Jul
12
2010

6 Real Estate Website Ripoffs

Real Estate Websites companies make lots of up-selling offers to their customers, but which ones are legitimate and which are ripoffs?

“Surely most website companies don’t offer ripoff products to their customers? That’d be bad for business…”

You’d think so, but unfortunately that’s not the case. We hear countless stories from customers moving to RealPageMaker about scams their previous providers were offering. Here are some of the more common ripoffs we hear about:

1. Keyword Reselling

Keyword reselling involves an intermediate company offering to send more traffic to your website by getting you a higher ranking in Google for certain keywords. They charge either a flat monthly fee or large one-time yearly fee.

“But don’t these companies offer a service?”

They do, but the service involves marking up Google Adwords by as much as 50%! Not only that, but they’ll occasionally get the content of the advertisement wrong, or in some cases just do nothing.

How to avoid this scam: Getting Google adwords is simple and effective. Either contact your website provider or refer to Google’s advertising solutions link at the bottom of their website.

2. Adding backlinks to social media sites

“Social Media” is undoubtedly the most trendy phrase in advertising at the moment, and unfortunately with hype comes ripoff.

Companies offering to “boost” your social media status by twittering or facebooking for you are blatant scams. The nature of “social media” marketing prohibits third parties from being effective resellers of any related service.

How to avoid this scam: Luckily this one is relatively easy to spot – if anyone offers “social media” products, just ignore them.

3. Craigslist and Kijiji auto advertising

Paying a company to automatically add your listings to Craigslist or Kijiji is behind the mark. These two services used to be reasonably effective lead generators but have recently lost their luster because:

  • There are too many people advertising their listings on these free services
  • In the past the public visited these sites to find FSBOs, but because of increasingly more MLS® listings they are now looking elsewhere

Some providers offer flat-fee services to add listings to these services, and other charge monthly premiums. There are two BIG problems with this:

  1. Adding listings to Kijiji and Craigslist is quick and free – a REALTOR® should understand the process before paying someone else to do it.
  2. Adding the listing only once is a waste of time. In large markets like Vancouver or Chicago, a listing on Craigslist will remain on the front page for as few as 3 minutes. Because of this they need to be added back constantly to be effective. No service I’m aware of offers this.

How to avoid: Do it yourself, or don’t do it at all.

4. Full Website Management for $50/month

Companies telling you that you’ll never need to touch your website after it’s up are full of it, and make me angry. These are examples of poor sales people who’ll say anything for a sale.

“But why can’t my website provider do this?”

Unfortunately $50/month isn’t enough to hire someone to write content and manage your website. $500/month for website management is about as little as you should be paying if you choose this service – and make sure you use a reputable firm… I’ve heard countless stories of customers being over-promised and under-delivered.

How to avoid: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

5. Multiple Domains Names are Important

This is one of the oldest up-sells in the book. Multiple domain names pointed at your website will accomplish only two things:

  1. Reduce your ranking in Google, and
  2. Cost you more

There is absolutely NO benefit to having more than one domain name. Period.

How to avoid: Easy – only buy one domain name.

6. Single property websites

Having a separate website for each individual property is an expensive and useless proposition. Here’s why:

  • Websites take several weeks or months to rank in Google. Your single-property website will never generate traffic itself.
  • Sites like Realtor.com and MLS.ca don’t allow you to specify a separate website for each listing – you’ll need to route traffic through your personal website. Kinda defeats the purpose doesn’t it?

This is a great way for a website provider to up-sell a customer, and a great way to spend extra money on something that’s completely useless.

How to avoid: Don’t have more than one website

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