Why has working Real Estate leads become more difficult while the internet is supposed to help connect people like never before?
The internet today is not too different from the newspaper business in the muck racking era we learned about in high school. This was when William Randolph Hearst was famous for supposedly telling Frederic Remington “You furnish pictures and I’ll furnish the war” meaning that he would make up what he needed to gin up interest in a war and increasing his newspaper circulation simultaneously by promoting a war with Spain. Newspapers were not held up to any sort of standard and many times made up their own stories out of whole cloth. This was referred to as “Yellow Journalism” and it still exists today and in fact is allowed to flourish online as there are few checks and balances.
If every newspaper were allowed to create their own stories today we would be reading about aliens landing in Time Square every other day.
This same Yellow Journalism is alive and well and has taken on a different aspect online as newspapers are not interactive while the internet is completely interactive and with the proliferation of Blogs and social media the fire storm of yellow journalism has caught fire like never before in the history of the world. The lack of integrity, research and even the semblance of standards of conduct are all but thrown out of the window. As the use and uses for the internet continue to outpace the governing bodies false and inaccurate information is common place online as it has only been a few years since the internet has become a mainstream influencer while replacing print media as the largest source of information for the majority of Americans. Perhaps we should all get together and agree that some people should not be able to post anything online. Excluding myself of course.
The Yellow Journalism that takes place today shows itself in our industry with homes being posted online that are not on the market at all. This has been a standard practice for as long as I can remember. As an example In 2000 a report was done by Gomez that illustrated that the big real estate sites had grossly over quoted the number of homes they had online. MSNhomes, AOL and Yahoo all boasted that they had 1 million homes online while not one of them did. The exaggeration was not isolated to them but they are the best known. The amount of listings on a particular website is helpful in a number of different ways to the website and listing more than are actually for sale provides the user/real estate lead with the false impression that they don’t need to go anywhere else to find the homes that they want.
The issue comes to a head when the home that some unsuspecting home buyer falls in love with was sold several months previous and the website left in online to inflate their inventory. This is when the local brokers that are already agitated about losing real estate leads to competing realtors decide to remove their listings from the sites that are most notorious for this practice.