Unethical, Lazy or just plain Coincidence. Which would you choose?

drevil_million_dollars.thumbnail.jpg 1.3 Millllllion Real Estate Agents exist….are you choosing the right one?

Let’s face it, it’s a tough market out there and getting found by a buyer or seller is critical to any real estate agent’s success. It’s more important then ever, that you find a real estate agent who is successful at what he/she does and is doing it honestly. I just ran across an article in RISMEDIA by Barry Hurd and he described unethical practices that real estate agents use to get their websites more noticed. One in particular caught my attention:

• Data blogs with no unique content (also known as splogs or scraper sites)

“With the creation of RSS (really simple syndication) the ability to import data into another site has become increasingly simple. Millions of spam blogs exists that have re-purposed duplicate content from hundreds of other sites, programmatically making changes to the original content to make it look slightly different. Typically these blogs give absolutely no credit to the originating author of the material and are breaking several copyright laws. Well-read online authors have this problem daily, hundreds of my articles have been stolen this way over the past two years. The primary reason for the existence of these sites is monetization through programs like Google Adsense which allows the site to profit off random traffic lured in using the stolen content.” (RISMEDIA, Jan 29, 2008 – Barry Hurd)

It’s one thing to quote somebody (which I just did), it’s another to take somebody’s work and use it as your own. Here’s an example of an article I published in February of 2007:

Georgetown, Texas Real Estate Agent Educates Custom Home Buyers

Proactive real estate agent in Georgetown, Texas dedicates himself to the ever-growing market for custom homes.

Austin, TX (PRWEB) February 14, 2007 — The Georgetown, Texas real estate scene continues to heat up, drawing homebuyers from all over the country. Many of these buyers are in search of custom homes, which are widely available in the Georgetown area. This has prompted one Georgetown real estate agent to carve out his own unique niche.

Edward Lui is one of the only real estate agents in Georgetown, Texas who focuses exclusively on the custom home market. He further distinguishes himself by providing an online resource focused on the Georgetown custom home market. Through his website, Edward gives homebuyers a one-stop shop for information about custom home builders, communities and resales in Georgetown, Texas.

Georgetown is located in Central Texas, just 25 miles north of Austin. In recent years, this area has become increasingly popular among homebuyers due to a variety of factors — good schools, business opportunities, wide-open spaces, and the live music scene and nightlife of Austin.

Many Texans relocate to Georgetown for a home in the country with easy access to the city (Austin), while also enjoying one of the state’s lowest property tax and crime rates. Out-of-state buyers relocate to Georgetown, Texas because the homes are more affordable than in their own states, and they fall in love with the charm and quality of life Georgetown, Texas has to offer.

Combine this influx of homebuyers with the variety of custom builders and communities in the area, and you’ve got a booming market for custom homes in Georgetown, Texas. That’s the exact audience Edward Lui hopes to educate and connect with through his website. Among other things, Edward’s website provides:

  • Information on the most popular custom home communities around Georgetown
  • A list of custom home builders in Georgetown, Texas.
  • Custom homes that homebuyers can browse through by price range
  • A Georgetown, Texas real estate and lifestyle guide full of relevant resources
  • A forthcoming blog dedicated to the custom home market in Georgetown

“The website is just a first step,” Edward explained. “My goal is to provide a concierge level of service for anyone shopping for a custom home throughout the entire buying or building process. I want to go beyond what people would normally expect from a real estate agent, through the website as well as the services I provide.”

Learn More About Georgetown
To learn more about custom homes in Georgetown, Texas, or to contact Edward Lui, please visit http://www.GeorgetownCustomHomes.com or call Edward at 512-554-9594.

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On the 1 year anniversary of this article I run across another article that looks strangely familiar (Agent’s name has been changed – everything NOT in bold is the same as the original article):

New: Georgetown, Texas Real Website to Educate Home Buyers

The Georgetown, Texas real estate scene announces it’s newest website where buyers can get the latest information on new and used homes in Central Texas.

Georgetown, TX (PRWEB) January 21, 2008 — The Georgetown, Texas real estate scene announces it’s newest website where buyers can get the latest information on new and used homes in Central Texas.

The Georgetown, TX homes for sale scene continues to heat up, drawing Georgetown home buyers from all over the country. Many of these buyers are in search of new and used homes, which are widely available in the Georgetown area. This has prompted one Georgetown TX real estate agent to carve out his own little niche.

Tally T is one of the real estate agents in Georgetown, Texas who focuses uniquely on the new & used home market. He separates himself further by providing an online resource focused on the resources required by the Georgetown Texas real estate market. Through his website, Tally T gives Texas home buyers & owners a one-stop shop for secrets about buying great homes, finding communities, and great school locations in Georgetown, Texas.

Georgetown is located in Central Texas. In the last few years, this area has become increasingly popular among home buyers due to a many factors — great schools, solid business opportunities, , and the live music scene and nightlife comparable to Austin.

Many relocate to Georgetown for a home in the country and quick access to the city, while also enjoying one of the state’s lowest property tax and crime rates. Out-of-state citizens enjoy Georgetown because of the lower home prices, and in the end they fall in love with the magic that Georgetown, Texas has to offer.

With all of these key ingredients in place, you’ve got a booming market for Georgetown TX New and Used Homes That’s the exact audience Tally T hopes to educate and connect with through his website. Just to name a few, Tally’s website provides:

  • Information on the most popular communites around Georgetown
  • A list of critical resources for any new home buyer in Georgetown, Texas.
  • New homes with 15+ large photos that home buyers can browse through by price range
  • Used homes with 15+ large photos that home buyers can browse through by price range
  • A Georgetown, Texas real estate and lifestyle blog full of valuable tips

“The website is just the beginning,” Tally explained. “My goal is to provide a full range of services for anyone shopping for a new or used home throughout the entire buying or selling cycle. I want to go beyond what people would normally expect from a real estate agent.”

Learn More About Georgetown Texas!
To learn more about new and used homes in Georgetown, Texas, or to contact Tally T, please visit http://www.XXX.com or call Tally at 512-XXX-XXXX

Does anybody else but me see the similarities? This was kind of scary. hobased_1972_9683827.gif Either I have a Siamese twin out there or somebody is taking some shortcuts! Earlier this month, somebody requested to quote some of my material for a new book she was writing. Although it seems like a great opportunity, I wonder how many books or blogs for that matter are comprised of original thought and how much is just quoted (or copied) content? I wonder if blogs should have a widget embedded in them that would give a ratio of quoted content to original thought. Lately, I’ve been cutting and pasting a lot of articles to my blog that I think would be relevant to my readers. Am I just as guilty or lazy? At the very least, I give credit to the original author. I see it more of a time saver and a service to my readers. Some people like to read the original article and not just get my “spin.” It’s also a lot easier then clicking around to different links that pop up dozens of windows on your screen. That’s why I quote.

Bottom Line: A good real estate agent isn’t somebody that can just drive you around in their car and fill out a contract. Make sure your real estate agent competes fairly in the market and has the respect of their peers. When they write an offer to their colleagues you can be sure their reputation precedes them.

Georgetown, Texas Real Estate Blog


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