As a online marketing, public relations and SEO guy: I take everything with a bit of salt. I need to understand the industry, marketplace, and business requirements to communicate a positive *yet factual* message. I hate seeing "fluffy" PR and marketing that claims numbers or certain metrics, then fails to provide any hard data to look at (especially if such data appears to be unreasonable)
That brings me to today, when I read an article on RISMedia about one of Advanced Access's "success stories" titled Taking Online Initiatives to the Next Level. Over the past few years I have continously run across many sites created by Advanced Access. I usually find that they are somwhere in the "middle of the road" classification of real estate sites: nothing too fancy, but with the essential data tools needed.
”While some agents think that 300 to 500 visits per month is a good number, my website is getting up to 20,000,” says Sam Elam, a broker with Phoenix’s RE/MAX Achievers. “People need to realize that you have to put something into your website in order to get something out of it. This is a result of using all the tools Advanced Access provides,” he says. “They make a lot of recommendations to ensure your website is SEO friendly." (FYI- Sam has an ActiveRain profile here)
Up to 20,000 visitors a month? Okay, I'll bite. For a moment I'm going to believe it.
Okay, that moment is gone. Now I'm going to visit Compete.com and double-check. Here is the Unique Monthly Visitor chart for SamElam.com
So I think, maybe the system is off... in all honesty Compete.com does use an aggregate method of data collection and this site may just have "flown under the radar" and be an anomaly. In my due-diligence, I will visit the Advaced Access Member Spotlight that says the sites are all "performing well" (Actually it says "Members of our Senior Management Team have chosen these Real Estate professionals as examples of clients who have utilized our products, programs and services to successfully increase their Internet presence. These informative, functional, and versatile Websites are shining examples of how a well-developed Website can enhance and often compliment the services that professional REALTORS® can offer to the many clients they serve as they begin one of the most important decision-making processes of their lifetime when purchasing or selling a home.") I tried everything on the page, but out of 10+ sites this year in the Spotlight area only three sites had enough results to chart. The other sites simply didn't have "enough data"
The sites that did not have enough data to display were: michaelanddeenorris.com - valeriagrunbaum.com -judykasper.com - teamconnecthome.com - home-search-now.com - jenniferlblalock.com - rebees.com - rodneywilkinson.com
Here is the Unique Monthly Visitor chart for Century21CoveredBridges.com , DebJones.com, and LindaZimmerman.com:
What is the lesson?
When presenting a marketing based number that can be double-checked for accuracy, make sure to be technically accurate. If numbers are estimated, SAY SO. (A.K.A. Compete uses aggregate data)
I would love to be proven wrong here. I know Advanced Access has serviced 1000's of agents over the years, but the numbers just don't add up. I think it is wrong of Advanced Access to use this type of information and not present hard, factual metrics. If such metrics exist and you have been mentioned in this article - I will be happy to review them in private or public and make an amended statement to this article.