, yet. Note to Palms staff- the room was a bit grungy under the window, and you shouldn’t neglect to clean the sides of the chairs. Ick.

    Back to the conference. It was mostly geared toward starting a blog, but I did learn a thing or two, or three. Let me share some random notes.

    If you are not paying attention to what the Housechick is doing, you are missing out on one of the sharpest minds in the RE.net. Her Vegas presentation on Pay Per Click marketing was, by all accounts, one of the best sessions of the entire weekend. Watch this space and learn how brilliant and unique marketing can create a kickass online presence. Some take aways that you can put to use whether or not you care to PPC “Win the small battles. Go niche.” Kelley’s focus for her ads is not for broad search terms like “Tucson real estate”, but in very well defined terms like “average sales price for homes in Tucson”, or even more narrow- down to neighborhoods. Then she writes posts to answer that question. She likes to focus on verbs “Buy a home in Tucson”, “Search for a Tucson home”. She’s using concise terms, with a clear benefit, and action words to create her ads. I think using those parameters as a basis for a post and post titles, is a wise idea. Write to that person’s mind, write in an engaging style, you’ve got yourself a blog that has real value for the reader.

    Jeff Turner yelled at us. ::sniff:: Yes, warm and fuzzy @ResPres admonished us to get off our booties and start utilizing tools that will make our sites and our world richer and more meaningful for our clients. I took that personally as I am sometimes slow to appreciate the added value of tools and widgets, but he quoted Dan Green, “You can never explain an important issue too many different ways.” Cue the light bulbs: Oh. Yeah. That. Jeff’s requirements for a useful tool: It must be “simple, stable, sharable, personal”. He suggested Yammer, eyejot, the tool formerly known as utterz, to name a few. These are not toys with which to gum up your site, but tools that can create useful applications for reaching clients in ways that make sense to the reader- added value. Who knew? Okay Jeff, I’m on it.

    From the Blog World conference:

    A panel discussion on How to Plan, Build and Promote a Business Blog had handouts! I love handouts. Some black pearls:

    “Think about finding the clients you want to work with and dissuading the rest not to work with you.” -Rich Brooks.

    How to get started writing: Des Walsh suggested thinking about having a cup of coffee with someone, and then writing to that person. That’s been discussed, but I love that he suggested starting a post with sentences such as: “I’ve been thinking about…” or “I’m really excited about…” What a great way to just sit down and start writing if getting started is an issue for you.

    John Unger is an artist who makes six figures selling art through his blog. I would think that takes some skill so I’m paying attention to this guy. From Unger’s handout: “Ideally, the overlap between your needs and your readers’ is a one-to-one match. But in the real web, there’s some discrepancy. By focusing as much as possible on the area where both needs come together, you’ll meet with the greatest success.” And more about that “By designing every element of your blog to serve a purpose or need for the kind of client you actually want, you make it easier for them to build a relationship and eventually do business with you.” He’s very adamant about good blog design, has a TypePad hack blog, offers these thoughts about design: “In design, and hacking especially, the answers come from looking at what things do rather than what things are supposed to do. … almost all the hacks I’ve come up with are based on using a feature for something other than what it’s intended use. Misusing something because it does exactly what you need when put in a different context is the core skill of hacking.”

    And finally, I’ll leave you with this brutally honest reverse Black Pearl from Notorious R.O.B., who, during Jeff’s session, shared his opinion about the quality of writing on some real estate blogs: “In the name of all that’s holy, you should stop blogging!” Ouch, Rob.

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  • 18 comments

    Project Bloodhound – Advice Needed

    I figured we haven’t had a Project Bloodhound post in a while and I can use some advice, so I thought I’d throw it up for discussion. Here’s the scenario first and then, after that, I’ll throw out my questions:

    I’ve been asked to give a presentation to the board of Directors for the local board of Realtors next week Tuesday on the state of the mortgage market. The person who asked me is one of the owners of a local real estate firm and he’s been reading my Mortgage Market Week in Review for a long time. Without sounding like I’m patting myself on the back, I would have no problem putting together a 20 to 30 minute presentation on what’s happening in the mortgage market. But Greg Swan has taught me that that’s not good enough.

    Using Greg’s analogy, I want to set the bar so high that my competition can’t compete. I want to set the bar so high that all of the members of the board (or at least most of them) go back to their firms and tells their agents that they need to at least talk to that “Vanderwell guy” because he’s where it’s at.

    So, here are my questions (for those of you who are real estate agents, especially):
    1. If you were going to be at the presentation what would you like to hear?
    2. Is there anything that a mortgage lender can say about today’s market that will help you do your job better?
    3. What else should I do or attempt to do in the 30 minutes that I’ll have?
    4. What should I avoid doing?  I’ve already learned (or relearned from Greg and the Gang) that I need to make something  like this about the industry and my knowledge of it, not about me or my bank.   So, if you were reading this and thinking that, we’re on the same page.

    Thank you in advance for being willing to share the collective wisdom of the Bloodhound Gang. I’ll do another post and report back in afterwards as well.

    Oh, in case you are wondering, I have my own ideas, which I’ll share after some discussion hopefully starts. I want to hear what the guys (and girls) on the “other side” of the line think.

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom with all of us!

    Tom

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  • 3 comments

    A Eulogy….

    Dearly Beloved:

    We gather here to commemorate the dearly departed who’s passing we mourn today. I’d like us to take a few moments to dwell on the lives that were lived, the good that was done, and the ways we can learn from their excesses.

    Fannie lived a good long life. She came to this earth during the Depression and spent many many years doing good and helping many many people live the American Dream and buy a house of their own and benefit from long term fixed and affordable mortgages.

    Later in life, Fannie’s younger brother came on the scene. Freddie, beset with a case of sibling rivalry, attempted to outdo his older sister. First Freddie attempted to do the same thing that Fannie did and all was well. Competition was good, it kept the siblings honest and many people benefited.

    But as Fannie grew older, she began to resent her younger sibling. He was younger, less experienced, but kept up with his older sibling quite well. As the sibling rivalry grew, more risks were taken. In their attempts to outdo each other, greed and corruption took over. Risks were taken and increasingly risky behavior was considered acceptable.

    Over the years, the markets responded very well to Fannie and Freddie’s increasingly competitive and risky behaviors. More and more people were able to live the American Dream until the American Dream became too expensive. Suddenly, the risky behaviors that Fannie and Freddie were engaging in weren’t paying off quite as well.

    Initially, Fannie and Freddie seemed fine, but later it was determined that the risky behaviors had caused significant internal damage. Many efforts were made to revive them and bring them back to full health. The medical bills have been staggering and the efforts were heroic. But, alas, it was too late.

    Rest in peace, dear brother and sister. Know that you’ve done well and helped many over the years. Know that the lessons that we’ve all learned from you will echo throughout the years: Know your limits, be responsible, don’t let greed run rampant.

    In Memory of our Dearly Departed, I ask that you join me in singing the great old hymn, “He Has Never Failed Me Yet…..”

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  • 1 comment

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