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There’s always something to howl about

ARRGGHHH! I would love it if the PAR/AAR/NAR would stop taking my money, but, if they won’t do that, could they at least manage to get the hell out of my way?

So someone, somewhere in the alphabet soup of Realtor associations is selling my email address — or perhaps just giving it away. Realtors all over Phoenix are watching an idiot’s spam-fest, as one clueless victim after another tries to escape the spam spiral started by an agent who seems not to know that we discover properties for sale in the MLS system — that this is what the MLS system is for.

This by itself is nothing. I get at least a thousand spam emails every day. Moreover, I know that a lot of people in my profession get painfully flustered when they sit down at a computer — so worried they’ll make a mistake that they cause a disaster instead.

But I am sick to death of being “led” by morons.

Witness:

  • ZipForms does not work. It is crap software written by crap minds, with its bugs exceeded only by its omission of rational options. It was rammed down our throats by idiots at the AAR who obviously do not themselves use it. And yet, come the start of the year, we will have no choice but to use this piece of garbage — a fate which includes the vast legions of the flustered and the flummoxed.
  • And because ZipForms has not been a big enough disaster, the AAR is now preparing to ram a piece of transaction-processing software down our throats — which will almost certainly also be a piece of buggy Windows-centric crap.
  • The idiotic gateway software in our idiotic MLS system has never worked in Safari for the Macintosh. We’re getting rid of that crap vendor, thank god, but it is of a piece with the way the chefs of the alphabet soup have operated, that nothing they have promoted, until now, worked properly on the Macintosh.
  • They spam me, and they sell or give my email address to spammers — and they charge me hundreds of dollars a year to deliver my inbox up to this rape.

I don’t care that other people don’t thrive at my wavelength. That’s understood. But I do care that they use power I never ceded to them to make my work harder, my life less pleasing.

ARMLS is a technology company, and we are blessed that the people running it are committed to bringing us a better software solution. On the home front, ARMLS needs to understand that it is a technology company, like it or don’t, and conduct itself accordingly.

AAR is not a technology company. Its software choices suck, and it does not have the staff to support them, anyway.

PAR/WVAR/SAAR/SEVRAR/etc. are not technology companies. They don’t know what they don’t know — and that’s fine. All they need to do is stop spamming and stop giving away email addresses.

The NAR is not a technology company. Realtor.com is a spectacular disaster for the actual working stiffs — who are already paying huge dues before they are accorded the privilege of buying back their own listings. Now the NAR is spouting off about new national search systems, as if they have any business in the software business.

I belong to ARMLS to gain access to the database. I share my listings with you, you share your listings with me. The whole idea of shared listings could be done better, but, all in all, it ain’t awful the way it is.

If I could belong to ARMLS without belonging to PAR, AAR, NAR — I would be gone in heartbeat. Different people like different things, and that is fine with me. I am smart enough to solve my own problems, so what I like is to be left alone.

Grand Poohbahs take note: No matter how many votes you got in your kangaroo-court election, no matter how many shiny pins you have on your lapel, you are not qualified to make business decisions for me. I wouldn’t trust you if you were smart — and, believe me, I know by the brain-dead decisions you make that you’re way over your head. I already hate being sucked into this cartel, but everything you do seems to make me hate you more. My private prayer and my public resolve is that you achieve the status of all labor unions in a free economy — a noisome but meaningless redundancy. I would wish you dead, but we all know that vampires cannot die.

Why write this here? Because nothing will make any difference anyway. Organizations run by smart people don’t need me to tell them how to do better. Organizations run by self-satisfied jackasses don’t intend to do any better. That’s why it’s necessary to call them jackasses, so they’ll have a huffy pretext to rationalize their smug inertia.

I’d like to say I feel better, but I don’t. Tomorrow there will be something new to incite my ire. Even so, in the long run it makes no difference. Computing technology is going to drive the idiots out of our business for good and all. It will start with the idiot agents — the ones who don’t learn to conquer their inane fear of computers. But it will take out the entire NAR cartel eventually. What will remain will be smaller, smarter, faster — and much, much cheaper — just like everything in a free economy. They might spam us now, they might afflict us with amazingly stupid software choices, but in the long run they’re done for.

Their demise cannot come soon enough for me.

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  • 18 comments

    18 Comments so far

    1. loren nason November 28th, 2007 11:57 pm

      i can’t even count how many agents have asked me how to stop the flood of spam they get. It’s next to impossible.

      Because the Assoctiations either sell or give away the emails. I know for a fact it’s one of the two because I have a list that i have received.

      I won’t spam anybody on the list because it’s pointless and rude.

      I know of one agent who takes a similar list (about 20k long) and spams everyone on it with his listings.

    2. Greg Swann November 28th, 2007 11:59 pm

      > Because the Assoctiations either sell or give away the emails. I know for a fact it’s one of the two because I have a list that i have received.

      Check. In the Web 2.0 world, this is called betrayal.

    3. Russell Shaw November 29th, 2007 12:13 am

      FWIW, I don’t believe that PAR, AAR or NAR ever sell the lists of email addresses. A few years ago, I made the same assumption – that they did sell them. I tried to buy the lists from them and was told they don’t ever sell the lists. I did not attempt to buy a list from NAR or AAR, just PAR. I asked how the companies that send endless email to agents get those lists and the only answer I received was, “I don’t know” or “I have no idea”.

      Checking further I found that there were a number of companies that sell such lists. For example, here are the Google search results for “realtor email address lists” http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=realtor+email+address+lists.

      This company actively sends emails to agents and others inviting them to buy the lists: http://www.real-estate-agent-lists.com/. I did buy the list for Phoenix area Realtors from them (about 36,000 email addresses – about 6,000 bounces each time I use it) for about $525. The national list costs $4,000. I routinely receive emails from companies that have obviously purchased that list. Considering what companies like http://www.mlsflyers.com/ charge per mailing for a custom flyer (there are many other companies that do this as well), $500 seemed like a bargain to me. I have my computer guy do the actual sending and it takes about an hour of his time for me to reach about 30,000 agents. I use those emails to promote the free seminars I provide at the L. Ron Hubbard House. So far, I’ve had over 500 agents attend, with most of them returning a 2nd & 3rd time.

      As far as how the lists are compiled, I believe that the companies that have the lists have “harvested” the address from the internet – but have no specific data on that.

    4. Greg Swann November 29th, 2007 12:48 am

      I do not use the full form of my given name in any forum that could be scraped. Someone in PAR/AAR/NAR or ARMLS is selling or giving away my email address along with the form of my name that only they have.

      Amending this: Also possibly ADRE. And it’s possible that the source of these lists is someone pulling the addresses from the roster function in Tempo. I don’t care. Spam is a betrayal, period.

    5. Russell Shaw November 29th, 2007 1:01 am

      I do know one commercial broker with Re/Max who used to pay someone to keep her copy of the local agent’s email addresses current. I think she was using the roster function to pull them one by one. I know she wasn’t buying the lists, she was compiling it and keeping it current. You may be right about that.

    6. Brad Coy November 29th, 2007 2:01 am

      This BS came to a head a while ago. It was real cute when I got one or two mass distributed email flyers for a property way outside of my area to begin with. But after every tom, dick, and harry with a license started spamming me with their listings I was outraged. You are my peers. Stop! And the one’s I really love, and I get them all the time, are the geniuses that self generate their own “eflyer” and CC you on it rather than BCC. Didn’t they have a course on manners in Epro school?

    7. Teri L November 29th, 2007 5:14 am

      Email flyers are not huge here, but the first time I received an email flyer, I followed the link to the agent’s email and told her “Stop spamming”. She emailed a nasty note telling me to stop wasting her time.
      I told her me too and that I didn’t appreciate her spammy email flyer.
      She demanded to know why I was contacting *her* and not simply unsubscribing.
      Because you sent it to me.
      She then told me she did not send it to me, she paid a company to do that and therefore the flyers were not spam.
      That’s when I realized she was right. I was wasting my time and I should simply unsubscribe.

    8. Jay Thompson November 29th, 2007 7:13 am

      Amen.

      I also use a very unique form of my name with SEVRAR/AAR/NAR. Those groups are the ONLY ones with that form.

      It also staggering to me how many people can’t conceive of what “reply all” means.

      It it weren’t such a PITA, it’d almost be funny. Almost.

    9. Doug Quance November 29th, 2007 8:35 am

      Perhaps you need to run for office, Greg.

      Then there would be at least ONE person with some technology sense at AAR.

      Oh, and ZipForms does suck. Always has…

    10. Benn November 29th, 2007 8:43 am

      NAR & the other Ar-osaurs swear they do not sell lists. But I can easially go to the real estate commission website and purchase the list- I can also pay for the lists on several websites on the web. OR you can watch very closely for some idiot to forget to hide the names in mass mailers – this happened about a year ago…

    11. Benn November 29th, 2007 8:45 am

      by the way, I have a seperate business card for my email address. I never give it out on my standard card. I learned really quickly with my treo that getting mail everywhere you are from every random source is not often effecient. I do not need to know about a price drop in Leander Texas during a meeting with clients.

    12. Donald J. Leske Sr. November 29th, 2007 9:56 am

      Hey Greg I agree, as an Associate Broker I get NO breaks at all. I pay the NAR, I pay TPCAR (local Realtor Association), I pay the NWMLS, I pay my Broker to be in their office, I pay I pay I pay. The return is little if any. The National and Local Association of Realtors (of which I am a member), is in reality a Labor Union… with NO competition. You pay, or you get out. Thats it. sheeeeeesh. Anyway;

      As a Webmaster however I did do a few things to lessen my spam, not to write a long dissertation here and risk the ire of the Blog gods. ;-)

      A quick couple of tips anyway:

      1. If you belong to a large Franchise Realty group, you may have an email or webpage supplied by them which can be accessed by the spammers/hackers, who will “harvest” your emails like crazy. So get a couple email addresses and DO NOT use the published one given you by the office. Have a private one to have for only family and close friends and NEVER put it out on the Internet. Another one to communicate with just clients. You could also get a third one for a “junk” free email that is used for online stuff that you just empty and never really read.

      2. On your website use an Email Form with PHP/PERL scripts or similar that the end user will fill out. It gets emailed to your inbox just the same without ever exposing your actual email. You can alwasys share your “client side” email later with prospects or clients.

      3. Be careful with firewalls and software that catches spam…, it can also “catch” and delete your good desireable email from prospects. Its a catch-22 situation. Check each of your email accounts one at a time and you can see which is bringing in the spam.

      A bit off subject, but I am thinking about moving to another Brokerage, a “Non NAR/Local-AR” based one, and giving up my Realtor association. I found one Brokerage who.., after 21 years of being a NAR and local member, has written in a letter to withdraw membership due to lack of real support. Its all about the money IMHO when they charge $500 a year for an office girl who never meets or talks with the public, but only helps to process paperwork. *&(*&#%%#(% dang.

      Best regards to all,
      -Don / Associate Broker

    13. Vicki Brannock November 29th, 2007 10:16 am

      Greg,
      As the time draws near for our year dues this has been the topic of conversation for many of the agents in the Prescott area. Our association is typical in missing the mark on what we need from them to truly help our businesses. Something as easy as analytical data in xml or spreadsheet forms on local market conditions would save me hours of time and money. One of the biggest problems I see is that the background and experience of most agents (not all) has not been in business and they don’t know what they don’t know. PAAR if you can’t help me get out of my way!

    14. Bob in San Diego November 29th, 2007 11:19 am

      I got my bill in the mail yesterday. Thanks for venting for me.

    15. Rick Macosky November 29th, 2007 5:21 pm

      I have multiple email addresses. I changed my primary one with PAR about a year ago and I specifically checked the box that said something like do not release or do not include into the NAR list. Somehow the spammers now have 3 of my email addresses the original, the new and one of my others.

      I spend around 20 minutes to an hour daily either deleting emails or setting up rules to have them automatically added to the delete folder. I have been contemplating using this spam arrest service here http://spamarrest.com/

      A far as the price of the national database or REALTORS email addresses I ran across this site the other day by clicking on an adsense ad on some ones site. The spammers are now buying the list for $495 http://www.b2bdata.info/ra.html

    16. Russ November 29th, 2007 11:13 pm

      “I do not use the full form of my given name in any forum that could be scraped. Someone in PAR/AAR/NAR or ARMLS is selling or giving away my email address along with the form of my name that only they have.”

      It is definitely one or all of the three PAR/AAR/NAR based on what you are saying. I provided a different address to the State of AZ and it is unaffected. The account used for PAR, etc. was essentially a spam-free account before they got their hands on it. Jerks.

    17. Brad Coy November 30th, 2007 1:13 am

      I was reminded of this post again late this afternoon at 4:30pm when I received a Eflyer for a evening showing tonight no less, at 5:30pm off one of the busiest commutes in the city. Who is driving this agents marketing. If it were paper, I could not wipe my butt with it.

      -I’ll step down now.

    18. Cathleen Collins December 2nd, 2007 11:02 am

      Here’s a hint to the Realtors paying spammers like MyDailyFlyer.com: Spam Filters! My email clients are set to block any email from that domain, along with all the other Realtor spambots. So I won’t ever see your spam, but you’ll be paying them to send that flyer to my blind eyes.