You’ve Gotta Love Anonymous Comments!

Last night I received a comment on my previous blog post just as I was going to bed. This kind of post nearly always comes from somebody who wants to “ring and run” and someone who almost never identifies himself. But it bothered me a lot, keeping me awake — it was hurtful and it was just plain not true, and I thought I would take a few minutes to share it as well as share my thoughts about the comment.  (I’m sure “Anonymous” never expected me to publish his comment, much less feature it in the body of a stand alone post.)

“Your marketing “blog” is a decent attempt to drum up sales for your company. I am not a big fan of peddling fear myself. The truth of the matter is, even most non performing sites are already DOJ compliant and perform to the letter of the law and they either have registration turned off as an option by the agent or the brokerage themselves. Simply requiring registration is not a huge undertaking for an agent to accomplish and truth be told the DOJ is doing most of the agents out there a favor by making registration mandatory.  As far as free registration sites and websites are concerned any agent out there can get a blogspot website for absolutely nothing and have a page with registration up in hours and all they are out is minimal hosting expenses and an 8 dollar URL.  Given their lengthy free tutorials and extensive help any agent regardless of age will have no problem setting up what they need with little to no hassle and be indebted to no one. They also will not be harassed to “upgrade” anything by a sales staff. I realize my post will fall more than likely on deaf eyes as I am sure you will delete this as it is not a pro post and this is little more than a poorly indexed marketing tool and not an actual blog. At any rate I hope at least one person gets to read it.” – Anonymous

Wow!  Where do I begin?  Let’s start with my motive.  Over the last few years we have given away our training to over 90,000 agents who have attended our seven-day online Ultimate Listing Seminar or our eight-day Becoming a Mega-Producer Seminar.  We’ve had hundreds attend our two-day in-person training at our corporate office.  We’ve been instrumental in turning around the careers of a large number of agents and we have never charged a single one of them a dime for our training.

We’ve given away our contact manager, Pipeline Basic (no longer available), to over 14,000 agents worldwide, and never charged anyone for the software even though it’s the most advanced and most robust real estate contact manager available today.  Its features far surpass Top Producer, Agent Office, Market Leader, and many others, and yet we give it away free with no strings attached.  And now we are giving away our free DOJ/NAR compliance gateway to try and keep three-quarters of a million agents from running afoul of the US Department of Justice in the next 90 days.

So, why do we do all this for free?  Really there are several reasons.  First and foremost is that I believe in the Principle of Reciprocity, or Sowing and Reaping.  I teach it in my seminars and summits and I’ve included it in several of my books.  We’ve all heard the old adage that what goes around comes around.  It’s true.  Scripture teaches us that, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” In other words, give, and it will be given to you.  This principle has two aspects:

Quantity.  To the degree that you give, to the same degree you’ll receive. “He that soweth sparingly will reap sparingly.” The more you do to help others, the more your kindness and generosity will come back to you.  Giving abundantly is the key to success.  I know of lots of agents who never volunteer at their local Association, who never take the time to help a new agent, who never help those in need.  What a shame.

Kind. You will reap in kind with your sowing.  If you plant apples, don’t expect to grow bananas. If you want to reap success, you need to sow success for those around you. If you’d like to receive happiness, then make sure that you don’t sow seeds of “ugliness” for those around you. Whatever seeds you plant will ultimately come up. Make sure you’re planting the right seeds.

I very much want to reap success, so that means that I need to sow success.  Now how can I do that practically?  By doing my best to help other agents to be successful.  I’ve been very fortunate in this business and I would very much like to continue to be successful.  That means I need to sow abundantly.

Another reason we do this for free when others charge for everything is that we believe in the new economy of free.  Today, companies like Google, Netscape, Microsoft, and many others give away much of what they do.  It is the new economy.  You don’t pay for email.  You don’t pay for a browser.  You don’t pay for anti-virus software.  Why should you pay for a contact manager, a word processor, a spreadsheet, or even a DOJ compliance gateway?  The question shouldn’t be why is ours free… it should be why isn’t everyone’s?

We provide much of our software and training free because our company was founded on the principle of agents helping other agents.  And since we have already developed this technology and have been using it for over 5 years, and over 5 million registered users, we thought we would share it with our fellow agents.

Finally, we also believe that once you get to know us, you’ll like our company and our technology, so that when you need one of our other technologies, you’ll consider us. Think of it like free Adobe Reader. One day you may need to create pdf documents, so you’ll probably buy Adobe Acrobat.   I hope that this gives the skeptics like “Anonymous” a reason to trust us a little more.

Oh, and by the way, with over 90,000 agents who’ve taken our training and over 14,000 who have licensed our free software, we have never — not even once — called any of them to solicit them in any way.  Never.  In fact, you may find it difficult to believe, but we don’t even have a sales department and we don’t employ any sales staff.  Zero!  If you’d like to see for yourself, just come visit our offices in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the most important factual error in Anonymous’ post:

The truth of the matter is, even most non performing sites are already DOJ compliant and perform to the letter of the law and they either have registration turned off as an option by the agent or the brokerage themselves.”

This comment makes it clear that Anonymous has either failed to read or failed to understand the new DOJ/NAR adopted policy for VOW (Virtual Office Websites).  The fact is that including a simple registration form like the one provided on almost every real estate website will not meet the new requirements.

So what does it take to be in compliance? Click to read the official policy. A website owner must install a registration gateway, and require any MLS/IDX user to register with a unique username and password. The user must also affirmatively consent to a very specific “Terms of Use” and “Privacy Policy” which must be included on the VOW website. Finally, the website owner is required to maintain all registration information, all user names, all passwords, and all contact information for each registered user for a period of not less than 180 days, and to provide for a complete audit trail to the Department of Justice upon request.

I truly hope that Anonymous now understands why we are giving away our free compliance gateway (and all the other stuff too, for that matter).  More importantly, I hope that he and the thousands of others who read this post will take the time to actually read the new policy.  DOJ/NAR compliance is not going to be automatic and I sincerely hope that agents take this matter seriously.  It would be a travesty to lose your right to use the MLS when it can be avoided by installing a free solution in less than five minutes.

If you’ve made it this far, I’d like to thank you for reading, and especially for understanding.  I know it’s hard to believe when we as agents are being hustled every day by “snake oil salesmen” hocking the latest in “agent solutions” for big money, but there are some good guys out there who really want to make this a better industry.  The truth is there are lots of us who sincerely want to help our fellow agents.   So take us up on the free help.  The principle of reciprocity will ensure we are well compensated in the long run!

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I give away about 99% of all my technology and digital training content, completely free of charge, because I want to see other agents have the same kind of success that I've had. But one thing I charge for is my Ultimate Website technology. This is the web technology I created for myself that turned my real estate practice around overnight, and now I license it agents everywhere. But right now it's too popular and is currently waitlisted. Click here to get on the website as soon as possible and I'll notify you as soon as new invitations become available.

Comments 3

  1. author Stephen posted June 7th 2010. 11:00 am Reply

    Well written response, Matt. My only addition would be just because you have an altruistic approach believing in giving will result in getting, don’t “expect” it because you may be greatly disappointed. Do it because you know it is the “right” thing to do and because you elect to do so. Then you will be delighted when your approach bears fruit while not feeling abused when it doesn’t. Been there.

  2. author Jonathan Wilcox posted June 20th 2010. 11:57 am Reply

    Frankly, I don’t know why the guy would,.. a., criticize you for your blogging and educational endeavors, and, b., make reference to the Dept of Justice with respect to setting up a blogging site.

    Unless I am totally missing the boat, the creation of blog sites and websites isn’t under the purview of any government agency, and they shouldn’t be.

    As an aside, all of this emphasis on blogging and other real estate betterment courses, etc. shows just how big real estate education is in the real estate industry. It really is where a lot of the money in the industry is made.

    • author Matt Jones posted June 20th 2010. 12:20 pm Reply

      Still laughing, Jonathan! Thanks for reading, and for your comment, by the way. I was laughing about your last sentence. I have to tell you, as someone who does a lot of training, the majority of which is for free, don’t quit your day job to do training.

      You think public school teachers have it bad, I’ve written and published nine books now, and all together, I sold 34 books yesterday, a great day. Not exactly New York Times best seller status. (Eat your heart out John Grisham!)

      I can’t speak for anyone else, but I do the training because I know that whatever I sow, I will also reap. If I want to be successful, I need to sow success in other people, and the best way I know to do that is by spending a lot of time developing training for other agents. Thanks again for reading, and for your great comment.

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