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Number1Expert – Again? R U Serious?

In May of last year, Eric Bramlett shined the light on an apparent link building scheme that Trulia and Number1Expert had **apparently** **allegedly** been doing, having 3 links to Trulia via a little map widget installed on thousands of unsuspecting REALTORS’ sites created by N1E… Here’s the post that started the fun.

I got the honor of creating the graphic for that post. (read: enjoyed it and would do it again) Despite our efforts to educate REALTORS, many / most of the links remained. Most REALTORS were too busy with their own lives to realize that N1E was using them to help the competition after charging the REALTOR to build their web presence.

Fast forward to this morning. Now it’s my buddy Jon Karlen’s (insert hat tip) turn with the flashlight. He sends me an email, noting that a Florida REALTOR’s site now has a Homes.com map widget instead of Trulia. I do a little digging using the same technique that Eric Bramlett used… and VIOLA!, it appears to me that they have done this to many of the same Number1Expertsites…again. Yes it (Homes.com) is a sister company of N1E. (Dominion…appropriate parent company name, methinks) Yes, they only have 1 link. The rest is the same,no?. Am I missing something here? If you are a N1E customer, you are **likely** **apparently** feeding your competitors…yet again.

(Inlookers: Yes, this is the same Trulia who insisted that they made no changes after dropping in the search engines…and they magically reappeared) TO BE CLEAR: I am NOT saying that this is cause and effect, but the timing? Interesting coincidence. My target here is Number1Expert, but no matter. I could have sworn that Trulia widgets were on those sites up until recently…(I will check).

Note to Number1Expert customers:
Yet again, link love from your site is apparently being used to feed your competitors. The first time “could” have been an accident….now? Ummm…OK…maybe it is an accident too.Your call. I am just here to point out where the links are going…not to draw conclusions as to WHY.

Owning your own web presence also means defending your self against those who power your competition, at least in my view.

Thoughts?

Related posts:
  • Mike Wallace interviews Number1Expert and Trulia?
  • Number1Expert Re-Launches as Number2Expert
  • Number1Expert/Trulia Widget Link Count Correction

  • 9 comments

    9 Comments so far

    1. Lou Lynch February 25th, 2009 6:37 am

      I wonder if Number1Expert outlines this sort of “free use” in their TOS agreement with their customers. If so, they are legit (legally anyway). If not they may not only be ethically corrupt, their may be some legal issues to follow.

      Keep up the good work guys.

    2. Anonymous February 25th, 2009 12:43 pm

      Number1Expert clients can choose between a trulia map, a homes.com map, or no map at all from their control panel. Check the facts jack.

      [Ed. note: This comment originated from a domain owned by Best Image Marketing, publishers of the Number1Expert web sites. The only thing worse than sleazy vendors are sleazy vendors hiding behind anonymity. --GSS]

    3. Patty McNease February 25th, 2009 3:04 pm

      NUMBER1EXPERT(r) strives to provide features and services that drive traffic and leads back to our clients. The Homes.com map was announced to NUMBER1EXPERT clients as an alternative to the Trulia map option. If a NUMBER1EXPERT member chooses, the Homes.com map can be replaced with their previous map selection, or removed altogether, within the member’s Control Center. NUMBER1EXPERT client listings are distributed to Homes.com and 25 additional distribution partners for maximum listing exposure, with all inquiries from these listings sent directly back to NUMBER1EXPERT clients. We stand behind our products and services, and we will immediately investigate the previous post.

    4. Eric Blackwell February 25th, 2009 3:14 pm

      Dear Anonymous:

      Ah…yes. Which one is there by default and when was it changed? Hmmm? nice try.

      And since the unsuspecting REALTORS don’t frequently check the interior pages of their sites (their fault, granted…but I am trying to raise awareness.)they don’t change them because they are not aware of them. You basically have a built in link farm amongst the client base of N1E.

      And no, I don’t know WHEN (date and time) you made the change to the user being able to control it. When we did it last May with an agent from our office, it took three (friendly, granted) phone calls. He quit using N1E shortly after and has not been back.

      For the record, 7,220 +/-sites are showing as having the Homes.com widget on this one page alone. 2,060 are still indicating Trulia…BUT a high percentage of those don’t have a Trulia widget on them…they just have not been indexed yet…so you can expect that number to plummet to near zero.

      So my dear anonymous friend…are you contending that over the course of the last couple of months, that EVERYONE or even 80-90% of everyone in N1E went in and changed to homes.com in their control panel?

      Please. Help me understand that one.

      It LOOKS as if things were changed at N1E to Homes.com by default and N1E is relying on the law of REALTOR inertia…probably not a bad calculation.

      Why wouldn’t you set the default to no widgets????

    5. Eric Blackwell February 25th, 2009 3:39 pm

      Patty;

      Great to meet you. It appears we posted comments at the same time.

      Thanks much for looking into this.

      Best

      Eric

    6. Bob February 25th, 2009 8:16 pm

      this is the same Trulia who insisted that they made no changes after dropping in the search engines…and they magically reappeared

      This claim is BS. They removed the Google IP cloak they had going.

    7. Missy Caulk February 26th, 2009 10:27 am

      Eric, you are right. I looked before commenting.

      I had them remove the Trulia one and they did.

      I found it when someone searches under Feature HOMES which are MY listings.

      Now they are sending them to Homes.com.

      Thanks for the heads up.

    8. Missy Caulk February 26th, 2009 11:08 am

      Eric, they took it off very promptly.

    9. Eric Blackwell February 26th, 2009 11:58 am

      Hey Missy;

      a) Good to talk to you again.

      b) Thanks for the heads up. Glad they are taking them off. Just frustrated to hear that they insist on sapping their own website customers authority and using that for others competing in the same city.

      IMO, their default should simply be no widget.

      c) Glad you are squared away!

      Best

      Eric