Advanced Access or No Access?

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Services for Real Estate Pros with 123 Social Media

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.

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Rainer
303,440
Advanced Access
Advanced Access - Anaheim Hills, CA

Hello there,

This article was written by RISMEDIA. They directly interviewed Sam; we did not contribute to this article except recommending Sam for a feature. I believe in the article he is referring to hits versus unique visitors. In our system this is called hits vs. sessions vs. unique visitors. Hits are total loads - not including image files, sessions are the total number of sessions which can inlcude the same user having a different session in the same day, unique visitors are true uniques. Compete.com can only get to pages that we have not blocked with robots.txt and other page and server level blocks, so their data for our sites is going to be significantly less than our statistics show in a client's admin section.

Being the host of so many real estate websites, I am sure you can understand us not allowing certain queries on our servers.

In checking compete.com's numbers for our corporate website, I found they were inaccurate as compared to Google Analytics and VisiStat.

Hopefully this helps clear up some of the confusion.

With our featured clients, we are asking more metric-based questions than in the past, however, many clients want to estimate information and not share details for competitive reasons.

Anna Bourland
Advanced Access
Web Marketing and Public Relations Manager

Dec 01, 2008 05:04 AM #1
Rainer
27,556
Barry Hurd
123 Social Media - Seattle, WA

I can understand if Sam was incorrect in his statement or the RISMedia team got it wrong. I'll CC both of them and see if they did.

Compete will vary by a degree, because it uses aggregate data pulled from multiple sources (FYI- Compete doesn't care about Robot.txt or page/server blocks, most data is pulled from browser data which is completely unaffected by anything present on the site/server: You can read the 101 here.) While I understand that data is sometimes off by a percentage, I have never seen it off by a multiple of 2 to 10.

In comparison to Google Analytics and Visistats, those are file tracking statistical packages that offer up entirely different numbers. They are also private numbers, rather than public ones. I can only write information about what I find online and have available to me as a news source.

I completely understand not sharing information for competitive reasons, but that also means that statistics from services such as Compete are the only ones you can debate on (I.E. you can't argue aggregated statistic vs fictional/unconfirmed statistics.)

As an FYI- someone at RipOff doesn't like you specifically: if you Google your name and company it pulls up in the results. ("Anna Bourland Advanced Accees" See here )

Dec 02, 2008 09:42 AM #2
Rainer
303,440
Advanced Access
Advanced Access - Anaheim Hills, CA

Hello Barry,

Thank you for the additional information on how compete.com is used and gathers their data. I did read that info page previously, but wasn't sure completely how they get the browser info, etc. I find they miss some traffic in our industry (where compete specifies limited results), so I haven't used it as much.

With regard to our private numbers, I was just acknowleding the difference in data and confirming (though only with my word) that there is a large gap. As you said, the only statistics up for discussion are the ones to which you have access.

I recently added a rebuttal at RipOffReport, but I don't see anything negative or otherwise about me specifically, or anything newly posted about Advanced Access. If you would like to email me a link, you may contact me at abourland@advancedaccess.com. You can also send any other inquiries to me if you want to delve into these statistics more.

Anna Bourland
Advanced Access
Web Marketing and Public Relations Manager
abourland@advancedaccess.com
714-685-5125

Dec 02, 2008 10:02 AM #3
Rainer
303,440
Advanced Access
Advanced Access - Anaheim Hills, CA

PS - I did notice this message on the stats for SamElam.com:

We have little data for samelam.com, so these are rough estimates. With more data, we can cover more sites. Try the Compete browser plug-in to participate.

It also sounds like the compete browser plug-in needs to be added in order for them to get the data. I could be interpreting that incorrectly, though.

At any rate, I don't think there is a need to debate "rough estimates" by Compete's own standards. For what it's worth, I am logged in to Sam's administrative section and can see that compete does not come close to matching his traffic data.

I appreciate your post and the time you have taken to reply to my comments. I hope to continue the dialog.

Anna Bourland
Advanced Access
Web Marketing and Public Relations Manager
abourland@advancedaccess.com
714-685-5125

Dec 02, 2008 10:15 AM #4
Rainer
27,556
Barry Hurd
123 Social Media - Seattle, WA

I think the Ripoff Report is keyed under your name as a phrase, it pulls up your name in this line of code:

"""<span class="updateReportedBy">Anna Bourland [11/13/2008 5:02:49 PM]</span>"""

That is due to the way RipOff works. They actually *hope* an official from the company they are targeting comments on the report, as it allows them to SEO the executives name. It is unfortunately a huge problem that many SEO folk have noted (Ripoff is the bain of many companies)

 

 

 

 





Dec 03, 2008 05:04 AM #5
Rainmaker
397,686
Kerry Lucasse
eXp Realty - Nest Atlanta Team - Atlanta, GA
Your Nest Atlanta Real Estate Consultant

Very interesting.  I use iHomeFinder for my primary website and have over 2,000 unique visitors each month.  When I entered my info into Compete.com, it was registering as 500 to 1000 unique visitors each month. 

Dec 03, 2008 04:38 PM #6
Rainer
27,556
Barry Hurd
123 Social Media - Seattle, WA

Kerry- that is interesting, perhaps Compete has a new lull in realtor specific sites for low traffic destinations?

 

I have compared roughly 30 or so real estate sites over the part year to the number and Compete was always within about 20% of the actual number.

 

Dec 08, 2008 04:58 AM #7
Rainer
207,498
Shane OnullGorman
Eau Claire Realty, Inc. - Eau Claire, WI
Eau Claire Wisconsin, Real Estate Agent & Realtor- Buy or Sell

I read everything here and it really doesnt seem to add up. Regardless if that site you mentioned was off a bit those numbers really dont add up. I cant imagine them being off by that much. Also counting hits as unique visitors is entirely misleading as well. You could jack up those numbers yourself simply by going back and forth and reentering the site. Its measuring by the ip addie that is the only really measurable way of tracking traffic. If you try to inflate numbers by using a metric that no one uses whats to say that everything else you are saying isnt flated as well? Fluff or no fluff this seems to me like one of those cases where someone is trying to advertise for their company and their performance doesnt match what they say it is.

Dec 08, 2008 10:36 AM #8
Rainer
303,440
Advanced Access
Advanced Access - Anaheim Hills, CA

Hi Shane, just to reiterate, Advanced Access did not write this article or get interviewed for this article. Sam was interviewed by RISMedia independently regarding his website.

If you have questions regarding his statistics, perhaps you should contact Sam directly.

Dec 10, 2008 02:47 AM #9
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Rainer
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Barry Hurd

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