THE BIG BREAK--UP??...OR WISHFUL THINKING?
Sometime in 2006--2007, a successful technology team decided that real estate was the next obvious target to take on: The multi-billion dollar brokerage industry was a treasure that no one, not a soul had ever even thought of trying to control outside of the individual states.
If they could do it to the Travel Agencies across America, they could do it to the real estate market. But, those same technology experts also knew that they had to protect themselves from the States Licensing laws by never obtaining a license! These technology guys would just take or scrape the listings off all the brokerages websites, use the data for their own platform and they would be protected from the regulations that the states freely assign to their licensed agents and brokers, because they were not licensed!
Just what was it that they took? Read on:
The real point of what is causing most of the chaos that is driving the big changes in real estate brokerages today are non-licensed companies that have claimed the real value in brokerage and that is it's original, authentic and high quality content....Don't forget the term: "Content Is King!"
Content controls everything real estate on the Internet!
- Just as all content must be original, authentic and high quality in order to attract SEO from all search engines, listings must be made up of the same "stuff" in order to attract buyers.
- Sellers must be sure their properties are made up of this high quality content in order to get them sold.
- Listings are the "content" needed in real estate to stay in business! Otiginal listing data; not copied or scraped!
- and brokerages no longer hold that content....They gave it all away and now are scrambling to try to re-capture something that cannot be re-captured!
This idea of capturing the original, authentic and high quality content of the real estate game is what drove Z to run down these big brokerages and convince them to become "partners"!
They Bamboozled the big Corporate Brokerages!!
...These technology giants are NOT licensed so they do not have to follow the strict state licensing laws like we do--and they need the Google Juice that comes with OUR original content. No more scraped -(Copied and pasted) listings for Z, as they used to do!
NO! They now have the ears of the Corporate leaders, the big companies, the ones who came to this community and many other smaller resort communities around the country and bought out all the Mom and Pop real estate offices. They are the ones who brought the concept of "Branding" into the way of thinking of real estate brokerages here in the Hamptons and this branding was created to attract celebrities and other big spenders into the Hamptons, Big Time!
These are the companies who took the position of market leaders as they marketed to the celebrity. They have literally changed the face of this quiet country side into a honky tonk sort of existence for most who choose to live here full time. It's "Hollywood" glamour and "party time" appeal in their advertising and marketing efforts that has made this lovely, historical sea side resort a zoo for 4 months out of the year...and longer.
I see we are closer than ever to becoming the one thing that none of us wanted out here, at least in the summer season: A slick, big city "conglomerate" attitude with more money than taste!
The Big Box Corporations, seeking to tap into the budding wealth equity of new development in the real estate industry in the mid 2000's, saw their opportunities here in the Hamptons. And then the bigger, sophisticated building trades saw the same thing.
Together, they have literally altered the demographics overnight and we now are watching as the priciest properties are sold right here in the middle of the most fertile soil between ocean and bays--pushing farmers out, forcing them out or into bankrupcy if they didn't sell their farm fields to developers.
There are heart breaking stories--stories about 200 and 300 year old farms whose ancestors are being shaken down by the courts on behalf of bigger, wealthier land developers. But that is for another post, another day.
The Big Corporate Brand of real estate is what attracted Z,S and T. These tech guys saw an opportunity as well, and they created an offer the big box real estate companies could NOT refuse: They offered them the best SEO in exchange for giving those technology theives all their data---ALL their listings!!!
The big brokerages sold us all out and now, after having given away the life blood of the entire industry, they think they can shift the focus away from agents and listings (content) to technology and algorithms!
How unaware they are--Z got what they wanted from all the brokerages and left the skeletons of these firms in place. Now they are just waiting like vultures to step in and clean up the mess after the collapse!
UPDATE: New York State is taking a strong stance now going after agents who advertise incorrectly and do not properly identify themselves and their sponsors in every ad they run--19 NYCRR Section 175.25. This includes their ads run on Z, S and T!!
Now, this is no big deal to me because I don't run any ads anymore (and I don't pay Z for space)--But the agents who are on Z and other sites, they do put YOUR INFORMATION on an ad AFTER YOU HAVE PAID THEM!!
Guess what? If you are that agent you can be fined $500 for the first offense, $1000 for the second and $1500 for the third and it goes up incrementally if your information is inaccurate and if you have your face plastered next to another agents listing!!
How's that for Irony??. We have been totally duped into thinking we are somewhat protected by our licensing laws and we are anything but!
According to a State administrator working for one of our Real Estate Associations here, there is real anger at the brokerages who have given away the precious life blood of the prized Exclusive listings. Homes are being watched and owners are being contacted to see if they have given permission to advertise by these agents. It is NOT Z, S or T who will be fined for this false advertising!
This is war folks--and we may be the direct target for being fined and therefore responsible for the whole mess!
There is real intent by New York State to re-take the controls of this ship that is so off course--The states may start to regulate the public as well, I hear. In other words, the states may find regulations to try to control what Z,S and T are doing with our content in the way they advertise! Let's hope that is in the cards--I don't know if it is even possible.
This would be the most noble of efforts on behalf of our profession on the part of the state governments, ever!--It just may end up to be the straw that broke the camels back.
I can't wait to see how it all unfolds....
Maybe anti-trust laws come into play? We will see...