Is this "Spam" or is this ok? Is this something the consumer wants to see, or would they rather just get straight answers to their?

Asked by Patrick Thies, Anytown, IL Sun Sep 19, 2010

questions? This came up within an answer on another thread. Is there too much solicitaion, email, phone numbers, website addresses and such within the answers to questions posted by the consumer? This used to be considered spam but seems to be becoming the norm when answering. This is not allowed on other sites, should it be allowed here? If so, is it taking away from the quality of responses to the consumer and making agents look bad?

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Zmbrennan, , San Jose, CA
Mon Sep 20, 2010
When asking a question I want a useful answer. If I get one I'm glad to know the source.

I dont like the general answers that really are a good agent (broker, mortgage loan officer)
to get this question answered. ie meaning if you want me to answer you need to call me.
2 votes
Florida Citi…, Both Buyer And Seller, Tampa, FL
Mon Sep 20, 2010
Seems reasonable to me, if a professional contributes to a public forum where the substance of what they write can be readily used by others, they SHOULD take the effort to insert their identity of frequently as possible. If you wrote it, let everyone know. Haven't real esate people been abused sufficiently by others who what to sell back to you your own information? Trulia is not different. If the intent of others is to leverage your contribution, don't make it real easy. Season your responses thoroughly with your name and contact data.

Also reasonable to me, is the concept a consumers question can not be answered precisely knowing the reader submitting the question on trulia does not provide adequate informaton for a real estate professional to make an absolute response. The invitiation to call the agent should be interpreted as 'More information needed, call if you have interest."

As a comsumer, I am very capable of determining when I want to stop reading. It is of no benefit to me to have third parties imposing restrictions that have no material benefit to me. I live in a world saturated in promotions of all kinds. I don't expect Trulia to be any different. Why do you?
2 votes
Gita Bantwal, Agent, Jamison, PA
Mon Sep 20, 2010
I thought Trulia deletes answers that seem to be self promotion when a question is answered. Unless the consumer is looking for an agent I do not ask them to contact me nor do I link to my other posts.
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2 votes
Jeanne Feeni…, Agent, Basking Ridge, NJ
Mon Sep 20, 2010
Hi All, I agree that the Q&A should be clear of spam - not only do I see it in the responses from agents but also when agents are new to the site, they will pose questions that are really an attempt to promote. I tend to politely remind them that it is not the place.

I am of the opinion that the blogs should not be as tightly watched - the consumer can choose to read or not and so if the content of a particular author becomes unappealing, they can just choose not to tap it. I'd focus on keeping the Q&A clean - and agree that lowering standards on that side could diminish the draw and stickiness of the site.
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2 votes
Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Sun Sep 19, 2010
If you're referring to the question from Louisiana, since there's no link provided, let me try to recap. A home seller asked if there were any discount brokers in his area. He received 6 responses. Three were from agents in the area who said, "Contact me." Three others were from agents in other states who cautioned against making a decision simply on the commission rate. They also pointed out that commissions are negotiable and that you "often get what you pay for."

The questioner then posted another question--complaining about "spam" from out-of-state agents. He clearly wanted a direct answer to his question: Where could he find a discount broker? He was irritated that out-of-state agents had responded with what he considered to be irrelevant responses.

If that's the question you're referring to, I defended the out-of-state agents for providing useful information.

But you raise an interesting question:

Are posts with names, phone numbers web addresses, e-mail links, and more spam?

Or are posts that don't specifically address the precise question asked spam?

Regarding that first question, it's a fine line. Someone could simply post: "Yes, there are discount brokers in Louisiana." But that might not satisfy the question.

Or: "Yes, there are discount brokers in Louisiana. Please contact me for more information."

Or: "Yes, there are discount brokers in Louisiana. Contact me. John Smith, ABC Realty, 123 Main Street, Anytown, Louisiana."

My personal preference would be for that second answer.

Hope that helps.
2 votes
Jennifer Bla…, Agent, Owasso, OK
Wed Sep 22, 2010
When I choose to answer a question, I always answer as best I can and "sign" below leaving my name and contact information. I do not consider it SPAM. SPAM is unsolicited bulk e-mail messages sent indiscriminately. What you're referring to could be considered Abuse, Inappropriate or Off-topic and can be reported. I don't have a problem with anyone leaving their information, I prefer it. It may be the policy of some local boards or perhaps even the law in certain areas that the agent post contact information if answering a real estate question. Laws and policies are changing due to social media.

I do, however, get extremely irritated when a question is asked and an answer is made such as: (Q) "My house has been on the market for over 6 months, no showings, no offers. What am I doing wrong?" (A)"Call me, John Doe, John Doe Realty (123)456-7890." This is inappropriate and a misuse of Trulia. Of course we don't know anything about the property or what the questioner has done to sell their home, but that's when we can post a question to the questioner, or gives an answer with stipulations.

As a consumer, I would be irritated if I got answers that say "Call me." As a Realtor, I appreciate sound answers with contact information.

@Gita I don’t have a problem with you doing this, but you stated unless the consumer is looking for an agent you do not ask link to your other posts. However, I noticed when you left this answer and other answers you attach your Remax website as a link with your answer. This is the topic at hand.

Jennifer Henning, REALTOR
(405) 625-1576
1 vote
Patrick Thies, Agent, Anytown, IL
Sun Sep 19, 2010
I'm referring to all of it. Blogs as well. IMO I think that if someone wants to contact an agent, they can click on their profile and get their information.

If someone asks are there any lenders, agents.... that's one thing. Then maybe a call me response is in order. But lately it seems that there are alot of posts with lame answers and a lot of email, phone number, website address, "Realtor for Life" "Your Forever Realtor" Your Shortsale Specialist" and on and on responses.

My understanding of the Q & A was for consumers to ask a question of professionals for answers and advice. I didn't think that the Q & A was a billboard for advertising.

We are all looking for business, but I think that it cheapens our profession when agents beg for business here and in the blog section. I didn't want to link to anyone thread inparticular, that's not my style, but I could have linked a dozen or so just today. I've been on Trulia for over a year now and IMO think that it has changed for the worse from what it use to offer the consumer, and feel that it reflects that with the amount of questions that are being asked by the consumer. Just my thoughts.
1 vote
Jenet Levy, Agent, New York, NY
Sun Sep 19, 2010
I think there are some blatant abuses on here. When consumers ask a question, quite often an agent posts an answer that essentially says "use me, use me." That is ridiculous. The pupose of answering a question is to give useful information.
I don't think there is anything wrong with putting your information below a thought-out, helpful, insightful answer. It's like signing anything you write.
What I think is utterly ridiculous is what agents put on here as blog posts. They put their listing up as a blog post. They put their open house info as a blog post. There's someone on here who has answered over 7,000 questions, rarely with anything of value, and then puts up blog entries of a 2-3 sentences such as saying it is a good thing to have house plants - house plants make your house look nice. There should absolutely be some kind of monitoring of "blog posts."
1 vote
Scott Miller, Agent, Boca Raton, FL
Sun Sep 19, 2010
Hi Patrick. I think you're referring to the one I answered, no?

At some point Trulia changed their rules and wrote me an email that said I had to drop my tagline but that I could keep name, phone number, brokerage, city, state, website, etc. Maybe they need a clearer policy like you suggest. Zillow was mentioned as having an extremely strong policy against personal info in answers from agents.

If a person is asking for help specifically about a property in someone's area, and they're requesting contact information, then it's not soliciting.

What's MUCH worse is all of the spamming going on in the BLOGS. It's horrendous and I brought up a similar question today at:…

Please let me know if you think I'm right or wrong.

Thank you.

Scott Miller, Realty Associates, Boca Raton, FL
1 vote
Stevens Kenc…, Agent, Greenwich, CT
Wed Sep 22, 2010
I think that it is helping the quality of responses. The consumers are savy right now and know when someone is full of it and when someone knows what they are talking about. A lot of very very good brokers are spending time and effort on this site answering questions in full detail. These brokers are not only doing this because of their interest in the subject matter, but with the interest in possibly gaining a client. I don't see any problems with this at all. Its a great way to market yourself and a great way for Trulia to get experts spending real effort on hard questions.

Agents that sign off (as Jennifer mentioned) with a couple words telling the client to call them are not going to get the call. The agents that spent time and effort answering the question should (and will) get the call. This seems to be in the best interest of everyone (Trulia, Client, and Agent). You agree? I don't see any downside. An agent should be recognized for their hard work.
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0 votes
Scott Miller, Agent, Boca Raton, FL
Sun Sep 19, 2010
You're right 1000%, it's not a billboard to solicit. If you look at the email Trulia wrote me way-back-when, you'll see that they outlawed taglines.

Why not write an email to Emily, Rudy and management? I don't like Zillow at all, but maybe they have a good policy when it comes to zero tolerance for soliciting.

And Jenet's right, too, about the abuse going on in the blog posts. It's gotten to the point where it looks like Acitve Rain, where people will write just about anything, including their deodorant preference, shoe size, or try to convert you to their religion with no shame. Maybe I'm stretching it with the deodorant and shoes, but Trulia doesn't want to look like AR, there's just waaaaaaaaay too much spam there.…

So now what?
0 votes
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