Truth in Advertising for Sacramento Real Estate
Is there such a thing as truth in advertising — especially when it comes to Sacramento real estate? I have learned first-hand that there is a difference between saying my business as a Sacramento real estate agent has exploded 1000 percent and saying it has exploded like a 1000 percent, when my business suddenly grew by leaps and bounds a ways back. Not to mention, some agents get very jealous when an agent says things like that, especially if they aren’t doing very well themselves.
I want you to know it’s not a petty nature that brings up the new advertising that the franchisor of Century 21 is doing to try to attract agents/ franchise buyers. I don’t need any more agents on the Elizabeth Weintraub Team, I don’t care what Century 21 does, and there is absolutely zero conflict nor green eyes here. Just truth-in-advertising issues. The advertising efforts of Century 21 are targeting other real estate agents, so that might be the reason all in itself for no apparent complaints. The new Century 21 ads show a person who does not really look like a Century 21 agent, doing spectacular things such as SCUBA with sharks, scratching the chin of a lion, and the ads say: This is a Century 21 agent.
Except it probably is not. It could be Photoshopped, too.
You’d think if it was a real agent, it would identify the real estate agent, and the ad contains no identification. The ad also does not disclose in the small print that the person pictured in the ad is a paid model and not really a real estate agent. I’d say that kind of marketing violates truth-in-advertising and not only in spirit. A lawyer might argue: Do you really believe a Century 21 agent can tame a lion, come on? Still, Century 21 should probably not advertise in this manner. It sort of lacks truthiness.
It reminds me of what happened a couple of days ago when I was contacted by a “book agent” from Local Einsteins Books. She asked me to write a chapter called: What to Know About Buying or Selling a Home in Downtown Sacramento. Why not the whole city, I wondered, I sell real estate throughout Sacramento and beyond. On the other hand, it’s not out of the ordinary for me to receive a pitch from a publisher. I have written many magazine and newspaper articles as former freelancer, authored a book: The Short Sale Savior, and I am paid to write about Home Buying for About.com, which draws upon my experiences as a top-producing Sacramento real estate agent.
Something about this “book editor’s” approach set off alarm bells. I went to the Local Einsteins website. The website goes to great lengths to talk about how the publisher presents this opportunity to only 4% of the real estate population. A red flag. Simon and Schuster doesn’t do this. I suspected the company probably doesn’t pay, in fact, I wouldn’t be astonished if the publisher asks the agents to pay to be published — there are a lot of companies that make money this way, believe or not. If you want to take money out of somebody’s pocket with great ease and slip it into your own pocket, there is hardly a better market to target than real estate agents — real estate agents are so easily sold.
The “book editor” said agents who write for them get 30% royalties. But each agent writes a chapter, so I imagine the payment is pretty small. It’s probably based on net, so if there are, say, 10 chapters (10 agents), and if the book nets, oh, how about $2.00 after expenses, maybe that means 10 cents a book. If they sell 100 books, it could be ten bucks. Buttttt, she stuttered: the exposure ** the publicity ** your name in lights ** ! Yeah, right. Where? Have you ever heard of Local Einsteins before? Do they enjoy SEO — I couldn’t find it in Google. Yet, I’m sure there are no shortage of Sacramento real estate agents lining up to become a “published author” of a chapter in a book for Local Einsteins Books. It just won’t be this Sacramento real estate agent. I wish them well. Every company has to make a buck somewhere. It’s what capitalism is all about.
I run a small business. A successful business. No time for crap. If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in Sacramento, call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916 233 6759. You’ll be happy you did.