26 REALTOR® MARCH/APRIL 2014 REALTORMAG.REALTOR.ORG
or complete experience of it. AgentMatch
was only experimenting with one data set
Graham says the program’s intent
was always to be just one piece of a larger
agent search experience. Based on find-
ings from consumer focus groups and
real estate advisory groups, it plans to
gear up a broader program that includes
these five pillars:
Experience: including transaction his-
tory, such as active listings, and reviews
of your performance from past clients. (It
would not include days on the market or
list price to sale price ratio, which stirred
some of the AgentMatch controversy.)
Expertise: including REALTOR® certifications and designations; types of properties often sold; blogs or social networks
that demonstrate specific knowledge,
and your showing activity in an area.
Personal connections: revealing any
Manage Your Online Rep
friends of friends you’re connected with
on social networks; your bios; and per-
sonal recommendations from clients.
Brand: providing more information about
the brokerage you’re affiliated with and
any involvement in a team.
Responsiveness: detailing your average
response time to customer inquiries. Gra-
ham says consumers put a lot of weight
on agent responsiveness, potentially
leveling the playing field for newer agents
trust online reviews as much as
With so many companies trying to establish themselves
as the repository of customer reviews, naturally others are
springing up to offer reputation management services. These
businesses offer to help clients maintain a clean image online,
using search-engine optimization to bury any negative comments posted on websites such as Facebook, Angie’s List,
Companies may claim they can push down disparaging
remarks about you, but beware of strategies involving the use
of writers who post fake glowing comments about you. Last
fall, the New York state attorney general fined 19 SEO companies more than $350,000 for posting fake business reviews,
saying the firms violated state laws against false advertising
and deceptive business practices.
Real reputation management companies also focus on SEO.
But they attempt to boost your online reputation by posting
legitimate positive information about you and your business on
micro-websites, blogs, social media, and news media outlets.
For example, the company Reputation Changer says it can act
like your own public relations firm, offering a multi-pronged
approach to getting positive stories about you and your brand
spread throughout the Web.
Such strategies may include creating a company Wikipedia
page or serving as a guest contributor on an established blog to
boost other content about you online. The company will focus
on keywords that surface in your negative reviews and aim to
counter those with positive stories using the same keywords.
On its site, the company says it will “flood major news outlets
with articles and press releases” aimed at establishing you as
an expert and getting your brand recognized on online chan-
nels with “positive, compelling coverage.”
Most likely, you don’t need an outside company to manage
your online rep. Here are three strategies you can use yourself:
Monitor: Several sites will alert you to what’s being said
about you and your company online. Set up alerts on such sites
as Google’s “Me on the Web” ( www.google.com/settings/me);
Trackur; and Social Mention.
React: When a negative review rolls in, what should you do?
Todd Mobraten, former president of RES. Net, a real estate
technology company, suggests reaching out to customers directly. Listen to and address their concerns. Then, ask if they’ll
remove the comment or add a positive follow-up comment.
“When somebody has felt wronged, you have to sometimes
park the technology and use other ways,” Mobraten says. “The
transaction doesn’t have to be perfect, but the communication
has to be.”
Promote: Build up a wall in advance so negative comments don’t overtake your reputation, says Mike Zammuto,
president of Brand.com. “The more prominent your online
profile, the more likely any negative comments will seem
SOURCE: 2013 BRIGHTLOCAL S TUDY